Happy happy 2019! I hope you had a great NYE and enjoyed the time off these past few days. Going back to work after a week and a half away is going to be a challenge for sure (anyone else feel the same?), but the short week will help as we ease back into things!
I thought I would start off this year’s blog posts with a fave topic of mine…reading! This year, I read 55 books that are all recapped on the blog (click on where it says “texts” at the top of this post to see all of my reviews from this year and years past). I definitely did the bulk of my reading in the summer and had some very slow-for-me months where I read maybe two books because I was too busy with work/life to sit down and focus, but I’m hoping to keep reading even more in 2019, largely because it’s so much fun to share my thoughts on the blog!
Taking a cue from Grace’s big end of year book post, I thought I would do a similar categorization of everything I read this past year (although I’m not going to rank every book from best to worst like Grace did, because that takes DEDICATION).
In no particular order, here is each book I read by genre (I like how Grace did this categorization because if you’re only interested in, say, thrillers, you don’t need to read through the entire post to find some recommendations to add to your list). As I said up top, all of these are reviewed at length on the blog, so just search a title if you want to see my thoughts!
- Fictional Thrillers: I have tons of other thrillers on my shelf that I still need to tackle, but I got through 10 this year (it honestly feels like I read way more, but it’s probably because I’ve been hooked on these over the past couple of years).
–Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell
–The Ex Wife, by Jess Ryder
–The Girl Before, by JP Delaney
–Pretty Baby, by Mary Kubica
–The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda
–The Woman in the Window, by AJ Finn
–The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine
–Gone Without a Trace, by Mary Torjussen
–My Husband’s Wife, by Jane Corry
–The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
- Nonfiction: I read 15 that fall into this category. Love a good memoir/thought-provoking analysis!
–From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein
–Educated, by Tara Westover
–Sisters First, by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
–The Financial Diet, by Chelsea Fagan
–The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy
–Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work at the White House, by Alyssa Mastromonaco
–Bachelor Nation, by Amy Kaufman
–The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
–Dear Madam President, by Jennifer Palmieri
–In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It, by Lauren Graham
–Unbelievable, by Katy Tur
–Text Me When You Get Home, by Kayleen Schaefer
–You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
–The Yoga Store Murder: The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletic Killing, by Dan Morse
–Murder in the Yoga Store, by Peter Ross Range
- Buzz-Worthy Fiction: I read 4 that fall into this category, but it’s kind of a subjective one.
–All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
–The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn
–Eleanor Olephant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman
–Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
- Light-Hearted Fiction: I read 26 that fall into this category.
–The Good Luck Charm, by Helena Hunting
–Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, by Jo Piazza
–Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, by Christina Lauren
–The Intermission, by Elissa Friedland
–To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han
–Matchmaking for Beginners, by Maddie Dawson
–The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories, by Celeste Fletcher McHale
–The Queen of Hearts, by Kimmery Martin
–Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan
–Tell Me Lies, by Carola Lovering
–The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang
–Marriage Vacation, by Pauline Brooks (aka Jo Piazza!)
–Playing with Matches, by Hannah Orenstein
–When Life Gives You Lululemons, by Lauren Weisberger
–Limelight, by Amy Poeppel
–When Katie Met Cassidy, by Camille Perri
–Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella
–The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory
–A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out, by Sally Franson
–Hey Ladies, by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss
–Romancing the Throne, by Nadine Jolie Courtney
–Fitness Junkie, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
–Still Me, by Jojo Moyes
–Your Perfect Life, by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
–Schooled, by Anisha Lakhani
–Fight or Flight, by Samantha Young
- In no particular order, these were my 5 favorites of the year:
–Tell Me Lies: I continue to be obsessed with this book and will talk your ear off about it if I see you in real life, sorry in advance!
–The Alice Network: If you’re looking for a meaningful piece of historic fiction that will keep you hooked, this is it.
–From the Corner of the Oval: One of my favorite reads simply because I loved the narrator’s writing style and how she lived a few blocks away from where I am now…oh, and because she had the coolest job ever.
–Educated: This is such an important book and is a good followup to Hillbilly Elegy, if you liked that one!
–To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: Sometimes you need to dive into a good YA book to get back into the swing of reading.
- Favorite new-to-me authors from 2018:
-Christina Lauren (this is actually a pseudonym for this writing duo!) and Jasmine Guillory (need to read her latest, The Proposal!) are my new go-tos for “rom com” type reads.
-Lisa Jewell is a great author for thrillers, and I have another one of hers on my shelf waiting to be read.
- And, in no particular order, these are the ones you can skip (sometimes I think this type of distinction is helpful because there are truly SO many books out there and not enough time to dig through them all!):
–Hey Ladies, by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss: I did NOT like this book and thought the characters were all annoying, out of touch, and hard to follow. I know that’s a harsh review, but it just didn’t jibe with me!
–The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories: This one was a quick read but just not that interesting to me. There are other lighthearted books on this list that are a lot better if you’re looking for a cute beach read.
- Now, lastly, here’s my December recap:
–Your Perfect Life, by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke: I brought this one with me to Florida and it was a light read but pretty predictable. At their 20th high school reunion, two best friends accidentally switch lives a la Freaky Friday and do their best to adapt to their new surroundings while having to make important life decisions for each other along the way. In the end, each learns something new about their values and priorities and appreciates what they do have upon switching back.
–The Yoga Store Murder: The Shocking True Account of the Lululemon Athletic Killing, by Dan Morse: Given that I grew up just minutes away from the Lululemon store in Bethesda and have been back living in the area for several years, I was surprised that I wasn’t previously aware that a book (multiple books!) existed about this horrifying case (I found out about this author in another blog post). I actually read this book first and then went back and read Murder in the Yoga Store, by Peter Ross Range, because I was so fascinated by the case and wanted to learn more (though both books essentially featured the same information and background, and Morse’s was more comprehensive and better presented, so pick that one up and you’ll learn everything you need to know). I remember pretty specifically when this murder happened because I was home for my college spring break in 2011 just a week or so after the attack occurred. At the time, the community still believed that masked men were to blame (when in reality, one of the workers murdered another and fabricated a story about two men coming into the store and attacking them), and white ribbons were hanging on local stores in support of the victims. Just a week or so later, it became clear what really happened and the entire community was in shock, as were many others. While this book is definitely graphic and gruesome, it is truly eye-opening and particularly fascinating to read as a longtime resident of the community.
–Schooled, by Anisha Lakhani: I hadn’t heard of this book but picked it up in my favorite used bookstore in New York a few months ago and knew it looked good. The story centers around a new teacher, Anna, who has just graduated from Columbia with a job at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious, wealthy private schools. Anna learns that the teachers are making thousands of dollars on the side tutoring students (or essentially doing their assignments in full), and gets sucked into the allure of designer bags and luxury apartments before realizing that she ultimately isn’t satisfied with her life path. While the story is fictional, I’m sure it was based on the author’s own experience teaching at the prestigious Dalton School in NYC. I was hooked right away (especially since I worked at a private school in the DC area) and definitely felt like I was back in the city while reading about Anna’s life as a young postgrad!
–Fight or Flight, by Samantha Young: This book is a must read if you like Christina Lauren and other rom com authors. Flight or Flight follows a guy and a girl who meet on a plane, immediately hate each other, and then essentially end up dating after they realize they’re both in the same city, all the while dealing with some major life issues and sadnesses (this book definitely isn’t pure fluff, promise!). While the book is somewhat predictable, I thought that parts of it were very real and loved every page. It’s the perfect book to bring on a long flight (ha!) since it’s on the longer side but doesn’t feel slow at all.
-You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero: This book was a re-read for me, but it felt like an appropriate pre-New Years read and was also one I wanted to pick back up since I’m seeing the author speak at Sixth and I later this month! I always feel motivated when reading self-help books like this one because they aren’t cheesy and are very current and empowering. I’m excited to hear Jen soon and need to pick up her other books!