All of my favorite posts for 2019 are up – click the links to check out my Audiobook Favorites, Nonfiction Favorites, Favorite New Releases, and Overall Favorites – but I thought this would be a fun way to wrap up the year, and maybe talk about some books that didn’t make it into those posts. I think this post is pretty explanatory, and it might get pretty long, so I’ll just jump right in.
Favorite – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
I love this book so much. It absolutely destroyed me, in the best way. Yes, it’s long and intimidating, but oh so worth it.
Least Favorite – It’s a TIE between Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler and The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan
The Vinegar Girl was so disappointing because it absolutely butchered one of my favorite Shakespeare plays (The Taming of the Shrew) And The Warlow Experiment started with an interesting premise and ended up being one of the most uncomfortable and unsatisfying things I’ve ever read. I really disliked both of them.
Most Disappointing – 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
I was so looking forward to 99 Percent Mine after loving The Hating Game a few years ago. But this was so… not great, that it had me questioning whether The Hating Game was actually as good as I remember (I might reread it soon for some peace of mind) and doubting whether I really like reading romance.
Most Surprising – It by Stephen King
I honestly didn’t expect to love this one, but I’m so glad I read it, because I definitely did. It almost made my favorites list this year. I did read this when I was maybe twelve and I think I completely blocked it out (which is probably a good thing), because it was like reading it for the first time. And it was great! The more Stephen King I read, the more I appreciate how brilliant he is.
Most Overhyped – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
This book wasn’t bad, but I honestly expected a lot more given how much everyone seems to love it. I haven’t read The Bone Season yet (though now I’m kind of questioning whether or not I actually want to), so I wasn’t familiar with Samantha Shannon going in. I can kind of see why people like this book, but for me, it was just okay.
Most Deserving of the Hype – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This deserves all of the love it’s been getting. It’s such a great book. I loved the story and the characters and the politics. I actually met the author earlier this year, and she’s such a great person. Her second book sounds brilliant, and I can’t wait.
Most Under-Appreciated – Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World – And Ourselves by Matt Simon
Ask anyone I know in real life, and they’ll tell you I could not stop talking about this book for months. If you want to learn about how batshit crazy nature is, this is the book for you. I honestly loved it (as weird as it is) and learned so many weird facts with which to gross out my friends and family. I was a little surprised to find out this has less than two-hundred ratings on Goodreads, because I think it deserves more.
Most Anxiety-Inducing – Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Reading this book made me realize that loosing my memory might just be my worst fear. It was a little emotional for me because, as you might know, I have MS, and one of the symptoms is cognitive difficulties (we like to call it “cog fog”). I’m not affected by it that much, but I do sometimes struggle to find the right words (especially while speaking). The thought of that getting worse is terrifying (don’t worry, I’m hopeful that it won’t, and I’m doing a lot of things to keep my brain in shape). But reading this book seriously messed me up for a while. Even though it was really good.
Most Mind-Blowing – Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
You’ve probably heard of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos (and if you haven’t, you should look it up). That story is completely insane. It blew my mind that this was allowed to go on for so long, and that people could actually get away with such a huge scam, especially since it was affecting people’s healthcare.
Most Worth the Wait – The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
I love The Night Circus so much, and was so excited to reading Erin Morgenstern’s second novel. Which we had to wait EIGHT YEARS for. And it was so worth it. This book is heartbreaking and beautiful and so wonderful.
Biggest Tearjerker – Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is an epistolary novella about a man and woman whose spouses are cheating on them with each other. It’s such a good story, and if you’ve read anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid, you’ll know how wonderfully this is told. I definitely might have cried (I totally did).
Most Thrilling – My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
I’ve read quite a few thrillers this year, but I think this might be my favorite. It’s about a husband and wife who try to spice up their marriage. With kidnapping and murder. And then it starts to go wrong. Definitely an exciting thriller.
Most Boring – The Whisper Man by Alex North
This is supposed to be a thriller, but I struggled to care about anything in this book. I didn’t care about the stories or the characters. It was just a boring read.
Most Fun – Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir
This is a graphic novel about Dorothy, Alice, and Wendy – who have all been committed to a mental hospital together – and the hijinks that ensue when a certain someone steals someone else’s ruby slippers. Yes, it’s written by the same Andy Weir who wrote The Martian and illustrated by Sarah Anderson (of Invader Zim and Sarah’s Scribbles). It’s hilarious, and I loved it.
Most Magical – Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I just fell in love with the Mayan mythology in this book. It’s so wonderful and magical. It actually reminded me quite of bit of Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which I also loved.
Most Educational – The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
I learned so much from this book about how important empowering women is. I mean, I already knew that it’s an important issue, but this made me appreciate just how much everyone (of all genders) is impacted by how women are treated. I highly recommend this one. I think everyone should read it.
Most Satisfying to Cross off My TBR – Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
This is not only the book that has been on my bookshelves, unread the longest (not kidding), it’s also one of the longest. It was a pleasant surprise that I ended up really enjoying it! I’m definitely here for Becky Sharpe’s brand of snark, especially in a classic novel.
Most Out of My Comfort Zone – She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai
I’m pretty sure the only other manga I’ve ever read was in junior high when they made a manga out of Meg Cabot’s Avalon High. This one is told from the point of view of the cat, so obviously I had to give it a go. I didn’t love it, but it was cute. I don’t think manga is really my thing, but I’d be open to reading more.
Most Awful Characters – Ray and Garthene from The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne.
I cannot explain how much I hated the characters in this book. They’re all just awful people. Personally, I don’t enjoy reading about inconsiderate assholes with no redeemable qualities. Which made me hate this book. If I regretted any of the books I read this year, it would be The Adulterants.
Most Loveable Characters – Alex, Henry, Nora, and June from Red, White & Royal Blue
I’m a millennial, but I do have a hard time identifying with most stereotypical millennial characters. But these four completely made me rethink that. I loved them so much. This book was so much fun, and the characters were brilliant.
Best Debut Author – TIE: Rory Power & Casey McQuiston
I absolutely adored both of these authors and their books. I actually met Casey McQuiston earlier this year, and she’s the reason I picked up Rory Power’s book. If you haven’t checked these two out yet, you’re missing out.
Favorite Reread – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I reread a lot of books this year, but this was my favorite. I actually just finished it, and absolutely fell in love all over again. It’s just so magical.
If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I know this was a long one. Let me know if you enjoyed reading through my (completely made up) book awards. Is this something I should try to do every year?
I came up with these myself (it’s not a tag, that I know of), but if you’d like to do something similar, feel free to borrow any of these. Be sure to tag me – I’d love to read your responses to some of these!