What I Read in 2019

Each year I  keep a list of the books I read.  It’s fun to look back and see what I read and how it corresponded with my personal and emotional journey. It’s also a nice record-keeping tool. 

At the beginning of every year, I create a basic list of things I intend to read. I do this knowing that I will inevitably add many more titles along the way. Sometimes I’m in a store or a library and a book just calls to me. I cannot ignore it. So, it gets added to the pile for the year. My basic list this year was more of a goal than a collection of specific titles. I wanted to be intentional about reading works written by people of different faiths, cultures, and backgrounds than my own. I wanted this for both fiction and non-fiction choices.  It is a practice I will continue. 

I am a firm believer that fiction can teach you things you’ll never glean from non-fiction, so I’ll never shy away from including both categories. The power of story can plumb the depths of your emotions and insights, so don’t discount fiction! 

Non-fiction

Pure – Linda Kay Klein

White Mughals – William Dalrymple

The Color of Compromise – Jemar Tisby

A Year of Biblical Womanhood – Rachel Held Evans

A Forever Family – Rob Scheer

Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance

Pastrix – Nadia Bolz Weber

Faith Unraveled – Rachel Held Evans

The God Who Sees – Karen Gonzalez

All the Places to Go – John Ortberg

The Very Good Gospel – Lisa Sharon Harper

The Ultimate Exodus – Danielle Strickland

Everything Happens for a Reason – Kate Bowler

 

Fiction

Rise of the Mystics – Ted Dekker

Dear Martin – Nic Stone

Sundowners – Lesley Lokko

Little White Lies – Lesley Lokko

Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple

The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton

The Tree Bride – Bharati Mukherjee

Paris by the Book – Liam Callanan

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness

A Private Affair – Lesley Lokko

Big Stone Gap – Adriana Trigiani

This is how it Always is – Laurie Frankel

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf – Mohja Kahf

The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness

Time After Time – Lisa Grunwald

Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

Drowning Ruth – Christina Schwarz

The Identicals  – Elin Hilderbrand

The President is Missing – Bill Clinton/James Patterson

Summer of ’69 – Elin Hilderbrand

A Spark of Light – Jodi Picoult

What did you read this year? 

Books I Read in 2018

For the last few years I’ve tracked the books I read and the movies I watched. In the beginning of 2018 I posted my reading list of 20 books on this site. I ended up reading 10 of those books…plus 25 more. I’m not great at sticking to what I intend to read because if something catches my interest I’ll drop everything I planned and read it.  In the last quarter of the year I got on a biography/autobiography kick, which you will notice in the lists. I’ll put an asterisk next to the books I highly recommend, but I enjoyed 99% of what I read in 2018. I averaged 3 books a month, which was great considering the busy-ness of my year. What did you read last year?

Fiction:
Harry Potter (7 books) – J.K Rowling
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
The Visitors – Sally Beauman
The Hellfire Club – Jake Tapper
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
The Commonwealth – Ann Patchett
The Masterpiece – Francine Rivers
The 49th Mystic – Ted Dekker


Non-Fiction:
Braving the Wilderness* – Brene Brown
Laugh it Up – Candace Payne
Love Does* – Bob Goff
Waco: A Survivor’s Story – David Thibodeau
I’ll be Gone in the Dark – Michelle McNamara
The Very Worst Missionary* – Jamie Wright
Everybody Always – Bob Goff
I’m Still Here* – Austin Channing Brown
Inspired* – Rachel Held Evans
Work Rules -Lazlo Bock
What She Ate – Laura Shapiro
Nevertheless – Alec Baldwin
Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
The Andy Cohen Diaries – Andy Cohen
The Rainbow Comes and Goes – Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper
This Life I Live – Rory Feek
Sully – Chesley Sullenberger
A Life in Parts – Bryan Cranston
In Such Good Company – Carol Burnett
Stories I Only Tell my Friends – Rob Lowe
What Happened – Hillary Clinton

A Book Lover’s Paradise

Last weekend I found the equivalent of buried treasure for a bibliophile like myself. I read an article about The Book Thing in Baltimore, but I was sure there had to be a catch. A used bookstore where every book is free? My mother was also intrigued, so we made the one hour trek to the city on Saturday.

Believe the hype. And bring lots of bags or boxes.

The backside of The Book Thing

The Book Thing is tucked away on a tiny street. When we arrived at 11am, the place was bustling with people combing over bookshelves. Most of them had boxes or bags to hold their finds, and a few had wheeled carts. Everything is categorized (the rooms are color-coded to help your search), but they’re not in order within their category…so finding a specific book might be a challenge.

Within five minutes of entering the building, I knew this would be a multiple-trip destination. I couldn’t even begin to plumb the depths of their offerings in a single morning. When it comes to books, I enjoy combing the shelves and letting titles or covers “jump out” at me. Even though the place was crowded, most everyone seemed to have the same mindset. No one rushed me during my perusing.

I spent two hours at The Book Thing, and I left with 24 books. I found some great fiction selections as well as a National Geographic from the month and year of my birth. I also picked up some travel books. They may be outdated but they’re a good starting point for my research. The volunteers (who were constantly restocking the shelves) were extremely helpful and gave us pointers on where to look for certain books. Once you’re ready to leave, there’s a sign-out sheet to let the staff know how many books you took home.

Our bags o’ books

If you’re anywhere within a reasonable drive of Baltimore and you love books, I highly recommend The Book Thing. It was a great experience!