19 Best Books of 2019

Lauren McNeese, Staff Writer

1: The Good Neighbor, Maxwell King

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38656999-the-good-neighbor 

Find it on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Good-Neighbor-Life-Work-Rogers/dp/1640910859

Mr. Rogers transformed countless lives through his simple message of kindness and that every person matters. The Good Neighbor explores his upbringing, career, and what shaped him into the television personality that many children knew and loved.

2: Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36809135-where-the-crawdads-sing 

 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Where-Crawdads-Sing-Delia-Owens/dp/0735219095

A small, quiet town. A small, quiet girl. A murder mystery arises, and resolution is sought. What happens when one person is stereotyped and labeled by the majority? Follow Kya on her quest for justice.

3: Fountains of Silence, Ruta Sepetys

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43220998-the-fountains-of-silence 

 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Fountains-Silence-Ruta-Sepetys/dp/0399160310

Just when you thought that Ruta Sepetys couldn’t write another historical fiction that you couldn’t put down, reading in one sitting, she did it again. Daniel arrives in Madrid, only to find the entry to journalism school he is looking for, and ends up also finding Ana, whose life reveals the lingering effects of the war. Together, they find the answers that they have been searching for.

4: The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath 

Find it in The Learning Commons! 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6514.The_Bell_Jar 

If you’re looking for a feel-good, happy ending, this one might not be for you. But if you’re looking for a bit of reality in a weird world, an interesting and innovative writing style from Plath, and a story with some real life thematic elements, this is where you may find it.

5: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Anne Fowler 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15994634-z 

 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Novel-Fitzgerald-Therese-Anne-Fowler/dp/1250028663

Zelda Fitzgerald is an iconic young woman living in the early 20th century. Her husband, of course, is the infamous F. Scott, author of The Great Gatsby. However, Zelda also must balance her own love of writing and career, as well as raising her children. Read about how she does it all, with her own flair at that. 

6: The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8130077-the-screwtape-letters

 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=screwtape+letters=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Lewis narrates the journey of a demon teaching his apprentice and their attempts to try and discourage a man in his faith. This is a very convicting, challenging story. It may cause you to think through prior beliefs and raise awareness about the mental traps the enemy is trying to get you to fall into. 

7: The Abundance, Annie Dillard

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25776682-the-abundance?from_search=true&qid=IxtJj4Qki5&rank=3 

Find it on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Abundance-Narrative-Essays-Old-New-ebook/dp/B0105VDUEG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=RUR2ZDP8OHD1&keywords=the+abundance+annie+dillard&qid=1576952089&s=books&sprefix=the+abundance+%2Cstripbooks%2C168&sr=1-1 

A collage of narrative essays, all in one place. Dillard writes with a beautiful eloquence that I believe to be unmatched. This book will cause you to stop and ponder the everyday, the seemingly mundane. I would highly recommend this book to any and all students of English!

8: There is no Long Distance Now, Naomi Shihab Nye

Find it in The Learning Commons! 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10604175-there-is-no-long-distance-now?from_search=true&qid=lXzfR6Pkru&rank=1 

This is a collection of very short stories, but they are so unique and so fun. Some may even make you put the book down to think and process what you just read, leaving you with some food for thought! 

9: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Find it in The Learning Commons! 

 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1885.Pride_and_Prejudice?from_search=true&qid=hEJYKuyjfy&rank=11 

Austen explores coming of age, societal expectations, and, well, pride and prejudice. In this novel we meet a young Elizabeth, separated from love by socioeconomic boundaries. Austen explores the breaking of these and exposes the prejudice that permeated an era. 

10: Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

Find it in The Learning Commons!

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43641.Water_for_Elephants?from_search=true&qid=WGvYtrc2ls&rank=3 

Told through flashbacks of an elderly man, Gruen takes the reader on an adventure with the circus! Filled with redemptive undertones, we learn of the character’s personal triumphs and downfalls as he looks back on his walk in this weird trek called life. 

11: The Nightingale, Kristen Hannah 

Find it in The Learning Commons! 

 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21853621-the-nightingale?from_search=true&qid=jxoyQkiAE9&rank=1 

The Nightingale explores what a mother will do to protect her children, the horrors of war, and the lengths we are willing to go to in order to hold onto hope. Told through the narrative of two sisters, Hannah utilizes a unique writing style. I couldn’t put it down!

12: A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Find it in The Learning Commons!  

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22567450-martin-chuzzlewit-a-tale-of-two-cities?from_search=true&qid=6NcrtIbVy0&rank=6 

Set in Paris and London before and during the French Revolution, Dickens writes of the French peasantry and the tragedies they suffered throughout the duration of the war, as well as the atrocities committed by the revolutionaries towards the aristocracy. 

13: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8520610-quiet?from_search=true&qid=z8MLbD8EII&rank=4 

 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Quiet%3A+The+Power+of+Introverts+in+a+World+That+Can’t+Stop+Talking%2C+Susan+Cain&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Susan Cain starts a riveting conversation about the role of introverts and extroverts in our world today and many misperceptions regarding them. I was left asking how I hadn’t heard of this book sooner-- now considered a must read for all. 

14: A Light So Lovely, Madeleine L’Engle

Find an additional review on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38915720-a-light-so-lovely?from_search=true&qid=JdBNvbjc82&rank=1 

Find it on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=A+Light+So+Lovely%2C+Madeleine+L’Engle&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss 

Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, lived a fascinating life which had an incredible impact in the lives of countless people. Her faith shone through in her everyday life, leading others to Christ. This was a riveting read which explored the way in which L’Engle’s faith led her. 

15: The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13579364-the-freedom-of-self-forgetfulness?from_search=true&qid=oj7D5JhN9A&rank=1 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Self-Forgetfulness-Path-Christian/dp/1906173419/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Freedom+of+Self-Forgetfulness%2C+Tim+Keller&qid=1577050403&s=books&sr=1-1

Timothy Keller is a Presbyterian pastor, theologian, and apologist who is based in New York City. Through this book, he explores the calling of Paul to find true rest in self-forgetfulness. 

16: Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

Find it in The Learning Commons! 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6185.Wuthering_Heights?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=ijFb5gajUX&rank=1

Catherine Earnshaw surrenders to the expectations of her class when forced to choose between Heathcliff and Edgar Linton, and as bitterness and vengeance visit the next generation, the heirs must struggle to escape the past. This is a classic still read in English classes today, and deservedly so. 

17: Upstream, Mary Oliver 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29358559-upstream?from_search=true&qid=ywZE63cdds&rank=1 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Upstream-Selected-Essays-Mary-Oliver/dp/0143130080/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Upstream%2C+Mary+Oliver&qid=1577050990&s=books&sr=1-1 

A series of essays comparable to that of Annie Dillard’s, I wholeheartedly enjoyed every vignette of this collection. Filled with a fresh view on nature and life, Oliver never fails to share a unique perspective with her readers. 

18: The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3153910-the-art-of-racing-in-the-rain?from_search=true&qid=1azyfIcPyJ&rank=4 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Art-Racing-Rain-Novel/dp/0061537969/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Art+of+Racing+in+the+Rain%2C+Garth+Stein&qid=1577051232&s=books&sr=1-1 

This book is told through the perspective of a dog, Enzo. Through the encounters he has had with people, he has gained insight like no other, being an honest observer. He sees that life, like racing, isn’t just about going fast. You will laugh, you will cry, you will be glad you read this heart-wrenching yet ultimately uplifting account of a life lived well. 

19: Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan 

Find an additional review on Goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41108991-crazy-rich-asians-china-rich-girlfriend?from_search=true&qid=dWbIYLvqaQ&rank=8 

Find it on Amazon here: 

https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Rich-Asians-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00AP2VQEM/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Crazy+Rich+Asians%2C+Kevin+Kwan&qid=1577051524&s=books&sr=1-2

We all need a “beach read” now and then, and this was definitely the top one of 2019. Following the drama of an unknowing fiance on a trip to visit her soon-to-be husband’s family: it’s an unexpected ride filled with twists, turns, and-- you guessed it-- crazy rich Asians. 

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