Best of 2019: Books

I suppose it's time once again for my once a year post! And what else would be worth coming out of semi-retirement for than books?

According to Goodreads, I read 80 books this year. Once again, I tried to clear off my bookshelves a bit, and ended up reading 5 books from my shelf, none of which is going to make this list! I also "read" 28 audio books. If you have not discovered Hoopla yet (a library app), you should check it out! Their books are always available (no hold/wait time), although the selection is a little smaller than Overdrive.

Without further ado, here are 10 of my favorite books from 2019, in no particular order.

Educated by Tara Westover - This is a true story about a girl growing up in Idaho with survivalist parents. They don't believe in school, hospitals or education. Her father makes her work in his scrap metal business where the machinery is unsafe and the work is long and tiring. She begins to educate herself on the sly and finally gets free from the situation, but not without a long and painful journey first.

Becoming by Michelle Obama - Whether or not you are a fan of Mr. Obama, you should read this book. It is a story of a strong woman and the paths that her life took, starting in a small neighborhood in Chicago, and leading to the White House and beyond. It opened my eyes about some of the things that happened while the Obamas were in the White House. For instance, I did not realize the extent of their gardening and healthy eating program. Nor did I know what it was like to have the Secret Service follow you around all of the time. This was a fun "peek" into the lives of Michelle and her family.

Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera - This was a surprise I found on Hoopla and it was a pleasant one! Set in 1924 South Carolina, it is a story of three women, a plantation owner, her African American servant and a poor white single mother of four. It's a story of the strength of women, no matter what their situation.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn -- Although not as riveting as her book The Alice Network, this was still a very enjoyable read. Set in post WWII Boston, this is a story of the Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. After the war, the only one of them to escape the Nazi murderess known as The Huntress starts hunting her.

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff - It's 1946 Manhattan and a women walking through Grand Central finds a suitcase with photos in it of a bunch of different women. Upon trying to find out who the suitcase belongs to, she unearths a story of a ring of secret female agents who were couriers and radio operators during WWII.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris - A Jewish man from Slovakia gets sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau and is given the job of tattooing every prisoner's number on their arms. He uses his privileged position to trade stolen jewels and furs for food and clothing for the prisoners.

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny - Number 14 in a series of 15, this book did not disappoint. I have actually read three of the series, but on reading my first, I did not know it was a series so I started in the middle and have continued to do so as I have read a couple more of them. However, this has not detracted from my enjoyment of the books I have read so far!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens - Part romance, part murder mystery, part coming of age, this book is a tale of a young girl growing up on her own in a swamp. It was a page turner the whole time and I couldn't put it down.

West With the Night by Beryl Markham - If you have ever read Circling the Sun, you will love West With the Night. The story of a very spunky young woman growing up in Kenya in the 1920s. She is a horse trainer, aviator and jack of all trades! She ended up being the first person to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic from East to West.

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova - Another depressing by fascinating book by Lisa Genova. In the past, she's talked about early onset alzheimers, Huntington's and now she's talking about ALS. Not only does she teach us a lot about the disease itself, but she also details the emotional side of things, which really pulls on the heartstrings.

What good books did you read in 2019?