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All the Books I Read in 2019

January 8, 2020 in Books, Canadiana, Roundup - 2 Comments - 6 min read
A stack of books I've read from Jan - April of 2019.

So this is a post that I always look forward to from Jules Archer, the good old compilation post of all the books one has read all year. Hopefully she won’t mind that I’m stealing it. Here are all the books I read in 2019.

I gotta that that I’m proud of myself. My entire adult life has been plagued with a severe lack of reading, and it’s only been the last couple years that my love of books has finally returned. You know what ignited it? Physical books. Real books. pages. Smells.

THE USED BOOKSTORE!

A lot of the books I read in 2019 came from the used bookstore. God, I went to so many book stores and book sales and thrift shops. I felt like a teenager again.

How many books did I read in 2019?

I read 30 books in 2019. Not amazing but also pretty good. Def not the 97 books that I overhead some young dude bragging to his friends about while I was at work once. Like c’mom people. Stop hating on Gen Z for being too addicted to their phones. They’re still reading. Maybe get inspired.

The list

  1. The House Swap – Rebeccca Fleet
  2. The Water Cure – Sophie Mackintosh
  3. Follow Me Down – Sherri Smith
  4. The Vanishing – Wendy Webb
  5. Bound In Moonlight – Louisa Burton
  6. Harmless – James Grainger
  7. The Bricks that Built the Houses – Kate Tempest
  8. House of Dark Delights – Louisa Burton
  9. When Everything Feels like the Movies – Raziel Reid
  10. Into the Water – Paula Hawkins
  11. Inside – Alix Ohlin
  12. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
  13. Bellevue Square – Michael Redhill
  14. Thirteen – Susie Moloney
  15. Stranger, Father, Beloved – Taylor Larsen
  16. Dawn – V.C. Andrews
  17. Cinnamon – V.C. Andrews
  18. Ice – V.C. Andrews
  19. Autumn – Ali Smith
  20. Rose – V.C. Andrews
  21. Honey – V.C. Andrews
  22. Falling Stars – V.C. Andrews
  23. Secrets of the Morning – V.C. Andrews
  24. Twilight’s Child – V.C. Andrews
  25. Midnight Whispers – V.C. Andrews
  26. Darkest Hour – V.C. Andrews
  27. Temptation – Leda Swann
  28. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
  29. Heaven – V.C. Andrews
  30. Dark Angel – V.C. Andrews

Genres

Lemme delve a bit into the genres I read, because what a writer reads ultimately becomes an influence. I like to think that I read myself onto different branches in 2019, but yeah, I realize that my original realization isn’t quite so.

Trash Lit

Okay, so a bulk of what I read was V.C. Andrews, which is all fine and good because trashy books are an easy way to amp up your book count. They’re quick and fun and honestly, at this point, I can say that I totally get it. I’m a mom. I’m closer to middle-age than I am my youth. I need a better escape than a high-brow award-ridden book about a middle-class mother having an affair and learning bout life or whatever.

A photo of several V.C. Andrews books.
Amp up your reading count with this SIMPLE TRUCK!

Thrillers

Okay, so like any adult woman, I do love me a good psychological thriller. Since Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, however, finding a really good one proves to be quite the difficult task. So yeah, I settled for some lackluster affairs. They’re all the damn same now and it’s absolutely frustrating to pick up the book and read the phrase “X lives a perfect life” somewhere in the synopsis.

This year, I read only 3 thrillers and none of them were really standouts. Of course, I was excited to read Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water, but well, like many fans of The Girl on the Train, I gotta admit that this book suffered from some hardcore sophmore slump.

Literary

I once thought my work fell into this category but it doesn’t. Literary fiction can be tough for me, man. Like, the summary sounds great on the back but then I get halfway in and it pretty much just feels like a bunch of scenes happening for no real reason. Then I gotta check the summary again and there’s always that tell-tale giveaway when the summary tells you what it’s about, like a guiding light:

Three-time Ponce Gold Prestigious Gold Award Nominee Highbrow McWriterface’s flowery prose expands pages and pages of nothing, weaving a myriad of endless sentences that span the reality of the loss of time.

And I’m like oooooh, okay! I kind of get it.

Kate Tempest is a spoken work performer and a poet. She crafts her sentences well. Honestly, I’d recommend The Bricks that Built the Houses. Stuff does happen but it takes time to happen and a time it is difficult to follow. As for Ali Smith’s Autumn, I dunno. I love Smith’s voice, but for a book about the turbulent time of Brexit, I found it hard to really pinpoint the heart of the story.

I liked Taylor Larsen’s Stranger, Father, Beloved, though. The end felt a bit flat but the journey was fun.

Canadian Lit

I decided to put the Canadian books in their own section. Reading my own country’s literate IS important and I’ve neglected it for quite some time. CanLit has always manged to rub me the wrong way. I realize now that my bias was showing.

I quite liked all the Canadian books I read this year. My standout is Raziel Reid’s When Everything Feels Like the Movies, which I did also recommend in my last ill-fated “Have Read” column. It’s the CanLit I always wanted to read when I was 18. He has another book, Kens (a twist on Heathers!) which I plan on hunting down this year, plus another novel forthcoming.

James Grainger’s Harmless wasn’t an A+ but I appreciated its craziness.

Alix Ohlin’s Inside was touching, though one of the character’s perspectives fell a bit flat by the end.

I’d wanted to read Michael Redhill’s critically acclaimed Bellevue Square for quite some time just for its summary. The reviews on Goodreads definitely clash with the critic opinion but I did enjoy it. Real stuff happened. I wanted to read it. I loved the character’s voice. Was I confused by the end? Heck yes. Was it a good thing? Not entirely, but it’s a solid literary read.

Erotica

I read 3 erotica books. I quite like erotica, though finding good erotica proves a difficult task for me. Louisa Burton’s books are like my ideal. Victorian-esque but also modern. Each of her books contain 3-4 smaller stories, so her writing contains only what needs to be there.

Leda Swann’s Temptation contained some nice prose, yet the sex scenes quickly got repetitive, and by the book’s end the plot was pretty much a parody, but whateves.

Non-Fiction

I read The Communist Manifesto. I need to read more non-fiction but these books take me a lot of time to get through. Because I’m a mom. I’ve got kids. Complicated ideas are difficult to focus on. I could invest in one of those book summarizing services but if that’s the case I’d rather just listen to podcasts.

Currently I’m listening to The Dream and it. is. so. good.

2020 Goals

So that’s my 2019 reading list. 30 books ain’t bad. But what are my reading plans for 2020?

  • Read more indie authors (friends)
  • Read more Canadian literature
  • Read at least 35 books
  • Brand out in genre
  • Read at least TWO non-fiction books

What about you?

How many books did you read in 2019? Is that more or less than you usually read? Any standout books? What are your reading goals for 2020?

Also, recommend me ONE book that you think I might like.

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Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

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2 Comments

  • Jules January 8, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Yessss! to all this!

    I feel the same way about thrillers. SO repetitive. Honestly, a ton of mainstream, super popular books seem so boring, and the same. Publishing really needs to up their game. Hence my love of non fiction!

    Awesome post!

  • Emily Slaney January 9, 2020 at 1:41 am

    As far as I can figure out I read at least twenty, there may be a few more that I’m missing, which wasn’t to bad considering everything. There were a few start but didn’t finish reads but I obviously haven’t counted them. I think it always helps the book count if you discover a great series of books you haven’t read, or a new (to you) author whose back catalogue you can devour.
    Reading goals for 2020: try to read at least that much again, finish reading “save the cat – writes a novel”, read the Sylvia plath poems I got Xmas 2018.
    This years stand outs were Tana French Dublin Murder Squad series. And my favourite re-reads this year were Gillian Flynn Gone Girl, Lindsay Hunter Ugly Girls, and Megan Abbott The End of Everything.
    My recommendation to you is the entire Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. The detail to police procedure is phenomenal (she had an ex police/detective friend who she checked thing with) and the character relationships are the core of the novels. Honestly the BBC TV series was such a disappointment – really let the source material down.
    Also I’m going to recommend you a Canadian writer too, although you may have already read her – Courteney Summers, who writes edgy YA fiction. Her trade mark being writing unlikeable protagonists (her words not mine – I actually like all her protagonists!) although since the success of her most recent book I think she has changed it to – girls you won’t forget.

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    I'm Rebecca Jones-Howe, a neo-noir writer and author of the short story collection, VILE MEN. My work has been featured in [PANK], Pulp Modern and Punchnel's, among other magazines. This site houses my writing profile and my blog, which features posts on writing, fashion, lifestyle + more. Want more?

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