For many of us, reading is something we have to carve out time to do. I am notorious in my house for not being able to put my books down, so I often find that I read in spurts. I’ll devour a good book in a couple days, then not read anything substantial for several weeks. It is most upsetting for the household when I latch onto a good series. I become distracted and unproductive with meals and laundry until I have ravished the whole set. Once I begin, I MUST know the end.
This year was a big year in books for me. My battles with MS afforded me more reading time than usual, which I filled with books that were on my (continually growing) list of books to read.
In the spirit of respecting your precious moments of literary bliss, this list includes only the 5 books that affected, inspired, challenged, and engaged me over the course of 2019.
- Educated by Tara Westover
Autobiographies and memoirs are not usually my jam, but this caught my attention and held it. Tara’s childhood experiences and family escapades read like pure fiction. The story of a young girl being raised on a rural mountain in Idaho by conservative Mormon parents intent on living “off the grid,” is mesmerizing and shocking. Her journey into adulthood is simply astounding.
2. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah is a talented author who wrote another of my all time favorites, The Nightingale. Her writing is descriptive without being monotonous, and the development of her characters is such that a reader can hear their voices and see their faces long after closing the book. The Great Alone will pull you into the heart of a small family coping with a mentally unwell Vietnam veteran who determines that taking his family out to the Alaskan Bush will cure him of his dark moods and failures. In Alaska, this family of three find light and deep darkness, hardships akin to the days of the western pioneers, and love as vast and enduring as the Aurora Borealis.
3. The Yellow Crocus By Laila Ibrahim
Motherhood and family is truly at the heart of this book set in the pre-civil war era. The connections we make in our lives are not about blood, but about sacrifice and giving ALL of yourself to your children (biological or not). It also invites the reader to consider what our children have the capacity to give us in return.
4. Into the Wilderness By Sara Donati
This is for all the Outlander lovers! This book is the beginning of a series of 6, set in the early days after the American Revolution in the forests of the Adirondack Mountains. There’s a fiery, and English, female protagonist and a handsome woodsman with native american ties. A little historical fiction mixed with a little romance. Need I say more?
5. The Story of Arthur Truluv By Elizabeth Berg
When you are a confused and neglected teenage girl, the last person you expect to become your friend is a widowed old man with a heart of pure gold. And yet, the smallest acts of kindness can have the greatest impact on the life of another. Sometimes it’s about showing up and not giving up, like Aruthur. The Story of Arthur Truluv has all the feels.