Wednesday, January 15, 2020

My Year in Books 2019

It’s time for my annual reading wrap-up.

In 2019 I read 108 books, 38 more than last year! Unlike last year where about half of my reading was non-fiction, only about 5% was in 2019. Not really sure why that was since I do love reading non-fiction. Maybe because I listened to a lot of Great Courses series this past year instead.

The most interesting non-fiction book I read in 2019 was “The Trial of Lizzie Borden” by Cara Robertson. Just a fascinating book with a lot of details of the investigation and the trial. Well worth reading.

Another book of note in the non-fiction category was “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean. You may remember I mentioned it in a post last March. It’s about the library fire in the downtown branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Also well worth reading.

As you know, I read a lot of cozies. This past year I finished up some series that I really enjoy. I read the last books in the Button Box Mysteries by Kylie Logan and the Mall Cop series by Laura DiSilverio. I’m saddened that there won’t be any more of these. I enjoy them so much they have a permanent place on my bookshelf and they’re probably one of the few series I will read again.

But my absolute favorite books in the cozy category were two in the Family Skeleton series by Leigh Perry: “The Skeleton Makes a Friend” and “The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking”. I’m hoping there are many more of these on the horizon.

Another great traditional mystery series (I hesitate to call them cozies) is John Gaspard’s Eli Marks mystery series featuring magician Eli Marks. I’d recommend reading all of them, but if you only read one make it “The Floating Light Bulb”.

I also continued my fascination with middle grade books. I finished off the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud and discovered the Sixty-Eight Room series (which I finished reading) by Marianne Malone. Another series worth mentioning is the Moon Base Alpha series by Stuart Gibbs. Just pick up anything by Gibbs and you’ll enjoy it, but this series is my favorite.

In the non-mystery fiction category, I recommend “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks set in 1666 when the plague reared its ugly head once again in England. It’s about a town that voluntarily cuts itself off when plague surfaces in their midst and the consequences of doing that. It’s based on the real town of Eyam who isolated themselves from the outside until all signs of the plague had disappeared. I found this one particularly interesting because I’d just listened to the Great Courses series on the Black Death.

I also read a fair amount of historical mysteries. 2019 was the year I discovered Bonnie MacBird’s series featuring Sherlock Holmes
(“Art in the Blood”, “Unquiet Spirits”) as well as Renee Patrick’s series featuring Lillian Frost and Edith Head (“Design For Dying”, “Dangerous to Know”.) I picked up MacBird’s books largely because I love the covers. They turned out to be great reads. And I had to have Renee Patrick’s series because it has the Edith Head in it. I remember when I was growing up seeing her accept Oscars for her work in films. I always found her fascinating.

I could go on and on about other great books I read, but I won’t. Did you have any particular favorites from this past year of reading?

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