I read 38 books in 2019, which is probably the most books I’ve ever read in a year.

I typically read about 12 to 20 books a year, and most of them have been nonfiction. This year, I jumped back into fiction, which greatly increased my penchant for reading.

I read most books in audio book format, but I also started to read actual hard bound books again this year, which I’m enjoying a ton. Audio books allow me to “read” while I’m driving, walking or doing housework. I’m entertained while doing otherwise mundane activities.

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Another reason I read more books this year is that I’ve developed a good system for keeping a steady stream of audio books available.

When someone recommends a book, I immediately check the OverDrive app to see if it’s available as an audio book at my library. The waiting list can often be months, so I keep as many books as possible on hold. Once my hold queue is full, I add books to my wish list so that once a book becomes available, I can place another book on hold.

Once a book becomes available, I only have access to it for two weeks. This motivates me to start reading it immediately and keep going! Once in a while, several books become available at once, which is a bummer because one might expire before I can finish it.

I also use Hoopla to download audio books from the library. Hoopla has fewer books, but it often has books not available through OverDrive, and they are also often available immediately.

Finally, I have a subscription to Audible, which gives me one book per month. I save my Audible downloads for brand new books, typically nonfiction. The library doesn’t tend to get audio books until they are a bit older. I also use Audible for books that I want to own.

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I read two books in the month of December: City of Girls and The Nickel Boys. I didn’t ever write a separate blog post just for December, but these were both really good. The Nickel Boys was a painful, intense and heart-wrenching novel about the abuse of African-American boys sentenced to a reform school. It was definitely worth the read. City of Girls had a beautiful ending, but a word of warning that it’s full of adult content.

Here are my top nine fiction and nonfiction books from 2019. I’ll include a link to the blog post where I initially wrote about each book.

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NONFICTION

The first five books on my list of non-fiction books had a major impact on my life. I started the year with 100 Days of Brave. I was inspired to pursue my creative interests by I’m Possible. I turned to The Next Right Thing to help me make a huge decision to step out of my job. Sacred Rest helped me understand the importance of taking time to recover my life. And Radical awoke in me a passion for people in other parts of the world, which also gave me the courage to pursue my current job.

I’m Possible

The Next Right Thing

Sacred Rest

Radical

100 Days to Brave

Atomic Habits

Finish

Inheritance

Educated

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FICTION

If I had to recommend a book to someone who doesn’t read much, the first four books on my list are the ones I would suggest. They all had great plots and character development. I ended the list with The City of Ember, which was one of my favorite children’s literature books of the year.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Small Great Things

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Little Fires Everywhere

The Nickel Boys

Recursion

Daisy Jones and the Six

The History of Bees

The City of Ember

To see all of the books I read in 2019, click the links below for “What I Loved,” month by month.

 

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What were your favorite books for the year? Did you meet your reading goal? Do you have a goal for 2020?

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