Best and worst books of the year | 2019

Book year

 

This is the second part of my reading wrap up for 2019, which will focus on the books themselves that I read last year.

Yesterday I posted a blog about all the statistics linked to my reading, which if you’re interested in that side of things as well you can also read.

However, I’m going to speak about some statistics to do with the books I read, using Goodreads’ wrap up for the year, as well as picking out some of my favourite and least favourite books of the year. Obviously it’s all subjective, if I hated one of your favourite books I’m sorry, my dislike of it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book by any means.

If you’re interested in seeing all of the books I read, there’s a full list at the end of this post.

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First of all, I read a total of 116 books, which is 36,858 pages, an average length of 317 pages per book, which is probably pretty average.

I read quite a lot of longer books this year, but I also picked up a fair few between 100 and 300 pages, so it makes sense that this is maybe a little on the lower side. I always find this statistic interesting because it’s the complete opposite from when I was a child, when the longer the books I was reading the better.

The shortest book I read was Mostly Hero by Anna Burns, which is one of the Faber Stories short stories, at only 60 pages, although my copy is actually slightly longer. The longest that I went for was The Executioner’s Song, which I actually listened to as an audiobook, because it’s 1,056 pages. Unsurprisingly, it took me months to read and my drive to work was dominated by Gary Gilmore for a very long time.

Interestingly, I gave both of them three stars and found them both quite average.

 

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The most popular book I read was Animal Farm by George Orwell, which I read in April for the O.W.Ls readathon, with a huge 2,737,144 other people reading it worldwide.

In comparison, the least popular book was The Night Visitors by Jenn Ashworth and Richard V Hirst, with only 66 others reading it. This one I got as part of Dead Ink Books’ spooky book box which I ordered in Summer, and didn’t actually know much about it.

 

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The highest rated book I read last year was Know My Name by Chanel Miller, a memoir written by the woman who was the victim in the Stanford Rape Case.

As you can see, I rated it five stars, which brings me on to….

 

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My best books of the year

I’ve picked out a few of the books that I really enjoyed this year, which each year seems to get harder and harder to pick.

My absolute favourite book of the year was The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein. It’s a memoir following the life of Sandra Pankhurst, from her childhood as a young boy in Australia, to becoming transgender, working as a sex worker in the Red Light District, starting her own business as a trauma cleaner and everything in between. It’s a fantastic read, her story is fascinating and I’m endlessly interested in trauma cleaning as well so I was so engaged the entire time. Highly, highly recommend.

My other favourite is Know My Name by Chanel Miller, as I mentioned above, another memoir. Clearly non-fiction was going really well for me this year. It’s so well written, and absolutely heartbreaking. Chanel is an incredibly strong person, and this novel gives a really good insight into a ‘victim’s’ perspective of a court case, and the emotional toll a person goes through when faced with being in such a situation.

I wanted to leave this to two favourites only, but my other honourable mentions for the year are Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Lanny by Max Porter.

 

My worst books of the year

Unfortunately, there’s always a few books each year that I really don’t like. I think I did quite well this year to not actually have any more than one one star read, but I did have quite a lot of two star books.

My least favourite book of the year weirdly enough was also a non-fiction, and was On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming.

It’s billed as a kind of true crime mystery about her mum, who went ‘missing’ when she was a small girl. I thought that sounded really interesting and picked it up on that basis, but what it actually turned out to be was more a family history of half her family, and the fact that so many people knew about what happened to her mum but never said anything. Honestly I’ve blanked most of this out of my head because I disliked it that much and the only reason I finished it was because it wasn’t that long and I had it on audiobook. I’ve also seen quite a lot of reviews since where people seem to feel the same way as I do so it’s not just me, but I have also read quite a few reviews from people who have adored this, so maybe I just expected something that I was never going to get.

I can’t quite decide which other book I disliked the most out of the others I read, so here’s a selection that I really didn’t get on with: I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman, The Heavens by Sandra Newman, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and Tangerine by Christine Mangan. It’s quite disappointing because I could continue to list far more than this, but I’m hopeful that next year will be better.

 

Here’s a full break down of all the books I read this year:

  1. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – 3 stars – e-book
  2. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel – 4 stars – e-book
  3. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh – 3 stars – physical book (library)
  4. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – 4 stars – audiobook
  5. The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – 5 stars – audiobook
  6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – 5 stars – physical book (library)
  7. All The Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva – 3 stars – e-book
  8. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – 3 stars – physical book (library)
  9. Normal People by Sally Rooney – 5 stars – e-book
  10. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – 3 stars – audiobook
  11. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss – 3 stars – audiobook (library)
  12. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak – 3 stars – audiobook
  13. The Dumb House by John Burnside – no rating – e-book
  14. Pure by Rose Bretecher – 4 stars – e-book
  15. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen – 3 stars – e-book
  16. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – 2 stars – physical book
  17. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh – 2 stars – physical book
  18. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy – 3 stars – audiobook (library)
  19. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan – 4 stars – physical book
  20. Grief is the Thing With Feathers – 3 stars – audiobook (library)
  21. Emma by Jane Austen – 3 stars – physical book
  22.  69 by Ryu Murakami – 3 stars – e-book
  23. Ordinary People by Diana Evans – 3 stars – physical book
  24. Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn – 4 stars – physical book
  25. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – 4 stars – audiobook
  26. Tangerine by Christine Mangan – 2 stars – physical book
  27. Sadie by Courtney Summers – 4 stars – audiobook
  28. Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernie L. McFadden – 4 stars – physical book (library)
  29. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante – 4 stars – audiobook
  30. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker – 3 stars – physical book (library)
  31. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – 4 stars – e-book
  32. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante – 4 stars – audiobook
  33. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – 3 stars – physical book
  34. Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton – 2 stars – physical book
  35. Animal Farm by George Orwell – no rating – physical book
  36. Where The Line Bleeds  by Jesmyn Ward – 3 stars – audiobook
  37. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – 4 stars – e-book
  38. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4 stars – physical book
  39. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi – 3 stars – e-book
  40. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim – 4 stars – e-book
  41. Dying Light by Stuart MacBride – 4 stars – audiobook
  42. The Burning by Laura Bates – 3 stars – physical book
  43. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah – 4 stars – audiobook
  44. Lanny by Max Porter – 4 stars – physical book
  45. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – 4 stars – e-book
  46. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig – 2 stars – physical book
  47. A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos – 3 stars – physical book
  48. My Enemy’s Cherry Tree by Ting-Kuo Wang – 2 stars – physical book
  49. Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 3 stars – physical book
  50. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami – 3 stars – audiobook
  51. After Dark by Haruki Murakami – 4 stars – e-book
  52. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – 4 stars – audiobook
  53. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – 4 stars – e-book
  54. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – 2 stars – physical book
  55. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante – 4 stars – physical book
  56. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 2 stars – e-book
  57. Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong – no rating – e-book
  58. Boundless by Jillian Tamaki – no rating – physical book
  59. Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki – physical book
  60. Saltwater by Jessica Andrews – 3 stars – e-book
  61. The Picture of Dorian Gray – 4 stars – physical book/audiobook
  62. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay – no rating – physical book
  63. Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy – 4 stars – e-book
  64. Chocky by John Wyndham – no rating – e-book
  65. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides – 4 stars – e-book
  66. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 2 stars – e-book
  67. Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa – 4 stars – physical book
  68. Honour Girl by Maggie Thrash – 4 stars – physical book
  69. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund – no rating – physical book
  70. My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf – 4 stars – physical book
  71. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – 2 stars – physical book
  72. The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer – 3 stars – audiobook
  73. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney – 4 stars – physical book
  74. My Life as a Rat by Joyce Carol Oates – 4 stars – physical book
  75. Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett – 2 stars – e-book
  76. When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of a Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy – no rating – e-book
  77. 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak – 4 stars – e-book
  78. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo – 4 stars – e-book
  79. The Heavens by Sandra Newman – 2 stars – audiobook
  80. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – 3 stars – audiobook
  81. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire – 4 stars – audiobook
  82. Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire – 2 stars – audiobook
  83. In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire – 2 stars – audiobook
  84. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – 3 stars – physical book
  85. The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory – 3 stars – audiobook
  86. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado – no rating – audiobook
  87. Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff – no rating – physical book
  88. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – 4 stars – physical book
  89. Sealed by Naomi Booth – 4 stars – physical book
  90. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – 3 stars – physical book
  91. Dracula by Bram Stoker – 2 stars – physical book/audiobook
  92. The Night Visitors by Jenn Ashworth and Richard V. Hirst – 3 stars – physical book
  93. Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller – 5 stars – e-book
  94. Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls – 3 stars – audiobook
  95. Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar – 3 stars- e-book
  96. Bunny by Mona Awad – 4 stars – e-book
  97. Women & Power by Mary Beard – no rating – physical book
  98. The Vegetarian by Han Kang – no rating – e-book
  99. The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman – 2 stars – e-book
  100. The Confession by Jessie Burton – 4 stars – audiobook
  101. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness – 3 stars – physical book
  102. Educated by Tara Westover – 4 stars – e-book
  103. The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman – no rating – physical book
  104. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky – 2 stars – physical book/audiobook
  105. Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito – 4 stars – e-book
  106. Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami – no rating – e-book
  107. Mostly Hero by Anna Burns – 3 stars – physical book
  108. I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman – 2 stars – physical book
  109. Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami – 3 stars – audiobook
  110. The Giver by Lois Lowry – 2 stars – e-book
  111. On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming – 1 star – audiobook
  112. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – 3 stars – physical book
  113. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah – 4 stars – audiobook
  114. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – 3 stars – physical book
  115. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms – 3 stars – audiobook
  116. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout – 3 stars – e-book

One thought on “Best and worst books of the year | 2019

  1. Vishy says:

    Wonderful books you have read last year! You are a tough reviewer – I have to say that ☺️ But the wonderful thing about that is that if you rate a book 4-stars, it is a must-read, I think ☺️ (If you haven’t rated a book, how can we interpret it?) I want to read ‘Know My Name’. It sounds so wonderful from your description! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your favourite books! Loved your post! Glad you had a wonderful reading year in 2019! Hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2020 too!

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