Top 5 Reads of 2019

This was a weird reading year for me. For most of the year, books fell off my priority list as I got caught up in work, relationships, travel, and video games, and so from January through October I read a grand whopping total of 3 books. 3!!! I must’ve started at least a dozen others, but those 3 were the only ones I managed to finish in their entirety.

And then mid-November rolled around and I realized – damn, I haven’t read in a while and really miss it, and this is the least reading I’ve done in years! Suddenly the bug came rushing back and before you know it, here we are a month later and I’ve read 11 books in the past four weeks. Motivation is such an amazing force. I feel a little abashed calling myself a reader and book blogger when I’ve read just 14 books this year, but everyone has their down years so here’s one of mine.

I thought about it some more though and also realized that a big part of why I wasn’t reading anymore was that I was being really selective with what I did read, which was basically only literature and classics. And while I love the classics, I was getting really burned out on them, so this past month has been me loosening up with my book choices and learning that “fun”, easy reads aren’t any less valuable – in fact, it’s probably what I need the most after years of working my way through lists of the classics. I’m not sure when I became such a book snob but I’m definitely out to correct it, and I’m glad I became aware of it and can start enjoying more types of books out there.

Anyway, the best 5 books I read this year!

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Merry Christmas!

This would be one of my ideal cozy places for winter – imagine curling up with a book in that corner, sipping hot chocolate and occasionally looking out the window at the snowy views!

My family is joining me in NYC today and we have plans to visit the holiday markets, skate at the Bryant Park Winter Village ice rink, and grab dinner in the East Village ๐Ÿ™‚ Tomorrow my boyfriend and I are flying out to London, where we’ll be staying until the 31st – I absolutely love London while it’s his first time visiting, and I’m so excited to show him around!

Hope everyone has a very warm, very merry Christmas!

P.S. Last year I read and loved The Little Book of Hygge (and I get such a kick that the author’s name is basically “Mike Viking”), and this shot of Grindelwald, Switzerland looks like the setting of a fairytale.

Books I Hope to Find under My Tree

I love reading other people’s Top Ten Tuesday posts (started by That Artsy Reader Girl) and thought I’d start adding mine too! I find 10 to be a lot though, and I want to be more selective, so I’m modifying mine to be Top 3 instead – and maybe occasionally Top 5 if I’ve got a lot of opinions that week ๐Ÿ™‚

This week, a hugely popular cookbook, an /r/books favorite, and a beautiful memoir by a cancer patient…

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Save Me the Plums – Ruth Reichl

Rating: 2/5

Big yikes. I really wanted to like this book because some of my favorite book bloggers said it was one of their favorite books of the entire year, which is glowing praise, but I couldn’t get past the cultural insensitivity. Most of it wasn’t bad, but I got to one page that had a recipe for “spicy Chinese noodles” and I just couldn’t believe what I was reading. You’re telling me that Ruth Reichl – former NY Times food critic, former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, and generally beloved food personality – is so culturally unaware as to call a Chinese noodle dish…literally “spicy Chinese noodles”?

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The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

Rating: 4/5

I feel like I need to reread this one three more times until I finally understand everything! This is definitely one of most imaginative books I’ve ever read, even though it came at the cost of my comprehension, ha. I chipped away at it for months because it’s just so wacky and nonsensical and dense that I kept having to put it down every few chapters to process what I’d read. The experience I had while reading it was very similar to my read of Neuromancer – I was really confused all throughout, but once I finished I was vaguely happy to have read it, lol.

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Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris

Rating: 3.5

This was my first David Sedaris and I liked it. His sense of humor is a strange mix of weird and goofy and British and dry as bone, with a tinge of creepy and “omg you did NOT just say that”. I just love how irreverent he is, and his chapters from the perspective of various homophobic/ultraconservative/paranoid people were really funny and original, even if he does tend to get rambly and sometimes even boring when writing about his own experiences.

This anthology also had the famous (to me) colonoscopy piece and having heard about it so much from others didn’t dilute the 5-minute pleasure of reading it for myself. I’ve heard this book is a far cry from his best writing – but if that’s the case, I look forward to reading more of his works.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4.5/5

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read this book when I’ve heard about it nonstop since it came out! It definitely didn’t disappoint, and like everyone else, I thought it was incredible. Usually when it comes to fantasy I’m pretty hesitant because a lot of authors aren’t convincing enough with their world-building. Oftentimes the magic systems or individual powers or the worlds themselves aren’t fleshed out enough to make you suspend your disbelief; other times, they’re way too complicated and/or farfetched and it turns into a chore to remember all the details while you read.

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