A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Books of 2019

I read 83 books last year!  I don't know whether that was more or less than usual, because this was my first time keeping track.  I volunteer at our Friends of the Library's Book Den.  It's a used bookstore and warehouse full of books.  We earn free books for our volunteer hours, so my To Read pile has become a To Read bookcase. 

The links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on one, and make a purchase, I may get a tiny commission.  Here's some of the books that I enjoyed, or didn't, in 2019. 

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen.  I read Pride & Prejudice in 2018, and would like to get through all 6 Austen books at some point, so when I came across Northanger Abbey at a used book sale, I added it to my pile.  I enjoyed it, and was pleased that the movie is very true to the book. 

I also read several works of Austen fan fic.  Some authors were better than others at staying true to Jane's beloved characters. 

Victoria, by Daisy Goodwin.  I ran across a proof copy of this at Book Den.  We can't sell proofs, so I rescued it from the recycle bin to read.  I'm glad I did, the British monarchy is fascinating.  I also enjoyed the PBS series on Amazon Prime. 

Mount Vernon Love Story, by Mary Higgins Clark.  This was a surprise to me.  I usually think of Mary Higgins Clark as writing modern suspense fiction.  This was historical fiction, based on the life of George Washington. 

Another small book I read, but this one I did not enjoy, was Tracie Peterson's Silent Star.  This one was depressing.  I cried my way through it.  I usually enjoy Peterson's works, so this may have been partly because of when I read it.  The subject matter, combined with personal events, was rough. 

Let's talk Murder, She Wrote.  Now, when Donald Bain was writing the series, I enjoyed them.  But this Jon Land guy kinda sucks at it.  I've read quite a few of the Donald Bain ones, and after 2 by Jon Land, I'm done.  I won't be reading any more of his.  The Mrs. Fletcher I grew up watching on TV doesn't swear. 

If you know the YouTube channel Crash Course, you'll recognize author John Green from CC History.  I read his The Fault in Our Stars, and I was impressed.  (Spoiler alert:  I cried.  I cry at everything.)  I'm keeping an eye out for more of his books to come through Book Den. 

The President is Missing, by Bill Clinton & James Patterson.  This was probably the newest book that I read this year.  It was a little improbable in parts, but very action packed. 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris.  This was one of those books that lingers with you for a while.  I found myself reaching for another WW2 book to stay in this world a little longer. 

Wandering away from the fiction aisle for a moment...
The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman.  The Warsaw Zoo during the war.  The slaughter of the animals by German troops.  The hidden refugees.  The cache of weapons.  And the incredible people who lived the story. 

My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery, by Belinda Hurmence.  I stumbled across this accidentally while I was researching for my trip to North Carolina.  Wow.  First person accounts of slavery, collected in the 1930s. 

While I originally picked up Asian Americans in the Old West, by Gail Sakurai for Hannah and Katie, I found myself reading it. 

Fiction series
The Aunt Dimity books, by Nancy Atherton.  I discovered these in 2018, and have read most of them now.  I read 5 of these in 2019.  The only one I have yet to read is unavailable in our library system. 

I discovered Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts books and read a couple of those.  There are a few more in my To Read bookcase. 

The Bookstore Cafe Mysteries are cute fluff books.  I found these in 2018 and read all the ones that were available.  This year, I read Alex Erickson's Death by Cafe Mocha as soon as it came out. 

What's Next?
Although I started The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I was ambitious in the undertaking, and have not yet finished it.  It's chewy reading, and after slogging through several cases, I set it aside.  I'm trying to read one case from this between lighter tomes, but I confess I am only about halfway through this 636 page behemoth.  I intend to finish it at some point this year. 

Since one of my favorite books from last year was The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton, I would be interested in reading more from her.  Although I'm not a knitter, I enjoyed a couple books by Maggie Sefton, and would read more from her, as well.  Susan May Warren continues to be one of my favorites, as I read 6 of her books last year. 

I do want to branch out and try some new-to-me authors this year, though.  I have works by Carl Hiaasen, M.C. Beaton, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Lisa See, Amy Tan, and Ken Wheaton ready for me to crack open.  And Eli has loaned me Blitzed, a non fiction book about drugs in Germany during WW2.  I have plenty of books to get me started. 

I've been slowly weeding books out of our collection, as well.  I've gotten pretty good about donating books when I finish reading them, but I have old books that I would like to read again first.  I pared down our board books to less than one shelf, just the favorites I couldn't let go of.  I've gone through the beginning readers a couple times, but we still have 2 baskets full of those, so obviously, I need to do that again.  I've started purging some of the picture books, as well.  Katie is 9.  We probably don't need over 4 shelves of picture books any more.  I also need to find a new home for our homeschooling books.  I may contact the local enrichment co op and see if they have a library I can contribute to. 

Most people read only 4 books per year.  Let's set the screens down a bit more in 2020 and get back into the magical world of books. 


  1. Love the post! You have me beat. I read 32 (not counting the stuff I read with my kids).

    1. 32 is great! That's more than a lot of adults manage.

  2. Lots of interesting reads on this list. I recommend The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert for light, gentle reading.

    1. Thanks! I'm constantly seeing titles on your blog that look interesting to me. Although I don't know how you get through so many read alouds. My kids teased me because I'd always cry at the sad parts, so our read alouds turned into taking turns.