As usual, I’ve set my 2019 reading challenge to 20 book – I’ve read only 12.
Not sure how this happens, but I start the year off really well, then I completely forget about my reading challenge and I wake up in September with only 8 books read… While in 2018 I spent the last weeks of the year reading like a maniac, in 2019 I took it easy.
Anyways… I’m glad for the 12 books I managed to read, and here are the best books landed in my hands last year.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
This is probably one of my favourite books of all time – besides Harry Potter, of course.
I first heard Matthew Walker on Deliciously Ella Podcast (I highly encourage you to give the podcast a go) and I was fascinated by all the insightful info he gave about sleep. From the podcast as well I found out he also wrote a book about sleep and its links with health.
Matthew Walker is a neuroscience professor and scientist and his whole life is dedicated to studying sleep.
This book made me cherish and make good sleep a priority. It really changed the way I see and appreciate a good night sleep.
I will admit that the book gets dull here and there, where he gets into too much detail and you might feel lost. But if you think “you’ll sleep enough when you’re dead” you MUST read this book.
I encourage you to watch Matthew Walker’s TED talk about sleep too – if you need more convincing.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I previously spoke about this book in another article, but it’s worth mentioning again and again.
In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman identifies and explains 5 different ways we understand, express and expect to receive appreciation:
- words of affirmation
- acts of service
- receiving gifts
- quality time
- physical touch
There’s also a test you can take to identify your primary love languages, you can find it here.
The book is easy to read and not too long. While there are several books about this topic (got to milk the cow) about love languages for children, siblings and so on, I think this book’s lessons can be applied with everyone, not just with a romantic partner.
It will make you understand so much about the people around you, but it will also help you better understand yourself.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
City of Girls has been on everyone’s reading lists lately. Its author is the famous Elizabeth Gilbert – the same who wrote Eat, Pray, Love.
Now, don’t get me (completely) wrong. I loved the dreamy, fantasy-like experience she portrayed in Eat, Pray, Love but I found the story very unrelatable.
City of Girls starts in the interwar period and ends in 2010. It tells the story of Vivian, a young woman who is crazy-talented with the thread and needle, and does a lot of stupid things.
The whole book is a letter – yes, you read that right: a letter. It’s literally the longest letter I ever read – 480 pages to be more precise.
It all starts with an – what seemed to be – innocent question. Angela asks 90-year old Vivien what was the link between her and her father. And Vivien starts waaaay back to explain the story – 70 years ago.
While the plot was weirdly picked – if you ask me – I loved how Elizabeth Gilbert managed to portray a magical 1940 New York, without living in that era. Also, the crazy details about designing clothes were catchy – really appreciated all the small details.
World Cup Wishes by Eshkol Nevo
World Cup Wishes is my favourite fiction book from last year.
I think the English translation doesn’t make it any justice: the symmetry of wishes doesn’t sound that good, but it’s more appropriate.
World Cup Wishes tells the story of four good friends that went through a lot in life together: military service, conflicts, wives, babies and more. The group has the habit of watching the world cup together and they decide to write down 3 wishes they hope will come true until the next World Cup.
It’s a lovely book about true friendship and life. I loved how Eshkol Nevo presented Israel: with all the good and the bad. I made me more fond of the country than ever before. I truly believe that the story would have lost its magic if it was set in a Western country.
The Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
I made quite a habit of reading at least one of Dan Brown’s book each year. Last year I’ve read two: The Lost Symbol and The Digital Fortress.
I understand that Dan Brown found the key to success for its novels: a highly controversial topic, a good guy that turns bad in the last pages of the book and a beautiful smart woman.
After 3 or 4 books read, Dan Brown becomes VERY predictable. I chose to mention this book because it covers a very hot topic: crypto security. It’s about a hot mess that happens in the core of NSA and how the world’s security is threatened by this mess.
If you watched Person of Interest, you will find this book very similar. If you’re into tech-related conspiracy theories – you’ll enjoy this book!
The Body Counter by Anne Frasier
I think Good Reads actually suggested Detective Jude Fontaine’s Mysteries series a couple of years ago. The first book was on sale, so I gave it a try.
There are 3 books in the series so far and The Body Counter is the second one. I think in 2019 the third book was published as well.
If you love detective novels, this series will win you over. It’s smart, tragic and traumatising – all you need in a book about murders.
Jude Fontaine has a horrible life experience. She was kidnapped for several years and throughout the first book, she solves her own kidnapping, while in The Body Counter Jude is solving a series of murders linked to a mathematical sequence.
These were the most insightful and enjoyable books I’ve read last year! I hope you found some inspiration for this year’s reading challenge and I really hope I didn’t give too much away. If you’re looking for further inspiration, you can check the previous reading challenge articles I wrote.