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Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Best Books of 2019

I have had a pretty good reading year this year - massively stepping up the amount of books I've read from 10 books to a whopping 57! I've made a real effort to read more this year, trying to put my phone down and pick up a book a bit more. And it's paid off! I've thoroughly enjoyed almost everything I've read this year, and I want to celebrate the very best of the best.

The majority of the books I've read this year have been rated 4 or 5 stars, possibly a result of me beginning to put down books that aren't clicking with me, rather than pushing through regardless. This has made my reading experience much more pleasant this year, and has meant that I am reading things I really like. I've looked back over my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2019 to narrow down my six absolute favourite reads of the year!

1. Becoming - Michelle Obama
I really admire Michelle Obama and when I heard that she was releasing an autobiography, I knew that I would have to read it. I received it as a Christmas gift in 2018, but it took me a while to finally pick it up. I'm not a massive non-fiction reader, and I get slightly intimidated by bigger books, and Becoming ticked both of those boxes. Although it took me longer to get through, I feel like I learnt so much about Michelle's life, gained a real insight into life as America's First Lady, and ended up feeling truly inspired. What a woman!

2. I'll Be Gone in the Dark - Michelle McNamara
Another non-fiction book - maybe I do like non-fiction after all?! I'm a big fan of watching true crime videos on YouTube (think Georgia Marie and Kendall Rae) and this book was recommended by a few of my favourites. This book chronicles Michelle McNamara as she was trying to uncover the true identity of the serial killer known as the Golden State Killer. It was really interesting to see how she was using the clues to unpick things about the suspect. I loved following her thought process - although some parts of the book were particularly creepy and I couldn't read it of an evening if Stephen wasn't home.

3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz - Heather Morris
This was a book that was everywhere online, and for good reason. There's something about a Second World War narrative that I find really intriguing, as horrible a time in history as it was. This is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Jew imprisoned at Auschwitz where he went on to be the tattooist of the concentration camp. Like all novels based on the time period, this was difficult to read at times,  but was so interesting. Admittedly, there have been some concerns raised about the historical accuracy of the novel, but I still think that it teaches an important lesson.

4. The Testaments - Margaret Atwood
My MOST anticipated release of 2019 - the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, one of my favourite books. This was the sequel that no one expected, an opportunity to revisit the society of Gilead, more than 15 years later. Although we do not meet Offred again, we see the effects of the Gilead regime on three different women - an Aunt, a girl who had grown up in the regime, and a girl from Canada. This was so interesting, with a few twists and turns along the way. Some people have said that this instalment was unnecessary, I think it was a great opportunity to see how the regime may have continued if given the chance.

5. Five Feet Apart - Rachael Lippincott
This was a book that I devoured in about 24 hours and it reduced me to tears. It tells the story of two teenagers with Cystic Fibrosis, who meet in hospital. The couple are, obviously, attracted to each other, however their illnesses means that they cannot get within six feet of each other, for risk of infection. In true YA romance style, this is impossible for them, and the teens risk their lives for love. The story arc of this just broke me -  it was beautifully written, and a lovely, quick read.

6. The Chalk Man - C. J. Tudor
The Chalk Man was my favourite mystery/thriller of the year. I saw this on Kayla's channel, and loved the sound of it. It sounded like it was full of twists and turns, and I was not wrong! It's not often that a book makes me gasp out loud, but this one did just that. The last few twists and turns were totally shocking. Warning, this one is a little gory in places, but it was done so well, that even wimpy me could cope. We follow a dual timeline, focusing on a group of children in the 1980s, and then again as adults, when there are murders being committed. You soon find out that this friendship group might have something to do with it.

As I've said, this was a really good reading year for me, but these were the ones that really stood out to me. I can't wait to kickstart my 2020 Reading Year and see if we can beat last year. You can follow my reading progress on Goodreads.

What were your favourite books of last year? I'm always open to recommendations!

Love Lexie

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