Top Ten Tuesday: Best books of the year/What I read in 2019!

Last year I kept a list of all the books I read, which was very organised and unlike me. So I thought I'd try and keep it up this year too. It's so interesting being able to read back what you've read (and I think it's about time I became a proper Goodreads user.) In 2019 I didn't do much re-reading (for me) but have discovered more new authors, despite reading less overall. I still don't seem to have a genre - I read as randomly as ever. Anyway, here are some quickfire reviews of the year's reading, followed my Top Ten! (Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl, bounce around the link to see what everyone else has been reading!)

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien*
Surprisingly great, every time around.

The Skylark's War by Hilary McKay
Warm, moving, old-fashioned, sad.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding*
Still funny, dated but relate-able.

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy
Great book, ends weirdly though.

Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier
Wordy, well-written fluff. Pirates!

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby*
Still my favourite Nick Hornby.

A Girl in Winter by Phillip Larkin
Beautifully written, honest, sad, engaging.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Very cute, easy-reading. Good!

The Princess Diaries: After Eight by Meg Cabot*
Mia, don't do this! Please!

Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Gripping, despite knowing the twist.

Fox Girl and the White Gazelle by Victoria Williamson
Touching, relevant, I loved it.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Honestly? I was so confused.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
27 Dresses, with murder. Fun!

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
Funny, light, with likeable 'characters'.

Here Lies Arthur by Phillip Reeve
Interesting take, clever, gripping, cynical.

Avalon High by Meg Cabot*
Cheesy, but still so enjoyable.

11.22.63 by Stephen King
What does his editor do?

The Deportees and other stories by Roddy Doyle
Some stories great. Others okay.

Crossfire by Malorie Blackman
Smart, engrossing. Solid new installment.

Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman*
Very bleak, but very readable.

Howard's End by E.M Forster
Good read but bit depressing.

The Painted Veil by Somerset Maughm
Un-expected, interesting, emotional. Quick read!

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
Funny, rude, kind of deep.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls
Surprising, informative, simple but important.

Sanditon by Jane Austen
Could have been so good!!

The Watsons by Jane Austen
Fun. Shame it wasn't finished.

Pastoral by Nevil Shute
Slow moving, old-fashioned, romantic.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Warm characters, powerful storytelling, good!

We Are The Beaker Girls by Jacqueline Wilson
Lovely sequel, if bit rushed.

Wonder by R.J Palacio
Brill. Have your tissues handy.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  by J.R.R Tolkien*
Picks up after the Shire!

How to be Famous by Caitlin Moran
Funny, dark, sad, crude, feminist.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R Tolkien*
Good stuff. And that ending!

My Top Ten:

(Disclaimer: Funny Girl and Bridget Jones are two of my favourite books ever - but I've got nothing new to say about them so I'll  focus on new to me titles - and booksI haven't read for so long they feel new.)

Fox Girl and the White Gazelle

This was a children's book I picked up in work, about two primary school age girls, one Scottish with troubles at home, the other a refugee from Syria. I thought it was beautifully written and despite being very relevant in our current climate, I didn't find it preachy and it wasn't an 'issue book'. It was just about the girls and their families and their friendship and it made me cry a lot. But happy crying! 

The Hate U Give

I'd heard nothing but good things about this book, but when I first picked it up, my initial thought was - "I did not expect it to be so fat." Turns out that was a good thing though. I expected it to be short and snappy but it was kind of a slow burn, enough for me to fall in love with the (surprisingly big and complicated) cast of characters. I really loved it. It's about race and prejudice and the importance of standing up and speaking out. But what I loved most was that it didn't feel like a rich person's impression of a poor persons life. It wasn't bleak and "gritty" and morbid, despite the subject matter. It felt real and full of humour and love for the community as well as anger. 


It is just so annoying that this is unfinished, but aside from that this book made me so happy. I was reading a proper Jane Austen novel for the first time again, and I thought I was done with all that. It was so nice to be sucked back into her writing style and her characters, and have new jokes to laugh at. It was just over so soon, with so many unanswered questions. 

Here Lies Arthur 

When I spotted this in work (young adult? Phillip Reeve? Arthurian?) I couldn't check it out fast enough. I love a good King Arthur retelling, and this actually was a good Arthur retelling. Very different and quite dark, and there were some characters that I thought were kind of wasted. Also one plotline that was very odd. But it was just a really good read. 


People have been telling me how good this is for years, and they were right. I read it pretty much in one sitting and despite the warnings, I was not prepared for the amount of ugly crying this book provoked. 

How to Build a Girl

I think I'm now a bit of a Caitlin Moran fangirl, because this book was really good. It definitely won't be everyone's cup of tea but I really got it. People talk a lot about books being feminist, and this was, in a weird way, but it was also very much about class. There's lot of sex in it, but the bits I liked best were the scenes with her family, I think. And the bit where she did the scooby doo impression on national telly.

My Sister the Serial Killer 

This was such a quick, fun, clever read. And so different. I love the front cover and the short chapters and the writing style and the premise. It's not profound or anything, but if you like dark humour and thrillers and female driven stories you should definitely read this.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

I've just finished re-reading this, so maybe it's only making the list because it's so fresh in my mind. But I really enjoyed it. This one drops you straight into the action with no messing about, I love Merry and Pippin together, I'd forgotten a lot of the Saruman stuff which is really interesting, I love Faramir and although I get bored of all the Sam and Frodo scenes in the films, I really enjoyed them in the book. Some of the dialogue is so lovely too, although I don't know how much of that is nostalgia for the films. 

Knife Edge

I remembered how bleak this was, but not how good. I read the series as a young teen, and always thought that the first book (noughts and crosses) should've been a standalone. But Jude is such a dark and desperate and pitiable character, I think she had to explore him a bit. There were loads of parallels with our world that went over my head the first time, so I was really glad I read this again. Can't wait for the series!

The Painted Veil

I think part of the reason I enjoyed this so much was because I'd never heard of it and I had no idea where it was going. The first scene gripped me straightaway and the story led off in surprising and unpredictable directions. Apparently the film does things differently, but I liked how weird this was and how the characters were unlikeable and relatable all at once. And I actually liked the ending. It was different and unexpected from a male writer and for the time period, I thought. 

Read any of these? What were your favourite books this year? 


  1. I think I read one or two of the Princess Diaries books a few years back but could feel my intelligence dropping . . .

    I tend to read in my safety zone, certain classics, non-graphic mysteries, homey books. I wish I could read more randomly in fiction. I think I am pretty random in non-fiction, at least to other people, I'm usually pursing an interest of mine.

    1. I need to read more non-fiction, I've got a bit more into it but it's finding stuff with an engaging writing style. I loved the Princess Diaries back in the day but I think you have to get them at the right age. It's a very different experience reading them as an adult!!

  2. Fun list! I re- read The Hobbit a year or so ago and it was great to revisit, since I hadn't read it in years!

    I kind of want to read the Two Towers now haha. I like the Merry and Pippin scenes too, especially when they're on their own with Treebeard! Plus Aragorn and company looking all over for them. :)

    1. Thanks! I re-read the Hobbit last year as well, I'd forgotten how good it was :)

  3. Wonder really earned its name. It was one of the most beautiful and moving books I have read. It touched my heart, and who can't get onboard with kindness!

    1. It was really lovely - lived up to the hype I think!

  4. Great list! Ugh it's been so long since I read the Noughts and Crosses series and Jude is still one of my favourite villains of all-time because you can totally understand where he's coming from. I still think about him and Cara from time to time and my heart hurts. I still need to get to My Sister, the Serial Killer and one of these days I need to cross The Hate U Give off my TBR. Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year! I know, the Cara think broke me first time around. Not sure about his casting in the series (young Bill from Mamma Mia 2??) but hopefully he'll be good. My Sister the Serial killer is a nice quick one and Hate u Give definitely worth it!

  5. I really want to read My Sister, The Serial Killer. The waitlist is so long! I should probably just buy the book.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. It's dead short though, hopefully the list'll go down quicker than you think!


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