2019 was a very dramatic year for me, and I think that the books I read reflect that. My goal this year was to read 35 books, but I only made it to 20. However, I enjoyed the time I spent reading this year, and, according to Goodreads, I read over 6,000 pages. So, here are all the books I read, along with a brief review of three of my favorites.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
I’ve reviewed Sweetbitter before, but it was truly one of my favorite reads this year. Tess’s journey through the underbelly of New York City’s world of fine dining is captivating, as are the tense, almost masochistic relationships Tess develops with Simone and Jake.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
This book is a classic, and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. I had previously read Hemingway’s short stories, along with The Old Man and the Sea, but The Sun Also Rises really cemented Hemingway as one of the best writers of the twentieth century in my opinion. Jake’s navigation of love and the ritual of bullfighting make for an incredible story, boosted by Hemingway’s unmistakable prose style.
Conversation with Friends by Sally Rooney
Conversations with Friends is a book that I think is going to stick with me for a long time. Frances is a 21 year old living in Dublin when she is thrown into the world of an older writer and her husband, an actor. I’m a firm believer that when one reads a book matters, and I think the reason I connected so much to Frances was because we are the same age, both college students, both worried about how the world views us, and both trying to make it as a writer. Sally Rooney’s characters are vivid, alive, and their development is incredible. I am about to start reading Rooney’s second novel, and I can’t wait to see what she does with those characters, as well.
This year brought a lot of personal changes for me, and I am pleased to say that I am much happier now, on January 1, 2020, than I was on January 1, 2019. 2019 was hard, but I don’t think I would change anything about it, and I’m glad I had these books to walk me through it.