My Top Ten Books of 2019

IT’S FINALLY HERE. It’s time to list my top ten books of this year. This list was so hard to create and I sat down last night writing out possible picks and narrowing it down. I think I finally have a finished top ten list that I can share so without further ado, here are my favorite books I read in 2019 in order!

Honourable Mentions:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I really started to read more horror/thriller this year and I found that I really enjoyed Gillian Flynn’s writing. I read Sharp Objects by her and the Grown Up (a short story) and liked them both but they were nothing like Gone Girl. It was so enticing and I loved reading it!

  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Listen, I had a hard time not putting this in my top ten. This was the one Rainbow Rowell novel that I hadn’t read yet because I was waiting to see a used copy in my local bookstore. Eventually, I scored a copy at a newer bookstore near me and decided it was finally time to read it. I ended up loving it, so much so that it’s higher up on my favorite Rainbow Rowell book lists.

  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Reid Jenkins

This book was so well done and creative in the way it was written that I couldn’t ignore it this year. If you like Almost Famous the movie, you’ll probably love this book.

  • Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

This was one of my favorite romance novels I read this year. I love the characters in this book and I could seriously see myself re-reading this book for pure joy. However, it didn’t make my favorites list because the ending wasn’t my favorite. But, everything before the ending deserves to be on this list!

AND NOW ONTO MY ACTUAL LIST!

10. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

You guys, I read more thrillers/horror this year than I ever have. I couldn’t believe that I even read Imaginary Friend, a 700 page horror/thriller and I LOVED IT. I have an entire review here.

9. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This was one of my highly anticipated books of 2020 even though I hadn’t read the Handmaid’s Tale at the beginning of the year. I pre-ordered this book and drove to pick it up right when my manager had called me to tell me it’s in. I binge read it in like three days and I loved every minute of it! I think it’s much more entertaining than the first one. I have a review for it here.

8. Frankly in Love by David Yoon

I just recently read this book and I was amazed at how much I ended up loving this book. It was marketed as a rom com but it’s soo much more than that. It’s a beautiful story of living in a Korean family in America with a bit of relationship stuff in it. I totally cried reading this book and I highly recommend it!

7. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

I finally finished Throne of Glass this year and I can’t believe it’s over…This series might be one of the biggest fantasy series of the decade for me. I loved it so much at the beginning and I was growing away from it near the end but honestly, this finale was everything I wanted and more.  I’m so glad it ended on such a great note. If you haven’t read this series yet, it’s truly worth it.

6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I also FINALLY got around to reading the Hate U Give this year and like all the other books on this list, I loved it. I listened to most of it on audio and it made me laugh at times but also sob in other parts. This is a book everyone should read.

5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

YOU GUYS! This is the last book I read this year and I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. I’ve had it for awhile and I try to save my historical fiction reads for the winter because that seems to be my favorite time of the year to read them. I knew this book was sad but I didn’t know it would make me cry so much. I loved Isabelle as a character — she’s so strong, independent and outspoken. Seeing such a strong female character like her during WWII was inspiring nonetheless. I understand why everyone has read and loved this book now.

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I’ve been meaning to read this classic for awhile now and I finally got around to it this year. I’ve read and loved other things written by Sylvia Plath but somehow had never read her only novel. This book doesn’t read like a classic honestly and I was shocked at how oddly relatable the main character is. It is a really sad book (like most things she writes) but it kept me entertained throughout. I actually read this mostly in one sitting so that definitely says something about this classic.

3. The Great Alone my Kristin Hannah

This is the book that introduced me to Kristin Hannah near the very beginning of this year. I had gotten a copy of it on super sale from Book Outlet and decided to start the audiobook. I would listen to the audiobook on my hour long drive to work and it’s all I would listen to. I never really listen to audiobooks in the car because I prefer singing to music but this book had me HOOKED. I love books set in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest so the setting was absolutely perfect. I have a review for it here if you want to know more about how I felt.

2. We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

I requested this book the day it had went up on Edelweiss because I was in love with the cover and I saw that it was comparable to Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. If any of you know me, you know that’s one of my favorite stories. I ended up reading this book with my close friend Amber and we both really loved it. I could go on and on about this book but I have an in-depth review that you can read here.

1. The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This is kind of a weird favorite book of the year for me but I think it really was. I don’t own a copy of this book (sadly) because I got it from the library (hehe see what I did) and I really loved it. I picked this book without knowing what it was even about but I remember working at b&n when it was really popular. It’s also a part of Reese’s book club which I tend to enjoy books from so I gave it a shot. This book was so well written considering it’s a non-fiction that I absolutely devoured. I wanted to know what happened next even though it was a cliffhanger type of book. I just loved reading it so I wanted to keep reading. This book isn’t just about the Los Angeles Library fire, but about the histories of libraries themselves and some other library fires in history. She also writes about the case of figuring out who did start the fire but I found the information about libraries so fascinating. It made me want to be a librarian even more…I even just recently applied to volunteer at my library because I love everything librarians do. I want to contribute to my local community in the way that librarians do. So, in a way, this book changed my life a bit. I highly recommend it!

 

What were some of your favorite books of the year? Have you read any of these? I’d love to know!

 

Find any of these titles at your local bookstore!

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Banned Book Recommendation | DAY TWO

It’s banned book week! This week, September 22nd-28th, I’ll be sharing with you some banned book recommendations. If you don’t know what a banned book is, here’s a little definition: A banned book is one that has been removed from the shelves of a library, bookstore, or classroom because of its controversial content. I’ll be highlighting one book per day and telling you why they’re banned.

Here’s the tag for all my banned book week posts!

 

32075671. sy475 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.”

Edition: Hardcover
Page Count: 444 pages
Published on: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 0062498533 (ISBN13: 9780062498533)

This book surprised me whenever I found out it was first being challenged. Eventually, it was considered a banned book. In fact, it’s one of the top most banned books of 2018. I think it’s also important to note this book has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for weeks on end. As of right now, it’s on it’s 133rd week on the list. It’s spent most of that time at number one.

The impact of this book is also significant. This book talks openly about police brutality, racism, and the black lives matter movement. Angie Thomas even said that black lives matter movement is what inspired this book. It’s not hard to wonder why this book is banned but it is frustrating. This book is so important to have in schools and libraries yet it’s been banned for that exact reason.

 

I also just finished reading this book and ended up giving it 5 out of 5 stars. 

Why is it banned?

“In late 2017, The Hate U Give was banned by school officials in Katy, Texas, where it was challenged for “inappropriate language.” District Superintendent Lance Hindt pulled the book from shelves during the review process in violation of the district’s own review policies, claiming he did so based on its “pervasive vulgarity and racially-insensitive language…not its substantive content or the viewpoint expressed.” The move drew widespread condemnation from free expression advocates, but the actions of a teen in the district helped save the day. Ny’Shira Lundy collected 4,000 signatures on a petition calling for the restoration of the book. The district relented and put it back on shelves, but it wasn’t a total victory. Students are required to get parental permission to check it out.” (source)

“This story is likely familiar for any librarian who has received a book challenge. It’s not even the first time that THUG has been challenged. What is surprising in this situation is the challenger. It’s not just a parent or local conservative group. The challenger here is the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in Charleston County, South Carolina. John Blackmon, the president of the FOP Tri-County Lodge #3, said they’ve received a number of complaints from parents and community members regarding the inclusion of these books on the summer reading list. He also states, “It’s almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we’ve got to put a stop to that. There are other socio-economic topics that are available and they want to focus half of their effort on negativity towards the police? That seems odd to me.”” (source)

Angie Thomas has talked about it being banned several times on Twitter and here as well. Here’s some of her tweets:
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Find The Hate U Give at your local bookstore!

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | BookTube | Instagram | Twitter

Books You Probably Didn’t Know Were Banned

This is an archived post. This original one has been deleted since it was on my old blog. Enjoy!

Guess what all of these books have in common? They’re all banned.

 Banned books are books or printed writing that has been removed from libraries, schools, bookstores, etc. due to controversial content. A book can be challenged by a parent whose child is attending a school and has a book on their curriculum/in their library. While these books do become banned, there’s a large population of people who disagree. 

Let’s talk about some books you probably didn’t know are banned (and you’ll definitely upset at the reasons why). 

  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

If you’ve read Perks of Being a Wallflower, you can probably guess the reasons why it’s banned. There’s sexual explicit content constantly throughout the book but it still remains an important read. This book was banned for several different reasons but the main ones being:

  • homosexuality
  • date rape
  • glorification and use of drugs and alcohol
  • sexual content (masturbation)


Yes, books are being banned for homosexual content in 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately. 

  • Looking for Alaska by John Green

John Green will forever fight against the book being banned. This book being banned is quite shocking because I’ve read it and couldn’t exactly come up with a reason on why it was taken out of schools and challenged over and over again. It’s banned for reasons like:

  • inappropriate language (cursing)
  • use of drugs + alcohol
  • pornography 
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I literally had no clue that this book was challenged and considered a banned book. I’ve read this book twice and I genuinely love it. But, it’s considered a banned book. Here are the reasons:

  • profanity 
  • pornography


If I remember clearly, Eleanor and Park is far away from smut. But, it was pulled from schools for it’s “vile” and “nasty” language and it’s “trash” content. (You’ve got to be kidding me, right?)

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I’ve read Sherman Alexie’s work in school before and never had a problem with it. I’ve also owned this book for years and had no idea it was banned. It remains on several lists of banned books and has been challenged multiple times. But, why? 

  • excerpts on masturbation
  • vulgarity
  • racism
  • anti-Christian content
  • encouraging pornography

Yes, you heard that right. It was banned and a reason stated that it was due to it’s anti-Christian content. 

  • Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling

Now, I knew this book was banned for ridiculous reasons. But, there’s still some people out there who have no idea. If you’ve read Harry Potter and didn’t know it was banned, I’m assuming you’d be clueless as to why it’s a banned and challenged book. Well, it’s for things like:

  • inappropriate language
  • glorifying magic and the occult
  • violence
  • religious reasons

Basically, I grew up hearing that Harry Potter is a banned book due to it’s glorification of witch craft. Again, yes, you heard that right. *sigh*

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give was published in 2017 and remained on the New York Times young adult best-sellers list for weeks on end. It’s won the National Book Award for young people’s literature and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in fiction. It was one of the most talked about books of last year and to this date. It’s clearly inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and covers the very important current topic of police brutality. It’s even currently being turned into a film. But, it’s been recently banned.

  • foul language 
  • “normalized sexual activity”
  • use of drugs

Despite the banning, the book still remains in some schools and is taught to be a very important book. The author herself even spoke out about the banning on Twitter but remains inspired to write.

As you can see, books that are banned are usually significant in their times. They discuss topics that we should be exposed to and understand. It’s unfortunate that these books are banned and considered wrong to parents and others, but people still have access to them. If you look at your own bookshelves, I’m sure you’ll find several if not many books that are already banned or being challenged. Can you guess why?

If you guys know any books that you think I’d be shocked to hear they’re banned, let me know!

I’ve listed some sources I’ve used below but feel free to correct me if I misspoke on anything!

Sources:

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