The best books of 2019

From bestreviews.com
By
Meredith Gallo and Ciera Pasturel
BestReviews

If you're shopping for an avid reader or if you're looking for the next novel to add to your shelves, these are the top books published this year that are worth your consideration.

2019 has been a great year for books.

From spine-tinglingly good fiction, like On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, to shocking nonfiction, like She Said and Catch and Kill, bookworms have a lot to cover this year. In case you've been busy and you want to spend the winter holiday catching up on all the best titles, we've compiled a list of our favorite books published in 2019. 

Check out the top picks from each category if you're looking for inspiration for your holiday wishlist. 

 

Memoirs: 

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino 

In her debut memoir, New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino explores everything from #MeToo to attending far too many weddings. This memoir provides a poignant look at the present cultural and political moment.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Comedian Ali Wong, best known for performing both of her Netflix comedy specials pregnant, has written her debut memoir as a series of letters to her daughters. Wong uses her sharp wit and raunchy humor to bring her hard-won wisdom to the page. 

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas, American journalist and undocumented immigrant, unpacks the experience of finding home and freedom in a country that identifies him as illegal. Vargas brings us through his experience of finding his place in a society fixated on immigration status.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Therapist Lori Gottlieb invites us into her world as both a clinician and patient, unpacking the stories and truths we tell ourselves while struggling to find the answers to help us through love, meaning, and courage. 

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Know My Name has been described as "a devastating, immense memoir" by the New York Times. In her own words, Chanel Miller recounts her sexual assault by Brock Turner in January 2015, the subsequent court case, and her journey through the experience. 

Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller 

Alexandra Fuller's most recent book recounts the life of her father, who left England to become a farmer in Africa. Fuller has a gift for sifting through the complicated chaos of her childhood with a unique blend of humanity and brutal honesty. 

Let Love Have the Last Word: A Memoir by Common

Musician, actor, and activist Common lives his life by the motto, "Let love have the last word." In his memoir, he shares what it means to give love to those around you and what it means to receive love in return. 

 

Nonfiction: 

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell's latest book Talking to Strangers investigates our interactions with strangers and deciphers why we trust certain people, how transparency works, and much more. 

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

She Said recounts Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Though nonfiction, this book sometimes reads like a thriller as Kantor and Twohey uncover what would become the beginnings of the #MeToo moment. 

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow was initially hired by NBC to investigate allegations against Harvey Weinstein, but when NBC tried to suppress the Weinstein story, Farrow published Catch and Kill to reveal his investigations of Weinstein and the conspiracies he faced bringing his journalist to light.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Orlean beautifully weaves the story of the fire incident that occurred at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986 while chronicling the development of libraries as an institution as well as women's role in librarianship.

The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

Legendary FBI criminal profiler John Douglas is at it again, and this time he's reexamining four of the worst murders he ever confronted in his career in the FBI, looking into the psychology of serial killers and predators.

 

Fiction: 

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

With Olive, Again, Strout reminds us that we're not yet done with Olive Kitteridge, the sometimes kind, sometimes stern retired school teacher. Whether you fell in love with Olive through Strout's Olive Kitteridge novel or through the HBO series, you'll love reading more about Olive and the town of Crosby, Maine.  

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This debut novel by journalist and celebrity profiler Taffy Brodesser-Akner takes you on a journey to New York City where you'll find Fleishman, who is in the midst of a divorce and just beginning to explore single life when his estranged wife goes missing.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Written as a letter from Little Dog to his mother Rose, this novel poetically explores culture, race, and masculinity through a coming-of-age tale. It's an immigrant story, a queer story, and a story of abuse intertwined with vignettes from Rose's experience during the Vietnam War.

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

In her debut novel, Montag journeys into what's left of America after a century of floodwater has destroyed the continent, leaving only a mountaintop archipelago. After the Flood follows Myra and her daughter Pearl as they go in search of Myra's older daughter, Row, who, after being missing for seven years, has been seen at an encampment near the Arctic Circle. 

 

Fantasy:

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Bardugo's debut adult novel follows Galaxy "Alex" Stern who, after surviving a homicide, is given an opportunity to leave her old life and enroll in Yale's freshman class. The catch? Alex is tasked with monitoring the goings-on of Yale's secret societies, particularly their occult activities. 

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Water Dancer is the debut novel from the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates. The book follows a young slave named Hiram with a mysterious power. After that power saves his life, Hiram Walker embarks on a path out of bondage. 

The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman

From Alice Hoffman, author of The Dovekeepers and Practical Magic, comes The World that We Knew. The novel follows three young women in Berlin as they struggle to survive during the throes of WWII. 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The Testament is the long-awaited companion novel to The Handmaid's Tale. Through the stories of three women, readers will uncover answers to many of the questions that the first book and the Hulu series have posed. 

 

Thriller/Horror:

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

One evening, Gabriel returns from work and his wife Alicia abruptly shoots him in the head five times. Alicia never speaks again and is soon whisked away to a secure psychiatric unit in North London where she's paired with criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber.

The Institute by Stephen King

When Luke Ellis wakes up at the Institute, a sinister place where the staff will stop at nothing to extract special powers from the kidnapped children trapped inside, Luke must find a way to escape before he disappears like so many other kids. 

The Guardians by John Grisham

When lawyer and Episcopal minister Cullen Post accepts Quincy Miller's case on behalf of his nonprofit, Guardian Ministries, Post gets more than he anticipated. 22 years ago, Miller was convicted of the murder of a small-town Florida lawyer, but whoever killed Russo all those years ago has no problem killing again.  

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

A police shooting of a black teenager in LA forces two families, the Parks and the Matthewses, to confront their history and make sense of their place in a city teetering on the edge of violence fueled by racial tension.  

Three-Fifths by John Vercher

Bobby Saraceno has spent his whole life passing for white. When his best friend involves him in a hate crime against a black man, Bobby must hide his involvement and guard his secret more closely than ever. But when the black father he never knew comes back into his life, Bobby's charade begins to unravel. 

 

Young Adult: 

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

A great pick for lovers of Lord of the Flies. The Raxter School of Girls has been under quarantine for the past 18 months because of the Tox, a deadly disease that kills slowly and then all at once. When Hetty's best friend goes missing she stops at nothing to find her.

SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

Following her debut novel, Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson shares rants poetically to exemplify that not much has changed since she wrote her first novel 20 years ago. This is a love letter for those with the courage to say #MeToo and Time's Up. 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Based on the tale of Beauty and the Beast, this book follows Prince Ren as he's cursed to repeat his eighteenth year over and over, transformed into a vicious beast each autumn. Harper, a young woman struggling with family issues in Washington D.C., is swept into Ren's fantasy world and soon learns that it will take more than a broken curse to save Ren.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin 

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and found shelter in the city of Cesarine. In this city, witches are hunted, feared, and burned. Reid Diggory is the feared huntsman of the Church, but the two are faced with an impossible circumstance: marriage. 

Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell

Deja and Josiah work at the best pumpkin patch in the world in Omaha, Nebraska, every year, but this Halloween is different. As seniors in high school, this is their last season, and they're going to make the most of it. 

 

Historical Fiction:

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Told from the perspective of 89-year-old Vivian Morris, this book reflects on her glory days in 1940s New York City working at midtown theatre company called the Lily Playhouse. There, she pursues the life she craves by embracing her femininity and sexuality.

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

Following The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris tells the story of Cilka Klein who survives Auschwitz at age 18. But she's immediately sentenced to work in a labor camp at the Vorkuta Gulag in Siberia for 15 years as punishment for having helped the Nazis.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Based on stories from a notorious Jim Crow era reform school in Florida, author Colson Whitehead crafts the story of two friends -- one an idealist, one a skeptic -- who must try to survive the horror that is the Nickel Academy. Whitehead won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his prior novel The Underground Railroad

Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati

In Where the Light Enters, Sara Donati takes us to 19th century New York and introduces us to two strong female doctors tasked with uncovering the truth behind the disappearance of the wife of a prominent banker and the death of a young woman. 

 

Children:

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer 

In the latest book in the Artemis Fowl series, twins Myles and Beckett join a troll on the run from a cohort of dubious characters. Get caught up with the latest book in the series before the Artemis Fowl movie comes out next year. 

You're Missing It by Brady Smith and Tiffani Thiessen

This picture book tells the perhaps all-too-familiar story of parents glued to their phones. On a father-son trip to the park, a dad's phone addiction prevents him from enjoying all the loud, fun, crazy stuff that his son wishes they could share together. 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball by Jeff Kinney

Wrecking Ball, the fourteenth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, has the Heffley family's heads spinning when home improvements go awry. Will Greg and his family be forced to leave town or will they be able to salvage what's left of their home? You'll have to read it to find out. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition illustrated by Jim Kay

Award-winning artist Jim Kay brings the fourth Harry Potter book to life with his mesmerizing illustrations. See the world of Harry, Hermione, and Ron like never before with this captivating take on a much-beloved story. 

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o tells the story of a little girl who is darker than everyone in her family and just wants to be like everyone else. One night, she goes on a journey that changes how she sees things. This beautifully illustrated story is Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o's debut picture book.

Meredith Gallo and Ciera Pasturel are writers for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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