Books of 2019: The First 10
This year, I made a goal to read 50 books. I usually average about three a month, but I've found that when I set a goal, it motivates me to read even more than I already do. It's the end of April and I'm 14 books in, so a little behind, but I'll get caught up and even ahead in the next couple weeks. I want less screen time and more page time, and this is a great way to keep myself accountable.
As I'm reading a lot, I decided to review the first 10 in this post. You can keep up with my reviews as they come on my personal Instagram, but I like posting them here too because it gives me the chance to be a little more in depth. So here we go! The first 10 books of 2019!
1. On Writing by Stephen King
This book was, in a lot of ways, exactly what I expected. It was also not what I expected. If you're familiar with Stephen King, you probably know what type of book he writes. I don't read those books. Too much gore, a little too creepy. But he is one of the most sold authors out there right now and has achieved an amazing amount of success. I wanted to see this glimpse into his life, his thought process, and his writing. Some of what he believes about writing I agree with; some I don't. I appreciated being able to read both. If you're a writer, you should absolutely read this book. Even if you're not, it's quite interesting. You'll glean some good stuff either way from reading it. He's honest and he makes a lot of good points. There were a few parts in the book I skimmed (ahem, gore), and he definitely uses profanity, so it's your judgement call if you aren't okay with reading content with that in it. I gave it an 8.5/10 and will probably read it again.
2. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
This book took me almost 2 weeks to get through, y'all. It was a rough one. I absolutely loved the movie, and had great hopes for the book. But I found him to be like another Stephanie Meyer, whose writing I can't stand. Everything was over-described, way too many adjectives. The writing style was boring and uninspired, like he was just trying to use fancy dresses and steamy scenes to entice us. There were plot points changed and every one of them was better in the movie than in the book. I didn't find the characters well developed either, and it was difficult to even care about them. I found the book to be vulgar in more than one place. Honestly, I was so disappointed because I wanted to love the series. But I won't even read the second book. Will I watch the next movie? Of course I will. I gave it a 5/10 and won't be reading it again.
3. The Prayers of Jane Austen
This book was a compilation of prayers Jane Austen wrote over the years, and it was gifted to me by my sister. I loved it--I read it in probably two days. The prayers were simple and to the point, but oh so beautiful. Austen really had a way with words and I was impressed with her openness (because let's face it, we aren't always like that, even and especially with prayer). Her words were honest and profound. Each prayer left me with something to think on, ponder, or praise God for. And I loved getting to see a glimpse into this celebrated author and her life in a way we don't often see. 10/10 I recommend, and I will totally be reading again.
4. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
If you know me, y'all know my love for Sanderson. I've read almost every one of his books. He writes fantasy, sci fi, all types of speculative fiction. He finished the Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordan, and his Mistborn series is almost a yearly read for me. Skyward just came out and you guys. One thing this guy does well is take what you think you know throughout the whole book and throw it out the window at the end. His plot twists are everything. It's amazing, and Skyward was no exception. It had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't put it down until it was finished. His imagery is superb. His world building is the best. It's a 10/10 book and you should start reading some Sanderson if you haven't yet.
5. The Mahabharata by Vyasa
This is an old epic that I hadn't really thought of reading for years. But I looked at my (very long) book list recently and decided, sure, I'll add this one to my short list. It was similar in a lot of ways to the Odyssey, the Aenid, that type of book. It's from old Indian mythology and the story was crazy. Like, gory crazy (so I skipped some parts) and Oedipus crazy sometimes. I like epics so I didn't have a problem reading the unabridged version, even though it was incredibly long. If you like epics, give it a read. If not, you won't like this book one bit. So if you are into this type of thing, I give it a 7/10. But if not, 4/10. Choose wisely.
6. Here I Am by Stephanie Schureman
This book was so cute! It's the first children's book of the year for me, and it was a new one I hadn't read before. Yes, I'm including children's books in my 50, because they're amazing and very skilled people write/illustrate them. The message of this one was sweet and the illustrations were beautiful, though it was long for its genre so I could see kiddos losing interest part of the way through. But seriously, the art was so beautiful I could print them out and hang them in a nursery. So pretty. Also this book was gifted to me by my mom, who knows my love of children's books and always finds the cute ones. I give it a 7/10 and it is stored securely on my children's book shelf in my ever-growing library.
7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I first read this book in 2016 and immediately fell in love with it. Oh my gosh. I could read this book endlessly, it's so good. The writing is engaging, the story is great, and I love the characters he's created. Dumas does such a good job of creating people and situations we care about, are concerned for, and are interested in. I read the unabridged version and it wasn't at all difficult to get through. There are a lot of moral issues covered in this book and I think it's awesome the way Dumas handles them. It'll probably be on my yearly read list henceforth. It's definitely one of the best classics ever, and you won't believe some of the things you will read in it. Every time I read it, I'll be giving it a 10/10.
8. Everybody Always by Bob Goff
My second Goff book, and I have to say, I'm a mix of feelings on this one. I loved so many of the stories he told--he's lived a big, crazy life. It's amazing to see all the things God has done in and through him because he's so open to being used for whatever will further the Kingdom. But there were a couple of points I wasn't sure I wholeheartedly agreed on. That's okay, because I understood his point in writing what he did. The message of loving everybody always is such an important one and so needed in our culture. Bob writes like he's talking to his best friends, probably because he seems to see everybody in that way. Some great takeaways and thoughts from this book. I gave it a 9/10 and definitely am recommending it.
9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
This one was not an uplifting, light-hearted read at all. Obviously by the title, you can guess the premise. A lot of hard, true stuff going on in this book, as it was based on a true story. There was a part or two I also skipped because it got steamy. But the story was so encouraging at the end and it was based on an incredible life. That part kept me going because I love historical fiction, knowing that the protagonist isn't just a character but was a living, breathing person on this earth. I didn't like the tense the author wrote in (3rd person present), but the writing wasn't bad overall. The dialogue wasn't my favorite either, but again it wasn't too bad. I don't know that I'd read this one again, but I don't regret reading it either. 7/10 in my opinion.
10. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
The second book in a series, I've been wanting to read this one for a while. I actually got it at the library months ago and didn't manage to read the whole thing because I had a lot of other books to get through. This one is long, so I definitely had to devote time to getting through it. And I was totally loving it during the first half, but the second half was honestly a big disappointment. The first book was amazing and I was hoping this one would be too, but things got raunchy and I skipped several chapters. Considering the first book had none of that, I was blindsided. I don't recommend this one, much as it pains me to have to say. I'd give the first half 10/10 but the second half 3/10...so overall, I guess I'll settle for a 5/10.
There you have it, my reviews on the first 10 books of the year! Some great ones, some I was disappointed with, but that is the world of reading. I'm excited for some of the books I have lined up and definitely skeptical about some others.
Have any recommendations for me? I'd love to hear them and add them to my list!