I'm going to herald 2019 as the year of reading. With some downtime at the start of the year, I replaced mindless TV watching with getting lost between the pages, which spurred me on for the rest of the year. With the addition of Goodreads, I committed to a 2019 challenge of 40 books to finish before the end of the year. And, as of Christmas Eve, I checked that one off ✔️
I've actually ended the year on a bout of pretty average reads (that's too generous for some), all the more frustrating when it comes to books over a crappy TV series. While my 'abandoned' shelf has been racking up the past couple of months, I have had chance to read some greats this year. Here are my top reads of 2019, ones to add to your list if you haven't already had the pleasure.
Year of yes - Shonda Rhimes
Finished in January and a place secured in my best books of all time, not just all year. I had it on my to-read book as more of the self-help category, turns out it's an auto-biography from the hilarious Shonda Rhimes. It's an immediate pick me up, with a side of inspiration to keep you turning the pages. The 'before yes' is a vibe I think most would be able to relate to and while a lot of life transformations come from right place right time, or a miraculous turn around from nothing to serious hard work, this is simply a change of heart from a defining moment.
It's such an entertaining read and I've already got it pegged as a re-read at some point which is rare for me. Whether you're looking for some positive inspiration, or just want a positive read, this is your next book.
The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
The cult classic from the past few years, The Secret is something I swerved for the longest time. The writing style isn't for me, exclamation marks everywhere and very Americanised, but it's one of those books that shares something so plainly obvious, you just need it in writing to get on-board. It's all about the power of positive thinking, essentially a very beginner guide to manifestation, so you need to be on-board with the sentiment to enjoy it, but it has absolutely changed how I think.
There are some heady claims in the 'case studies' that are shared, with seemingly endless celeb fans that swear by The Secret way of thinking. It's something you need to dip into to get what it's about, but if you're open to trying a new way of thinking, this could just change your year.
Reasons to stay alive - Matt Haig
2019 was my intro to Matt Haig, with this being his debut book for me, followed by more biographical pieces and a couple of his novels. I'd recommend Reasons to Stay Alive as your first foray into Matt Haig to get a better understanding to the rest of his books. Above all else, this book opens your eyes to everything beyond the problems you're facing, it's the little joys in life and as the title says, reasons that Matt Haig made it beyond suicidal depression.
Revenge - Stephen Fry
Following an initial bout of terrible reads, I relied on Instagram to get some inspiration. I asked what people's all time favourite books were and expanded my to-read list for the rest of the year. Once of the recommendations was Revenge (also named The Stars Tennis Balls) and going in with zero expectation, it was one of the most surprisingly brilliant books I've read in a long time.
A completely unique story of someone that wrongly ends up in a mental institution, unlike anything I've ever read before, opening the door to the rest of Stephen Fry's work that's been added to my list.
Noughts & Crosses series - Malorie Blackman
The first in the series is one I've heralded as my favourite book since reading it as a young teen. I figured I couldn't still claim that with a void of over 15 years since I read it, so I rectified it in 2019. I started with the first and made my way through all five books of the series, including the newest that came out in September.
Noughts & Crosses was the first book that ever made me cry and the first book I can remember truly gripping me. This along with the rest of the series lived up to this memory, gripping me from the first page to the last throughout the series.
As always my reading list has been refreshed, unwrapped at Christmas and stacked on my bedside table for the new year. I'm still replacing bouts of mindless downtime with page turners and I'm always keen to get more recommendations to add to my list. Have an ultimate favourite? Drop it below and I'll get it added to the list.