I try to round of my reading year with picking my five favourite book. This year as I spent so much time escaping from life through reading I consumed more books than usual. 2018 I read 60 books, 2019 it was 74!
So here are my favourite eight books , in no particular order from 2019, all of which have made onto my top 100 list, which now stands at 56 books chosen.
Mary Prince- The History of Mary Prince- The story of a slave in the 1830s in her own words- a harrowing book of mans inhumanity to man.
Nella Last’s War- or Housewife 49, as Victoria Wood called her TV drama based on the diaires. Brilliant.
Markus Zusak- The Book Thief- really very good indeed. Liesel is taken to live with foster parents in Munich by her mother when he Dad is arrested for being a communist. She comes to love her new Mama and Papa especially her Papa, and the little boy next door, Rudy who becomes her best friend. Max the son of a Jewish friend of Papa’s is sheltered in the basement. Liesel finds and sometimes steals books and her Papa and Max teach her to read. An interesting perspective on the second world war from the viewpoint of those who did not wave the flag for Hitler.
Amor Towels- A Gentleman in Moscow- Count Rostov is put under house arrest in the Hotel Metropol. Free to mingle with staff and guests, he does, eventually becoming an employee and unofficially adopting a daughter. Just wonderful.
Betty Smith- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- 1914-1917, Brooklyn, the story of the Nolan family living in extreme poverty. Johnie the father, a singing waiter and alcoholic, usually out of work. Katie the mother, a cleaner, who provides the money and struggles to produce meals, Francie and Neeley the children.Themes of pverty, love, education and hope. Semi auto-biographical and so full of great detail. Brilliant novel.
Heather Morris- The Tattooist of Auschwitz- the real story of Lale Sokolov and how he survived Auschwitz, marrying the young woman whose arm he tattooed. Well written and very moving. ( nb I have since heard conflicting opinions of this book- that it fudged too much).
Tracy Chevalier- Remarkable Creatures- based on the true story of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, fossil hunters and extremely knowledgeable women set in 1800’s Lyme Regis, and a reminder of how inferior women were regarded at that tm and their limited life opportunities. A good read, and soon to be a film.
Sally Magnusson- The Sealwoman’s Gift- Olafur and Asta, three of their children and 395 other Icelanders are taken by pirates in 1627 and sold into slavery in Algiers. Heartbreaking and very very good indeed.
Have you read any of these? What were your favourite books that you read in 2019?