Top 4 books read in the 1st quarter of 2019 (and a few books to add to your radar)

Post originally published March 28, 2019.

You all know by now that I’m a bit of a book addict. As the end of March approaches, so does the end of the first quarter of 2019. I gave myself a goal of reading 50 books this year instead of the 100 book goal with the recognition that this year was bringing its own challenges, and that I needed more time to focus on something other than reading (sad I know). This year, I’ve read 24 books:

  • 4 of these were non-fiction.
  • 6 of these were romance (7 if you include the unpublished manuscript I beta-read for a brilliant writer and friend, but if you count that book, I’ve read 25 books this year).
  • 14 were speculative fiction (fantasy or sci-fi).

Anyhow, in looking back over the last three months, I thought I’d pick my top five books from the 24 I’ve read so far.

Becoming – Michelle Obama

This book was fantastic. Earlier this year I wrote about it and recommended it to friends and family. If you still haven’t read it, you should. The book is really not political, in my mind. It’s about learning who you are, learning how to navigate life, and about family. This book was exactly the book I need to start my year, and it’s stuck with me three months later.

Dread Nation – Justina Ireland

Here’s another book I believe I recommended earlier in the year, and I have to say, go for it. Dread Nation is an alternative history where the dead began to rise from the battle fields during the US Civil War, and as a result, program were established to teach Black and Native Americans to fight zombies to protect white people. If you don’t know anything about the ‘residential schools’ in the US and Canada, take a look at this book because those programs were the inspiration for the schools in the book. It’s a piece of American history that isn’t often taught, and if you’re interested in learning more about that in particular (but not in a fun fantasy world), reach out to me.

Circe – Madeline Miller

I loved reading and learning about Greek and Roman classics. That being said, as a woman, I never really appreciated the way women were depicted in those stories. This book is a great work of feminist fiction and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the classics, but would like to see women with more depth and agency. The book is also beautifully written, so that’s a bonus. (Not pictured above because it was a library book.)

The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar – Matt Simon

What’s that? Two non-fictions on this list?! So this book is about unusual evolutionary traits in various species, but it’s delivered in a delightfully humorous and witty voice that keeps you turning the page. The topic is interesting, but I’ll be honest and say that I’m currently 24% of the way through another book on evolution and the topic alone is not enough to compel me to devour the book in the same way. So really the writing here is what sold me.

Books to Consider

I haven’t read these books yet. They’re on my To Be Read list, so you know, don’t hate me if they’re not good. (If you’re interested in what else is on my TBR list, you can check it out here. It’s currently at 90 books. sigh)

The Binding – Bridget Collins

Let me start by saying very truthfully that I needed this book in my life because it’s a physically beautiful book. There. Said it. Cover and the whole package sold me. But also, the idea of a book capturing a memory, and that you can go to a binder to help you forget sounded like something I’d like. Very Librarian meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This book is sitting on my shelf, but haven’t started it yet. If you get to it before me, let me know what you think.

How Long ‘til Black Future Month? – N.K. Jemisin

Maybe you haven’t read the Broken Earth trilogy (and I can’t blame you because book 2 and 3 are still on my to-read list), but if you haven’t read N.K. Jemisin at all, and you like SFF, get on it now. I was at a conference where Nora read one of the short stories in this collection, and I was hooked.

Scary Stories for Young Foxes – Christian McKay Heidicker

If you’re not reading Middle Grade, you’re missing out. Full stop. Just because you’re an adult does’t meant you should only read adult or (ahem) young adult if we’re honest about current market trends. This book is on my list purely because of the opening summary (pulled from goodreads): “Christian McKay Heidicker draws inspiration from Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe for his debut middle-grade novel, a thrilling portrait of survival and an unforgettable tale of friendship.”

And with that being said….

Julian Is a Mermaid – Jessica Love

Yes, this is a picture book. First, life is frantic and frustrating and the world is madness. Take a moment to enjoy the simple things, like children’s books. Find that sense of wonder again. And this book…oh, the illustrations alone have me wishing I could find it in a bookstore near me.

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