3 Jan


My main reading goal this year was to have finished five books that gave me trouble over the last few years. Meaning, I started the book, and then put it down, and then never got to the end. Whether the story was boring, or the content seemed too daunting, or perhaps I wasn’t in the right headspace to tackle the thoughts or the writing at the time–whatever the reason, the goal was to finish five such titles before the year’s end.


I finished exactly one of those books: The King of Elfland’s Daughter. Which was a sort of excruciating read and if you ask me, there wasn’t nearly enough of the titular daughter in it! No matter. It is done and finished and I need never look at it again. As for the other four books, well. That just didn’t happen.*  But I did supplement with at least 70 other books that I wasn’t even supposed to be reading!

*I think I will try to work at least one of each in over the next few years.



In previous years I’d gotten quite a bit more reading done, but this year I was actually writing a book…and so for a good chunk of the year, the writing took precedence over the reading–reading for pleasure, anyway. There was a lot of reading for research, which just isn’t as fun. Even when the research-reading is something that you are interested in and have a passion for! Whatever “It” is, if you’re obligated to be doing It, It’s never as fun as the stuff you’re not doing. That’s just how it works!

Anyway, that project, while not completely finished, is a good 75% done, and after working on it in late spring-all summer–early fall, I felt it was finally safe to start reserving books at the library again. I’m afraid that for a few weeks there, I might have gone a little nuts.


library 2 library 3

With regard to my 2019 reads*, reviews, and resulting recommendations? Well, I’ve probably reviewed them already at Haute Macabre or will be doing so shortly, but feel free to peek over there under the “stacked” tag if you are curious about my thoughts of any of these.

However, if you want to skip all of that and get straight to my favorites, I will recommend the following because they were fantastic and might even warrant a second read some year in the far-flung future.

*read by me in 2019, though not necessarily published in 2019

Fiction picks of 2019
The Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix Harrow
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
Frankisstein by Jeannette Winterson
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Non-fiction, Essays, and Memoir Picks of 2019
In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes by Anne Elizabeth Moore
The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang
It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine
Waking The Witch by Pam Grossman. I am not sure why this title didn’t show up in my Goodreads imagery above, maybe I forgot to record it? One thing I definitely did not forget to do though, is write a pretty detailed book report on it for Haute Macabre earlier this summer!

What did you read in 2019 that you would recommend to a friend? Or possibly recommend to a friend who also happens to be me?

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