Best Book Published in 2019

Here we conclude The Second Annual Karissa Reads Books Literary Awards. Thanks for following along! I have loved hearing everyone else’s opinions and picks for the categories and it has definitely expanded my TBR for 2020 (not that I particularly needed help in that area)!

Finding a balance between new and old books is always a bit of a struggle. Do I read that classic that’s been sitting on my shelf or my To Read list for (probably) years? Or do I read the hot new release that everyone seems to be talking about now? Do I try and read every ARC I’m fortunate enough to get before its release date? Or do I focus on the library holds that are piling up?

Here are my top picks for books published this year:

Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher & Sara Pipher Gilliam

Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Say Say Say by Lila Savage

Aria by Nazanine Hozar

Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Lampedusa by Steven Price

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

You might notice some overlap from the previous award categories. Lampedusa, Drive Your Plow and Know My Name all won in their categories (Canadian, Translation, & Non-Fiction). You might also notice that this is simply a top ten list without an actual winner. To which I say, Aren’t you good at noticing things?

The problem is that as I look over this list, I don’t want to tell you which one book of 2019 you should read. I think you should read them all! I wanted to choose Furious Hours because it is so, so good and I didn’t pick it for Non-Fiction. But Know My Name deserves lots of attention too. And Say Say Say was a book that seemed to kind of fly under the radar this year so I want you to read that but is it better than Lampedusa? They’re so different, how can I compare them? As is Aria but that’s also an excellent book and one loved by so many people I’ve talked to.

In conclusion, this may be why I have such a never-ending list of books to read. I want to read them all. And I want you to read them all so we can talk about them!

What was the best book you read published in 2019?

18 thoughts on “Best Book Published in 2019”

  1. Lampedusa is the only one here I’ve read, but I would love to read them all!
    It really is impossible to choose sometimes – because, as you say, they’re all so different – it’s like choosing between cake and cheese!
    Happy Holidays!!

  2. I haven’t take ARCs in years, so I don’t have a great opinion of them, but one thing I found recently is that the library books I want to read are being weeded! Thus, I’m really focusing on reading library books on my TBR on Goodreads in 2020.

    1. Yes, I’ve been curious as to whether or not my library is doing this since I heard about yours. Most of my longterm TBR books aren’t available at my local library anyway. My problem is that I get excited, put a whole bunch of books on hold and then they all come in at once!

      ARCs are a mixed bag for me. I like being able to get them but, again, I get too excited. I have a couple to read now for 2020 but I’m aiming to be as picky as I can and maybe try and focus more on smaller/Canadian presses. We’ll see…

    2. I’m impressed that your library is so on top of culling its shelves. Do you think that’s the norm? I feel like I’ve seen some very old, long unread books on the library shelves!

    3. I’m starting to think they are ridiculously aggressive. I just bought a book at the Friends of the Library sale yesterday. The stamp on the front page says it was added to the library system in March 2019. The stamp in the back says it was withdrawn in August 2019 for “excess” (not damaged). I mean, there are two copies of this book in the whole system (one with 10 branches).

  3. My book club this year seemed ‘so so’ on Aria, although I personally really enjoyed it, and interviewing Nazanine was a delight. I think some people found it a bit long? Nazanine said she specifically didn’t want to make it too political b/c she wanted the book to focus on the women instead, yet so many of our book club members wanted to know more about the uprising in general. I was surprised it was a Heather’s Pick from Indigo actually, because i found i quite dense, although the writing was so beautiful…

    1. It is long but it didn’t feel like that to me. It felt like an epic in some ways since it stretched over so much time. I would have loved to hear more about the political history but I think it made sense as to why she wrote it the way she did. Nazanine was at our writers fest here this summer and it was very interesting to hear her speak. I didn’t realize the book was a Heather’s Pick; that does surprise me since, as you say, it does seem more dense.

  4. This is a great list! I’ve only read a few so far, Drive Your Plow, which I loved, and The Night Tiger, which I had mixed thoughts on but ultimately enjoyed reading. And I’m currently reading Know My Name, which is definitely a highlight of my year as well. It’s exciting to see so many favorites that can’t be narrowed down!

    1. Thanks! It definitely made me realize I’ve had quite a good reading year. I DNFed books much for freely this year too which helped but overall, lots of great books!

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