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Old 12-23-2019, 04:54 PM   #16
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Most Agatha Christie books are cozy mysteries. But many of my favorite authors in the genre are still putting out books.
Yeah, I really need to read some of Agatha Christie's books, but for now I'm looking for those Papa Pacelli books you mentioned.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:03 AM   #17
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Yeah, I really need to read some of Agatha Christie's books, but for now I'm looking for those Papa Pacelli books you mentioned.
Please be aware that they are not high literature. They struck a chord with me, but they are unremarkable. Just try the first book first.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:08 AM   #18
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Please be aware that they are not high literature. They struck a chord with me, but they are unremarkable. Just try the first book first.
Will do. Thanks. 👍😊
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Old 12-24-2019, 06:17 AM   #19
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My favorite new book of the year was 'A Bend in the Stars' by Rachel Barenbaum. I'll have to admit, I didn't read many new books this year, mostly older books.
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Old 12-27-2019, 08:20 AM   #20
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I'm going to separate my response out into two posts. First, my ten-best. I usually aim for half fiction, half non-fiction, but this year even after tweaking the best I could do was a four/six split. Close enough. Here they are, in no particular order.

Non-fiction:
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
  • In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon's War, 1793-1815 by Jenny Uglow
  • The Taste of Empire: How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World by Lizzie Collingham
  • The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
  • 1924: The Year That Made Hitler by Peter Ross Range
  • Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s by Otto Friedrich

Fiction:
  • The Natural by Bernard Malamud
  • Flashman at the Charge by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb
  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens

Only one of these books, Kagan's Peloponnesian War, got five stars from me at Goodreads this year, so I'd have to call it the best book I read this year. It was truly astonishing how Kagan made living history from events millennia ago.

Other observations: I see five of my six non-fiction books were war related. Three of them were part of my various reading challenges. Even though I read a lot of books about women's issues this past year, only one made my best list (several would get honorable mention). Two of my fiction choices, The Natural and Edwin Drood were New Leaf Book Club selections, although at least a couple of others would get honorable mention also. Finally, only one book published in 2019 made my list, The Five, but ditto on honorable mention.

Last edited by issybird; 12-27-2019 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 12-27-2019, 08:32 AM   #21
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Now for the books I read that were published in 2019:
  • March Sisters: On Life, Death and Little Women by Kate Bolick et al.
  • Culture in Nazi Germany by Michael H. Kater
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  • Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant by Anne Gardiner Perkins
  • They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
  • The Life and Loves of Edith Nesbit: Victorian Iconoclast by Eleanor Fitzsimmons
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

It's noteworthy to me that six of the seven books could be loosely categorized as dealing with women's issues. In addition to The Five, standouts were Yale Needs Women and They Were Her Property but I could recommend them all with the exception of The Testaments, which made my ten-worst list.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:09 AM   #22
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"First, what books did you enjoy the most in 2019?"

1) Beware of Pity - Stefan Zweig [Tr. Joan Acocella]
2) Naked in Garden Hills - Harry Crews
3) The Anatomy Lesson - Philip Roth
4) The Humbling - Philip Roth
5) Agostino - Alberto Moravia [Tr. Michael F. Moore]
6) Boredom - Alberto Moravia [Tr. Angus Davidson]
7) The Tanners - Robert Walser [Tr. Susan Bernofsky]
8) The Days of Abandonment - Elena Ferrante [Tr. Ann Goldstein]
9) Troubling Love - Elena Ferrante [Tr. Ann Goldstein]
10) Jarmila - Ernst Weiss [Tr. Rebecca Morrison & Petra Howard-Wuerz]
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Old 12-30-2019, 09:21 AM   #23
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Standout book:
Julian Maclaren-Ross, Selected Stories. Grubby tales of pub life, wartime London (1940s) and army life. Grubby, but with an underlying humanism. I was so struck by these that I then searched for everything that JMR had written, and slowly realised that this selection really was the best of his work.

Second choice would be Laila Lalami, The Moor's Account (published in 2015). Intensive and densely imagined picaresque novel concerning an Arab who was unwillingly drafted to accompany sixteenth-century Spanish traveller-colonists in southern America. With tales as strange as this, who needs science-fiction?

Runner-up:
Raynor Winn, The Salt Path (2018). A true story, but as odd as you can imagine. A couple: husband is struck by progressive illness and is due to die within months, and then due to financial fraud, the couple lose their house and business. What do they do? They choose to walk the coastal path round the south-west of England, living off the pittance they get from the state (and - apparently - mainly eating fudge). The unexpected exercise improves the husband's condition, and they finally find a place to stay.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:38 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
Now for the books I read that were published in 2019:
  • March Sisters: On Life, Death and Little Women by Kate Bolick et al.
  • Culture in Nazi Germany by Michael H. Kater
  • The Five by Hallie Rubenhold
  • Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant by Anne Gardiner Perkins
  • They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
  • The Life and Loves of Edith Nesbit: Victorian Iconoclast by Eleanor Fitzsimmons
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

It's noteworthy to me that six of the seven books could be loosely categorized as dealing with women's issues. In addition to The Five, standouts were Yale Needs Women and They Were Her Property but I could recommend them all with the exception of The Testaments, which made my ten-worst list.
OMG, yes. The Testaments! It was so good.

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton.

The Body by Bill Bryson (as audiobook).

The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Phillip Pullman.

Mythos by Stephen Fry (as audiobook).

Becoming by Michelle Obama (as audiobook).

/I limited the list to those published this year, at least in the format I consumed them in.

//The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern would be on this list, no doubt, but I am still waiting for my hold to come up at the library.

Last edited by covingtoncat73; 03-03-2020 at 04:44 PM.
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