Best Books of 2019 (at the halfway point)

I wasn’t going to do a post like this because I thought my reading year hadn’t been that great – turns out, I actually read quite a few books I loved and really felt like sharing those. I gave seven books 5 stars so far or 10% of my reading – which is pretty normal for me but still surprised me because my reading year has been feeling distinctly mediocre for some reason. I could only narrow it down to six books for this list though (I would have prefered a list of five but just could not do it). Below are the books in order of when I read them (I couldn’t rank them just yet but will do so when my end of the year wrap ups come around).

36332136The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley

I adored this. Everything about this retelling of Beowolf set in suburbia really worked for me. Maria Dahvana Headley has a wonderful way with words, the rhythm of her language enthralled me, her flawed and kind of awful female characters excited me, but it is her play with different perspectives (mixing first person with third person and complimenting this with a chorus-like first person plural) that made this an instant favourite for me. I am nothing if not predictable. (Review)

36136386Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

I am sorry if I have become a Sally Rooney fan blog. But she really is just that brilliant.

I don’t think I need to talk about this book anymore. I have been shouting its praise from the rooftops for months and I recently finished my reread of it. Everything about this works for me. (Review)

38470229The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

This was my favourite of the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlisted books – and I was just so very pleased to have finally loved a book (I was a bit of the grinch of our Women’s Prize group chat and I love loving books much more than snarking about them). Parker’s retelling of the Illiad from Briseis’ perspective broke my heart and excited me. I found Briseis’ endlessly fascinating and loved how Barker constructed a character that was allowed to be flawed and surprising while remaining true to the heart of the myth. Her take on Achilles also really worked for me. (Review)

29774026The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I loved Shannon’s female centric take on a classic epic fantasy novel. I am usually of the opinion that no book needs to be longer than 400 pages but I was hooked for all 800 pages of this. Shannon carefully puts her pieces into place and builds towards a wonderful whole; her characters are wonderful: all are flawed, some are better humans than others, all are compelling. In books with many perspectives there are usually a few that don’t work as well for me but here I wanted to spend time with every single one on them and needed to know what happens next. (Review)

37920490Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World #2) by Rebecca Roanhorse

The first book in the series reignited my love for urban fantasy – and the sequel was even more incredible. I just love Roanhorse’s worldbuilding, and her prickly main character, and her language, and her imagination, and basically everything about this. I did the thing again, where I read the book as soon as it came out and now I have to wait for who knows how long until I can read the next book in the series. (Review)

38391059The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden

I love this series with all my heart – and I have a particular soft spot for it because it is the first series where I got all books as review copies while they were coming out. Katherine Arden has a very particular style of sentence structure that just makes me happy; it is recognizably hers while mirroring traditional fairy tales in the best possible way. I cannot wait for her next adult series – I will be reading whatever she decides to do next.

What was your favourite of the year so far?

24 thoughts on “Best Books of 2019 (at the halfway point)

  1. I can hardly wait to read Storm of Locusts! And I have a singed copy of The Mere Wife that I still haven’t read, but knowing how much you loved it has me excited to add it to my schedule😁

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    1. I heard good things about The Heavens but haven’t picked it up yet because I struggle with Historical Fiction and worried I wouldn’t get on with the part of the story set in the past.

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    1. Oh, I hope you love them! I didn’t quite love the second book (it features a trope I absolutely hate) but the third book is a masterpiece. I just adore her writing.

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    1. I have been intrigued by Middlegame because the premise is so very great. But I haven’t gotten along with McGuire’s writing so far – I read the first in the Wayward Children series and thought it was ok and DNFed Feed. Is the writing different in Middlegame?

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    1. I really liked Foundryside as well! I read it last year after super enjoying his earlier Divine Cities trilogy. I thought the ending of Foundryside was genius and I cannot wait where he takes the story next.

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  2. What a lovely list! I agree with you that Orange Tree absolutely doesn’t feel too long. I’m only 300ish pages in but picking it up always feels like going back into a beloved world – know what I mean? Like rereading Harry Potter or LotR.

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  3. I will never tire of seeing Sally Rooney on favorites lists. And I really want to read The Priory of the Orange Tree!
    It’s always a nice surprise to realize you’ve had more 5-star reads than you remember. I had the same experience while working on my mid-year freak out post, after feeling for a couple of months like my reading year had been really subpar. I’m glad you found some favorites!

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    1. I think it feels that way for me because I have been reading more two star books and fewer four star books than usual – also the fact that I was so disappointed in the Women’ Prize longlist overall influenced my meh-feeling.

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      1. That makes sense. I think for me it’s been an over abundance of 3-star reads, which is my least exciting category. I’m with you on the Women’s Prize list as well- I read most of my favorites before the longlist announcement and found the second half disappointingly mediocre, which was really dragging me down. But I think my reading year is turning around now, and I hope the second half of the year has many more 4- and 5-star books for you!

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    1. Priory reads really good for a long book though! I am normally not a fan of books over 400 pages but this one practically flew by.
      Storm of Locusts is SO good!

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