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Every Book I've Read in 2019 So Far

This year I promised myself I'd read a lot more books. I've gone all in, with themes from crime and romance, non=fiction, mythology and even rock 'n' roll!

Since I learned to drive and said goodbye to the train commute I had turned to music and podcasts for entertainment, and my evenings are usually spent at the gym or in front of the telly. I fell into a book slump, feeling uninspired and unable to stick at any one title long enough to immerse myself the story.

So, in January, I made myself a promise - I was going to read 20 books before 2020 and get back into the reading groove.

Here's every book I've read so far in 2019, along with a few thoughts and recommendations. And don't worry, they're spoiler free!

book pages by window while reading

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, John Edward Douglas and Mark Olshaker 

If you’re into true crime, you’ve probably watched the series of the same name. Mindhunter is an inside look at how Special Agent John Douglas used behavioural science to profile some of the most prolific serial killers in America. It’s fascinating and disturbing and gives you a raw insight into what it’s really like to sit across the table from a stone cold killer. 8/10

Normal People, Sally Rooney

I thought that this book would be a little overly ‘romantic’ for my tastes, but I’m happy to admit that I was wrong. This is a down to earth exploration of the complicated, raw emotions that come with young-adult relationships and growing up. While the characters lives are certainly more dramatic than my own, there was a lot I could identify with. A big twist towards the end of the book had me picking my jaw up off the floor. I couldn’t put this one down. 9/10

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton

The premise of this novel is as complicated to read as it is to explain. Let me attempt it: During a night of celebrations, Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered. The narrator, a guest at the party, must live out the day's events in the body of a different guest each time, again and again, until he identifies the killer. I expected a lot from this Sunday Times best-seller, but to be honest, it was all over the place. There are so many different tiny plot threads being strung together with very little in the way of clues or an explanation of why this is happening to the narrator. The author really wants you to work for it. So much so that I made it two-thirds of the way through and completely gave up. This had so much potential but didn’t do enough to keep me reading. 3.5/10.

Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

After enduring and ultimately DNF-ing the above, I turned to Neil Gaiman for some good old-fashioned myths. I wouldn’t say I’m a history buff, but Gaiman’s retellings of some classic Norse legends are succinct, humorous and beautifully written. It’s more like a collection of short stories or fables. If you’re even remotely familiar with the Marvel world of Thor and Loki, you’ll really enjoy learning about where their characters come from. 8/10

The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living, Mark Boyle

I read about Mark Boyle in an article somewhere and while the concept sounds extreme, I felt like there was a lot to be learned from the way he lives his life. Mark left his job and gave up all money for an entire year, relying on second-hand items, self-sufficient food and energy production and the goodwill of others for an entire year. While it’s not something I’m sure is for me, it did make me hyper-aware of all the unnecessary purchases I’ve made in the past, and made me conscious of how much waste our capitalist-fuelled lifestyles produce. A really important read. 7.5/10

Daisy Jones and The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

The premise of this book sounds pretty cheesy: Daisy Jones, a musician and socialite, joins The Six, a fictional rock band on the cusp of greatness, and drug-fuelled rock ‘n’ roll escapades and melodramatics ensue. But the reviews led me to give it a chance, and I loved it. The book tackles issues like addiction, abortion and infidelity addressed in a very real way. There’s also a little twist at the end that brought a tear to my eye. The book is structured a little like a Rolling Stone interview or some kind of rockumentary, with each character giving a journalist their view on what happened. For this reason, I’d strongly recommend getting the Audible recording. The chosen voice actors are brilliant. It’s so atmospheric and gritty that I kept having to remind myself it’s all fictional. My favourite read of the year so far. Just get it. 9.5/10

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

Everyone’s favourite true crime podcast hosts have finally released their book. I had my reservations, with many celeb/influencer book deals often leading to underwhelming ghostwritten coffee table books. This one is different. Taking it in turns to write the chapters, Karen and Georgia explore how they got into true crime and the events of their past that brought them to where they are today. Their voices are very distinct, as though chatting with a friend, and as you might expect from these two, there’s plenty of swearing! If you love the podcast, you’ll love this. I only wish it were longer as I wanted even more tales of their escapades. Again, the audiobook is a must. 8/10

American Gods, Neil Gaiman

This is a tricky one to review. American Gods has everything a Neil Gaiman novel should have: history, the supernatural, mythology surrounding the old and new gods of America, really weird characters. For some reason though, I feel like it’s missing something. The main character is a bit dense, it takes a while to get to the point of why any of the events of the book are even happening, and it feels like a much longer read than it needs to be. I’ve yet to watch the TV series adapted from this book, but I can see why the drawn-out plot would do well as a show as there’s plenty of suspense as well as a lot of travel from one place to another. I wanted to like this so much, but for me it fell a bit flat. 6/10

What's Next?

In the spirit of pushing myself to read even more I've joined a local book club! The next book coming up is The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. I've read some of her work before so I'm excited to see what this has in store!

Have you read any of the books listed above? What did you think of them? 

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