Welcome to my Best Reads of 2019! It was a little tough putting this list together because I had such a wonderful reading year. I tried to be more intentional about my reading goals and with everything that I’ve learned this year, 2020 will be legendary. I’ll share my 2020 reading goals next week.
How does one come up with a Best Reads of 2019 list?
First of all, I don’t know about other readers, but my best reads are pulled from books I read in 2019 regardless of the year they are published. And as at the time of writing this piece, I had completed 105 books. I was lucky to read a lot of 5-star books but shortening them from over 50 was so stressful for me because I wanted to share everything.
Secondly, I chose my best reads of 2019 from my 5-star reads. I curated a piece earlier in the year where readers and Bookstagrammers shared what makes them rate a book 5 stars, read that HERE.
Finally, I’m highlighting these books because they showed me a new perspective, from how to write, how to be more empathetic, how to see beyond my immediate environment, and how to be free. This last bit is the most important because a lot of us are yet to break free of societal expectations, peer pressure, or from anything holding us back. Fiction novels have a wonderful way of illuminating the mind, don’t you think so?
Reading these books freed my mind to dream bigger.
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo
If you have been following me on Twitter or Instagram this year, I’m sure you’re tired of the noise I have made about Evaristo. 2019 will forever be one of my favourite memories because I got introduced to her work and I got to meet her at Ake Festival. You should also check, Mr Loverman. I plan to read all her books in 2020.
Pet – Akwaeke Emezi
This book is small but it packs a punch. It’s written for YA but I feel it’s important for adults to read this book too. Emezi has a new book out in August 2020 and I’m super excited about that.
Circe – Madeline Miller
This is a re-imagining of Circe. She is known from her relations with Odyssey. Miller gave her a voice and I marvelled at how my perspective changed. What if female characters in history were given a voice, could it affect how women are treated? Could it be a first step to mental decolonization?
Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
This book touched me in ways I didn’t expect. I’m moved to read more multi generational novels now. And more books by Asian writers because the style of storytelling matches my taste.
Patsy – Nicole Dennis Benn
2019 is the year I got introduced to Nicole and her work. When I read Here Comes The Sun, my mind blew up and then Patsy was released. A double knockout! Then I met her at Ake Festival and she recognized me from all my stalking. Nicole Dennis Benn is a damn good writer!
Silence Is My Mother Tongue – Sulaiman Addonia
This is the most beautiful book I read this year. I still don’t have the words to describe how it made me feel.
She Would Be King – Wayetu Moore
This book is a re-imagining of Liberia’s creation. I am Ms. Moore perfect target reader and she can do no wrong in my eyes. I know writers are humans and sometimes people make mistakes but I get Moore and she gets me.
David Mogo Godhunter – Suyi Davies
The only thing I want to say about this book is, make sure you pick it up as soon as possible. My review of this book can be found HERE.
Manchester Happened – Jennifer Makumbi
Dear Readers, Makumbi can do no wrong. I’m not even kidding. Her new book, The First Woman out in June 2020, would probably be on my best list for 2020.
Mouthful of Birds – Samanta Schweblin
I’m currently re-reading this to close off the year because I need the energy of Samanta Schweblin propel me. Please read my review HERE. If you haven’t read this book, make a plan to add it to your TBR.
How Long Til Black Future Month? – N. K. Jemisin
Jemisin is a Queen and I intend to prove my loyalty by reading all her books. She has an elite imagination.
Tomorrow Died Yesterday – Chimeka Garricks
One of my goals in 2020 is to make more people read Nigeria Fiction. So, that more people can discover good stories like this one. Tomorrow Died Yesterday is one of the most underrated Nigerian novels. So good!
Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
All I can say is I made huge mistake watching the movie first. This novel was so yummy, can’t wait to read more Patchett. She is definitely my type of writer.
A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
I’m officially now a fan of Backman. Ove has been added to my favourite characters Hall of Fame. I’ve never cared so much about characters so much. I’ll be reading more Backman in 2020 for sure.
Disgrace – J. M. Coetzee
This was my first Coetzee, a bookish friend of mine, @KenyanBibliophile, loves him so, I decided to give it a go. The writing was beautiful and immersive. And the story itself, while uncomfortable for most, is an important topic. Read this, friends.
Have you read any of these books? What were your favourite books this year? Hare with me in the comments.
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