Lipglossmaffia's Best Reads Of 2019

Hi Readers!

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.

Bernardine Evaristo
With Bernardine Evaristo

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.

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i am oh so hype to share the cover of my next adult novel, THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI, revealed today in an @entertainmentweekly exclusive! 🙌🏾💥 publication date is august 4, 2020 with @riverheadbooks and it’s available for preorder now—you know what to do! 🙏🏾💞 i can’t believe i’m looking at my THIRD BOOK, WHAT EVEN 😭📚 thank you to my amazing editor @calvertmorgan and the team at riverhead, you all are beasts at what you do! for my readers, i cannot wait for you to meet vivek, it’s going to be—and i can’t stress this enough—an utterly wild ride 🤯 synopsis below 👇🏾 #TDOVO🔥⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ What does it mean for a family to lose⁣⁣ a child they never really knew? ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader. #TDOVO🔥

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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?

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📚B O O K R E V I E W📚 ° ° "Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep." ° ° I'm officially a fan of Madeline Miller❤ The style of writing is what drew me in. So elegant, so subtle. I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as I can even though this is a story of a mythological character. The book is told from the point of view of Circe, a witch and daughter of Helios the sun god. We mainly know of Circe from the Odyssey and her interactions with Odysseus. Circe was not a major figure in the Odyssey, just known as a sorceress who lived on an island and turned men into pigs.(#MajorGoals) Because this book is told from Circe’s point of view, we get to intimately know her – not just her history and story but her thoughts as well. The reason this is so important is because we come to empathize with Circe. I'm trying very hard to keep this spoiler-free because Circe’s experiences include her meeting and interacting with various other figures from Greek mythology, and it’s a big part of the enjoyment of this novel to experience it the way the author intended, without knowing what is going to happen next. Circe is a story that is both familiar and brand new. I highly (obviously) recommend this to fans of Greek mythology. But you don’t have to know much about the Odyssey or Greek mythology to love this book. Although, this novel is about a god, it’s really a story about what it means to be human. 5/5 #Circe #MadelineMiller #LipglossmaffiaReads #SomethingBookish #BookstagramNigeria #BookstagramAfrica #TheIndulgentBibliphile #CaramelFairy #HalfHuman #HalfSuccubus #ChickenWingsAndBeerEnthusiast #RedWineJunkie #ReadDrinkShare ° °

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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!

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📚 B O O K R E V I E W📚 . . "At least in sleep, we can dream. But di weirdest t'ing 'bout life is dat it's only understood backward. Yuh neva know what's at di end ah dis tunnel waiting fah you, sweetheart. Now come get dressed. We got life to live an' rent to pay." . . I'm not even going to dillydally, I loved this novel A LOT! Science has proven that the more fiction you read, the more open minded and empathetic you'll be. Guys, this is a fiction novel that will push you to question things that you've heard of or known about since you were a child. The story follows the title character on a journey that starts in Jamaica where Patsy is overwhelmed by her need for something more. All she wants is to find her place in the world and she does this by pursuing the American Dream in New York, but leaves without her five-year-old daughter. The question "what kind of woman leaves her child behind to pursue her own needs" will follow you as you read this. It's almost feels disrespectful to call this novel a coming of age story but it kind of is. I mean, the character development in this book is just phenomenal. Every character you meet is well rounded and useful to the plot. EVERY! Also of note, Nicole has mastered the art of flashbacks. I loved how effortlessly it was used to provide backstory. Patsy is funny, sad, entertaining, introspective and highly emotional. I recommended this novel for people who enjoy good storytelling. My goodness! Patsy is such a great story. @oneworldpublications you're a real G for sending this gift to me.👊 . . I leave you with another quote I liked, "There's a difference between wanting to die and not wanting to live." I felt this in my soul. . . #Patsy #NicoleDennisBenn #LipglossmaffiaReads #SomethingBookish #BookstagramNigeria #BookstagramAfrica #ReadWomen #TheIndulgentBibliphile #HalfHuman #HalfSuccubus #ChickenWingsAndBeerEnthusiast #RedWineJunkie #ReadDrinkShare . .

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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.

David Mogo Godhunter - Book Review

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.

Mouthful of Birds Something Bookish Review

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.

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#CurrentlyReading . . . This is my first Ann Patchett. 75 pages in and I'm already in love. Peep this: “If what a person wants is his life, he tends to be quiet about wanting anything else. Once the life begins to seem secure, one feels the freedom to complain.”👌😍 I've already added The Dutch House to my cart because @bookofcinz spoke highly of it and her recommendations rarely mislead me. I'm enjoying My Year Of Rest And Relaxation, if I read it two months ago, I think my initial reaction would have been very different but mentally, I'm in a very different space and I'll let you know how this goes. BLURB: A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface. Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong? This story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs, designed to heal us from our alienation from this world, shows us how reasonable, even necessary, that alienation sometimes is. What are you reading? . . . #MyYearOfRestAndRelaxation #BelCanto #LipglossmaffiaReads #SomethingBookish #BookstagramNigeria #BookstagramAfrica #ReadWomen #TheIndulgentBibliophile #HalfHuman #HalfSuccubus #ChickenWingsAndBeerEnthusiast #RedWineJunkie #ReadDrinkShare . . .

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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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