Every beginning of the year, I wrap up the highlights of my reading, travel and movie life. I know this is already five months after the new year, but it’s never too late to share amazing books with all of you! So here are my favourite books of last year.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
A complex adult novel written by a muslim person of color that tells a story about immigrants, family, the difficulties of staying true to who you are. I loved the writing style of this book. The different point of views were written all so beautifully that you really understand each side of the characters. The theme of family and the struggles of loving a family member and their secrets at the same time, is wonderfully explored in the book.
I think the events and quotes in this book will last with me a long time, and I hope the message it tells across will help everyone who reads it to be more aware of different races, religion, and beliefs, and the struggles some families have to go through in life.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I rarely read young adult novels, but when I do read a good one I’m also impressed by how much message and genius can be contained in something that at the same time feels so lightweight and an easy read.
This book was not only a quick read but also a touching story, with a compelling story and a raw writing style that feels so personal that you cannot help but related to the characters. I loved Starr’s point of view, and her personal struggles with her friends, her love for her family, her neighbourhood, her bravery and yet her humannes to feel pain, fear, anger, and sadness.
It’s relevant, it’s important, and yes it doesn’t solve all the problems in the world. It does not really dig into any real problems really deep nor in detail. But it’s excellent because it’s available for younger audiences, and it’s able to raise awareness towards police brutality and the lives of people of color in America, read in an enjoyable, uplifting way and gives us all hope and sparks a little fire in us to try and help the Starrs and Khalils in the world.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale is probably one of the most highly recommended, most talked about modern classic literature, specifically dystopian-feminist genre books ever. I am so happy to find that it lives up to its hype and regret not reading this sooner. Overall the tone of the book is slow, even relaxed, with the underlying sense of urgency of the brewing political climate in the world, but the narrator Offred is also very focused on her own world, her past and her own personal problems, and these are the kinds of books I just adore.
However it is nothing but boring. Something interesting is always happening, and by the last part everything become even more so because we are all so invested in these characters. The topics in this book are so interesting and we can spend hours dissecting the different moments of this book, but I’ll spare you the time and just urge you all to pick it up if you haven’t.
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
I was so surprised to find this book in my favourites list, because when I first read it I didn’t think I would love it so much and that it would really stick with me for so long. Reading Elif Batuman’s The Idiot was like cycling up a hill overlooking the sea – it’s difficult and heavy and tiring, but you get to see such beautiful scenery that it really feels worth it. And by the end of the journey you look back through the road you went through and you barely remember the pain or the trouble you had to endure, because it was all part of the journey.
Ultimately this book is indeed a coming of age story, about Selin’s youth and her experience living abroad. Her love life plays a huge part in the story, and I loved how she would express her feelings in such a melancholic way, knowing that the man she loves does not love her back. I loved all the characters that come across her story, especially her closer friends who seem very fictional but also quite similar to someone or a combination of people I might know. I feel like I wish I was like Selin when I was her age, or even like her at this moment. She’s clever and sophisticated, but at times she also doubts herself and is afraid of her choices. She is a depiction of teenagers in a lovely way, and this book will stay with me for a long time.
Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
Not my only Robin Hobb book that I read last year, but definitely my favourite, this is the third and final book in the Farseer trilogy, the first of many instalments in Hobb’s incredible fantasy world. I just found this book to be such a perfect conclusion to the series, to Fitz’s journey, and you couldn’t really feel the length of the book because you just really enjoy every step he takes and every page you turn.
It made me laugh alone in the train, brought tears to my eyes, and made me want to read more and more about the characters and the world. I adored all the scenes and the moments, I loved how I get so attached by all of the characters, and how Hobb was able to transport me to another world. It’s exciting, it’s action-packed, and most of all have incredible life-like characters, and a main character that feels so human.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
An inspiring and heartbreaking memoir about a doctor, a husband, a person with a story to tell. Kalanithi was able to write so beautifully and eloquently that it’s impossible to stop reading. I loved how humble he was but how he also didn’t shy away from the fact that he know how good he is at his job. Instead he doesn’t boast about it but talks about how he think it’s the career he pursues because it was his calling, and not just a job.
Every part of this book was so beautifully written and captivating and interesting and inspiring for everyone, even if you do not have a medical background. It’s perfect for fathers, for couples, for doctors, for cancer patients or survivors, and for anyone who has a heart and wants to be inspired. So go read this book if you haven’t.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
A gently captivating story, written in an uncommonly simple way that surprisingly was able to bring tears to my eyes, Min Jin Lee weaves years of the life of a family, from generation to generation in this groundbreaking novel.
All in all, with amazing characters, such enjoyable writing and a beautiful story told through this book. I laughed and cried and was frustrated together with all the Pachinko characters in the book. It might seem like a big book that is hard to tackle, but I loved every second I spent reading it. If I have to pick one book from this whole list to ask you all to read, it’ll be this one. So definitely give this a try if you haven’t.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney depicts the life of a young woman in her university years, hard-willed but also soft in heart, with a strong personality and deep love for her friend. I adored our narrator Frances, maybe because I’m the same age as her, and maybe because of her varied flaws shown throughout the book. Maybe also because Frances felt like an old friend – or even more, she was who I wish to be when I am younger, and even now a part of me still slightly wishes I could be like her.
I flew through the last two-thirds of the book in one sitting. And what I found about Frances’s story is that nothing is perfect, relationships are messy, friendships fall apart and then fall together again, same goes with money and parents and life in general. Everything all of us are doing is just going through the motions, finding what makes us happy and attempting to keep those things and people. And isn’t that the main thing we want in life for ourselves and our loved ones in the end in our own daily lives? To be happy, rooting for each other despite all our mistakes and flaws?
What were your favourite books of 2019? If you made a post, definitely link it down in the comments, I would like to give them a look as well.