My Top Ten Books of 2019

Top Ten Books of 2019

It’s that time of the year for retrospection.

After posting my Top Ten Songs of 2019, I thought that a list of my favorite reading material would be good. Reading seemed to be a bigger focus for 2019 than it was for 2018, so I had more books from which to choose this year. Blogging also happened to be a bigger focus for 2019 than it was for 2018 — so I took time to reflect on each book shortly after finishing it (which enhanced both my reading and my writing). I’ll link to my full write-up for each book, in case you want to read more — but for the purposes of this retrospective post, I’m going to limit myself to five words for each book.

Anyway: Out of the 25 books I read in 2019, here are my Top Ten Books of the year, in ranked order:

  1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami
  2. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing
  3. Night, by Elie Wiesel
  4. Bad Land: An American Romance, by Jonathan Raban
  5. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
  6. Basketball (And Other Things), by Shea Serrano
  7. Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
  8. Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community, by Brett McCracken
  9. Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, by Russell Shorto
  10. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Richard Rohr

And again, for those who would appreciate more context, my explanations for each selection are included with the listing (reverse rank-order), below:


#10 – Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Richard Rohr

Contemplative. Paradox. Aging. Envisioning. Threshold.

#9 – Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, by Russell Shorto

Well-Researched. Tolerance. Capitalism. Secularization.

#8 – Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community, by Brett McCracken

Articulate. Authentic. Vision for Community.

#7 – Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

Shaker Heights. Provocative. Power Dynamics.

#6 – Basketball (And Other Things), by Shea Serrano

Irreverent. Humorous. Professional Basketball. Fun.

#5 – The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

Suspenseful. Character Development. Amsterdam. Artful.

#4 – Bad Land: An American Romance, by Jonathan Raban

Great Plains. History. Hunger. Survival.

#3 – Night, by Elie Wiesel

Holocaust. Concise. Haunting. Beautiful. Meaningful.

#2 – Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing

Antarctica. Inspirational. Leadership. Ingenuity. Survival.

#1 – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami

Perseverance. Memoir. “Taciturn, Unadorned Maturity.”

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