My Favorite Books I Read in 2019

Five Favorite Novels for Adults
The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz.
Mystery starring
A writer named Horowitz.
Meta clever book.

The Adults by Caroline Hulse.
Exes vacation.
Together. Hilarious!
Their pain is our gain.

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper.
British humor? Check.
Depth and romance? Check and check.
My kind of novel.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth.
Character-driven,
Smart, literary thriller.
My kind of book too.

Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner.
Jewish divorcee
Fumbles through the modern world.
A smart, funny book.

Three Favorite Children’s Books
Front Desk by Kelly Yang.
Chinese immigrant
Comes of age in a motel.
Sweetly, painfully.

El Deafo by Cece Bell.
An honest memoir
Of a deaf girl’s childhood.
Great words and great art.

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John.
Two pranksters compete.
Will enemies become friends?
Fast-paced fun. Plus cows!

Three Favorite YA Novels
10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston.
Ten dates in ten days.
Romance. Humor. A road trip.
Fun Christmas beach read.

Sadie by Courtney Summers.
A girl tries to find
Her sister’s murderer.
Dark and riveting.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon.
Life of a teenage
Korean-American.
Funny and profound.

Five Favorite Nonfiction Books
When Life Gives You Pears by Jeannie Gaffigan.
Get inspired by
This mom with a brain tumor.
And laugh a lot too.

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis.
Econometrics
Combined with psychology.
Enthralling! Really.

Becoming by Michelle Obama.
What a life she’s led!
And how warmly it’s described!
I couldn’t love her more.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.
True tale of horror
Featuring the scam artist
Elizabeth Holmes

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
His great, unique voice
Made even knife selection
Sound fascinating.

Three Favorite How-To Books
If You’re in My Office, It’s Already Too Late by James Sexton.
How to stay married.
Told by a jaded, divorced
divorce attorney.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.
Great advice about
negotiation techniques.
Cool war stories too.

Ask a Manager by Alison Green.
She solves work issues.
The key is (spoiler alert):
Communication.

My Favorite Reads of 2018

NOVELS

Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman. Funny, sad, touching, and original. 

True Grit by Charles Portis. I never thought I’d love a Western, but the teen girl narrator is hilarious.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison. Character-driven, road trip novel. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to read everything else by this author.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Thriller with a great twist. And then another great twist! And then another great twist! 

How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson. Funny and smart, and I totally relate to the older-woman-who-goes-back-to-work storyline.

NONFICTION

Madwoman in the Volvo by Sandra Tsing Lo. Menopause memoir. Laugh through your hot flashes.

Robin by Dave Itzkoff. The complicated genius that was Robin Williams, in a warts and all bio.

American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin. Wealthy Patty Hearst gets kidnapped, robs a bank, hides in plain sight. Plus shootouts court trials, kidnapper love affair, bodyguard love affair, and Reagan. Truth is way stranger than fiction.

Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Not as good as the musical, but nothing is. A fascinating life.

Story Genius by Lisa Cron. Writing how-to book that lives up to its name.

BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. The Breakfast Club plus murder.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. Action-packed, funny historical novel starring a wealthy, gay, short teenage boy.

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My favorite books of 2017

FIVE NOVELS

The Nix by Nathan Hill. Funny, epic, brilliant, and my favorite novel this year.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne. Compelling and sad as a train wreck. 

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Funny and adorable romance. 

Chemistry by Weike Wang. It has an unusual structure and unlikable main character, and it was hard to get into at first. But it got so good!

Heartburn by Nora Ephron. Just as witty as I remembered. I love everything Nora. RIP.


FIVE YOUNG ADULT AND CHILDREN'S NOVELS 

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. She never disappoints. A novel told backwards that I couldn't put down. For teens and adults.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. Fascinating look at a police shooting in an African-American community. For teens and adults.

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence. Fun and charming children's book. 

Ungifted by Gordon Korman. So fast-paced and funny. Bonus: a character named Chloe Garfinkle. 

Five Days of Famous by Alyson Noel. Great wish-fulfillment book.


FIVE NONFICTION BOOKS

Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards. Memoir about a middle-aged horse lover. What's not to like? 

If at Birth You Don’t Succeed By Zach Anner. Funny and inspiring memoir from a young man with cerebral palsy. 

Ghettoside by Jill Leovy. The search for the murderer of a police detective's son in Southcentral L.A., and the interesting lives of the police detectives and residents there.

How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell. Heartbreakingly honest memoir of a young drug addict.

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My Favorite Books

Of the 75 books I read or listened to on audio this year, here are my 12 faves:

Fiction
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Fun story about family and relationships.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Great literary fiction about truth and lies.

The Birds and the Bees by Milly Johnson. Happy to have discovered a new Sophie Kinsella-ish author.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. A very entertaining classic.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. Page-turner of a romance.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Twisty novel by one of my favorite YA authors.

Nonfiction
Flip: The Inside Story of TV’s First Black Superstar by Kevin Cook.
Fascinating bio of this groundbreaking African-American comedian's life.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Compelling bio of an Olympic athlete/prisoner-of-war.

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron. Warm and funny essays.

The President’s Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. I learned a lot about Hoover and all the Presidents after him.

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. Hilarious, sweet memoir about raising five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in NYC.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. Surprised by what a great writer she is.



 

Haiku Book Reviews

I haven't done these in a long time. Here are my fave books so far of 2014:

DECEMBER TENTH by George Saunders. Short stories.
Engrossing stories
from a creative talent.
But most are so grim.

THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE by Ann Patchett. Essays.
Charming collection.
What I liked best, of course, was
her writing advice.

LOVE, DISHONOR, MARRY, DIE, CHERISH, PERISH by David Rakoff. Novel in verse.
Extremely clever
and surprisingly poignant
story told in rhyme.

FLIP: THE INSIDE STORY OF TV’S FIRST BLACK SUPERSTAR by Kevin Cook. Bio of comedian Flip Wilson.
A giant talent
and complex man fought his way
to superstardom.

MOTHER NIGHT by Kurt Vonnegut. Novel.
My first Vonnegut.
Why didn’t I read him sooner?
Now I must read more!

DIET 101: THE TRUTH ABOUT LOW CARB DIETS by Jenny Ruhl. Nonfiction.
Informative book
on the best ways to lose weight
and eat healthily.

DROP DEAD HEALTHY: ONE MAN’S HUMBLE QUEST FOR BODILY PERFECTION by A.J. Jacobs. Nonfiction.
Info about health
presented in a fun way.
I love his humor.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT by Liane Moriarty. Novel.
Page-turner about
the great joys and tough tolls of
marriage, kids, and age.

NOT A MATCH by Brian Donovan. Nonfiction.
Short and funny book
about—eek!-- online dating.
Glad to be married!

BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT THE BOY by Helen Fielding. Novel.
I loved the first book.
I loved this one less. But I’ll
always love Bridget.

My Favorite Books

I read/listened to 71 books this year. Here are my top ten:

Novels:
THE GOOD HOUSE by Ann Leary. Character-driven novel with great humor and heart.
THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty. Fast-paced novel with three wonderful protagonists.
ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes. Romance, sadness, depth.
LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes. Once I started this book, I resented everything in my life that got in the way of finishing it.
INFINITE JEST by David Foster Wallace. Incredibly long, with little plot and no real ending. Also hilarious, brilliant, and unique.

Nonfiction:
WHY WE GET FAT by Gary Taubes. New York Times science reporter explains why carbs and sugar are so unhealthy. The book changed the way I eat and helped me lose a little weight.
LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK, AND THE WILL TO LEAD by Sheryl Sandberg. A modern feminist manifesto. Loved it despite the guilt it induced about spending only nine years as a lawyer.
I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK by Nora Ephron. Funny, warm, intelligent essay collection.  Why, oh, why did she have to die?
GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY, HOLLYWOOD, AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF by Lawrence Wright. Mesmerizing and terrifying. Reading about the evils of Scientology gave me nightmares.
EVERY GHOST STORY IS A LOVE STORY: A LIFE OF DAVID FOSTER WALLACE by D.T. Max. Well-written biography of a fascinating, brilliant, flawed, mentally ill writer.

Haiku Book Reviews

My favorite books I read in the last few months:

HELTER SKELTER: THE TRUE STORY OF THE MANSON MURDERS by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. Nonfiction.
Well written tale of
brutality and evil.
It’s terrifying.

THE BEGINNER’S GOODBYE by Anne Tyler. Novel.
Smart, lovely story
of a widower’s journey.
I love Anne Tyler.

PERFECT TIMING by Jill Mansell. Novel.
Romantic hijinks
and silly fun in England.
A jolly good read.

ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes. Novel.
A disabled man
and a woman scarred inside
fall in love. Great book.

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL: PARENTING FOR AUTHENTIC SUCCESS by Madeline Levine. Nonfiction.
Anti-Tiger Mom
says children should be well loved
but not too pressured.

MEMORY BOOK: THE CLASSIC GUIDE TO IMPROVING YOUR MEMORY AT WORK, AT SCHOOL, AND AT PLAY by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas. Nonfiction.
Visualization
techniques really help when I
can remember them.

SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn. Mystery.
Great writing, but too
horrific for wimps like me.
Children are murdered!

WRITING MOVIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT by Robert Garant and Thomas Lennon. Nonfiction.
Entertaining book
from comedy screenwriters.
I laughed while I learned.

LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER by Jojo Moyes. Novel.
Brits in the sixties
contend with romance and pain.
I couldn’t put this down.

PRETTY IN PLAID by Jen Lancaster. Memoir.
Coming of age
remembered acerbically.
It’s hilarious.

WHY WE GET FAT by Gary Taubes. Nonfiction.
Why? Sugar and carbs.
If they don’t kill us first. Sigh.
Decline the donuts.

 

Haiku Book Reviews

My favorite books of the last few months:

ARGO by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio. Nonfiction.

CIA hijinks

and an exciting escape.

Better than the film.


EINSTEIN: HIS LIFE AND TIMES by Walter Isaacson. Biography.

Fascinating life

advancing math and physics

and a great deal more.


TOP OF THE ROCK: INSIDE THE RISE AND FALL OF MUST SEE TV by Warren Littlefield. Nonfiction.

Self-serving but fun

spin on Seinfeld, Cheers, and more

from a top exec.


I’D LIKE TO APOLOGIZE TO EVERY TEACHER I EVER HAD by Tony Danza. Memoir.

Danza describes the

year he spent teaching high school.

Entertaining book.


THE LUCKY DOG MATCHMAKING SERVICE by Beth Kendrick. Novel.

A charming romance

featuring a character

with a way with dogs.


MY MOTHER WAS NUTS by Penny Marshall. Memoir.

She knew everyone

in showbiz back in the day.

I loved all the dish.


WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE by Maria Semple. Novel.

A zany joy ride

filled with winning characters.

I adored this book.


COMMITMENT by Dan Savage. Nonfiction.

Gay relationship

divulged with great thoughtfulness

and hilarity.


CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. YA novel.

A well-researched and

heartbreaking tale of female

spies in World War II.


ME, EARL, AND THE DYING GIRL by Jesse Andrews. YA novel.

A cancer novel

with heart, plus raunchy humor.

My son liked it too.


THERE’S CAKE IN MY FUTURE by Kim Gruenenfelder. Novel.

Three best friends and their

kooky love life dilemmas.

Chick lit at its best.