Image for post
Image for post
Photo Credit: Loey Werking Wells

At one point last year, probably as a New Year’s Resolution, I announced that I would read 52 books in 2019 in an attempt to repair my broken brain, plus 52 seemed a neat number because I was turning that age and there were 52 weeks in a year! Ah, the promise of a new year. While I didn’t read 52, I didn’t totally fail. I reviewed a number on my blog, (and will link to those reviews) but honestly, some didn’t merit a review and there was one I forgot I read until this morning. Was it that bad or so forgettable? Who knows? A couple were books that I re-read, which I say counts. Did you know that Christopher Lee (Sauron in The Lord of the Rings) read the LOTR trilogy every year? I think re-reading books is a way to measure your evolution and there are a number I have read again and again (The Stand, A Long Way Down, His Dark Materials and American Gods, to name a few) over the years.

One book this year stood out as exceptional and that is The Overstory, by Richard Powers. His book wields the power of great novels and that is to literally change minds. I am a better person for reading this book and I may just write a longer review, but for now I need to let the story simmer.

Some of the better books I enjoyed were Pachinko (that’s a whole chapter about Korean suffering I didn’t know) The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (this was his first foray into fiction and it didn’t disappoint), Killers of the Flower Moon (damn, we’ve treated Native Americans like shit), Dark Money (I think I deserve some sort of grad degree in Econ/Pub Policy for finishing it!) and The Uninhabitable Earth (we’re so fucked, but we can change the ending if we take this story seriously)

Do I have reading goals for 2020? I think I can read 20 books, but I’d like to stretch and read 24–two a month–which will allow me to go for quality over quantity.

So here it is, the 30 books that helped form my year.

1)Pachinko-Min Jin Lee

2)Becoming-Michelle Obama

3)Unbelievable-Katy Tur

4)Chasing Hillary-Amy Chozick

5)There There-Tommy Orange

6)Originals-Adam Grant

7)Shrill-Lindy West

8)The Undoing Project-Michael Lewis

9)So you Want to Talk About Race-Ijeoma Oluo

10)Dark Money-Jane Mayer

11)The Storyteller’s Secret-Carmine Gallo

12)The Uninhabitable Earth-David Wallace Wells

13)The Female Persuasion-Meg Wolitzer

14)Modern Tarot-Michelle Tea

15)Big Magic-Elizabeth Gilbert

16)Killers of the Flower Moon-David Grann

17)Where the Crawdads Sing-Delia Owens

18)The Nickel Boys-Colson Whitehead

19)The Water Dancer-Ta-Nehishi Coates

20-The Ideas: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story-Erik Bork

21)Talking to Strangers-Malcolm Gladwell

22)The Testaments-Margaret Atwood

23)The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane-Lisa See

24)The Death of Truth-Michiko Kakatani

25)Okay, Fine, Whatever-Courtney Hameister

26)Old Soul’s Guidebook-Ainslee McLeod

27)Instrustion-Ainslee McLeod

28)Man’s Search for Meaning-Viktor Frankl

29)The Overstory-Richard Powers

30)G’Morning, G’Night-Lin Manuel Miranda

Written by

Freelance writer and author of screenplays, short stories and articles. I've traveled to over 40 countries and have a hard time passing up the local dessert.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store