Related to my 19 Favorites in 2019 video, here is a complete list of the books I “read.” (Honestly, these were all audiobooks, since I mainly “read” while I work, and the audio format works best for that! I did have some actual print books that I read parts of, as well as many magazines and online articles, but I’m not including those here.) I’m including a brief note or rating about each.
Note that books marked with an asterisk were ones are Audible Originals that I got as a member freebie through Audible, and they’re mostly very short, around two hours.
A Year of Living Danishly, by Helen Russell – Really enjoyed this one! 10 out of 10!
Becoming, by Michelle Obama – Loved this book too! She’s such an intelligent woman and I loved her sense of humor. 10 out of 10
In Such Good Company, by Carol Burnett – This is a memoir about doing her show for 11 years. I thought I’d enjoy it as she was so funny, but honestly, it was a little depressing to me, mostly because of the period in which the show took place and the sexist and racist that was really considered “normal” at that time. She recognizes that and talks some about it, but it still colored my ability to enjoy the story. 5 out of 10.
Everything Happens for a Reason and other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler – a memoir of a young mother finding out she has Stage 4 colon cancer. Didn’t really expect it to be a happy story, but found it more depressing than I’d imagined. Written from a perspective of Christianity and specifically from her work in studying the prosperity gospel, I found it hard to get into and it left me wondering…ok, what happened?? (For the record, she’s still alive and in remission.) 6 out of 10
White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, by Daniel Hill – This was a good resource for learning more about white priviledge and related issues that have been so much in the front of the knitting community. It is written from a Christian perspective. I found the information very good, but it does get very, very dry in some parts. Hard to get through. 7 out of 10.
*A Mind of Her Own, by Paula McLain – This is a short, fictional account of Marie Curie. I chose it as one of my Audible Originals member freebies mainly because I’d previously listened to The Paris Wife by the same author and enjoyed it. I enjoyed this one too, and it left me wanting more, which, considering it’s short length, makes sense. 9 out of 10.
Mr. Rochester, by Sarah Shoemaker – Loved this so much! The story excellently crafted a tale of Edward Rochester’s life that parallels the story of Jane Eyre, adding details that you’d think must have been mentioned in the original but were not. It’s seamless, and really well done. 10 out of 10.
Food: A Culinary Cultural History (The Great Courses), by Ken Albala – This was so good! He takes you through history, from the beginning of time through current day (it was published in 2013), talking about the various periods of history and then relating food and culinary history to it. Really well done. 10 out of 10.
Holy Envy, by Barbara Brown Taylor – I loved this book. Barbara Brown Taylor is one of my favorite authors who writes about topics related to Christianity. This book grew out of her experience teaching an undergrat course in World Religions, and it is a very interesting survey of the major world religions and what they’re about, and not about, from an experiential rather than just academic point of view. 10 out of 10.
Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher – Pipher shares what she’s learned about how women succeed to thrive – or fail to thrive – as they reach the later decades of their life. It mostly deals with women in their 60s and beyond, and while I found it interesting, I had a hard time relating to some of it since, well, I’m not there yet. But it was interesting for consideration for the future. Some of the writing style seemed a little saccharine to me, but otherwise it was enjoyable. 8 out of 10
*Lucky Suit, by Lauren Blakely – A member freebie Audible Original. Light, fluffy romance…not really my genre of choice, but I enjoy it occasionally. This story was cute, though the ending was really unbelievable. Shocker. I’ll give it a 7 out of 10, considering what it was.
*It’s Not What It Looks Like, by Molly Burke – This was also a member freebie Audible Original. A short memoir-ette by Burke about her experience growing up and gradually losing her eyesight from a very young age, to her later childhood and now adulthood, living life other-sighted in a sighted world, and KILLING IT. It was really very good! I’d have enjoyed having this as a full length memoir. 9 out of 10 just because some things had to be so abbreviated and felt like it left gaps in the story.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottlieb – A memoir of a therapist going to therapy and dealing with big life issues after a heart-wrenching relationship break up. Basically, this intrigued me from the perspective of having worked in the mental health field in an earlier part of my life. I thought it was good…wanted to slap her at certain points (which is why I no longer work in that mental health field), but she gets there in the end. 9 out of 10.
Harry Potter Books 1 – 5, by J. K. Rowling – (Link is to the page with ALL of the HP books on it because I’m lazy.) I’ve read all of the books when they first came out, and I read them again to my younger two kids, but I was wanting something I could listen to and not really have to think about at points this year, and this fit the bill. It was interesting to revisit the novels and realize how many differences there are between them and the movies. The only criticism is of the narrator, who is really annoying in some of his voices. 8 out of 10 for that reason only.
Leap Year, by Helen Russell – Enjoyed this as much as her first book about her experience of living in Denmark. I liked how she was going through each of the areas of life that she explored as she was contemplating with her husband whether to stay in Denmark or return to England. Excellent playlist included at the very end. 10 out 10.
The Atlas of Happiness, by Helen Russell – This was a fun survey of different happiness practices around the world, spurred on from her writing and research she’d done when living “Danishly.” I loved that she read this one rather than a different person being the narrator. Always a win for audiobooks, I think. 10 out of 10.
*How Chefs Holiday, by Dana Cowan – An Audible Original member freebie. This was a really fun listen…interviews with various chefs and what makes the holidays special to them. Recipes included. 10 out of 10.
*Climbing with Mollie, by William Finnegan – An Audible Original member freebie. While it was cool to hear how this dad found a way to connect with his teenage daughter, honestly, a lot of it sounded like a parent’s admiration society for his kid, which is nice and sweet, but I really didn’t need to hear it that long. I’d have been more interested in hearing the story of Mollie’s developing interesting in climbing from her point of view. She does appear at the end in a short “interview” with her dad, but it was really kind of awkward. 5 out of 10.
*Holiday Greetings from Sugar and Booze, by Ana Gasteyer – An Audible Original member freebie. As a short fiction piece, I wasn’t expecting a lot, and I wasn’t disappointed in that way. The story of two college friends and their relationship for the couple of decades following graduation. The one protagonist was really kind of annoying, and the way the story wrapped up kind of sappy. Meh. 4 out of 10.