2019 Reading List & Lynne’s Top 5

Give the gift of books this holiday season!

So many titles, so little time! I love the modern fiction I read this year, like Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Both are well-written and full of literary magic. I could read them over again and each would be a boon. 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

In 2019, I read slightly less than usual. Mid-summer, I hit a reading slump by my standards; I was restless. I spent a lot of my summer days and nights writing transcripts and choosing fall courses for our homeschool. As an antidote to readers block, I chose a few classics to pick-me-up like, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. My strategy worked; who wouldn’t find renewed joy in reading these, plus Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

“Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.” – Louis L’Amour

I enjoyed reading about the Cuban Missile Crisis (Thirteen Days by Robert Kennedy) and local Newport heroine, Ida Lewis (The Keeper of Lime Rock by Lenore Skomal).  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is a memorable historical (for-all-ages) fiction novel which shined a bright, ugly light on the Russian genocide of the Baltic peoples.  I. Had. No. Idea this happened.  Brooklyn by Colm Toíbin offered a spectacular window into Irish immigration in the early 1950’s.

“Reading brings us unknown friends.” – Honoré de Balzac

Any of the above would make a perfect holiday gift. However, my vote for top five outstanding reads for 2019 are…

1. Lolita by Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov

2. Into the Magic Shop by James R. Doty, MD

3. Becoming Wise: An inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett

4. Becoming by Michelle Obama

5. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

I am a better person for having read all that I did this year, but am forever grateful for these five gorgeous books in particular. These books opened my heart and soul in ways that books are meant to do. The empathy and understanding gained from reading – all reading – is immeasurable. This year,  I was more introspective in my choices which brought out in me a softer, more evolved self. I leave you to look up the full reviews, though I assure you won’t be disappointed.

Whatever title is on your nightstand, I wish you all the best books in 2020 – Happy Reading!


Complete Reading List 2019 (Lynne):

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Longitude by Dava Sobel

The Story of the World: The Modern Age by Susan Wise Bauer

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Into the Magic Shop by James R. Doty, MD

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Becoming Wise: An inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Lolita by Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Creative Schools by Lou Aronica and Ken Robinson

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (again!)

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The Keeper of Lime Rock: Story of Ida Lewis by Lenore Skomal

Thirteen Days by Robert F. Kennedy

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

How to be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery

Brooklyn by Colm Toíbín

The Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas

Christmas with Norman Rockwell by John Kirk

Christmas Poems and Stories (Portland House)


One Comment Add yours

  1. Marilyn Keenan says:

    Lynne: Amazing list! We loved “Where the Crawdads Sing” so much. And I strongly suggest you read the rest of Elena Ferrante’s 4-book series starting with “My Brilliant Friend.” It’s a whole, wonderful tale that must be completed. And, BTW, I finally read “West with the Wind” you recco’d last year and loved it, too.


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