My Year in Books | 2019.

I bit the bullet yesterday and added all the books I’ve read this year to Goodreads (if you follow my updates there, I apologize for flooding your feed!) Goodreads isn’t perfect, but it is for sure the easiest way to share what I’ve read and loved. and honestly, if I do what many of y’all suggested and just keep up, it wouldn’t even be hard. In addition to the simple count of of books, I really love favorites shelves. I always create one for each year and try to keep it to a dozen or so titles, with only one title per author. Here’s 2019.

I also have one lifetime favorites shelf. This year, I added a whopping five titles to that shelf.

Looking back over those 97 books (and likely a handful more that I’ll finish by next Tuesday to bring the total to a round 100), I feel good about this year of reading. Over 1/3 of the books were non-fiction, nearly 2/3 were “read with my eyes” and well over half were borrowed. The most surprising thing about this year has been rediscovering my love of reading with my eyes. I think this is partly because I like to highlight and make notes in the non-fiction books, especially the spiritual formation ones and it’s just easier to do that with written words. Also, I rediscovered podcasts and that meant less time available to read with my ears. And finally, I think I’m making peace with letting myself buy books again, even paper ones!

While I was sorting through all those virtual shelves, I made a few notes (the links are to my reviews):

Favorite fictionThe World That We Knew.

Favorite non-fiction that I think everyone should readHoly Envy, with Just Mercy and I Think You’re Wrong But I’m Listening tied for a close second.

Favorite non-fiction that (re)shaped meFalling Upward.

Book I should’ve bought instead of borrowing – tie between Jesus Feminist and Holy Envy.

Favorite audioThe Dutch House.

Favorite new-to-me series – a tie between Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie and Ann Cleeves’ Shetland. I still have one more Shetland book to finish and maybe that will help me decide.

Favorite continuing series – Louise Penny’s Gamache (and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs is a really close second).

Favorite re-readOlive Kitteridge. I barely gave this book three stars when I first read it in 2016. This time through, I almost gave it five. I love that the book remains the same, but I was a different person reading it.

Favorite surprise – Jackson Brodie. My sister and I are huge Kate Atkinson fans (Life After Life is one of my all-time favorite books) and neither of us had any idea she’d written those books.

Favorite learning about listening – 1.25x speed actually makes the voices sound better.

Favorite new-to-me author(s) – Richard Rohr, Sarah Bessey and Beth Silvers & Sarah Holland (aka Pantsuit Politics).

One of my goals for this next year is to read better and 2019 might be a hard year to top!

…and wow, how did it get to be the last weekend of the year?! Wishing you a good one!


  • Honore´

    Congrats on all your reading! Thoroughly enjoyed your evals + graphics! From your list, I’m aiming to finish reading all of Inspector Gamache in 2020! Among a few other fiction titles: first up: The Dutch House ~ maybe I’ll try the audio version…tbc

  • Lydia

    Well done on the reading front. Lots of great suggestions and I’m hoping to devote more time to reading in 2020 whether listening, holding, or paperless.

  • Patty

    This is such a great post Mary! I met Jackson Brodie this year as well and am looking forward to getting to know more about him! I struggled with Maisie and agree with 1.25x almost all the time…except for YES the #1 audio of the year…The Dutch House. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Bonny

    I LOVE looking at people’s lifetime favorites shelves, and it’s clear this was a good reading year for you with the addition of five books to it! I also love your perspective on favorite re-read; we are not the same people when we re-read books and Olive Kitteridge is a perfect book to illustrate that. I hope 2020 is a wonderful year in reading for you!

  • karen

    Thank you for sharing your critique of the books. I really like Rohr and Santa gifted me two more of his books (how did he know!). I hope my reading is good in 2020 as well.

  • Karen

    Hi, I arrived here from Honoré’s blog. I’m so impressed with your reading list, and found several of my favorites from this year on your list: Holy Envy ( I was lucky enough to hear Barbara Brown Taylor speak this summer at Chautauqua. I love her books.), Just Mercy, A Place for Us, The Dutch House . . . I was pleased to finish 50 books this year, so your 100+ is quite amazing. I rarely listen to a book, but probably 3/4 of the books were borrowed from the library. Nor have I ever made a Favorites shelf, but I think I’ll go back and make one for the last several years.

  • Kat

    Ooo! I think I need to make a lifetime favorite shelf! What a brilliant idea! And what incredible books you read this year! I love how you broke them down into some very you categories! You and Bonny are so right – we are not the same people when we re-read books, I found that to be true this month when I listened to the LW&W which I have not read for years. Many new things were gleaned from that reading!

  • Sarah

    You did some excellent reading this year! I just finished the World That We Knew last night before bed and it was so worth the wait from the library!

  • Debbie

    It looks like you had a great year of reading! You are right about re-reading books, they speak differently to us as we move through life.
    I did go ahead and join the MMD book club and have just begun to explore what it is all about.
    My reading goal for 2020 is to get better at book journaling and to be more focused on what I am reading instead of what I will read next.