2019 Reads: Bests and Worsts

Good day, Nerdies!

Today I have my bests and worsts from my 2019 reads. I read quite a bit in 2019, so I figured I’ll only pick five for each group, so it’d be five hits and five misses.

Without further ado, let’s get on with it.

BEST FIVE

Good things must come first, so here’s the best five books that I’ve read in 2019.

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

Communism under Mao Ze Dong. In this book, Jung Chang portrays what Mao has done to China through telling the life of three generations of her family. Jung shows us how profoundly and immensely China has changed between her grandmother’s young age and her own young age in almost every aspect. Jung’s parents were both Communist ardent activists and party members, and this fact speaks a lot when one recounts Mao’s regime.  

This one is a political book, hence in its nature, there’s a standpoint that the author has to pick. In this case, Jung Chang’s opinion of human rights is against Mao’s Regime. That’s why, until today, this book is banned for distribution in China. It’s history, and Jung has tried to write it as accurate as possible utilizing her parents’ history as fervent parts of Communism, but her own personal opinion of it will always stand. And like in any case of politics, you can always agree or disagree with it. But if you put that aside, this recounting of Mao’s Regime is an eloquent and very vivid one. Jung’s writing is always hugely informative while maintaining its story-like style.

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

It’s funny because this hits and misses list doesn’t sound like me. Two of the bests are fantasy, and I am ‘supposedly’ not a big fantasy reader. But well, it is what it is. Dragon Keeper was the best book I read in 2019. Its close contender was only Dragon Haven, which is the sequence part of Dragon Keeper. *lol*

Robin Hobb is a remarkably strong fantasy writer. Her universe comes in words as whole and multi-dimensional. Instead of one world seen from a pair of eyes, Hobb paints Dragon Keeper’s world employing several perspectives to brush it facets it direly needs. Hence when you enter the world, not only do you see its elements and rules, but you can also grasp the political and cultural layers in it, which makes it as real as it can be.

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

I read only six books out of eight books in the series, but not because I didn’t want to, it was simply because of lack of access.

I loved the writing style, but not as much as I loved the heroine. Not because Celaena resonates with me, cause hell, she is way too cool to even be compared with the dull me. Celaena is a strong, smart, kind, but stubborn and hot-headed girl. With her royal backstory, she is born with difficult path to take and heavy burden of responsibilities to bear. But that’s exactly what makes her journey from being a youngster to being an adult massively interesting. Because there’s high stakes and a shape of personal freedom that are needed to be balanced. And it’s always captivating to traipse on such a precarious route.

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

I won’t rave about this book for the second time and waste your time hence. I’ve done a review on this one, and you can go Homo Deus: Are We God? to find out why I think this book is one of my 2019 gems.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid is my most favorite romance writer. Ever. I’ve read all her books that I could get my hands on. But this one left such a deep impression in me. It was heartbreaking, sweet and meaningful, and obviously, I cried buckets of tears.

Essentially this book talks about the meaning of true love. Does true love supposedly happen only once in a  lifetime? Or can it happen with more than one person?

What if, your husband whom you love very very dearly died and left you as a widow? What if then, you tried to find your life and love back? What if then, you found it? And what if, when you’ve found your love back, you also found out that your husband is alive? Cause that’s what happens to Emma Blair. And the big question is suddenly hurled onto her, do true loves come in plural?

WORST FIVE

And these are five books that I didn’t enjoy even though some of them are many people’s favorites.

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

I found this one highly un-believable. I couldn’t relate with all kinds of emotions were invoked from the female lead, America. To the same extent, the male lead, Prince Maxon didn’t charm me with his personality either. To me, they both looked immeasurably young and immature, and that’s probably why their choices didn’t resonate with me.

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

I failed to predict the ending of this book, yet I wasn’t surprised, because at the end of the book I, by long, had lost my interest in the story’s lead.

Vicious by V. E. Scwhabb

I’d heard many people enjoyed this one, and I really wanted to like it, but just nope. I am not sure though, whether I didn’t like the superhero theme, or I simply didn’t savour VE Schwabb’s writing style, or it’s the story that I didn’t dig. I am not sure, so all I can say is this one was quite a struggle-read.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This one was put as a top pick in many places, and that was my reason to pick this book. I liked the idea of the story. I thought the dystopian narrative should be intriguing. It’s about a supposedly modern world that has turned into a backward nation. Women suddenly become mere assets, they lose their essence of identity, and independence is suddenly such an ancient notion. But the story telling seriously lulled me into sleep. It was too serene, silent and a tad too prosaic for my liking.

The Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon

This one irked me quite a bit, because it used real events and a real setting to set its story in. But, the plot itself wasn’t believable at best. The characters kept picking some implausible options psychologically. And in such politically dense situation, the antagonists felt far too one dimensional. I wanted to stop reading after three or four chapters, but I didn’t, simply because it wasn’t me to stop mid-way. So well ..

I guess that’s pretty much it of my 2019 reads. Happy January, Nerdies!

Instagram: @skytalksrubbish

9 thoughts on “2019 Reads: Bests and Worsts

  1. Wild Swans was very thought provoking. I disagree regarding the Handmaid’s Tale. I read it in the 1990s. It was a revelation to me of the dangerous nature of apathy. Modern western culture is filled with it and this is evident in our politics, societies and climate care. Nothing is valued until it is gone.

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    1. Yea, I’m sure I’m going to find more in it for a second read which I plan on doing as a matter of fact. I was disappointed that I didn’t like it cause the book is very famous and I know there must be a good reason for it.

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      1. Nice list! I’m looking forward to checking some of these out. And I actually agree with you in your opinion of The Handmaid’s Tale, though I never finished the entire book. The narrative seemed a bit forced and preachy at times, even though it is a pretty entertaining read, but yeah, it’s one of those books that I only get half way through it and, as much as I tell myself I should finish it, I don’t seem to want to. :p

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      2. Thank God I am not alone in this. Honestly I felt a bit alienated because people seems to like the book so much, the book is on top picks almost everywhere I see, and I didn’t like it. So thank you for this comment and for making me feel not alone! lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. An interesting list. I keep meaning to give Robin Hobb a try — maybe I should start with Dragon Keeper.

    Wild Swans is a book I meant to read several years ago but never got around to. I should go back and try to finad a copy again.

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    1. Robin Hobb and Jung Chang are both amazing, you totally should read them.

      And btw, totally unrelated. I now remember that I know something about Belgium, Paul! It’s Hercule Poirot! How could I forget him?! Stupid me!! 😁

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  3. Really want to read wild swans! And the selection was pretty bad! I also lost interest in all the missing girls. I also liked the idea behind handmaid’s tale… but in the end I just didn’t like the execution. Brilliant post!

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