The 20 Best Books to Read in 2019
We would always encourage you to pick up classic literature like Othello and Murder on the Orient Express. However, there are future classics released every year, and here are the best books to read in 2019, as organized by popular genres.
The Best Literary Fiction of 2019
Some define this category as fiction with “literary merit,” but that’s unfair to other genres. Others think of these as less commercially viable novels—though this, too, is untrue, as audiences expand their reading experience.
Instead, these are books which otherwise defy typical classification.
Kya Clark, abandoned by her family and friends, is thrust into the spotlight after a body is found in the marsh she calls home. This gentle exploration of loneliness, the natural world, and societal division is the debut novel of zoologist, Delia Owens.
It spent three months at the top of The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 chart.
2. The Dreamers
This is another novel about solitude, albeit in the busy environs of a college. A first-year student goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up. She’s not dead. She just won’t stir. And this becomes a troubling epidemic around first the campus, then the surrounding town.
Karen Thompson Walker’s poetic prose regales an unsettling story that manipulates the reader right to the final page. Ideal for fans of Sarah Lotz (Day Four) and Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven).
Daisy Jones and The Six is told through a series of interviews with members of the titular band. The group redefined pop music in the 1970s but the reasons for their split remained a secret. Until now.
Taylor Jenkins Reid employs an unusual narrative style to tread the line between fiction and reality. From the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” trope emerges a surprising poignancy and sentimentality.
What price would you pay for a family? After three stillbirths, 17-year-old Fleetwood Shuttleworth finds a doctor’s letter advising that a fourth would kill her. Her desperation leads her to Alice Gray, a midwife accused of witchcraft.
Using 1612’s Pendle Hill Witch Trials as its basis, Stacey Hall’s The Familiars is nonetheless transformative and relevant.
The Best Thrillers of 2019
Are you looking for a book to keep you on the edge of your seat?
Elly Griffith is best-known for her Ruth Galloway, and Stephen and Mephisto mysteries. The Stranger Diaries, however, is a standalone tale that acts as a great introduction to her style, wit, and themes. Namely, there’s a heavy focus on family, obsession, and, of course, murder.
This is certainly one of Griffith’s best books (against strong competition). The way she gives voice to three distinct narrators is particularly masterful.
6. The Outsider
Stephen King is synonymous with horror. But since Mr. Mercedes (2014), he’s proved a natural at writing crime fiction too.
The Outsider waivers between horror and crime, questioning what we know about even the most prominent people in our lives. Could the popular Terry Maitland have violated and murdered a child? Despite having an alibi, DNA evidence puts him at the scene of the crime. What do we keep hidden from the world, and from ourselves?
Laura Lochner, who sees herself as “the girl no one can love,” goes on a date. When she doesn’t return, her sister starts to worry—not for Laura, but for the man she went to meet.
Wendy Walker ratchets up the tension in a subtle and adroit manner. The Night Before might be a slow burner, but that doesn’t mean it’s not compulsive, thrilling, and breathless.
The Best Non-Fiction Books of 2019
Truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction. These factual books make readers confront difficult truths and learn about subjects they might otherwise overlook.
As a child, Dita Kraus was entrusted with the eight books prisoners had smuggled into Auschwitz. Though she didn’t know this fact at the time, she would’ve been killed if the Nazis had found out. This is her chilling tale.
Written by Antonio Iturbe and translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites, this isn’t an easy read. But, as with so many books about this period, it is an important one.
We all fear the loss of our memories, a diminishing of ourselves. Yet it affects so many of us. That’s why What Dementia Teaches Us About Love is such a vital book.
It’s heartbreaking, yes. But Nicci Gerrard, whose father died of the illness, finds endearment and optimism in her comprehensive exploration of the topic. She mulls over the nature of self, our treatment of the elderly, and what it really means to care.
Before Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee was known for a single novel: To Kill A Mockingbird. However, there was another tale she wanted to tell. Furious Hours details why she couldn’t.
Some know that Lee helped Truman Capote research In Cold Blood; fewer realize she worked on a similar true-crime book. Casey Cep brings three seemingly disparate elements together to create a compelling untold story that reads like fascinating fiction.
William Shakespeare’s work is frequently marred by schools forcing texts on their students. Emma Smith brilliantly strips away the pretences and demonstrates why each play is a microcosm of the human condition. Scholars will obviously enjoy This is Shakespeare, but it’s ideal for those who have ever questioned the Bard’s relevance.
This is one you’ll return to again and again.
The Best Essay Books of 2019
Collections of essays typically reflect on personal journeys in unflinchingly honest ways.
Esmé Weijun Wang was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2013 after years of complex psychotic episodes. But what exactly is schizophrenia?
In these essays, Wang is a light in the darkness: dispelling myths, exploring the difficulties of labelling, and mixing intimate thoughts with scientific research. The Collected Schizophrenias is a truly eye-opening collection.
Toni Morrison is the author of novels like The Bluest Eye, God Help the Child, and Paradise. And as you’d expect, this selection of treaties, speeches, and commentaries is similarly brave and fierce in its deconstruction of humanity.
Along the way, the Nobel Prize winner reflects on her own work, including her most famous book, Beloved.
Don’t be put off essay books because they seem too “academic”. Tressie McMillan Cottom’s conversational style makes this an accessible and pleasurable read.
The eight theses presented in Thick are empowering, emotionally honest, and naturally weighty. Cottom herself admits fallibility: “No one can speak to a singular black experience”. But she certainly gives it a good go.
The Best Young Adult Fiction of 2019
Never underestimate Young Adult (YA) books. Though publicized for a youthful demographic, they’re just as engaging and impassioned as work you’d find in other genres.
Tiger’s mum dies and she is left alone. Pushed between foster homes, she is adrift in darkness. Everyone has to deal with grief, no matter what their age. This deeply affecting novel is for anyone going through a difficult time.
As she demonstrated in her previous novel, Girl in Pieces, Kathleen Glasgow understands the nature of the void left by a passing. This raw book pulls no punches.
Karen McManus proved an immediate success with One Of Us Is Lying. Her second YA title has a similarly strong premise: two homecoming queens were murdered five years ago, and now, it seems the killer is back.
Most importantly, it has a great cast of characters. They’re stereotypical, sure, but they’re duplicitous yet oddly likeable.
Ally Condie’s latest science fiction story is more divisive than her Matched trilogy. Still, her rhythmic prose and pace nonetheless makes for an enticing proposition.
17-year-old Poe Blythe is the captain of a mining ship looking for gold—and revenge on the Raiders who slaughtered her boyfriend. The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe is reminiscent of Disney’s Treasure Planet with a dystopian outlook and sympathetic lead.
The Best Graphic Novels of 2019
With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), graphic novels have never been more popular. Here are a few releases that are great for newcomers and seasoned comic fans alike.
Daredevil is one of the most consistently strong titles from Marvel Comics. There was a lot of pressure on the new creative team, Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto, to get it right. And wow, did they ever!
The Devil is back in Hell’s Kitchen, defending the streets and reminding people of what he represents. That’s a problem because Matt Murdock doesn’t quite know anymore. What else could the Man Without Fear be afraid of, but himself?
The Eisner Awards are the gold-standard for the comic book universe. This 12-issue series from Tom King and Mitch Gerads won two. It’s that good.
Scott Free is the ultimate escape artist. He’s found the love of his life. He’s a celebrity. The Justice League of America are eying him for membership. Now, he’s determined to go the distance by courting and escaping death. It’s an unconventional, twisting masterpiece and an instant classic.
This inspiring tome might not be what you’d expect from a graphic novel, but it just goes to show what an adaptable and imaginative genre it is.
Elizabeth Haidle’s beautiful watercolor pages explore the lives of writers like Dr Seuss, Beatrix Potter, and C.S. Lewis. Before They Were Authors is a true love letter to the medium.
What Are the Best Books You’ve Read in 2019?
This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to books to read in 2019. It’s a single shelf of an entire bookstore. So, go out and discover what treats the industry has to offer. And then come back here and share your recommendations.
Books don’t have to cost a lot of money either. The Kindle app gives you access to free books, including these great graphic novels that are free to read on Amazon.