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While Scandinavian food has been the focus of my blog for the past decade, I’ve been itching to write more about books here as well. I’m an avid reader who devours books like others binge on Netflix. For those of you who share my love of both Scandinavian food and good books, I’m beginning a new category on this blog devoted to reading. Perhaps you’ll discover some new titles to add to your “To Be Read” list, and I’d love to hear recommendations from you too.
Today I’m sharing ten of my favorite books that I read or listened to in 2019. Then in the coming days, I’ll share my thoughts on the books I read in January, plus a recipe that I made for my newly-launched book club last week.
My 10 Favorites from 2019
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – My favorite re-read of the year, and one of my top 3 novels I’ve ever read. (I’m already going through Jane Eyre again; this time I’m listening to the audiobook read by Thandie Newton. It’s so good!)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – Oh those Brontë women! I’m making my way through the sisters’ works, and I continue to be astonished at their depth of insight and imagination. Joanne Froggatt does an excellent job reading the audiobook.
Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson – If I had a shortage of books to read before picking up this one, that is the case no longer. I added so many intriguing titles to my TBR pile as I worked my way through Sarah’s book lists last winter.
Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis by Patti Callahan – I went on a C.S. Lewis binge early in 2019, listening to the entire Chronicles of Narnia on audiobook, in addition to reading his nonfiction The Abolition of Man and the novel Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold. This fictionalized account of his relationship with Joy, the woman he would eventually marry, expanded my understanding and appreciation of this beloved author and thinker.
Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen – I discovered this gem last winter thanks to Anne Bogel’s Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and was absolutely enchanted. Even though it’s now been a year since I read it, the real-as-flesh-and-bone characters, the rich setting, and its growing glimmer of hope remain strong in my memory and my heart.
Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson – Another title I never would have discovered if it weren’t for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. While epistolary novels aren’t my favorite format, reading the letters sent back and forth between the two protagonists absolutely worked for this book.
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen – The first title in the Ascendance series, this title ended up on my TBR list solely because of a podcast with Sarah Mackenzie and Anne Bogel. Prior to that, I wasn’t one to read YA, but I apparently was missing out.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I loved listening to the audiobook of this classic with my daughter, even creating a secret garden of our own together in our backyard.
Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy by Jamie C. Martin – I spent most of my life thinking I was a true introvert before discovering that I’m actually an “ambivert” who has quite an extraverted side as well. However, I’ll probably always identify mostly with my inner introvert, making this book an ideal read. If you’re an introvert and love books, you might appreciate the author’s way of exploring life through the lens of several classic authors, including. Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Jane Austen. As a result of reading this, I also read or listened to the audiobooks of Little House in the Big Woods, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and six of the novels of Jane Austen.
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather – When I’m preparing to travel, I try to find books set in my destination. When I visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, last spring for the IACP conference, I listened to this book on audiobook. The premise didn’t initially pique my interest, so I probably wouldn’t have read this book had I not been looking for a novel with that setting. However, I’m so glad I did. I found myself drawn in by the characters and their lives, and the writing and storytelling were such that I felt like I was watching a movie inside my head as I listened.