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26 Nov 2020
The best books I read in 2019

Whoops, better get my 2019 list out before 2020 ends…

Books I loved reading in 2019 that related to Judaism

  • The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman - A murder mystery that takes place in a mikvah!
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Promise by Chaim Potok

Serieseseseses I loved reading in 2019

  • The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - Fun, light, junk-food fantasy novels about a black (dark skinned, not ethically challenged) magician cop in London.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold - Lots of good training montage stuff, disability awareness, uterine replicators, and frankly learning about leadership.
  • The Expanse by James A. Corey - Caught up on the latest two books this year. This series stays really strong for me because the characters are so well-developed. The TV series is great to pair it with, because I think the actors really match my mental images of the characters incredibly well.

Books I loved reading in 2019 that had major family dynamic themes

  • The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka - Big family story during Japanese occupation of Malaysia. Strong matriarch. Loved it.
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf - Protagonist is a teenager with OCD separated from her mother during the 1969 Kuala Lumpur race riots.
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin - Actually this look at Korean family life and parenting and aging really struck me.

Books I loved reading in 2019 that related to parenting

  • Precious Little Sleep: The Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents by Alexis Dubief - This basically saved our lives.
  • Dear Parent: Caring For Infants With Respect by Magda Gerber
  • Small Talk: How to Develop Your Child’s Language Skills from Birth to Age Four by Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake - I’ve gone back to this again and again. Not sure it really matters, but it kinda soothes me to have ideas on what to try.
  • The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson - Some interesting stuff on emotional development and how to understand what’s going on with tantrums and such.
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman - The main idea is to emphasize that all feelings are accepted, but all behaviors are not, and how to handle the feelings.

Other non-fiction I loved reading in 2019

  • For God, Country & Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It by Mark Pendergrast
  • Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration by Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith - Graphic novel. I thought I’d find it boring since it’s preaching to the choir with me, but it was a nice overview and well worth the read regardless of where you’re starting from.

Other fiction I loved reading in 2019

  • The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz - Punk rock time-traveling feminist scifi!
  • The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson - Really good YA, politics and sacrifice.
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell - Murder mystery, really fun characters, reminded me a bit of Wodehouse.
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson - Delightfully creepy. This might be this year’s #entrailsfromchandeliers winner.
  • Hoodtown by Christa Faust - Bwahaha, murder mystery where everyone in the japanese/mexican ghetto wears luchadore heads 100% of the time.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers - I liked this a lot more than the first book in the series. It had stronger characters and a more interesting story arc. Quite good.
  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - A Chinese girl and a runaway enslaved girl traveling together on the Oregon trail, helping each other.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig - Reread. Aged really well.
  • Worm by John C. McCrae - Lots of really good stuff, sort of like The Martian but better, though I got tired of it by the end. Again, I’m very into the training montage stuff.

Total number of books read in 2019: 118