My top-3 reads of 2019

Books have always been one of my best companions. I enjoy being immersed into stories, and even escaping reality. Some of my fondest childhood memories include my parents reading books to me and my siblings. One of my living room walls is dedicated for a big shelving unit overflowing books I own.

I try to make sure I spend time reading by setting a realistic reading goal for each year. For 2020 my goal is the same 25 books I’ve had as my goal for the past few years, though I added a sub-goal of reading one in French and one in Swedish to keep up my language skills. Here are the top-3 books I most enjoyed reading in 2019.

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

I believe this is the first biography I have read, and I doubt I could have chosen a better one. My prejudice’d idea of them is a rather dull and dry one, and this one was if not a total opposite, then something really close.

I enjoyed the way Carpenter approaches Tolkien’s life, as though a storyteller would approach a story. Tolkien is depicted as both a scholar and a perfectionist, who was clearly in love with making language discoveries; a gentleman who valued his family most of all. It was mostly pure luck that he became to be known throughout the world as the creator of the most complex fantasy worlds we have ever been immersed into. Carpenter shows who the professor was as a person, what he was like with his friends and family, how he viewed life. And through all that it seems easier to understand how – and why – he created Middle-Earth.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

No doubt one of the most popular self-help books out there. The #konmari movement has clearly taken over the world, and even I couldn’t not be interested if even a little. Like so many others, I have a clutter problem and a hard time letting go of things.

I’ve got to say, the book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Based on the Neflix series and a heap of YouTube videos I was looking forward to basic step-to-step instructions. What I found were pages full of wisdom. Kondo gently but firmly explains how our brains work in relation to clutter and the process of decluttering. This is why you have clutter, this is how you need to think to get rid of it. And the scenarios she presents are so relatable, it’s easy to see them from your own perspective. Certainly a book I will be returning to.

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Surprisingly this is the only fiction book in my top-3, as most of my reading is usually fiction. (I’m not sure if it’s an indication that I should be more open-minded about my reading.)

When it was announced that Robert Galbraith is just a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling, I’d seen ads about Cuckoo’s Calling, and immediately became even more curious. While A Casual Vacancy wasn’t really my cup of tea, the Cormoran Strike novels have become a favorite book series among so many, and one of the rare ones that doesn’t belong to the fantasy genre.

Lethal White was a really enjoying read. And I love the Rowling/Galbraith writing style. Growing up with the Harry Potter books, I found it so enjoyable to come back to something that felt so familiar and homey – even in a totally different story and genre. There’s also that certain quirk and way with words that makes reading these works so enjoyable. And the compelling storyline doesn’t hurt either.

Have you read any of these books? Share your thoughts and any book recommendations below!

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