The Best Novels I Read in 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I hope you assume that means I’m hard at work on novels and screenplays and not faffing about. I am a slow writer, a fact that saddens me immensely. But I am not a slow reader. Whenever I am without a book to read, I feel incomplete. So I thought it’d be nice to go over the top books that inspired me in 2019 to keep on writing. Note: this doesn’t mean these books came out in 2019, just that I read them in 2019.

I read 39 books this past year. Which means I spent an average of 9 days reading a new book. If I wrote as much as I read, you’d definitely have heard of me by now.

 

#5 Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

old mans war

A remarkably awesome book about the future of humanity. Would you take the chance of immortality in return for your service in horrible wars against a myriad of alien species? A great look at the nature of dying, being reborn, and the mental strain of endless carnage in an endless life. Science fiction at its best.

 

#4 Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

beneath a scarlet sky

Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another World War Two story to tell, along comes Beneath a Scarlet Sky. A remarkable story about a remarkable (and apparently real) Italian teenager, Sky plumbs new depths of what is possible in a nonfiction narrative. Equal parts romance, spy novel, war novel, and horror, this book will rip your guts out and leave them on the floor.

 

#3 Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

ancillary justice

Another science fiction novel but this one follows no rules but its own. Ultimately, this is an in-depth character study of an AI forced to make an impossible decision. A unique universe, the likes of which I haven’t seen before, and I doubt I will again, Ancillary Justice is the smart person’s sci-fi. Less about the fighting and the technology, more about the moral questions posed by them.

 

#2 The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam

The Coldest Winter

The bible for a non historian who wants to learn about the Korean War. This nonfiction novel grounds towering figures of history into relatable narratives, and teaches you about the global significance of America’s Forgotten War. Rarely does a non fiction history book that isn’t about a single character, but all of them, feel like a dramatic fiction. But here it is, staying with me long after I put it down.

 

 

#1 Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

If you have had the pleasure of reading Bardugo’s young adult masterpiece, you know why this is at number one. This is the kind of novel that brings you back to when you were twelve, discovering the fantastical for the first time. An expert blending of magic, mystery, intrigue, and romance, Six of Crows is all of these and none of them. It is inspired by the many that came before, yet entirely unique. This is the kind of novel that makes you want to quit writing because you’ll never write anything as good. But it also makes you want to try because maybe you can make someone feel like Bardugo made YOU feel. Run, don’t walk, to read this book before the inevitable Netflix adaptation messes it up.

 

What do you think? Am I wrong liking these books? Did you enjoy them as well? Let me know!

 

-Chris