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Books I Read in 2019

By: Ashley Dufault

Ashley Dufault, writer, standing between two aisles of books at Ames Free Library in North Easton, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Leah Astore

Anyone else not meet their reading goals this year?

It's okay. 2019 was a busy year for me, too.

Nearly every book I read was fantastic, though. Here's a list of some of the books I read in 2019.

I started off the year slowly with a book about how to write fast. There's nothing particularly world-changing about this book, but it's interesting to see how other people increase their writing speeds.

To give a gross summary: write often and track your results.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I downloaded this book, but I've followed Daniel on Twitter for eons and know he's a spectacular freelance writer, so I figured what the hell! I'll try something different.

Fantasy isn't always my bag, but Dan has created a vibrant world here with Fyrndell. He also found a way to make complex characters stand out without being annoying, which is a major plus.

You never know what to expect with self-published books. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another of Dan's novellas.

Once upon a time, I had this book on my Amazon wish list. It's a hit among marketers because of its special formula for telling a brand's story in a way that makes audiences really engage. A woman I met online, who was starting an agency, happened to be a StoryBrand guide and sent this book to me just in case she ever needed my assistance as a freelancer. While we never ended up working together, we still connect every now and then online about marketing. These StoryBrand people are super freaking passionate and it shows!

Once you learn the formula behind StoryBrand, your jaw will drop. It's stupidly simple and really effective.

I borrow tons of books from my mom, who adores mysteries, thrillers, and romances. This book had it all. It had me hooked immediately.

The story is about a married couple having fertility issues, so they opt to use a sperm donor. However, the wife recognizes her donor's face on TV: he's been accused of a brutal murder. An investigation into her donor's true identity ensues, and suddenly the wife finds herself tied up in a murder investigation while her husband comes to terms with raising a child that is not biologically his own.

Didn't love how the story ends, though. It was too sudden. Overall though, would still highly recommend.

I've heard a lot of hype about this book over the years. It sounded interesting, but I was getting into a knitting hobby and wanted to try an audiobook so that I could keep my mind busy while my hands moved. Dorian Gray was free, so I gave it a shot. Score.

I will admit that it's hard to focus on fiction audiobooks. Maybe it was the narrator? I don't know. Each time the male narrator impersonated a woman, my ears cried.

It's a cool story. I wouldn't say that everyone should read it, and there are things I would've done differently, but it was unique.

Every now and then, someone in my life will buy a book and I'll read the description and... Next thing you know, I've finished the book before they have. It's fine, though. I don't mind giving the cliff notes!

The thing about this one, though, is that it took a while. At least the first half of the book is rife with anecdotes about people who hated their jobs, typically because they were bored, under or overworked, and felt they didn't need to work regimented 9 - 5 days.

What struck me as interesting was when Graeber dug down into our society - why we have the management structures we do, the history of work schedules and how the 9 - 5 emerged, and yes, even automation. This book introduced me to the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) and why it's critical for the future of America and the world at large. You probably know about UBI from Andrew Yang's presidential campaign and have either chuckled or bought in. Believe me, if you understood the concept from a sociologist's point of view, you'd buy in.

Once you get past the edgy nature of the book and get down into the facts and figures, Bullshit Jobs is an eye-opening commentary on the state of work in the United States of America.

This was one of my favorite reads of the year. A former co-worker of mine brought it to my attention. I walked by his desk and was like, "Woah, that book cover is amazing!" Helps when the author is a graphic designer!

The world is just so vivid you feel like you're with the characters as you're reading. Their lives are falling apart in the most hysterical way while the rest of the world freaks out about mysterious, shadowy ghosts that pop up all over the place like holograms.

There were a few things I would've wanted to expand on. The end felt like it came too soon: also the sign of a great book.

The Girl on the Train is a book readers want to gossip about. It's pretty juicy. The main character is an alcoholic whose life has fallen apart after her husband has an affair and starts a family with his lover. There's way more to it than that, including a murder investigation the main character finds herself involved in.

Women sure do like butting into murder investigations, don't they? Add that to your list of mystery tropes, I guess!

Things got a little predictable toward the middle, but the main character was so flawed, twisted, and unreliable that I genuinely didn't know what she was going to do next.

This is one of the more useful books about writing faster, in my opinion. Chris Fox's personal story is also really interesting and I enjoyed the way he wove that into his advice.

That said: 5,000 words per hour is not the norm you should expect to achieve after simply reading the book.

I'm part of a mind-body wellness group on Facebook (okay, it's a Beachbody group), and the women in the group raved about this book.

This one is kind of a cheat since I have 10% left to complete, but... Some of the advice in this one is revolutionary.

I mean, your mileage may vary, but the way she presented the idea that what other people think of you is their problem and none of your damn business was just... BOOM! Head exploded, needed a new Kindle, done. 5-stars.

For every 10 self-help books you read, you'll probably find one that's a gem. There's a reason people love this book.

You know the Dilbert comic? This book is by the creator. He had a whole life and career well before the comic became a hit, and this novel is about how he turned his mistakes into successes. It's about accepting yourself for where you are in life and coming up with a plan.

But it's so freaking funny. It's perfect for people who hate the preachiness of most self-help books.

It's brilliant. I felt lucky to read two self-help gems this year.

So, that's it. What books did you read this year?

This blog contains affiliate links, some of which are from Amazon. If you click on a link and purchase an item, I may receive a commission. But don't worry - you won't pay a penny more! The money I receive helps me keep the lights on, so thank you!


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