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Culture » Culture Features

A Personal Top 10 Reading List

The books worth reading from 2019

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Editor's note: Who better than a bookshop owner to review what books stood out in 2019? We asked Tom Beans to do just that.


"The Ten Thousand Doors of January"

by Alix E. Harrow

Books within books. Worlds within worlds. Questions and wonder abound, and a young girl you'll root for the entire way. I'll say nothing else other than this was my favorite read of 2019, and I can't wait for you to read it, too.

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"Daisy Jones & The Six"
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The story of a fictional, Fleetwood Mac-esque band rising to popularity in the early '70s, told in a VH-1 "Behind the Music" style. I don't think I could possibly have loved these characters more.

"This Land"
by Christopher Ketcham

You might not always agree with the tone but it's hard to argue the evidence Ketcham presents about the destruction of public lands across the West. No book has ever made me so angry.

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"The Starless Sea"
by Erin Morgenstern

Layers upon layers of story leap off the page in elegant, fairytale prose. For anyone who appreciates myth and storytelling for the pure pleasure of it, this is a must read.

"Underland: A Deep Time Journey"
by Robert Macfarlane

Winner of multiple awards, this is deep, thoughtful, natural and cultural history at its best. Macfarlane is Britain's Barry Lopez and a worthy equal.

"Fall Back Down When I Die"
by Joe Wilkins

One of the best recent stories to pitch-perfectly capture the clash of the old West and the new set in and around hardscrabble Butte, Montana. Like great stories tend to do, this one will stay with you for quite a while.

"The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming"
by David Wallace-Wells

For whatever reasons you accept, the climate is changing. This is a detailed look at what's already happening to some countries around the world and what we have to look forward to here at home if things keep going in this direction. If it's possible to be horrified and hopeful at the same time, this book will take you there.

"Ninth House"
by Leigh Bardugo

A young student with a dark past who can see ghosts is sent to Yale to investigate the campus secret societies, which all just happen to be involved in the occult. Sounds crazy, right? Trust me, just go with it. It's fantastic and I can't wait for the sequel.

"The River"
by Peter Heller

If you've ever been on a long canoe trip, you'll immediately know Heller, author of "Dog Stars," is your kind of people. A thrilling, page-turning plot about a wilderness buddy trip gone wrong doesn't hurt, either.

"The Body: A Guide for Occupants"
by Bill Bryson

A grand tour of our own inner workings that never ceases to amaze. Be warned: you'll be annoying friends and family with the weird facts contained within for some time to come. Who knew belly button bacteria could be so interesting?

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