What Have You Been Reading? Part 2

Back in June this year, I wrote about the thirty two books that I read in the first half of the year. Now that we’re in mid-December and 2019 is coming to a close, I thought I’d write another update to share the books I read in the second half of the year.

Books Read in 2nd Half of 2019

From July 1 to December 15 29, I read twenty eight thirty books. Not bad considering that I was traveling frequently during this time period. I list them by author’s last name as follows:

  1. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom.
  2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou.
  3. The Christmas Train, David Baldacci.
  4. The Suspect, Fiona Barton.
  5. The Life Lucy Knew, Karma Brown.
  6. The Favourite Game, Leonard Cohen.
  7. Little Beach Street Bakery, Jenny Colgan.
  8. The Bookshop on the Shore, Jenny Colgan.
  9. The Endless Beach, Jenny Colgan.
  10. The Moroccan Girl, Charles Cumming.
  11. Crimson Lake, Candice Fox.
  12. Less, Andrew Sean Greer.
  13. All Things Consoled, Elizabeth Hay.
  14. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway.
  15. The Chai Factor, Farah Heron.
  16. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Gayle Honeyman.
  17. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini.
  18. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini.
  19. And Then You Were Gone, RJ Jacobs.
  20. Elevation, Stephen King.
  21. The Matchmaker’s List, Sonya Lalli.
  22. Happy People Read & Drink Coffee, Agnes Martin Lugand.
  23. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  24. Full Disclosure, Beverley McLachlin.
  25. Becoming, Michelle Obama.
  26. Dual Citizens, Alix Ohlin.
  27. The Black Jersey, Jorge Zepeda Patterson.
  28. Kingdom of the Blind, Louise Penny.
  29. Call Me Evie, J.P. Pomare.
  30. The Vanishing Season, Joanna Schaffhaussen.

P.S. I updated the above image and the list of books on December 29, 2019 to include two additional books that I read between December 15 and 29 (The Chai Factor and The Matchmaker’s List).

My Reading Goal for 2019

My reading target was three books per month or 36 books in 2019. My actual reading was 62 books in 2019 (32 in the first half plus 30 in the second half of 2019). I’ve unexpectedly exceeded my reading goal (yay me!).

Top Picks?

In case you’re looking for my “top picks”, it’s difficult for me to short list the books I’ve read this year. Each of the sixty two books that I read is a good read, many of them are award winners or bestsellers. The authors come from various countries around the world. Their bios, stories, and story settings are quite interesting.

Try Something New

I think reading choices, like music, depend on our mood. My suggestion is if you find one of the above book titles intriguing, look up the brief summary of the book on the internet and see if it appeals to you. Also be open to branching out from your usual book genres.

I’m thankful to have access to the excellent Toronto Public Library (TPL) system. I find the TPL 2019 Reading Challenge fun to do. The proposed categories introduce me to new book genres, new topics, and new authors. They make me read more widely. I look forward to reading more in the New Year.

What have you been reading in 2019?

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49 thoughts on “What Have You Been Reading? Part 2

  1. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com December 15, 2019 / 10:49 am

    I was going to say this is quite the eclectic collection of titles. And an impressive number of books, too!! I will check out the Toronto library’s reading challenge. Of the books in the graphic, I have only read one, Eleanor Oliphant, which I very much enjoyed.


    • Natalie December 15, 2019 / 11:42 am

      I try to read more widely this year and going forward. There are really so many good books to read and I think the writers appreciate more readership. I look forward to the TPL reading challenge and their book picks in the new year.


  2. Melissa Walker Horn December 15, 2019 / 5:34 pm

    I love this kind of post! I get out my notebook and scribble lists of books to read (based on cover art, usually, haha). Thanks for sharing (and what a massive reading effort for 2019!).


    • Natalie December 15, 2019 / 5:47 pm

      Thank you, Melissa, for your visit and comment. I enjoy putting the book covers into a collage. They do look inviting to read 🙂


  3. Vanessa December 15, 2019 / 9:40 pm

    I don’t really have a genre, which is both good and bad. Good because I come across things that I wouldn’t otherwise, but also bad because I find it hard to filter out the ones that won’t interest me.


    • Natalie December 16, 2019 / 8:16 am

      In my library, they have a Best Bets section and on their web site, they also list Staff’s Picks (books recommended by librarians). Both help to narrow down good books to read.


  4. Laurie December 16, 2019 / 7:35 am

    You read a LOT of books, Natalie! Good for you. I just began reading “Becoming” by Michele Obama. so far, so good! I have been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, but I just finished “The Tatooist of Auschwitz”, wich was very good.


    • Natalie December 16, 2019 / 8:24 am

      Thank you, Laurie, for your comment. I got into the habit of reading this year and read more books and more genres than I initially anticipated. I’ll look up “The Tattooist of Auschwitz”.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Darlene December 16, 2019 / 9:22 am

    You did very well this year, Natalie! Congratulations. My goal was to read 30 books and I think I will just make it. I did really love Michelle Obama’s Becoming. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom are wonderful reads.


    • Natalie December 16, 2019 / 10:15 am

      Thank you, Darlene, for your kind comment. It’s surprising how many books one can read in a year just by reading an hour here, an hour there.


  6. Barbara Harper December 16, 2019 / 10:16 am

    I’m visiting from Senior Salon. I read and loved The Old Man and the Sea a few years ago. I don’t think I’ve read anything else on your list. I’ll probably share my list of books read this year a bit later on, but I think I’ve read 50-60.


    • Natalie December 16, 2019 / 10:28 am

      Thank you, Barbara, for your visit and comment. Sounds like you read very well this year. I re-read The Old Man and the Sea and really enjoyed how the author packed such vivid description and the story in about 100 pages.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jean | Delightful Repast December 16, 2019 / 10:38 am

    My final book of 2019 is going to be one I picked up at a used book store yesterday – a reprint of one of the original Nancy Drew stories! When I was 10 and 11 I read dozens of Nancy Drews. They were the revised, updated, and shortened versions, I later learned. So I’m going to enjoy seeing what one of the originals is like. #SeniSal


    • Natalie December 16, 2019 / 10:45 am

      Oh yes, Nancy Drew stories are fun to read. Enjoy one of the originals!


  8. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid December 16, 2019 / 2:26 pm

    What a great selection – I’ve pinned this so I can refer to it when I’m next at the library! Huge Jenny Colgan fan here so I’m pleased to see a few of her books on the list. I just finished The Kite Runner and that along with A Thousand Splendid Suns are right up there at the top of my list on Books of 2019. Also loved The Lost Man by Jane Harper although my favourite book of the year is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It’s just been made into a movie and I can’t wait to see it. Now it’s December, I’m only reading Christmas books 🙂


    • Natalie December 16, 2019 / 4:57 pm

      Thanks, Sammie, for mentioning The Lost Man and Just Mercy. I’ll check them out. I read one Christmas book this month (The Christmas Train by David Baldacci).


  9. Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com December 16, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    I’ve read a few of the books on your list and will put several on my to-read list based on your collection. If you haven’t read it already, Khaled Hosseini’s newer (2013) book, And the Mountains Echoed. I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but I also loved Becomining. Try as I might, I couldn’t get into Love in the Time of Cholera… do you think it’s worth trying again? So many books, so little time…


    • Natalie December 16, 2019 / 5:41 pm

      Thanks, Janis, for mentioning And The Mountains Echoed. I’ll check it out. Love in the Time of Cholera grew on me. At first I had to adjust to the smaller print and the pace of the story but once I did, I enjoyed the novel and its setting in a country I’m yet to visit. I think if you pick up the book the second time and it still doesn’t grab you, move on to another book. Reading is to be enjoyed. No need to struggle with a novel.


    • Erica/Erika December 16, 2019 / 11:18 pm

      I am with you, Janis, so many books, so little time. Nice to get suggestions/recommendations.


  10. Erica/Erika December 16, 2019 / 11:20 pm

    I agree with you, Natalie, how reading choices depend on our mood. I try to get books from our e library, although a long wait list for popular, note-worthy books. I am definitely curious about a few books on your list: by Leonard Cohen (I LOVE everything Leonard Cohen). Elizabeth Hay’s book. I have read a few other good books on your list. Thank you for sharing.


    • Natalie December 17, 2019 / 10:19 am

      Hi Erica/ Erika – My pleasure to share my list of books read. My library is pretty good at processing holds. I had to wait for a couple of popular books but not too long. There are so many good novels to read which is wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Pear ~ Life In a Pear Shaped World December 17, 2019 / 4:16 am

    I loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I think that’s the only book from the list I’ve read. Which is awesome. I might find some new reads!!


    • Natalie December 17, 2019 / 10:21 am

      Thank you, Pear, for your visit and comment. Eleanor Oliphant is a very good read.


  12. Jennifer Jones December 17, 2019 / 5:31 pm

    Natalie I’m reading Christmas Train at the moment. I’ve also read and reviewed a few books on your list and. have a couple on my #tbr pile. I agree with you that it’s a good thing to try different genres. Having a book review blog really encourages me to do that. Good to see a Stephen King book in your list. I’m a big fan. #MLSTL Sharing


    • Natalie December 17, 2019 / 6:28 pm

      Hi Jennifer – What a coincidence that we both read The Christmas Train. Elevation by Stephen King was a very nice surprise, not the usual scary type that Mr. King was known for. It’s well written and an easy read. I quite enjoyed it.


  13. Michele @michelevosberg.com December 17, 2019 / 5:49 pm

    Your post gave me the idea to have some reading goals included in my goals for the new year. I love to read, but often it gets lost in the business of the days. We have similar taste in books and I have ready many on your list. I worked my way through all the Jenny Colgan books while recovering from knee surgery this winter- they were light and easy to read and did not require a lot of concentration when pain meds left me a bit groggy. They also cemented my desire to go to Scotland!


    • Natalie December 17, 2019 / 6:32 pm

      Hi Michele – A trip to Scotland would be wonderful. I’d love to go there, too. Adding some reading goals for the new year sounds good. I usually read before bed and find this habit a nice way to unwind.


  14. Leanne Le Cras December 17, 2019 / 8:49 pm

    Hi Natalie – I’ve read a couple of these – I tend to read favourite authors more than risking new ones that I see online. I also can’t really afford to buy current books, so I’m always keeping my eye out for something current at the library to give me some variety. You’ve certainly covered some very diverse ground in your reading this year.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂


    • Natalie December 17, 2019 / 9:14 pm

      Hi Leanne – I borrow all my books from the library. They really offer an amazing inventory of books and other reading/ audio materials. Thank you for hosting MLSTL and sharing on your SM.


  15. Denyse Whelan December 18, 2019 / 4:18 am

    I envy your time to read….books! I have it but I tend to be a little scatty with a book in my hand. I am though reading some non-fiction and it is all about helping me understand more about me (and every human) and behaviours. Your list is admirable. I have listened to at least two on your list and Michelle Obama reading her own book was a delight. I learned so much.

    Thank you for linking up for this 2nd last #lifethisweek 2019. Next week is the last link up for 2019. 51/51 Christmas/Holidays: Prompt Optional 23/12/19. Back in the business of blogging and link ups on Jan 6 2020. See you then…or thereabouts! Denyse.


    • Natalie December 18, 2019 / 8:01 am

      Audio books are good option. Thank you, Denyse, for hosting #lifethisweek. I plan to join you next week and in the new year.


  16. Jennifer December 18, 2019 / 6:11 am

    With blogging in my life, I don’t read as much as I used to. But when I do read, I’m reading a lot of cozy mysteries on Kindle. I also listen to a lot of books on Audible, so I finished up Harry Potter on Audible (you have to hear the narrator, he’s so good and won Grammys for his work on it.) I’ve also done a lot of what would be considered self-help. Like The Miracle Morning, Everything is Figureoutable, and others.


    • Natalie December 18, 2019 / 8:08 am

      Writing blog posts, blog comments, and reading blogs take time so I can see how that doesn’t leave you much time for reading books. Listening to books on Audible is a great idea.


  17. This fifty something life December 18, 2019 / 9:04 am

    What a mixture. I’ve read Little Beach Street Bakery, Jenny Colgan writes such lovely books. There are a few on your list I must read, I know the Michelle Obama book is very highly rated.
    What was The Christmas Train like to read? I saw the TV film which I felt was awful so I imagine the book to be much better.


    • Natalie December 18, 2019 / 9:18 am

      Thank you, Lorraine, for your visit and comment. The Christmas Train was an enjoyable read. I didn’t know it was made into a TV film.


  18. Allison | Start a Simple Life December 18, 2019 / 9:33 am


    I always envy those that read so much! It’s one of my goals in life to read so much more. I have yet to get close to that goal, maybe next year. I have my lists in Amazon waiting, lol.

    I tend to read outdoorsy books that involve exploring nature and the outdoors since I love hiking. I’m also wanting to read more of the classic novelists like Hemingway and Steinbeck. But now that I think about, maybe I should start with Jack London, lol.

    Thanks for the list, I’ll be sure to check many of these out and put them in my Amazon lists.



    • Natalie December 18, 2019 / 10:58 am

      Thank you, Allison, for your visit and comment. I find the public library a very good resource, both online and in-branch. Start with a small book in the genre you enjoy then before you know it, the reading habit is established, and you’ll read more.


  19. rjbailey December 19, 2019 / 1:11 pm

    Wow! That’s a lot of books. Almost as much as me. 😄


    • Natalie December 19, 2019 / 1:16 pm

      Thanks, RJ, for your comment. Happy reading!


  20. Min Write of the Middle December 19, 2019 / 3:43 pm

    Wow Natalie – I’m impressed by how many books you’ve read! I used to go through so many books when I was living the corporate life and was commuting on the train each day. These days I dont seem to give myself permission to read as much, and my concentration is all over the place at the moment. I love these compilations of books those as it gives me a good resource to refer to when I’m wanting a good book to read. In case I don’t get a chance again – best wishes for a very Happy Christmas and a fabulous 2020! xo #TeamLovinLife


    • Natalie December 19, 2019 / 4:34 pm

      Thank you, Min, for your comment and warm holiday wishes. I think reading is a habit that we can get into or out of. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year 2020!.


  21. Christie Hawkes December 24, 2019 / 7:36 am

    That was fun Natalie! You are quite the prolific reader. Of the books on this list, I’ve read Eleanor Oliphant and Becoming Michelle Obama–both of which I loved! I just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, which I did not expect to love as much as I did. I was completely pulled in within the first couple of pages. Happy reading!


    • Natalie December 24, 2019 / 9:31 am

      Thanks, Christie, for mentioning The Art of Racing in the Rain novel. It’s available in my library so I requested it. Happy reading and happy holidays!


  22. Dr Sock January 4, 2020 / 2:43 pm

    Natalie, you have read a lot of great books in the last six months! I have only read three or four of the ones on your list. Since December I’ve been on a Margaret Atwood reading kick. I reread The Handmaid’s Tale, then read The Testaments, and Hagseed, and now am about to reread Oryx and Crake in preparation for (finally) reading The Flood and Madd Addam. Also, in the middle of that, I read The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson, which my book club will be discussing in February.



    • Natalie January 4, 2020 / 5:12 pm

      Thank you for mentioning the books you read, Jude. I’ll see if I can borrow them from my library. It’s wonderful to have so many good books to read. Happy New Year and happy reading to you!


  23. anexactinglife January 29, 2020 / 2:43 pm

    Hi Natalie, in addition to Becoming and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I read Less this year, and I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing and The Favourite Game – a long time ago! I have read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Garcia Marquez, and And the Mountains Echoed by Hosseini. Reading is my life, haha! (but then, I am a librarian).


    • Natalie January 29, 2020 / 3:13 pm

      I love books and libraries and have much respect for librarians. Many of the books I’ve been reading are recommended by librarians 🙂


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