My 10 best reads (and 2 re-reads) of 2019

I set a reading goal of 100 books last year, but only managed 88 — which isn’t bad!

Here are my 10 favorite new reads of 2019, in no particular order, and I threw in two re-reads. Click the covers to see the corresponding Goodreads pages.

(I’ve again set a 100-book goal for the year and here’s what I’ve read so far in 2020.)

I’m a sucker for time-twist-y sci-fi novels and this one didn’t disappoint. It has a somewhat predictable plot but I fell in love with its characters — its temporal-agent protagonist, most of all.


This “utterly correct guide to clarity and style” is laugh-out-loud funny. It’s a wonder.


I fibbed about this one. I didn’t read it, not all of it. It is too scary, more terrifying than any horror novel. But this is the book to buy if you want to know what climate change likely portends for the planet and its inhabitants. I’ll get back to it at some point when I’ve worked up the nerve.


The last remnants the human race do battle with sentient spiders. Need I say more? Events leading up to that climactic confrontation unfold over millennia, to spellbinding effect.


Ted Chiang’s science-fiction stories are unlike anything I’ve ever read.


A boy is trapped in a girl’s body, and this is the tale of her escape — and how her dad struggled and came to terms with this. I couldn’t put this book down.


The spectacular collapse of multi-billion-dollar med-tech startup Theranos is well-known, but this is the definitive inside story. It reads like a suspense novel. My wife also read and loved it.


Modern society is brought to its knees by an EMP. As apocalyptic fiction goes, this is better than most. If you’re left-leaning in your politics and a forward by Newt Gingrich gives you pause, hold your nose and dive in. You won’t regret it.


A trouble teenager becomes an Olympic titan, but must suspend his sports career to serve as a World War II airman. Matters get grim after that. This tale doesn’t tie up as neatly as you might expect, but it’s definitely worth the wait.


Get ready to grasp the United States — geographically, politically, militarily, socially, even medically — as you never have before. As a Puerto Rico native, I knew much of this story, but I learned a lot. This is a “you’ve gotta be shittin’ me” kind of book.


I have a terrible memory and most books don’t stick around in my head. A book has to be really good to remain in my brain — crystal-clear in terms of its plot and characters — decades after I finished it. This is one such book. I read this Pulitzer Prize winner in college and loved getting reacquainted, all these years later.


Did I mention my bad memory? I was halfway through this science-fiction novel when I realized, “Hey, I’ve read this before.” I was delighted to rediscover it.

Posted in Uncategorized