We asked you what books were the most memorable reads of 2019 and here’s what you said:

(Book descriptions by NoveList Plus)

A Better Man – Louise Penny: Searching for a missing woman amid a catastrophic flood and blistering social media attacks, a demoted Armand Gamache bonds with the victim’s distraught father, who contemplates a murder of his own.

Ready to Come About – Sue Williams: Sue Williams sets sail for the North Atlantic with her husband after her sons have become adults.

The Library Book – Susan Orlean: The author reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution: our libraries.

Becoming – Michelle Obama: An intimate memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens: Viewed with suspicion in the aftermath of a tragedy, a beautiful hermit who has survived for years in a marsh becomes targeted by unthinkable forces.

There were many honorable mentions. This is the list, separated by genre, of the best loved books in Mississippi Mills in 2019. Happy readings!

GENERAL FICTION

American Pastoral – Philip Roth: A former athletic star, devoted family man, and owner of a thriving glove factory, Seymour “Swede” Levov finds his life coming apart during the social disorder of the 1960s, when his beloved daughter turns revolutionary terrorist out to destroy her father’s world.

Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin: When David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his girlfriend’s return to Paris destroys everything. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened – while Giovanni’s life descends into tragedy.

Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo: From one of Britain’s most celebrated writers of color, a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity among an interconnected group of Black British women.

Immigrant City: Stories – David Bezmozgis: A collection of stories about the various aspects of immigration and how it affects lives from author David Bezmozgis.

Neapolitan Novels (Series) – Elena Ferrante: This leisurely, engrossing series lyrically chronicles the deep, essential, and fraught friendship between Lila and Elena, both intelligent and ambitious women, through 40 years of shifting fortunes and diverging paths. Throughout their personal stories and inner dialogues runs the grit, violence, and beauty of Italy from 1944 into the 1980’s. These moving novels of ideas are best read in order.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong: A letter from a son to a mother who cannot read reveals the impact of the Vietnam War on their family history and provides a view into parts of the son’s life that his mother has never known.

On the bright side: the new secret diary of Hendrik Groen, 85 years old – Hendrik Groen: A follow-up to the best-selling The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen finds octogenarian curmudgeon Hendrik emerging from a year of mourning to help the Old-But-Not-Dead Club save their homes from demolition plans.

One summer – David Baldacci: Jack, terminally-ill and preparing to say goodbye to his family, has a miraculous recovery after his wife is killed in a car accident and struggles to reunite his family at her childhood home on the South Carolina oceanfront.

Postscript – Cecelia Ahern: It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life. She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Still Alice – Lisa Genova: Feeling at the top of her game when she is suddenly diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Harvard psychologist Alice Howland struggles to find meaning and purpose in her life as her concept of self gradually slips away.

The beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri: Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind & so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain.

The book of dreams – Nina George: Rendered comatose after an act of heroism, a man revisits memories of his British youth, while his ex forges an unexpected, profound friendship with the teenage son he has never known.

The clockmaker’s daughter – Kate Morton: More than 150 years after an artist’s retreat on the banks of the Upper Thames ends in murder, theft and ruin, a London archivist is drawn by a striking photograph and a sketchbook to discover a manor’s secrets.

The goldfinch – Donna Tartt: Taken in by a wealthy family friend after surviving an accident that killed his mother, thirteen-year-old Theo Decker tries to adjust to life on Park Avenue.

The Dutch house – Ann Patchett: A tale set over the course of five decades traces a young man’s rise from poverty to wealth and back again as his prospects center around his family’s lavish Philadelphia estate.

The great alone – Kristin Hannah: When her volatile, former POW father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season.

The heart’s invisible furies – John Boyne: In 1945, Cyril Avery was born to an unmarried teenager (the book opens with a dramatic scene in a rural Irish church that sets this up with relish) and adopted by a wealthy if rather eccentric Dublin couple. As readers, we visit Cyril every seven years, as he grows and comes to terms with his homosexuality in a violently repressive Ireland, flees his home country, and falls in love. An absorbing story, this novel offers richly drawn characters, plausibly life-altering choices, and an often humorous writing style. — Description by Shauna Griffin.

The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney: Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab.

The Overstory – Richard Powers: Presents an impassioned novel of activism and natural-world power that is comprised of interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

Tin man – Sarah Winman: A heartbreaking celebration of love in all its forms gradually reveals a fallout between two longtime friends and Oxford students over the course of a decade marked by the marriage of one and the disappearance of the other.

Unsheltered – Barbara Kingsolver: Traces the experiences of a woman whose efforts to protect her family from sudden unemployment are shaped by the story of an ostracized 19th-century science teacher.

Women talking – Miriam Toews: After learning the men in the community have been drugging and attacking more than a hundred women, eight Mennonite women meet in secret to decide whether they should escape to a place outside the colony or stay in the only world they’ve ever known.

BIOGRAPHY

A Broken Hallelujah – Liel Leibovitz: This meditation on the life of the Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist discusses his performing career, which began despite his crippling stage fright, to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Story – Elizabeth Hay: Jean and Gordon Hay were a colourful, formidable pair. Jean, a late-blooming artist with a marvellous sense of humour, was superlatively frugal; nothing got wasted, not even maggoty soup. Gordon was a proud and ambitious schoolteacher with a terrifying temper, a deep streak of melancholy, and a devotion to flowers, cars, words, and his wife. As old age collides with the tragedy of living too long, these once ferociously independent parents become increasingly dependent on Lizzie, the so-called difficult child. By looking after them in their final decline, she hopes to prove that she can be a good daughter after all.

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood – Alexandra Fuller: Alexandra Fuller tells the idiosyncratic story of her life growing up white in rural Rhodesia as it was becoming Zimbabwe. The daughter of hardworking, yet strikingly unconventional English-bred immigrants, Alexandra arrives in Africa at the tender age of two. She moves through life with a hardy resilience, even as a bloody war approaches.

Educated – Tara Westover: Traces the author’s experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, describing her participation in her family’s paranoid stockpiling activities and her resolve to educate herself well enough to earn an acceptance into a prestigious university and the unfamiliar world beyond.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng: Explores the fallout of a favorite daughter’s shattering death on a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.

They Called Us Enemy- George Takei: The iconic actor and activist presents a graphic memoir detailing his experiences as a child prisoner in the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II, reflecting on the hard choices his family made in the face of legalized racism.

How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X Kendi: From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves. Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America—but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.

Into the planet: my life as a cave diver – Jill Heinerth: A renowned cave diver and expert consultant presents a firsthand account of a trailblazing career spent exploring the hidden depths and sunken caves of the world’s oceans, detailing the field’s important scientific and historical discoveries.

Lenin: A Biography – Robert Service: A biography of the first Soviet leader delves into his heavily mythologized life to show why he was so feared, respected, and loved in Russia.

Love lives here: a story of thriving in a transgender family – Jette Amanda Knox: An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family–a family who shows what’s possible when you “lead with love.”.

Pope Joan revealed: the true story of the woman who ruled Christendom – Lone Jensen:

Rules of civility – Amor Towles: A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year’s Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne’er-do-well, and a single-minded widow.

The ghost orchard: the hidden history of the apple in North America – Helen Humphreys: Looks at the secret history of the apple in North America, and explores the intricate link between agriculture, settlement, and human relationships.

MYSTERY

Bruno, Chief of Police (Series) – Martin Walker: Captain Bruno Courreges goes by the grand title of Chief of Police, though in truth he’s the only municipal policeman on staff, in the small town of St Denis. He has a gun, but never wears it. He has the power to arrest but never uses it. But that might be about to change. When the body of an old man, head of an immigrant North African family, is found in his home, eviscerated, the conclusion is that this killing must be racist. But Bruno isn’t convinced and suspects this unusual crime may have its roots in a tortured period of recent French history.

Lethal white – Robert Galbraith: When a troubled young man asks him to investigate a crime he thinks he saw as a child, Cormoran Strike sets off on a twisting trail that leads from London’s backstreets, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a country manor house.

Birder Murder Mysteries (Series) – Steve Burrows: (First book in series) Domenic Jejeune is a reluctant police hero but an enthusiastic birdwatcher. After he’s promoted to a post in the heart of Britain’s birding country, his first case involves the murder of an environmentalist. Torn between loyalties to his job and his hobby, Jejeune faces mistrust from his colleagues and self-doubt as he works to solve the case.

The life we bury – Allen Eskens: College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe’s life is ever the same. Iverson is a dying Vietnam veteran–and a convicted murderer. As Joe writes about Carl’s life, especially Carl’s valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth.

The unquiet dead – Ausma Zehanat Khan: Detective Esa Khattack and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, investigate the death of a local man who may have been a Bosnian war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

The ruinous sweep – Tim Wynne-Jones: Tossed out of car onto a remote highway with no memory of the past 24 hours, Donovan causes a fatal accident trying to flag down help and is forced to assume the dead person’s identity to prove he is innocent of murder.

ROMANCE

The Rosie result – Graeme C. Simsion: Don and Rosie help their eleven-year-old son who is struggling at school and having trouble fitting in while trying to open a cocktail bar.

Twilight saga (Series) – Stephenie Meyer: Moving to the small town of Forks in Washington State, high school student Bella Swan is captivated by the mysterious Edward Cullen who she later finds out is a vampire. The series follows their love story and the dangers they face in order to be together.

THRILLER

The bad daughter – Joy Fielding: Estranged from her family because of her difficulties getting along with her stepmother, Robin returns home in the aftermath of a brutal home invasion, hoping to mend fences, only to uncover horrible family secrets that may have led to the attack.

HISTORICAL FICTION

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles: Deemed unrepentant by a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a hotel across the street from the Kremlin, where he lives in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history unfold.

The innocents – Michael Crummey: Two orphans forage for survival on an isolated Newfoundland cove during years marked by storms and ravaging illness, before the mystery of their nature tests the limits of their bond.

Barkskins – Annie Proulx: Working as woodcutters under a feudal lord in 17th-century New France, two impoverished young Frenchmen follow separate journeys, one of extraordinary hardship, the other of wealth and craftiness, that shape their families throughout three centuries.

Circe – Madeline Miller: Follows the banished witch daughter of Titans as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson: As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets.

The Alice network – Kate Quinn: In 1947, pregnant Charlie St. Clair, an American college girl banished from her family, arrives in London to find out what happened to her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, and meets a former spy who, torn apart by betrayal, agrees to help her on her mission.

The book thief – Markus Zusak: Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

The book woman of Troublesome Creek – Kim Michelle Richardson: A last-of-her-kind outcast and member of the Pack Horse Library Project braves the hardships of Kentucky’s Great Depression and hostile community discrimination to bring the near-magical perspectives of books to her neighbors.

The nightingale – Kristin Hannah: Reunited when the elder’s husband is sent to fight in World War II, French sisters Vianne and Isabelle find their bond as well as their respective beliefs tested by a world that changes in horrific ways.

The Sealed Letter – Emma Donoghue: Emily “Fido” Faithfull, a spinster pioneer in the British women’s movement, is distracted from her cause by the details of her friend’s failing marriage and affair with a young army officer, in this drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian style.

The world that we knew – Alice Hoffman: Sent away to 1941 Paris when Berlin becomes too dangerous for Jewish families, a young girl bonds with her protective mystical golem; while her friend, a rabbi’s daughter, rises to become a defender of their people.

FANTASY

Outlander Novels (Series) – Diana Gabaldon: Who would have known stepping into a circle of standing stones would transport you back in time to eighteenth century Scotland? Claire Randall learned this the hard way in the year 1945. While there, she falls in love with the young Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser as they are swept up in the events of the Jacobite uprising.

The Dark Artifices (Series) – Cassandra Clare: (First book in series) “Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs and her parabatai Julian Blackthorn race to stop a demonic plot that threatens Los Angeles”

The Pisces – Melissa Broder: Bottoming out after a dramatic breakup, a habitual student accepts her sister’s invitation to dog-sit on Venice Beach for the summer, where she meets an eerily attractive swimmer one night whose Sirenic identity transforms her understanding of what real love looks like.

SCIENCE FICTION

Ready player one – Ernest Cline: Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

Red rising – Pierce Brown: A tale set in a bleak future society torn by class divisions follows the experiences of secret revolutionary Darrow, who after witnessing his wife’s execution by an oppressive government joins a revolutionary cell and attempts to infiltrate an elite military academy.

Lunar Chronicles (Series) – Marissa Meyer: This science fiction/fantasy mash-up — set on a plague-ravaged future Earth — retells the stories of four oppressed, but empowered, fairy tale heroines. New characters are woven into each book creating a separate but layered story connected to Cinder, a cyborg version of Cinderella. The stakes are high as each heroine fights for a happy, and romantic, ever after.

NON-FICTION

I’ll be gone in the dark: one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer – Michelle McNamara: An account of the unsolved Golden State Killer case, written by the late author of the TrueCrimeDiary.com website traces the rapes and murders of dozens of victims and the author’s determined efforts to help identify the killer and bring him to justice.

Scientific American (Magazine) – Various Authors: An American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein, have contributed articles to it. It is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States (though it only became monthly in 1921).

The ghost orchard: the hidden history of the apple in North America – Helen Humphreys: Looks at the secret history of the apple in North America, and explores the intricate link between agriculture, settlement, and human relationships.

The vagina bible – Jennifer Gunter: Dr. Jen Gunter now delivers the definitive book on vaginal health, answering the questions you’ve always had but were afraid to ask – or couldn’t find the right answers to. She has been called Twitter’s resident gynecologist, the Internet’s OB/GYN, and one of the fiercest advocates for women’s health… and she’s here to give you the straight talk on the topics she knows best.

The war that ended peace: the road to 1914 – Margaret MacMillan: Presents a narrative portrait of Europe in the years leading up to World War I that illuminates the political, cultural, and economic factors and contributing personalities that shaped major events.

CLASSIC LITERATURE

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (1847): In early nineteenth-century England, an orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess and soon finds herself in love with her employer who has a terrible secret.

MISSISSIPPI MILLS READS TEENS 2019

We asked you what books were the most memorable reads of 2019 and your answer was:

Red rising – Pierce Brown: A tale set in a bleak future society torn by class divisions follows the experiences of secret revolutionary Darrow, who after witnessing his wife’s execution by an oppressive government joins a revolutionary cell and attempts to infiltrate an elite military academy.

Ready player one – Ernest Cline: Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

Lunar Chronicles (Series) – Marissa Meyer: This science fiction/fantasy mash-up — set on a plague-ravaged future Earth — retells the stories of four oppressed, but empowered, fairy tale heroines. New characters are woven into each book creating a separate but layered story connected to Cinder, a cyborg version of Cinderella. The stakes are high as each heroine fights for a happy, and romantic, ever after.

The ruinous sweep – Tim Wynne-Jones: Tossed out of car onto a remote highway with no memory of the past 24 hours, Donovan causes a fatal accident trying to flag down help and is forced to assume the dead person’s identity to prove he is innocent of murder.

How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X Kendi: From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves. Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America—but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.

Circe – Madeline Miller: Follows the banished witch daughter of Titans as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

The Dark Artifices (Series) – Cassandra Clare: (First book in series) “Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs and her parabatai Julian Blackthorn race to stop a demonic plot that threatens Los Angeles”

Twilight saga (Series) – Stephenie Meyer: Moving to the small town of Forks in Washington State, high school student Bella Swan is captivated by the mysterious Edward Cullen who she later finds out is a vampire. The series follows their love story and the dangers they face in order to be together.

Tin man – Sarah Winman: A heartbreaking celebration of love in all its forms gradually reveals a fallout between two longtime friends and Oxford students over the course of a decade marked by the marriage of one and the disappearance of the other.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng: Explores the fallout of a favorite daughter’s shattering death on a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.

Mississippi Mills Reads Junior 2019

We asked you what books were the most memorable reads of 2019 and your answer was:

Dog Man: For whom the ball rolls – Dav Pilkey: Dog Man has been working hard to overcome his bad habits, but when his obsessions turn to fears, he finds himself the target of an all-new supervillain, while Petey the Cat, who was just released from jail, starts a new life with Li’l Petey. GN

School for Good and Evil (Series) – Soman Chainani: (First book in series) Best friends Sophie (princess wannabe) and Agatha (witchy loner) are headed (via kidnapping) to the School for Good and Evil, but their assumed destinies are reversed.

The confidence code for girls: taking risks, messing up, & becoming your amazingly imperfect, totally powerful self – Katty Kay: Offers inspiration and practical advice to encourage girls to take risks, have big adventures, and challenge themselves in ways they never imagined.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney: (First book in series) Greg records his sixth grade experiences in a middle school where he and his best friend, Rowley, undersized weaklings amid boys who need to shave twice daily, hope just to survive, but when Rowley grows more popular, Greg must take drastic measures to save their friendship.

The Puppy Place (Series) – Ellen Miles:

(Goldie) Charles and Lizzie Peterson love puppies. They want a puppy of their own more than just about anything. They know dogs are a lot of work. But their Mom still doesn’t think their family is ready for a puppy. Then, Goldie arrives. She is a sweet golden retriever who needs a home. Goldie is very young. She doesn’t know how to be a good puppy yet. Will Charles and Lizzie be able to help her? (Angel) While hiking with her new environmental club, Lizzie sees a dog stranded in the woods. After a dramatic rescue, The Peterson’s decide that have to foster Angel, an adorable Havanese. With everything this playful pup has been through, will she find the writer new owner?

There were also many honorable mentions. This is the list. Happy readings!

B Magical (Series)– Liz Connor: (First book in series) Now that Beatrix (known to her friends as B) is eleven, she should be able to cast spells, just like everyone else in her magical family, but no matter how hard she tries, it doesn’t work.

Creepella Von Cacklefur (Series) – Geronimo Stilton: (First book in series) Creepella von Cacklefur, an amateur journalist, heads to the scary Squeakspeare mansion to interview some ghosts, where they meet Billy Squeakspeare, who is too afraid to go into his haunted house alone.

Drama – Raina Telgemeier: Callie rides an emotional roller coaster while serving on the stage crew for a middle school production of Moon over Mississippi as various relationships start and end, and others never quite get going. GN

Guts – Raina Telgemeier: Developing a chronic upset stomach that she initially dismisses as a bug, young Raina discovers that her symptoms are related to her anxieties about school, food and changing friendships, in a story based on the Eisner Award-winning author’s childhood. GN

Smile – Raina Telgemeier: An autobiography in graphic novel format describes how the author lost two of her front teeth in an accident when she was twelve, and her subsequent struggles with various corrective dental techniques throughout adolescence. GN

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling: When the government of the magic world and authorities at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry refuse to believe in the growing threat of a freshly revived Lord Voldemort, fifteen-year-old Harry Potter finds support from his loyal friends in facingthe evil wizard and other new terrors.

Magic Misfits (Series) – Neil Patrick Harris: (First book in series) “Six young magicians and illusionists team up to save their small town from a crooked carnival owner and his goons”

Wings of fire. (Original series) – Tui Sutherland: In this fast-paced, plot-driven epic fantasy series, five young dragons are stolen and raised by the secret Talons of Peace, who hope that this plan will bring an end to the long-standing war between the dragon tribes. The series features distinctive characters, dramatic and graphically violent battle scenes, and plenty of plot twists.

Wonder – R. J. Palacio: Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.