Best fiction of 2019 (2023)

It has been a year of doubles: two Nobel laureates, two Booker winners, even two Ian McEwan novels (his Kafka-lite satire The Cockroach was yet more fallout from Brexit). Having promised to look beyond Europe after skipping the award in 2018, the Nobel committee honoured two Europeans: the Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk and, more controversially, Austrian Milošević-supporter Peter Handke. Closer to home, the UK’s general air of indecision infected the Booker prize, which split the award in two, thus missing the chance to crown Bernardine Evaristo outright as the first ever black female winner for her innovative and life-affirming Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton), interlinked stories of black British women which brim with heart and humour.

Best fiction of 2019 (1)

Evaristo shared the prize with the year’s biggest book by far: Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale sequel The Testaments (Chatto), which combines Aunt Lydia’s sly perspective on the theocratic regime – its brutal birth and her ambiguous role at the heart of it – with more action-adventure strands about the two young women seeking to bring it down. Fan-pleaser, literary curio, a fascinating example of the interplay between written fiction and TV: the book is all three, with Atwood’s musings on power and the patterns of history as incisive as ever.

(Video) Top 10 Fiction Books of 2019

If history felt like a hall of mirrors in 2019, and current affairs a car crash, then Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton) – the riddling story of one man, two time zones and two car accidents – was the novel to read. In the late 80s, Saul goes to East Berlin to study; in the recent past, he faces up to the rest of his life. Skewering different forms of totalitarianism – from the state, to the family, to the strictures of the male gaze – Levy explodes conventional narrative to explore the individual’s place and culpability within history. It’s one of the most unusual and rewarding novels of this or any year.

The timelines of history are similarly unstable in Sandra Newman’s high-concept The Heavens (Granta), in which a woman leads a double existence, waking up sometimes as Shakespeare’s Dark Lady in Renaissance England and sometimes in a 21st-century New York that is getting progressively worse. Can her actions really be influencing world events hundreds of years later? How far do we make our own reality? This is a dazzling exploration of creativity and madness in the poignant, panic-tinged end times.

The power of myth-making drives Mark Haddon’s best novel yet. The Porpoise (Chatto) begins as a propulsive thriller about abuse among the super-rich and segues into a classical-world adventure that reinvents the story of Pericles in prose of a hallucinatory vividness. Fantasy also mingles with reality in Max Porter’s light-footed second novel Lanny (Faber), as contemporary communal chatter and a spirit voice from deep time rise and fall together to tell the story of an extraordinary boy in an ordinary English village.

(Video) Best Books of 2019: Fiction | The Book Castle | 2020

Best fiction of 2019 (3)

James Meek wound the clock back to 14th-century England for a feat of scholarship and storytelling combined. Written in gleeful approximations of priestly, courtly and peasant medieval English, To Calais, in Ordinary Time (Canongate) follows a motley group of travellers in the shadow of the Black Death. Its portrait of individual dramas unfolding against the prospect of apocalypse speaks to current fears of climate crisis and Brexit alike.

Robert Harris also conjured a quasi-medieval world for a page-turning, thought-provoking speculation on the fragility of civilisation, The Second Sleep (Hutchinson). It’s 1468, and a young priest is investigating ancient artefacts: Harris reveals his setup to be ingeniously, chillingly topical. Ali Smith reached book three of her quickfire Seasonal Quartet, which interprets news headlines through the filters of art and story. Like Haddon, Smith was inspired by Pericles, an apt fable for an era of globalised migration. She uses it in Spring (Hamish Hamilton) as a bedrock for a typically agile story about narrowing horizons and widening inequality, which is also a furious indictment of the UK’s detention of refugees.

The distribution and morality of wealth is an ever more urgent subject. The TV sensation Succession tackled money’s corrupting effect within a family; Sadie Jones did a similarly brilliant job in The Snakes (Chatto), a psychodrama about avarice, abuse and entitlement which is both a cautionary tale and a pitch-black race-to-the-end thriller.

(Video) Reading | 2019 | Top 5 Fiction

Best fiction of 2019 (4)

It was an exceptional year for US fiction, with Tayari Jones winning the Women’s prize for An American Marriage (Oneworld), about black middle-class lives undone by structural racism, and Anglo-American Lucy Ellmann taking the Goldsmiths for her 1,000-page denunciation of Trump’s America and the world’s devaluing of motherhood, Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar). Rising star Ben Lerner came into his own with the stunningly multilayered The Topeka School (Granta), exploring voice, power and masculinity in the 90s and now. Téa Obrecht’s long-awaited second novel Inland (W&N) is an ingenious reinvention of the western, while Colson Whitehead’s follow-up to The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys (Fleet), lifts the lid on the racist brutality of reform schools in the Jim Crow-era south.

Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House (Bloomsbury) is a gloriously immersive family saga about lost inheritance, while in Olive, Again (Viking) Elizabeth Strout continues to find moments of transcendence in the trials of daily life as her obstreperous, much-loved character Olive Kitteridge moves into her 80s. Chinese-American writer Yiyun Li’s Where Reasons End (Hamish Hamilton), a dialogue between a mother and the teenage son she has lost to suicide, is spare, profound and devastating.

Best fiction of 2019 (5)
(Video) My Favourite Fiction Books of 2019

Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong’s autobiographical first novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Jonathan Cape) is a tender exploration of violence, migration and language, while Mexican author Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive (4th Estate), her first novel to be written in English, is an extraordinary achievement. It puts the desperate children crossing the border into the US at the heart of a beautifully composed, complex investigation into family, motherhood and the fragile connections between people.

Debuts to celebrate included Candice Carty-Williams’s witty Queenie (Trapeze), the adventures of a young black woman negotiating dating, family and identity in a gentrifying London, and Sara Collins’s The Confessions of Frannie Langton, a fantastically assured piece of historical gothic about an enslaved girl brought from a Jamaican plantation into the backbiting milieu of London society. Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman Is in Trouble (Wildfire), a dissection of sexual politics in contemporary New York, was a deliciously biting summer hit.

Best fiction of 2019 (6)

Debuts stood out in the world of short stories, too, notably Wendy Erskine’s clear-eyed tales of Belfast life in Sweet Home and Julia Armfield’s haunting Salt Slow (both Picador). All eyes were on Kristen “Cat Person” Roupenian, whose first collection You Know You Want This (Cape) skewed towards urban gothic rather than dating malaise. Queen of dark short fiction Sarah Hall brought us more expertly turned tales of sex, death and danger in Sudden Traveller (Faber), while Zadie Smith’s first collection, Grand Union (Hamish Hamilton), is a restlessly wide-ranging anthology covering two decades. In Deborah Eisenberg’s wryly subversive Your Duck Is My Duck (Europa), we had the first collection in 12 years from a US master of the form.

(Video) Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2019 || Book Recommendations

One of the year’s gems in translation was Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth (Verso), translated by Charlotte Barslund. A story of abuse, inheritance and the battle for the truth among a privileged Norwegian family, it grips like a vice while interrogating national as well as individual self-conception. Other standouts included Khaled Khalifa’s Death Is Hard Work (Faber), translated by Leri Price, a road trip set against the backdrop of the Syrian civil war, and Pajtim Statovci’s Crossing (Pushkin), translated by David Hackston, which explores migration, gender and self-invention through the shifting character of a young Albanian. For the first time, the Man Booker International prize went to a writer in Arabic. Jokha Alharthi’s Celestial Bodies (Sandstone), translated by Marilyn Booth, is a generation-spanning family saga exposing the legacy of slavery in Oman.

Best fiction of 2019 (7)

Tove Ditlevsen’s Copenhagen Trilogy (Penguin Modern Classics), translated by Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favala Goldman, was a welcome rediscovery: the fearless reconstruction of a difficult creative and romantic life as a woman in 20th-century Denmark. Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad (Harvill Secker), his prequel to Life and Fate translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler, was an extraordinary feat of scholarship. We have had to wait a quarter of a century for Yōko Ogawa’s The Memory Police (Harvill Secker), translated by Stephen Snyder, the story of an island where both objects and memories are “disappeared” by shadowy totalitarian forces and islanders must submit to enforced ignorance and diminished horizons. In an era beset by fears over news manipulation and Anthropocene extinction, this timeless fable of control and loss feels more timely than ever.


What is the most popular fantasy book right now? ›

Top 13 BEST Fantasy Books Everyone Should Read [2023 List]
  • Comparing Some Of The Best Fantasy Books.
  • #1) The Harry Potter Series.
  • #2) Lord Of The Rings.
  • #3) Game Of Thrones.
  • #4) The Dark Tower Series.
  • #5) The Name Of The Wind.
  • #6) American Gods.
  • #7) Good Omens.
Jan 19, 2023

What is SFF books? ›

(also SF&F) abbreviation for science fiction and fantasy: stories set in an imagined future or in an imaginary world: Not being an SFF fan, she didn't enjoy the film Dune. My favourite SF&F novel melds dinosaurs and time travel. He writes mainly SFF.

What should I read if I liked everything everything? ›

17 Books to Read If You Love 'Everything, Everything'
  • Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy.
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
  • Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom.
  • Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone.
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
  • My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.
Aug 7, 2017

What should I read if I like the Twilight Zone? ›

5 Books for Fans of The Twilight Zone
  • Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (translated by Megan McDowell)
  • Dog Symphony by Sam Munson.
  • You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (translated by Ross Benjamin)
  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid.
Apr 3, 2019

What is the most read fiction book? ›

Having sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling is the best-selling book series in history. The first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, has sold in excess of 120 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books of all time.

What are the top 5 most read books? ›

The Most Read Books of All Time
  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. ...
  • The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. ...
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. ...
  • The Da Vince Code by Dan Brown. ...
  • The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Myers. ...
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. ...
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. ...
  • Conclusion.
Jan 26, 2023

What does HNF mean in books? ›

I explained that it means happy for now — and that the term describes life: a mutual friend's job, everyone's life circumstances, good health for our families, my dog's current detente with the cat next door. She nodded. My high school student can use that, she mulled.

What does NF mean for books? ›

NF, nf - Near Fine. As in Book Condition.

What is a NF book? ›

A nonfiction book is one that tells you facts and information about the world around you. It can cover almost any topic, from wild animals to Vikings. If it's about something that really happened or something that really exists, it is nonfiction. Some nonfiction books have illustrations (pictures) as well as words.

What is a book that everyone needs to read? ›

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Anne Frank. "1984" by George Orwell. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling.

What do the wealthiest people read? ›

Here are seven of the most common of these books read by millionaires:
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People. ...
  • Sapiens. ...
  • Thinking Fast and Slow. ...
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. ...
  • Originals, How Non-Conformists Move the World. ...
  • The Power of Habit Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. ...
  • The Alchemist.
Dec 29, 2017

What books do you think everyone should read? ›

Your Must-Reads: 30 Best Books to Read
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. ...
  • 1984, by George Orwell. ...
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling. ...
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. ...
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. ...
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. ...
  • The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank.

What is the most famous line in Twilight? ›

I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.” “You are my life now.”

Why is Twilight criticized? ›

In fact, many have rightfully criticized "Twilight" for its heavily anti-feminist sentiment and sexism. Like the many romance films marketed toward young women, "Twilight" is yet another stale, predominantly white film in which the “weak” female protagonist needs a “strong” and powerful man to be her “savior.”

What should I read after Twilight and 50 Shades of GREY? ›

So here is a list of romance books like Fifty Shades of Grey that I've read, re-read, and completely loved.
  • Bared to You by Sylvia Day. ...
  • This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas. ...
  • Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige. ...
  • Release Me by J. ...
  • On Dublin Street by Samantha Young. ...
  • Wall Street Titan by Anna Zaires. ...
  • The Pawn by Skye Warren.

What is the most read book in 2022? ›

Goodreads Most Read Books of 2022
  • It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover.
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
  • Verity by Colleen Hoover.
  • The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood.
  • Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover.
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry.
  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
Feb 4, 2023

What are the top five fiction bestsellers on the NY Times list? ›

Hardcover Fiction
  • 39 weeks on the list. LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY. by Bonnie Garmus. ...
  • 19 weeks on the list. TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW, AND TOMORROW. by Gabrielle Zevin. ...
  • 5 weeks on the list. THE HOUSE IN THE PINES. by Ana Reyes. ...
  • 16 weeks on the list. DEMON COPPERHEAD. by Barbara Kingsolver. ...
  • New this week. MAAME. by Jessica George.

What is the highest rated fiction book on Goodreads? ›

To Kill a Mockingbird

What is the number 1 book ever? ›

Top 100 best selling books of all time
1Da Vinci Code,TheBrown, Dan
2Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsRowling, J.K.
3Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneRowling, J.K.
4Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixRowling, J.K.
45 more rows

What is the most sold fiction book of all time? ›

25 Best-Selling Books of All-Time
  • #1 – Don Quixote (500 million copies sold) ...
  • #2 – A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies sold) ...
  • #3 – The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold) ...
  • #4 – The Little Prince (142 million copies sold) ...
  • #5 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (107 million copies sold)

What is everyone reading now 2022? ›

The 100 Must-Read Books of 2022
  • A Heart That Works.
  • Afterlives.
  • All the Lovers in the Night.
  • All This Could Be Different.
  • An Immense World.
  • Ancestor Trouble.
  • Animal Joy.
  • Anna: The Biography.

What is America's most read book? ›

To Kill a Mockingbird was voted by viewers as America's #1 best-loved novel in The Great American Read.

What does OMD mean in books? ›

[ɔɛmde ] abbreviation for. (= Oh Mon Dieu !) OMG (= Oh My God !)

What does TBP mean in books? ›

Article Talk.

What does SJM stand for in books? ›

SJM – Sarah J Maas (an author) TOG – Throne of Glass (an SJM series)

What does FML mean in books? ›

F/F – A female-female romantic pairing. FMC – Female main character.

What does CA mean in books? ›

It means circa, which means around in the sense of more or less or approximately.

What does F mean in reading? ›

LEVEL F BOOKS usually have themes and ideas typical to the experiences of children. The characters will be more developed and the sentences in the story will be longer (more than ten words). The words may have one or two, or even three, syllables. The illustrations continue to be very supportive of the text.

What does NP mean in novel? ›

NP: Non-Prose.

Why fiction is better than non fiction? ›

Research, however, suggests that reading fiction may provide far more important benefits than nonfiction. For example, reading fiction predicts increased social acuity and a sharper ability to comprehend other people's motivations.

What is the difference between a novel and a story book? ›

Broadly speaking, a short story is any work of narrative fiction from 1,000 to 10,000 words. Novels, by contrast, tend to be around 50,000 to 70,000 words, though of course there are plenty of examples of novels that are longer or shorter than those arbitrary guidelines.

What should I read if I liked the Seven Sisters? ›

Lucinda Riley books to read if you love The Seven Sisters series
  • The Murders at Fleat House. by Lucinda Riley. ...
  • The Butterfly Room. by Lucinda Riley. ...
  • The Olive Tree. by Lucinda Riley. ...
  • The Love Letter. by Lucinda Riley. ...
  • The Angel Tree. by Lucinda Riley. ...
  • The Italian Girl. by Lucinda Riley. ...
  • The Midnight Rose. ...
  • The Light Behind The Window.
May 6, 2022

What to read if you liked where the forest meets the stars? ›

Book recommendations for people who like Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah.
Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny
  • Playboy (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Employees.
  • Hefner, Hugh M. ( Hugh Marston), 1926.

What should I read if I liked Lord of the Rings? ›

10 Adventure-Filled Books Like Lord of the Rings to Explore
  • The Face in the Frost. By John Bellairs. ...
  • Three Hearts and Three Lions. By Poul Anderson. ...
  • Descent into Hell. By Charles Williams. ...
  • The Name of the Wind. By Patrick Rothfuss. ...
  • The Gunslinger. By Stephen King. ...
  • The Fifth Season. ...
  • The Deed of Paksenarrion. ...
  • The Eye of the World.
Jan 22, 2020

What should I read if I like the aurora rising? ›

Traitor's Blade: The Greatcoats Book 1
  • Law Enforcement.
  • Imaginary Places.
  • Regicide.

What authors are similar to Lucinda Riley? ›

Rachel Hore

Like Lucinda Riley and Kate Morton, Rachel Hore's books have the split timeline that I enjoy in a book, and she is another author whose book was chosen for The Richard and Judy Book Club. At the centre of each plot is a mystery from the past that has repercussions in the present.

Will the 8th book of The Seven Sisters be released? ›

This item will be released May 11, 2023.

Is there a book as good as Where the Crawdads Sing? ›

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone is one of the most frequently recommended books for readers who loved Where the Crawdads Sing and has a similarly impressive reputation.

What should I read after Chris Colfer? ›

  • If you liked The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer,
  • Then you'll love...
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.
  • Storybound by Melissa Burt.
  • The Apothecary by Maile Meloy.

What is the most famous line in Lord of the Rings? ›

What is the most famous quote from Lord of the Rings? There are a few quotes from the Lord of the Rings books and films that fans often argue are the best or most famous. The most popular choices are: “Not all those who wander are lost.” — Bilbo Baggins.

Can a 15 year old read The Lord of the Rings? ›

From personal experiences, I can say that a child can be ready to begin reading the Lord of the Ring's trilogy or the Hobbit as early as ten years old. Tolkien was a masterful author, but his lengthy stories can grow tiresome for children.

What to read after Lord of the Rings and Hobbit? ›

Books Like The Hobbit: 12 Epic Fantasies Worth Reading
  • The Nethergrim. by Matthew Jobin. ...
  • Redwall. by Brian Jaques. ...
  • The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. by James A. ...
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon. by Kelly Barnhill. ...
  • Merlin Saga. by T.A. Barron. ...
  • The Vanishing Island. ...
  • The Inheritance Cycle. ...
  • A Tale of Light and Shadow.

Is there LGBT in Aurora Rising? ›

Amaryllis (Amy) Washington One of the main characters is bisexual. (Finian) Also there are minor characters and passers-by that are LGBTQ2+.

Is Aurora Rising going to be a TV series? ›

Development continues on an MGM live-action TV series adaptation of the science fiction, action comedy novel "Aurora Rising" by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: " 2380, protagonist 'Ty Jones', a cadet with the 'Aurora Academy' leads a group of dregs nobody else in the academy would touch.

Is there a love triangle in Aurora Rising? ›

While I may have had problems with specific characters, there are other aspects of the book that I just didn't enjoy. There are two, intersecting love triangles.


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