Books Read in 2019


  1. They Were Counted by Miklós Bánffy (translated from the Hungarian by Patrick Thursfield and Katalin Bánffy-Jelen)
  2. Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami (translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin, for JLC12)
  3. Still Is The Land by Beryl Markham
  4. The Master Key by Masako Togawa (translated from the Japanese by Simon Grove, for JLC12)


  1. The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, for JLC12)
  2. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (for Book Club)
  3. The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon (translated from the Japanese by Meredith McKinney, for JLC12)
  4. The Reckoning by John Grisham
  5. Desire by Haruki Murakami (translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin, Ted Goossen, and Philip Gabriel, for JLC12)
  6. Star by Yukio Mishima (translated from the Japanese by Sam Bett, for JLC12)
  7. The Emissary (Last Children of Tokyo in the UK) by Yoko Tawada


  1. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  2. We & Me by Saskia de Coster (translated from the Dutch by Nancy Forest-Flier) for Boekenweek
  3. Craving by Esther Gerritsen (translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison) for Boekenweek
  4. You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben (translated from the Dutch by David Doherty) for Boekenweek
  5. The Shape of The Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean, Man Booker International Prize 2019 short list)
  6. The Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli (translated from the French by Sam Taylor, Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list)
  7. A Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list)
  8. The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (translated from the German by Jen Calleja, Man Booker International Prize, 2019 short list)
  9. Jokes for the Gunman by Mazan Maarouf (translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright, Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list)
  10. At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong (translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell, Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list)
  11. The Years by Annie Ernaux (translated from the French by Alison Strayer, Man Booker International Prize 2019 short list)
  12. The Death of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa (translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett, Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list)
  13. Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth, Man Booker International Prize 2019 short list)


  1. The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg (translated from the Swedish by Deborah Bragan-Turner, Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list)
  2. Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Man Booker International Prize 2019 short list)
  3. The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zeran (translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes, Man Booker International Prize 2019 short list)
  4. Love in The New Millennium by Can Xue (translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, Man Booker International Prize 2019 long list)
  5. Love In The Haystacks by D. H. Lawrence
  6. The Ladybird by D. H. Lawrence
  7. Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima (translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt)
  8. What’s Mine is Mine by George MacDonald (Wheaton College)
  9. The Third Victim by Philip Margolin
  10. Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto (for Book Club)
  11. If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura (translated from the Japanese by Eric Selland)
  12. Hotel by Arthur Hailey (1965 Club)


  1. Hum If You Don’t Know The Words by Bianca Marais (for Book Club)
  2. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne DuMaurier (for Daphne DuMaurier Week)
  3. Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier (for Daphne DuMaurier Week)
  4. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne DuMaurier (for Daphne DuMaurier Week)
  5. Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer (for Book Club)


  1. The Linden Tree by César Aira (for Spanish Lit Month)
  2. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (abandoned 300 pages in)
  3. At The Back of The North Wind by George MacDonald
  4. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler (reread)
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (for Spanish Lit Month)


  1. Sons of Chaos by Chris Jaymes, a graphic novel illustrated by Ale Aragon
  2. This Poison Will Remain by Fred Vargas (for Women In Translation Month)
  3. Luke (from the New Testament)


  1. The Chain by Adrian McKinty (R.I.P. XIV)
  2. The Whisperer by Karin Fossum (translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson) (R.I.P. XIV)
  3. The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (R.I.P. XIV)
  4. Death Among Company by Craig Johnson (R.I.P. XIV)


  1. The Institute by Stephen King (R.I.P. XIV)
  2. The Virgin and the Gypsy by D. H. Lawrence (1930 Club)


  1. Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan
  2. Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaron Warren
  3. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell


  • The Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  • The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada (translated from the Japanese by David Boyd)
  • The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili

25 thoughts on “Books Read in 2019”

  1. Some wonderful books there, Bellezza! And the shape of your reading year looks a lot like mine, with lots of books in the earlier months and a tapering-off at the end. I’ve got behind with my blog too, and with reading others, so it was good to check in and see what you’ve been up to. Happy New Year!


    1. Isn’t it easy to taper off at the end? At least that was what happened to me in 2019. I am glad to be reminded of how much you enjoyed The Great Passage, when I visited your blog just now, and I so look forward to sharing more books with you in 2020. You have a compassionate, insightful soul, I think.


  2. Bonne année, Belezza. Lots of great stuff here, some of which I’ve read, most of which I haven’t some of which I really want to read, such as the Gabriel Vasquez and some more Lawrence. I can’t believe I missed your Bánffy post a year ago, but I’m delighted to learn that you liked it so much. Do you think you’ll get to the other two volumes?

    I’m also amused to see Arthur Haley’s Hotel on here. I watched the film version not too long ago and found it a hoot, Haley pretty much just surgically lifted Vicky Baum’s Grand Hotel and molded it into the shape of 1970’s kitsch.

    Happy reading in 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott, it is such a pleasure to have you visit here; the way you write about the books you’ve read is truly special, and I feel I just blunder along Chez Bellezza. Be that as it may, it was your great enthusiasm which prompted me to read They Were Counted, and I will not forget the power of that book. When a novel is truly special to me (few are, actually), such as Anna Karenina or Charlotte’s Web, I cannot write about it. I feel my words only shadow what I want to say, that the author has said perfectly. So, I didn’t write about Banffy. But, yes, I will read the rest of the trilogy, hopefully in 2020.

      Arthur Hailey’s Hotel was a hoot. It brought me back to my childhood, the racy paperbacks such as his in the turnstile of the corner drugstore. They mark an era, I think, one which was fun to revisit.

      Remember when we read Hill with others? It would be fun to read something else together in the year to come. Many blessings on 2020.


      1. Thanks for your very kind words, Meredith. I see from Dorian’s blog that another group read (of Henri Bosco’s Malicroix) is in the works for this spring, so I’d love to participate in that Hill follow-up!


  3. Some fascinating titles there – and many authors I haven’t read, which spurs me on to explore a little further! 😁


  4. Except by Du Maurier, Marquez and The Pillow Book, I have not read any of the other books, hahaha. I see a couple of authors I have heard about, but the rest is totally mysterious and fascinating to me. I must pick at least one of them for this year!


    1. This is part of the joy of blogging, I think, to find such varied and exciting titles from one another. I have looked at ‘end of year’ posts on many blogs, and I’m constantly amazed at how many books I haven’t read, let alone heard of! This was not the best reading year for me, and yet a few stellar books stand out. Mostly in the Japanese literature area. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t believe I haven’t read a single book from your list! I tried to listen to Cold Dish on audio, but gave up after a few chapters. I’ve watched the tv series, but didn’t care for the reader of the audio.


    1. I have veered more and more into the translated literature arena, and sadly, it makes me feel separated from the blogging friends I initially made in 2006 when this all began…my interests are constantly changing, I think, such that I even want to start anew with a fresh blog. Well, while that is cooking in the back of my mind, let me say that Craig Johnson was a new find for me (give me fifteen years, I’ll discover a writer ;)), and I loved the Western setting. It reminded me so much of going into the country with my father as a child. I can see how the reader of an audio book would make or break the listening of a story; I especially can’t stand the high pitch of some voices.

      I am finishing The Starless Sea, and I love it. It is much like The Night Circus, in terms of being a multi-faceted puzzle which one needs to keep straight as one reads. But Erin’s imagination? The imagery she is able to create? I am astonished all over again. I think you will like it when you get to it. (I’m assuming here that you will.) xo


      1. I listened to The Night Circus and am wondering if I should go that route with The Starless Sea. What do you think?

        BTW, I was at the library this morning and got a copy of Convenience Store Woman! 🙂


        1. Well, for me listening to The Starless Sea would never work; I had trouble keeping track of everything simply reading. But then again, I am not as good a listener as you are.

          I”m glad you found Convenience Store Woman! I hope you like it; my heart leaned toward the female character. As I recall, she almost seemed to be “special needs” to me in a few respects. We’ll have to chat if you finish it. Remember, there is something like 3,000 convenience stores in Tokyo alone; the people need them with with their very small apartments.😊


          1. Thanks for your input, Meredith. I remember some confusion as I listened to The Night Circus, so I’m glad to know that you think the print version of her latest will be more suitable. If I love the book, I can always listen to it for a second reading.

            I will probably start Convenience Store Woman in a few days. I’m currently reading The Only Plane In the Sky, which is excellent, but not a book to read before falling asleep. Ah. Maybe I’ll read CSW at night!


  6. You read so widely – and yet you managed to fit in two Craig Johnson novels – he’s great for down to earth mildly humorous reading. You’ve reminded me to try more Japanese novels and translated novels during 2020. Thanks for sharing your reading year with us.


    1. Alison, I do read widely. That comment made me smile because it is a nice way of saying, “You read all over the place.” Not that you would be accusatory, just that sometimes I feel I have no precise definition in my interests. (Except, I don’t like “cheap, trashy Romance novels” as my husband would call them.☺️)

      Do consider joining us for the Japanese Literature Challenge 13, in which you would only ‘have’ to read one work of Japanese literature. And, there are so many to choose from, ranging from thriller to classic to magical realism. A short one, which is wonderful, is The Convenience Store Woman (in case you haven’t read it).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I didn’t mean ‘you read all over the place’: like me, you have eclectic tastes! there’s a difference … Thanks for the invite to join in the Japanese #13, but I have vowed to eschew all Reading Challenges. Not for me. And yes, I have read Convenience Store Woman – a strange, sad book – could only have taken place in Japan; I reviewed it last year on the booksmithblog. But I will follow your #13 posts with interest. Enjoy!


  7. What a great variety of books in translation! Even though I didn’t join you last year on the Japanese Literature Challenge I did read two Japanese books both by new to me authors so I was really excited about that. Looking forward to this year and I already have a book for the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve not read any of these books! I used to have a copy of At the Back of the North Wind by MacDonald but I don’t know what happened to it *gasp* I haven’t read it though. Did you have any top favorites for your reading this year?


    1. I do have a few favorites, listed on an earlier post, but this wasn’t such a good reading year for me. I loved Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead, Karin Fossum’s The Whisperer, and Judith (?) Phillips’ The Disappearing Earth. Those stand out most in ny head right now.


  9. What a fascinating list of books! I went the other way, dipped in the middle but finished strongly (mainly I think because I gave up a hobby that was taking up a lot of time at the weekends). Weirdly, the two books you read that I’ve also read were ones that you listed together, At The Back of The North Wind by George MacDonald and The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler – how strange! I’ve followed your blog now and look forward to reading more of your insightful reviews of interesting books.


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