It was really hard to narrow down this list this year (as you can tell from how I included honorable mentions at the end for the first time). I read some very good books in 2019—55 in all. I’m currently reading number 55, Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah but will finish it before the year officially ends.

I’ll always remember 2019 as the year I finally started my “bookstagram” page. I’ve had a ton of fun discussing books with readers around the world since I started the page in February.

Since it was such a good reading year, this list isn’t even all of the books I gave five-star ratings. But these 10 stood out.

Here are my ten favorite books of 2019 (that weren’t necessarily published in 2019 and in no particular order):

1. Sula by Toni Morrison

Genre: Fiction

What it’s about: It’s hard to describe what a Toni Morrison novel is ever really about, but this one is basically the story of two women who were childhood friends and take different paths in life. It’s also my favorite by her.

Why I loved it: It made me think and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The themes of female friendship and the labels of “good woman” and “bad woman” stuck with me. (Read my full review)

2. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Genre: Nonfiction – Historical Narrative

What it’s about: The Great Migration through the stories of three people who lived through it.

Why I loved it: It’s truly epic in both length and coverage, blending historical data and narrative for an engaging overview of this piece of history. (Read my full review)

3. In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow

Genre: Historical Fiction

What it’s about: The strong female lead character, Knot, and her non-traditional, small-town southern life.

Why I loved it: It’s set in Eastern North Carolina (where I’m from) and it’s an honest story about a complicated woman, her decisions, secrets, and friendships, and her rural Black neighborhood. (Read my full review)

4. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller

Genre: Nonfiction – Christian Theology

What it’s about: Doubts and common questions among nonbelievers and believers about God and Christianity.

Why I loved it: It presents a rational case and good questions for believers and nonbelievers to ask about why they believe or why they don’t. It’s compassionate, not condemning or condescending, in challenging assumptions and arguments against Christianity with logical reasoning. (Read my full review)

5. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Genre: Fiction – Short Story Collection

What it’s about: An assortment of unique stories set in Nigeria and the United States.

Why I loved it: It’s a really strong short story collection with vivid depictions of characters, cultures, magical realism, and more. (Read my full review)

6. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Genre: Science Fiction

What it’s about: A man who is attacked and kidnapped one night and wakes up in a lab.

Why I loved it: It sucked me in and never let go, and made me consider how grateful I am for my current reality and how life would’ve been if I made or didn’t make certain choices. (Read my full review)

7. The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

Genre: Nonfiction – History

What it’s about: A detailed history of how the American church became racially divided and the ways Christians have historically participated in or compromised with racism.

Why I loved it: Even though it upset me immensely, Tisby produced a well-researched, honest history and assessment of his own faith family. His combination of historical facts and hope for the future is a service to the Church and a helpful contribution to the conversation on race and the American Christian church. (Read my full review)

8. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Genre: Fiction

What it’s about: A few families beginning with the fathers’ journeys through their young adult years, all the way through their children in their young adult years.

Why I loved it: It’s brilliant. The vivid characters and the cultural, religious, and racial details within the story “wowed” me. (Read my full review)

9. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Genre: Nonfiction – Essays

What it’s about: The best of the “Dear Sugar” advice column.

Why I loved it: It was funny, heartwrenching, and personal. It reminded me of Modern Love (which I also loved this year) but touched my heart a bit more. (Read my full review)

10. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Genre: Fiction

What it’s about: Two sisters, their lives, their love, and their pain.

Why I loved it: It’s a complex story that I regretted only having known from the movie. There’s much more to it and The Color Purple is a simply beautiful novel. (Read my full review)

Honorable Mention

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (Fiction)

Modern Love by Daniel Jones (Nonfiction – Essay Collection)

You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down by Alice Walker (Fiction – Short Story Collection)

What were your favorite books of the year? Feel free to let me know in the comments so I can add them to my ever-growing “to-read” list.

To see my reviews all year, follow my Bookstagram page and add me on Goodreads.

For all the rest of the books I read in 2019, click here.

For my favorite books of 2018, click here.

For my favorite books of 2017, click here.