Nerdy Talks Top 10 Books of 2019

year long reading challenge

Another great year has ended with it the best books that graced the earth. 2019 wasn’t really the best reading year for me, I have been juggling my profession and personal stuff like crazy and let just say reading and blogging took the back seat this year. Despite this I was still able to read noteworthy books, I may not have made it quantity wise but the quality of the books I enjoyed the past year, I can definitely live with.

1. Not That Bad by Roxanne Gay

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It is almost the weekend! Almost 😅. I just came from a four-day vacation. What did I miss? ☺️ Vacation is always too short right? Anyway, what genre is your go-to vacation read? Well here’s the thing, I don’t read on vacations, just on the plane ride, I prefer short stories and essays whenever I need something to read on the plane. ••• I’ve been reading Not That Bad (Dispatches from Rape culture) edited by Roxane Gay and my goodness this is such a powerful read! I have tabbed so many pages already and I am only like 60 pages in! It’s already so good, it should be required reading! So lucky to chance upon this from #NBSsummersale for only P161.00. So fellow Filipinos, please get this!! There’s still one left in NBS Mega Mall. . ••• #NotThatBad #RoxaneGay #rapeculture

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Not That Bad by Roxane Gay is a deep and raw collection of essays. It tackles rape culture told in varying perspective. This is such a powerful read, it should be a required reading. Have everyone in your life read this, especially the men in your life. It was a heavy read but so important! I have learned so much in reading this – and before this I thought I knew enough, turns out I am wrong. I know so little. Reading this book was a very bitter pill to swallow but something that should be fully addressed, and should be talked about more openly.

2. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I have always been a fan of Laini Taylor’s writing. There was not single book she has written (that I’ve read) that I didn’t like. She has this whimsical way of story-telling. One of the best fantasy writers that I’ve ever read. Strange The Dreamer is magical in all sense of the word. It is not the usual fantasy we come across each day. It has so much more to offer. What I like best about Laini Taylor’s works is the quality of the writing style. Lyrical and well-executed – giving you the full experience. The kind of story that will stay with you, the kind of story you’ll definitely go back to.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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❝But, by careful observation from the sidelines, I’d worked out that social success is often built on pretending just a little. Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny, do things they don’t particularly want to, with people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy. Not me. I had decided, years ago, that if the choice was between that or flying solo, then I’d fly solo. It was safer that way.❞ – Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine ••• Who else relates to Eleanor Oliphant? Aren’t we all pretending sometimes? 😪 Tell me a book that made you reflect on who you are. ••• #eleanoroliphantiscompletelyfine #gailhoneyman

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine  is the kind of book you never thought you ever needed. Eleanor was such a great narrator, funny without even trying, heck without even knowing it. This book is hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. It was so much more than the high praises it was constantly getting. Eleanor Oliphant is not the likable kind. I have always found it funny whenever people rates a book low because the main character was not likable. I always expect the characters to be as real as any human being one comes across with, and to be honest, not everyone is likable, I myself is not everyone’s favorite and that’s okay. Why should it be any different with characters in a book? This is the kind of book that makes sense as it goes, from loathing Eleanor to loving her and understanding her better. I can say this is my ultimate fave book of 2019.

4. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Ackkkk another book that made me so giddy. I have loved The Kiss Quotient and I was ecstatic about The Bride Test and it definitely did not disappoint at all. Helen Hoang has now a special place in my heart. Another auto-buy author. This book gives the right amount of sexy and sweet, with dash of some family dynamic. I loved loved loved the Asian representation. Asians are represented more and more into books and movies and I appreciate this a whole lot! Another plus point for The Bride Test is it is an own voices book. The Autism Spectrum was explained in a way that many people could understand it better and in simpler terms. You can really tell that the author knows her craft and is not afraid to use it.

I am glad this book did not suffer the proverbial second book syndrome. It is beautiful and engaging in its own right. Can’t wait for book three!

 

5. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door is the very first book I have read by Riley Sager. His name has been rounding the internet for quite some time already but I never got the chance to read his works until Lock Every Door and boy was I missing out. I breezed through this book. It grips you like a vise. This book is a solid page turner. The kind that keeps you at the edge of your seat. It will give you the creeps and the chills at first, but as you plunge deeper you’ll learn that it isn’t just a simple scare, something more profound lies underneath. Ahhh I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil it to anyone. Here’s one thing I just learned, this will be made into a TV series, can’t wait how it will turn out! That would be exciting!

6. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Reading this book felt like a wonderful vacation! You have to give it to the duo to come up with fresh and unique rom coms every time. Unhoneymooners is not an exception – it is funny, sexy and cute! The best summer read if you ask me.The Unhoneymooners is quite addictive, just impossible to put down. And did I mention I love the humor in this one? It was so beautifully crafted, reading it felt like a true vacation. What I also love about this book is the conflict towards the end, how you thought everything is as smooth-sailing as one implies it to be, then bam! Loved that it wasn’t just some shallow conflict just for shock value, it was what the book needed to give more texture and to make it everything but a cliche. By the end my cheeks hurt from smiling a too much. Gahhhh I just love Olive and Ethan okay?? If you are looking for a fun and light read make it your life’s mission to read this one and all other books by these amazing authors!

7. On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

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❝Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you’ve been ruined.❞ – Ocean Vuong; On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous ••• Finished this book last night and I am giving 5/5⭐️. It’s not just briefly gorgeous, it is eternal. A masterpiece. I am still in awe by how beautifully written it was. It’s the kind of book that you will think about quite a lot and will stay with you for years. I have tabbed so many passages, I think this is my most tabbed book. Wow! It was in letter style addressed to the mother of the narrator. I love the diversity, LGBT theme, and the different generations depicted in the book. It was so rich, heartbreaking and evocative. I am so in love with Ocean Vuong's writing style – it was powerful yet melancholic, lyrical yet precise. Best book of 2019! Thank you so much @penguinpress for my arc! I found a new favorite author!!! . ••• #OnEarthWereBrieflyGorgeous #OceanVuong #penguinpress #nerdytalksreview

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On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous has got to be one of the most lyrical book I have ever read. This book floored me. It was so beautifully written. The kind of book that would stay with you for days, even years! It was short but it was dense. I have tabbed so many passages, I think this is my most tabbed book. This is not just briefly gorgeous, this book is eternal. A masterpiece! I am so in love with Ocean Vuong’s writing style – it was powerful yet melancholic, lyrical yet precise.

8. All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

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❝ When I reached her, she was a star, pulling me into her orbit. ❞ — Bryn Greenwood, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things ••• That feeling when you want to rush home and finish a book because that’s how attached you have become. I am already 159 pages in and I am loving this book. Interesting characters, the kind that can really drew you in. I’ve been meaning to read All The Ugly and Wonderful Things for the loooongest time and I am finally doing it! Wavy and Kellen is just the most unlikely characters, I can’t wait to know what will happen to their story. Don’t spoil me okay? ••• What’s that one book you’ve been meaning to read? #AllTheUglyandWonderfulThings #BrynGreenwood #BookoftheMonth #botm #tijneyewear

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All The Ugly and Wonderful Things is a highly controversial book. I know that this book ain’t for everyone. It is the kind of book that will challenge you as a reader. It will make you uncomfortable but at the same time root for the characters. You’ll be conflicted all the way but will end up appreciating the story. It was controversial as it was a masterpiece. It was an unconventional love story spanning years. The most unlikely couple yet a big part of me roots for them so bad. It’s like I wanted to be in the book and explain to people what’s between Wavy and Kellen.

Wavy, Kellen, Donal and all other characters are so distinct and impactful, the kind you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve read it. Bryn Greenwood is such an exquisite story teller. I’m silently cursing myself for not reading this one sooner. This book definitely made it to my top books of 2019!

9. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

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❝He had to trust a stranger to do the right thing. It was impossible, like loving the one who wanted to destroy you, but that was the message of the movement: to trust the ultimate decency that lived in every human heart. ❞ ― Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys ••• 5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Finishing this book sent me into an emotional turmoil. As if there’s this inexplicable weight on me that I just couldn’t simply shake off. I was more than sad reading this book, it was harrowing and unimaginable. Such an impactful read. It is the kind of book that you wouldn’t forget. It would creep up in your head without preamble, and you’ll feel hollowed out and just extremely heart broken. The same feeling I felt when I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It was unsettling, I can’t stop thinking about it. It was a short book but wow, it gave out more than you could hope for. And that ending, I was too stunned, I had to process everything. Such a well written book that tackles racism, discrimination and so much more. A required read if I say so my self. Now give me a happy book or else I will sulk all this weekend. 😔 P.S it gave off The Orange is the New Black vibe, I don’t know if it is proper to compare it to that, but the situation of The Nickel Boys and the prisoners in OITNB isn’t far from each other. Let’s just say OITNB is the lighter version and The Nickel Boys is the evil, gruesome, monstrous brother. ••• PH friends you could get your copy at @_fullybooked. You can call to make a reservation or just go there and grab the book. Prepare your emotions though, this book is a heavy read but something so profound and impactful! #TheNickelBoys #nerdytalksreview #fullybooked #ColsonWhitehead #literaryfiction

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The Nickel Boys sent me into an emotional turmoil. As if there’s this inexplicable weight on me that I just couldn’t simply shake off. I was more than sad reading this book, it was harrowing and unimaginable. Such an impactful read. Unforgetful. It would creep up in your head without preamble, and you’ll feel hollowed out and just extremely heart broken. The same feeling I felt when I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It was unsettling, I can’t stop thinking about it. It was a short book but wow, it gave out more than you could hope for. And that ending, I was too stunned, I had to process everything. Such a well written book that tackles racism, discrimination and so much more. A required read if I say so my self.

10. Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon

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Hey there 👋🏻 This is me coming up for air. Haha. I have been binge reading Ice Planet Barbarian Series by Ruby Dixon. @psy_kaoru have been raving about this a few months back, but I didn’t really have it in me to read it then. Then I saw @peacelovebooksxo youtube vid about Addicting Romance Series and I guess that was the extra push I needed to indulge myself with scifi romance. And oh boy oh boy they are so addicting, they are like potato chips, you just can’t have one! This series follows stories of different women who were abducted by little green aliens and were offloaded to the next habitable planet because of some engine failure. Left to fend for themselves, they discovered they are not the only living creatures there. Enters these sexy horned aliens who show deep affection and so much more to these women. 😜 SMUTFEST I tell you. If you’re curious like I was, then by all means treat yourself some steamy scifi romance. It is definitely the series you never thought you’d need. Look past that cover, and you’ll know it is seriously a good read! 💙 ••• #IcePlanetBarbarians #BarbarianMine #RubyDixon #ScifiRomance #scifi #romance

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Not a book but a series. It was 2019 when I finally been swayed to read the Ice Planet Barbarian series. And my goodness, it is a series that keeps on giving. It just keeps getting better and better each book. I love how as the book progresses the plot thickens, the setting expands, the characters evolve. Everything else gets better and more engaging. When you look past those covers and focus on the story of each book you’ll understand how it isn’t just smut, it is so much more. It had depth and a real story that is truly entertaining. If you’re just a tad bit curious, I say go ahead and read the first book, it wouldn’t hurt to do that. You can thank me later!

 

Honorable Mention:

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

A powerful book! It was liberating and thought-provoking. Presented in a simple letter form that gave so much impact and hits home more than it intends to. There are differences in customs and cultures presented here, at least a little different from Asian type of upbringing, but what was written here is universal. The fifteen suggestions transcend cultures, customs, idealogies and race. It encompasses everything and that’s how feminist books should be written. It is not selective in its pursuit for equality nor it gives misconceptions, if for anything it debunks certain “feminist concepts” — feminist lites, which to be honest I may or may not have been one. This book lets you unlearn what you’ve been fed to believe and what you thought was right and acceptable all along. It was a blessing reading this one. I have learned so much. It is insightful and relevant, I couldn’t help but pass it on to someone else and let them be enlightened and be educated more. I’m gonna talk about this book as passionately as it deserves!

 

So there you have it, my top books of 2019. I hope 2020 will bring more quality books. Happy New Year everyone may you all find your favorite book this year!

 

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