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Amanda's Best of 2019 (That I Haven't Shared Yet)

December 26, 2019

Last time I gave you my favorite Big Booty Bios. In July, I mentioned my favorites so far. Now I’m gonna share my other faves for 2019.

Best Book that Made Me Think: Fall by Neal Stephenson (fiction)

I’m still not sure I know exactly what happened in this book. I kind of had some preconceived notions about it going in and then this book turned them on their heads. What happens when a cyberpunk rewrites Paradise Lost? Read this book. No, seriously. Please read this book. That way we can talk about it and I can ask questions and you can explain some things to me. Stephenson is always a good storyteller, but this one had so many layers, I’m not sure I got them all. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go ponder this one some more… 
Best Cookbook: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat (nonfiction)

I love cookbooks. Shocking, right? I first heard of this title when the documentary came out on Netflix. I watched the first episode and was hooked. I was even more excited when I found out it was a cookbook, too. The first 200 pages (or so) are divided into four sections for salt, fat, acid, and heat. Then she gets into some of her favorite recipes, which are influenced by her time at Chez Panisse as well as her Persian family. I’m still working my was through her book, but the Five-Spice Chicken was very yummy. My favorite part about the book was Wendy McNaughton’s art. Instead of photographing food, she draws it. It is beautiful and fun and I loved it so much I bought my own copy so that somebody else might get a turn with the library’s.
Best New Book by a Favorite Writer: The Swallows by Lisa Lutz (fiction)

I have been long-time (vocal) fan of Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files. I’ve been a little disappointed in her books since the end (BOOO!) of the series. But I have to say that she is back with this latest release. Teacher Alexandra Witt joins the staff at a flagging private school. When the girls find out what the boys are doing, they take matters into their own hands. Because what could be more fun than girls being girls? This one kept me in suspense until the very end and it was full of Lutz’s off-beat humor. Maybe not quite as good as the Spellmans, but nothing is.
Best Book by a Celebrity that Made Me Like Him/Her More: Gumption by Nick Offerman (nonfiction)

I’ve blogged before about how I LOVE Nick Offerman. I’ll pretty much read anything of his – especially if I can get the audio version and listen to him read it to me. Sigh. (My husband enjoys this too. Don’t be weird.) Premise: Nick picks his favorite 21 Americans of all time. This one actually started a little slow for me, as Offerman began touting love for a bunch of old, white, dead men – the usual suspects, if you will. But it got much better as he moved into still-living people that he could actually talk to. And the fact that his last chapter is about my uber-fav, Conan O’Brien? Mic drop. It doesn’t get better than that. 
Best Audio Book about Something I’ll Never (Ever) Do: North by Scott and Jenny Jurek (nonfiction)

I am not an outdoorsy girl. Sorry, but I believe that we should have access to nice bathrooms and AC everywhere we go, just like the good Lord intended. That said, I love to read books about people who don’t feel the same way. Scott Jurek, aka Jerker, decided to run (not walk) the Appalachian Trail, attempting to set the fastest time. His beautiful wife, Jenny, aka J-Lu, tags along with him to drive their van and offer support. The record prior to his attempt was 46 days and almost 12 hours. That’s about 46 days more than I like to be without a comfy bed and fluffy pillows. I listened to the audio version of this book, which was cool because Jerker and J-Lu traded off telling the story. I liked hearing both sides. Excellent way to stay out of trouble in traffic and get my daily, vicarious exercise.
Best Book by an Author I've Never Read: Eddie Flynn series by Steve Cavanagh (fiction)

I loved this series. Each one was like watching a season of 24. The only bad part is that I wanted to punch anyone who interrupted me while I was reading. Eddie Flynn is a former con man who is now a defense attorney. Think Lincoln Lawyer meets Jack Bauer. He’s smart and savvy, able to deal with both the Russian mob and serial killers. I literally could not stop reading these. The first book is called The Defense, followed by The Plea, The Liar and then Thirteen. I actually read the third one first before I knew it was a series, but that didn’t dampen my love any. These are my favorite books I read all year. They are just SO GOOD! 
Ok  - GO READ!
Happy New Year…
:) Amanda

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.