As 2019 winds down, my yearly reading list closes out. I always aim for 25 books a year but seem to always fall a few short. Perhaps I need to read shorter books to reach my goal.;)

This year I had ten (out of twenty) books earn the coveted five smiley face Brenda rating. I’m going to tell you about seven of them. The other three are books in the same fiction series or very similar to books I talked about last year.

Five of the books are non-fiction. I continue to be a huge Gabor Maté fan. I read two of his books this year and a few others other years. I noticed all of the non-fiction books not only give in-depth descriptions and insights to adverse experiences but also offer solutions. Solutions make me happy!

The best non-fiction reads of this year for me are:

  1. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction : If you want to read a frank, knowledgable and vulnerable conversation about addiction, pick up this book. The author comes clean about his own addictions and the impact they have on his family. He talks about the causes of addiction and some not so typical solutions for reducing the harm they cause. I learned so much. Maté points out how the war on drugs does not work and why. You don’t have to be an addict or have an interest in addiction to enjoy this book. It’s a lesson on the ills and salves of the human condition. I find myself quoting this book a lot.
  2. Scattered:How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It by Dr. Gabor Maté.: If you know of someone with an ADHD diagnosis, you need to read this book. Maté purports ADHD is not a brain disorder. It is a developmental disorder, stemming from early caregiver interactions. Dr. Maté always includes a kind of behind the scenes look at the subjects he writes about. I have read a lot of books on ADHD, addiction, attachment, etc. and I always learn something new with Dr. Maté. I loved the research based solutions offered, especially since they were not all about medication.
  3. The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It:by Dr. Warren Farrell and Dr. John Gray. From ADHD to education to suicide our boys are struggling. They are less likely to graduate from college and more likely to die by suicide.The “Me Too” movement aims to give women the power they deserve, but the boys of the world need to continue to have a voice as well. The authors discuss what boys raised without fathers miss out on and how to work with ADHD without medication. An eye opening book. I’m all about girl power but this made me pause.
  4. Hope and Help for Your Nerves: End Anxiety Now by Dr. Claire Weekes: This is an oldie but a goodie. I found this book on stress and anxiety comforting. It was like a nice cup of warm tea and a soft blanket. Dr. Weekes’ words, albeit somewhat old fashioned, actually come across as new and refreshing. She offers words of hope and peace for those who suffer from anxiety, panic, stress and rumination.
  5. The Deepest Well: Healing the Long Term Effects of Childhood Adversity  by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris: This book lists the ten childhood adverse experiences that lead to long term health issues and how to buffer yourself from them. This is a current read with lots of up to date research and results. It shows how changes in medical research and patient intake information will increase our longevity in the future.

Now for my fiction best picks of 2019:

6. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon: This is part of the Outlander series. These books are so long but so good! I barely get any fiction read because each of Gabaldon’s books take me months. The books are fantasy (time travel), romance and historical all in one. They take place in Scotland, England, Jamaica, etc. A friend gave me the first three books as a gift and I’ve been hooked ever since.

7. The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens: This was an impulse buy at the book store. A salesperson told me the author is from Minnesota and uses many references to the Twin Cities (where I live). In The Life We Bury the main character, a struggling college student  who cares for his special needs brother, interviews a veteran in a nursing home and helps resolve a murder from the past. I read this book quickly and looked forward to it every night. It kept me engaged with its fast pace and the interesting personal scenarios of the main character.

What did you read and love this year? I am always interested in new authors and book recommendations. 


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