As 2019 draws to a close, we asked independent booksellers to take a look back with us at some of their favorite titles of the year. There are too many good reads to list them all, but here are a few of their top picks of 2019.
“The Dutch House: A Novel,” Ann Patchett, HarperCollins Publishers, 352 pages
Spanning five decades, “The Dutch House” follows the story of two siblings who are exiled by their stepmother from their childhood home and find that all they have to count on is each other.
Recommended by Diane Etherington, owner of The Children’s Hour: “It’s a family story about a brother and sister and a family gone wrong, trying to put the pieces back together again.”
“The Fountains of Silence,” Ruta Sepetys, Philomel Books, 512 pages
Two young people meet in Madrid during the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco and face uncomfortable questions and difficult decisions to protect those they love.
Recommended by Diane Etherington, owner of The Children’s Hour: “She (Ruta Setepys) writes about little-known, true events and history, and they’re interesting in that I can see why we didn’t know about them. This was an illuminating book.”
“No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference,” Greta Thunberg, Penguin Books, 112 pages
A collection of teenage climate activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg’s speeches, including her influential address to the United Nations.
Recommended by Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books: “How does someone so young have so much wisdom?”
“One Long River of Song: Notes on Wonder,” Brian Doyle, Little, Brown and Company, 272 pages
Brian Doyle passed away from complications of a brain tumor in 2017. This posthumous collection of essays explores the natural world, everyday objects, and themes of love and connection.
Recommended by Anne Holman, co-owner and general manager of King’s English Bookshop: “This collection of essays is a joyful celebration of (the author’s) relationships with his family, God and nature.”
“Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle,” Claire Hunter, Abrams Books, 320 pages
Claire Hunter is a master needleworker, and she uses her expertise to dive into the history of sewing and how it has influenced the world around us.
Recommended by Anne Holman, co-owner and general manager of King’s English Bookshop: “From the Bayeux tapestry to Mary Queen of Scots to the Japanese internment camps, this is a fascinating look at how needlework has detailed the history of our lives.”
“Virga & Bone: Essays From Dry Places,” Craig Childs, Torrey House Press, 152 pages
In this essay collection, nature writer Craig Childs focuses on a series of desert icons and explores the nature of the desert landscape.
Recommended by Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books: Craig Childs will be appearing with musician Kate McLeod at Ken Sanders Rare Books on Jan. 10, 2020.