The First Half of 2019: Book List (part 2) Nicole Schlinger

Nicole Schlinger
5 min readJun 30, 2019
While I love pictures of library books, I actually dislike libraries. They smell like old paper. Nicole Schlinger

The second quarter of the year brought a return to reading fiction.

I’ve recently grown frustrated with most business books. They seem to fall into two categories. 1. They are published by business coaches trying to broaden their reach and win new clients. 2. They are university professors who know exactly what you SHOULD do, but of course they’ve never done it themselves. Both come across with the same result. They are SO preachy … as if you would just immediately change everything to do it their way, and it would result in an unprecedented windfall of profit and employee happiness. And frankly, if you are going to be that bossy, at least you should have something useful to say. Too many times, it’s a rehash of the same old thing.

Thus, my return to fiction, and a welcome diversion from everyday challenges.

Here are my next 5 books from 2019.

1. Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book was eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint. It was written in an incredibly unique style, unlike anything I can remember. The entire book is written as if it were an MTV retrospective where each member of the band, managers, family and friends are interviews. You hear the story, clearly told decades after it took place, as recounted by the people who were there. So there is no active dialogue. No description of scenery. Nothing that is not retold by someone who was (in this fictional world) actually there. Really neat technique. You could just feel everything about the 70s oozing out of every word on the page. I’ve read some of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s other work, and she’s had some ups and downs. This one is 100% up.

2. Marilla of Green Gables: A Novel by Sarah McCoy

After the gritty Daisy Jones, this was a wholesome 180 degree change of pace. This is the story of how Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, brother and sister, came to be living together, each unmarried, at Green Gables in their middle age. It’s the story of who they were before the arrival of the legendary Anne. While some of the storyline seemed a bit too modern for the times, it was still a sweet and relaxing read. I love books that tell you what happened either before or after the “main event” book.

Another good book in this genre is Caroline: Little House, Revisited. It’s the story of Little House on the Prairie, told from Caroline’s point of view. More poignant, and a lot less fun than Laura’s version.

3. That Churchill Woman: A Novel by Stephanie Barron

This book toes the line between fact and fiction. It’s true that Jennie Jerome married Lord Randolph Churchill, and was the mother of Winston Churchill. The figures in the book, including Bertie Prince of Wales, are all real people. But the question remains, how much of the intimate details of the story are true? I’ve done some reading up, and yes, Lady Churchill was scandalous, but much of the sordid details in this book are fabricated. Churchill was one of the first of the Dollar princesses, like Downtown Abbey’s Lady Cora Grantham, who took England by storm with their modern views and big bank accounts. To the author’s credit, she is clear it’s a work of fiction. Nonetheless, it’s action packed, exciting, and worth the read.

4. The Wartime Sisters: A Novel, by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Oddly enough, Fiona Davis calls this one of her favorite books of the year. While Fiona Davis’s book is one of my most anticipated of the year … on this topic, our opinion differs. Don’t get me wrong. This book was OK. If I’m not mistaken, I may have gotten it for free as a Kindle Prime Firstread. What annoyed me about the book is that she set up these two Jewish sisters as such polar opposites. Ruth was so good, so smart, so diligent, that she could only marry the fat, boring Arthur. Millie is so beautiful, so silly, so devoid of depth, that she couldn’t help but marry a bad boy. Well, with a setup like that, you know some secret has to be revealed that turns the initial setup upside down. I mean really … this is not the first book I’ve read. Must you be so unpredictable?

End note: I do have to hand it to this book’s publicist. Putting meme’s on the Amazon page for fans to download and post is a pretty smart move. I didn’t even like the book that much, and I’ll show my support for good marketing by posting one.

5. Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits — to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin

We’ll end this group of five with the only work of non-fiction in this round. Unlike some of those business books I mentioned earlier, Gretchen Rubin actually has something NEW and interesting to say. While this is not her first book, it is the first of her books that I have read. She talks about her “Four Tendencies” and how each type of person can best go about changing their habits. Where has Gretchen Rubin been all my life? This woman really understands what makes people tick, and how hard it can be to change, even when you know it’s good for you!

Best part … it’s only $2.99 right now. How can you not spend $2.99 to change your life for the better?