This year, it’s blatantly obvious that I clung to escapism, as evidenced by a fiction list that dwarfs the non-fiction list. What’s more, I averaged around 2.7 books per month in 2019 – roughly double what I achieved the previous three years.

In contrast to prior years, I would say this year’s fiction list is weighted towards fantasy more than sci-fi. And, because I began a new vocational journey in a leadership position, my non-fiction books included business-y picks (unlike years prior). As always, I don’t provide ratings or reviews of each book here – I leave it to you to investigate them on your own.

If you’re looking for more science fiction, speculative fiction, or non-fiction recommendations, check out my 2018, my 2017, and my 2016 reading lists.

Fiction

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (re-read)1

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Circe by Madeline Miller

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson

The Devourers by Indra Das

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (re-read)2

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark

Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Nexus by Ramez Naam

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai

Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Trial of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan


Non-Fiction

Cheating and Deception by J. Bowyer Bell and Barton Whaley

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt

Her Majesty’s Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage by Stephen Budiansky

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King

Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by S. Frederick Starr

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change by Camille Fournier



  1. One of my favorite lines from “Slaughterhouse Five” is: “He said that everything there was to know about life is in ‘The Brothers Karamazov,’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky. ‘But that isn’t enough anymore,’ said Rosewater." Given current times, this line kept rattling around in my head and compelled me to re-read it. ↩︎

  2. “No hay ejercicio intelectual que no sea finalmente inútil." ↩︎