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Favorite books of 2019

Spring background with lilac, coffee and book

I am a voracious reader and read over 50 books in 2019. Some books are for research for my own writing. Other books were a selection for book clubs I belong to.

I have a picked just a few favorites as I do every year for you to consider if you are looking for your next good read. I review every book I read and if you want to follow my reviews throughout the year, be sure to click “follow” on my Goodreads profile and you will be notified of each review shortly after I post one.


This Tender LandThis Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The author describes the book as a tale of four orphans who set sail together on an odyssey. And what an odyssey it was! I was hooked from the beginning. Each part was unforgettable. My heartstrings were often pulled hard as I became attached to each character. I covered my eyes or cried a few tears or cheered wildly. The author wrote with such compassion for humanity but showed the dark side too. A thread of hope was present throughout, which I appreciated.


EducatedEducated by Tara Westover
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book will probably be one of the best of the year and I read an average of a book a week. I experienced a wide range of emotions. Unchecked and untreated mental illness coupled with physical and emotional abuse were horrific. Not allowing school or medical care was incomprehensible. Needless suffering and isolation from the rest of the world was shocking. It was also compelling, inspiring and hopeful that anyone could escape such conditions and thrive. Bravo Tara Westover!


Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this story! It was written with vivid words that brought the marsh girl and her surroundings to life. Suspenseful to the end. Even though I have finished the book, I still keep thinking about it days afterwards. Deserving of acclaim and I wholeheartedly give it a thumbs up.

View all my reviews

The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of LifeThe Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life by Katy Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was in the midst of reading Butler’s first book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, the week before my dad died. It heavily influenced my thoughts and actions to not prolong my dad’s suffering during his final days. Now I find myself with Butler’s second book, The Art of Dying Well being published, as my mom reaches the end of her life. It is quite timely for me to understand the different stages my mother is navigating.

But The Art of Dying Well isn’t just about one’s parents. Most baby boomers are unprepared for navigating their own aging. I suggest reading it well before you need it. Knowledge is power, and Butler’s book has given me the gift of learning more now, while things are relatively calm. A crisis visit to an ER isn’t the time to cram in education and research. You may need to be an advocate for yourself or someone you love sooner than later. I will suggest the book to my siblings and friends, which will hopefully lead to meaningful conversation and planning to support each other through our elder years. I am grateful for Butler’s practical guide, which is filled with wisdom and resources. I anticipate referring to it again and again as I age.


Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and SoulDie Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul by Stephen Jenkinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the author read this book on Audible. Soon after starting, I realized that I needed the print version to highlight and reflect. After I finished the audio version, I looked at my highlights and took notes on what stood out to me. I plan to repeat the entire process again. I don’t usually feel that strongly about the value of the content. This book is thought provoking and potentially paradigm shifting on many aspects of dying and death. I need a second read to go deeper yet.
If you are interested in the topic of dying well, read this book. And maybe re-read it again.


And to end this post with a shameless self-promotion, I recommend the book I wrote in 2019!

Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify. by Lisa J. Shultz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As the author of this book, I am super excited to share Lighter Living with the world. I feel better and better when I let go of what feels heavy, whether that is physical stuff or baggage from the past, emotional or mental turmoil and so forth. The benefits of releasing burdensome things has inspired me to share my journey in an easy to read book. I hope you like it. Please let me know what parts you found most valuable! Cheers, Lisa

A look back at previous year’s favorites:





List of books that have been most impactful in my life.

Please feel free to comment below and share your favorite books with me!

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