This Bookshelf: 2019 Books
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2019 Books
2019 Books
Links to 465 Books Read or
Skipped in 2018
2018 Bookshelf
2018 Bookshelf
Links to All Books from 1999
through 2018 Authors A-G
All Books Authors A through
All Books Authors A through
Links to All Books from 1999
through 2018 Authors H-M
All Books Authors H
through M
All Books Authors H
through M
Links to All Books from 1999
through 2018 Authors N-Z
All Books Authors N through
All Books Authors N through
Book of Books: An ebook of
books read, reviewed or
skipped from 1999 through
Book of Books
This web page lists all books reviewed by Steve Hopkins at during 2019 as well as books pending (The Shelf
of Possibility) or relegated to the Shelf of Reproach or the Shelf of Ennui. You can click on the title of a book or on the picture of any
jacket cover to jump to where you can purchase a copy of any book on this shelf.
Key to Ratings:
I love it
I like it
It’s OK
I don’t like it
I hate it
Title (Click on
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The Ghosts of
Eden Park: The
Bootleg King, the
Women Who
Pursued Him, and
the Murder That
Shocked Jazz-Age
Abbott, Karen
Remus. I don’t read a lot of true crime
books, but I’ve enjoyed Karen Abbott’s prior
books, so I picked up her latest, The Ghosts of
Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women
Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That
Shocked Jazz-Age America. I had never heard
of a bootlegger named George Remus who in
1935 owned more than a third of all the liquor
in the United States. Thanks to Abbott’s fine
writing, she pulls readers into the world of
this larger than life character and what the
USA was like during Prohibition. I defy
readers to complete these 400+ pages and not
at some time find oneself rooting for George
Remus, especially when one’s enthusiasm has
been enhanced by a few fingers of bourbon.
Merchants of
Truth: The
Business of News
and the Fight for
Abramson, Jill
Subscribe. Former New York Times
executive editor Jill Abramson has written a
great account of the disruption of the news
media, a book titled, Merchants of Truth: The
Business of News and the Fight for Facts. She
understands this business from the inside and
has gained perspective from the outside to
assess what all this turmoil means for
American life. Many people are losing faith
and trust in a free press. Readers who value
journalism should read this book and then
subscribe to another high-quality newspaper
in your town or someplace else.
Find Me
Aciman, Andre
Time. Andre Aciman revisits characters from
his 2007 novel titled, Call Me By Your Name,
decades later in another finely written novel
titled, Find Me. The title plays out in multiple
ways in the novel, to the pleasure of readers. I
was delighted by Aciman’s exploration of
time. Here’s one sample, from page 46:
“Basically, we don’t know how to think of
time, because time couldn’t care less what we
think of time, because time is just a wobbly,
unreliable metaphor for how we think about
life. Because ultimately it isn’t time that is
wrong for us, or we for time. If may be life
itself that is wrong. … because there is death.
Because death, contrary to what everyone
tells you, is not part of life. Death is God’s
great blunder, and sunset and dawn are how
he blushes for shame and asks our forgiveness
each and every day.” Here’s another sample
from page 104, ‘“And besides, if I give you an
hour now, you’ll want a day. And if I give you
a day, you’ll want a year. I know your type.”’
Fans of the earlier novel will love the return of
Oliver and Elio. As a last grabber for you:
Samuel and Miranda meet on a train. Read
the novel to find out what happens next.
Training School
for Negro Girls
Acker, Camille
Range. I enjoyed the range of experience
represented in the characters in each of the
stories in the debut collection by Camille
Acker titled, Training School for Negro Girls.
The situations, mostly set in the District of
Columbia, are recognizable and insightful. I
especially enjoyed Mambo Sauce, in which a
black woman who moved from Brooklyn
interacted with the owners and patrons of a
neighborhood food joint. The contrast
between how Constance and her white
boyfriend approached the mambo sauce and
the restaurant was perfect. Short stories can
leave some readers wanting more exposition,
but I found in each of these stories, Acker gets
the genre just right: we glimpse into the lives
of people we recognize and the ways in which
they behave tell us something about human
Waiting for Eden
Ackerman, Elliot
Intensity. Readers who enjoy finely written
literary fiction are those most likely to enjoy
Elliot Ackerman’s novel titled, Waiting for
Eden. Protagonist Eden survived an explosion
in Iraq and is at a Texas burn center thanks to
the efforts of medical personnel who saved his
life. What’s left of Eden weighs 70 pounds,
down from his normal 220. Eden’s distinction
is that his were the worst wounds of the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan that didn’t
immediately end in death. Eden’s wife Mary
has spent three years at his bedside waiting
for him to communicate, heal or die. The
narrator is a ghost: Eden’s best friend who
died in that blast in Iraq, who is also waiting
for Eden to join him in death. These three
characters are complex, and Ackerman
develops them with depth. From the
beginning to the end of the novel, Ackerman
maintains an intensity while he develops
multiple levels of meaning and explores issues
of loyalty, suffering and betrayal.
Dominion: The
History of England
from the Battle of
Waterloo to
Diamond Jubilee
Ackroyd, Peter
Shelf of Ennui 2019.
Hardly Children
Adamczyk, Laura
Shelf of Ennui 2019.
Children of Virtue
and Vengeance
Adeyemi, Tomi
Kingdom. The second novel in the Legacy of
Orisha series by Tomi Adeyemi is titled,
Children of Virtue and Vengeance. Magic has
gone rampant in Orisha with dramatic
consequences and changes in which faction
dominates. New readers should read the first
installment to avoid total confusion. Fans
may feel that this novel moves back and forth
in ways that may seem unsatisfying, but
should keep loyal readers engaged and
expecting the next installment. The attempt to
unify Orisha has many obstacles, and much of
the novel leaves us in a bloody morass as we
await what comes next.
The Coronation
Akunin, Boris
Abduction. I like to read entertaining
mystery novels, especially those that keep me
guessing long into the narrative. The first
novel I’ve read by Boris Akunin is titled, The
Coronation, and features a recurring
protagonist and private investigator, Erast
Petrovich Fandorin. The four-year-old son of
a Grand Duke has been abducted shortly
before the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.
Ransom requests for royal jewels, including
ones that would be visible at the coronation
add to the urgency of finding the boy.
Fandorin uses great skills at disguise and
assimilation with criminals to try to solve the
crime. Akunin develops the characters with
skill and keeps the plot momentum at a fast
pace. Readers who enjoy mysteries, especially
in a historical setting, are those most likely to
enjoy this novel.
The Hazel Wood
Albert, Melissa
Shelf of Ennui 2019.
Celestial Bodies
Alharthi, Jokha
Oman. I picked up a copy of Kokha
Alharthi’s novel titled, Celestial Bodies, after
it won the Man Booker International Prize.
This finely written novel draws readers into
the Omani culture and the changes to that
society over recent decades, through the lens
of three sisters. Oman’s history of slavery can
be disturbing, but Alharthi uses that history
to explore the many ways in which people are
bound and constrained. The women in this
novel are complex and interesting characters
and the society in which they live demands
change and extracts love and loss as time