Books of the Decade
By Tyler Hillsman
December 2019

Over the last few years I've been making a concerted effort to read more. This year I read 35 books, easily the most I'd read in any year this decade and the most since I began keeping track in 2007.

Here are my top three fiction books I read this year:

This Tender Land - William Kent Krueger

I'm not exactly sure why I liked this book so much, but it was one that I didn't want to read quickly. It's a Odyssean tale set during the Depression. It's part Huck Finn, part O Brother Where Art Thou, and completely different from anything else I've read lately.

Recursion - Blake Crouch

I'm a sucker for time-travel and the like and this was a good mind-bendy one with alternate timelines galore. I really want to read the Crouch's other books, which I've also heard good things about.

Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid

This one is on all the best-of lists and I snuck it in during the last week of the year. It's such a well-written oral history of a fictional 70s rock band that it makes you wish it wasn't fictional.

Here are my top three nonfiction books I read this year:

The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini - Joe Posnanski

Joe Posnanski is one of my favorite sportswriters (though he doesn't only stick to sports) and he writes this Houdini biography like sports columns, adding a few more angles than just a birth-to-death biography. I grew up interested in Houdini, so the topic and Posnanski's writing was a delight.

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race - Douglas Brinkley

I stumbled across this one shortly after it was released. I expected it to be about the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs, but it was actually much more focused on the pre-Mercury beginnings (and Kennedy's rationale for launching the programs). It's a fascinating take on a less-explored time.

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language - Gretchen McCulloch

This is a completely different book that could be (should be?) a textbook. It covers how the internet has led to changes in how we communicate. McCulloch identifies, documents, and explains the slang, memes, emoji use, and changes in vocabulary that have come about because of our relatively new interconnectedness.

Here are the other books I read this year:

Because I've been listing what I've read since 2007, I realized I should look back over the 155 books I read in the last 10 years and try to identify my top books of the decade. Here's what I'd lean toward, though my favorites could change by the day.



On to the next decade and even more books!