2019 is halfway through, the weather is getting warmer, and it’s time for awkward small talk over Aperol Spritzes (or is that not a thing anymore?). ‘Tis also the season for the Amazon editorial crew to reveal our favorite books of the year so far, which will provide plenty of fodder should you find yourself in that particular bind (or just need a great read).

Last year, best seller lists were dominated by polemics. Thankfully that trend has abated (if just a smidge), but we are no less preoccupied by these divisive times. That may have a little to do with why we selected Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls as our number one pick; as one of the characters, Peg, says: “People are suffering, life is hard, let’s put on a show.” And City of Girls definitely does. Set in the 1940s, it follows the exploits of the frivolous and fun-loving Vivian Morris who arrives in New York with the goal of “becoming someone interesting” (and in short order she is, but for all the wrong reasons). This bawdy, big-hearted, and ultimately wise novel is the injection of joy we need right now.

Rounding out our top three is The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, a debut that just might be the thriller of 2019, and Jayson Greene’s Once More We Saw Stars--an emotional memoir that shines a beacon of light in the darkest of places. Our number one pick in the kids’ genre is The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart, an unforgettable middle grade novel about a girl and her father on a cross-country journey, the people they meet, and how they find their way home again. This is a book young readers won’t want to miss. Coyote’s story is wise, funny, and holds onto your heart long after you’ve read the final page.

Best books of the year, so far...

A recent study released by the Kingston University in London revealed that people who read a lot of books are nicer, kinder and more empathetic. But where to begin? Visit www.amazon.com/bestbookssofar to see our overall top twenty, plus picks in over twelve categories from biographies, to literary fiction, to romance and sci-fi (and everything in between). Included are releases from popular authors like Jennifer Weiner, Thomas Harris, and Ruth Reichl–but we are especially excited to introduce you to first-time authors Jayson Greene, Isabella Hammad, Etaf Rum, and more.