Here at The Longest Chapter, instead of calling out best books of 2019, I've gathered a more personal list.
If you’re looking for a novel to get lost in or for a holiday gift, here’s a recommendation: “Paris in the Present Tense” by Mark Helprin.
I read an essay in "The New York Review of Books" about author James Baldwin in which Darryl Pinckney wrote, "I fell under the spell of Baldwin's voice." Pinckney's story about reading Baldwin connected me to "Giovanni's Room," Baldwin's bold second novel, a classic I'd skipped in my reading journey. Now I can say it's one of the most moving books I've ever read.
Here's an atmospheric, seductive journey into what the author says is "a secret city" of Paris. Written during the mid-20th century, these short essays are far from travelogue and more visual nostalgia. The book runs less than 200 pages, even less reading pages because it's a bilingual edition, with French on one page and the English translation on the other. My trip to Paris many years ago took me off the beaten tourist path. But it was nothing like this.