Celebrity picks: Delia Owens' favorite reads of 2019

Adrian Liang on December 11, 2019
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More than a year after the publication of Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens’ first novel is still winning over new fans.

Owens made her name more than 30 years ago with Cry of the Kalahari, the book she wrote with her former husband about their years living in the African wilderness and studying the animals there. As Owens told the Amazon Book Review earlier this year, her mother encouraged her from a young age to go into the forest as far as she could: “Go way out yonder where the crawdads sing.” A deep connection to the land shines through all of Owens’ books, both fiction and nonfiction.

We asked Owens what books she’d read and loved lately, and her picks also reflect a love of nature and adventure.


Delia Owens’ favorite reads of 2019


Print Book
Kindle Book
Audible Audiobook

A Sudden Country: A Novel by Karen Fisher

I love to read words that inspire writing. The very first phrases of A Sudden Country stirred my imagination with sharp images and a racing heart. Fisher’s tangible prose is jarring one moment and lyrical the next, and leads the reader on a subtle collision course of two opposing characters as they journey on horseback or wagon across the Oregon Trail. The wild natural setting doesn’t lie quietly as a backdrop, but pushes its harsh, boney shoulders into the story. I reread her book for the third time, just as one returns to favorite poems and old friends.


Print Book
Kindle Book
Audible Audiobook

Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid

Hamid’s writing is so precise that you picture and feel the detailed decisions of these migrants’ forced journey. All seems logical and factual, until doors open to unexpected passages and a slow, sinister realization sets in that something familiar is moving beneath you. Reading this book may be the essential first step to ensure that your boots are not forced down this road. I loved it because the imagining that swells in the futurist scenes mimics the very thoughts I have seen very clearly in my own mind. And know might come.


Print Book
Kindle Book
Audible Audiobook

West with the Night: A Memoir by Beryl Markham

Again, it’s the language that brings me back to this book. Just like one of its zebras returning to a waterhole on a dusty savanna, I have to drink it again. In today’s world, we champion powerful women; Markham, in the early 1900s, simply lived the proof. Her words fly us over Africa’s remoteness in her own little plane, landing us on distant sands, rescuing other pilots. Navigating by wildebeest. And then, just because she can, she becomes the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic. But her adventures are not why I read the book; I read it for its heart.

Author photo by Dawn Marie Tucker


Browse more celebrity picks:


Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow
David Baldacci
David Baldacci
Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman
Karamo Brown
Karamo Brown

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
Eva Chen
Eva Chen
Ani DiFranco
Ani DiFranco
Ree Drummond
Ree Drummond

Janet Evanovich
Janet Evanovich
Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon
Flea
Flea
Tan France
Tan France

Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert
Chelsea Handler
Chelsea Handler
Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis
Bob Iger
Robert Iger

Elton John
Elton John
Stephen King
Stephen King
Jeff Kinney
Jeff Kinney
Hoda Kotb
Hoda Kotb

Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber
Admiral McRaven
Admiral McRaven
Erin Morgenstern
Erin Morgenstern
Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o

Delia Owens
Delia Owens
James Patterson
James Patterson
Louise Penny
Louise Penny
Dav Pilkey
Dav Pilkey

Antoni Porowski
Antoni Porowski
Rachel Ray
Rachael Ray
Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds
Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan

Adam Rippon
Adam Rippon
Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie
Drew Scott
Drew Scott
Jonathan Scott
Jonathan Scott

Ryan Serhant
Ryan Serhant
Carly Simon
Carly Simon
Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek
Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem

John Waters
John Waters
Lindy West
Lindy West
Ali Wong
Ali Wong


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