7 books I’ve been meaning to read (that I’m crossing off the list in 2015).

I’d like to think every reader has a long list like mine, of books she’s been meaning to read but never quite gets around to.

Good intentions don’t get books read, so last year I made a short list of books I’d been meaning to read for ages that I intended to finish before the year was out. That little plan worked.

The first category in the 2015 reading challenge is “a book you’ve been meaning to read.” I’ve enjoyed browsing through the challenge’s pinterest board, seeing which books YOU have been meaning to read but haven’t gotten to yet.

If you only read one book in 2015, make it a book you’ve been meaning to read for too long. If you don’t have a list, borrow a title from your fellow readers on the pinboard, or help yourself to one of mine below.

7 Books

7 books I’ve been meaning to read for way too long:

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (The Midwife Trilogy Book 1)

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (The Midwife Trilogy Book 1)


The book was published back in 2002 but the BBC series made it famous. I've heard wonderful things about the books and the movies, and I want to read the books first.

More info →
Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone

I've heard to start this book with no preconceptions because the description doesn't do it justice. Suffice it to say that this novel has been recommended by fellow readers with great taste who describe it using my favorite adjectives: haunting, sweeping, gorgeous.

More info →
Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation


I read Parker Palmer in college, but never this one. Now this is his book I can't get away from: everyone I know keeps recommending this book to me. I'm taking the hint.

More info →
Ursula, Under

Ursula, Under


Katherine Willis Pershey raved about this book, calling it "one of the best, most memorable novels she has ever read." She has terrific taste (meaning: taste like mine) and that's enough for me.

More info →
No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II

I've been eager to read more of Goodwin's histories since I read and loved Team of Rivals. I bought this on sale a few weeks ago and can't wait to dive in. More info →
The Brothers K

The Brothers K

Some of my most-trusted fellow readers have called this the best book they ever read. I got to page 62 last month before holiday madness set in. I'm finishing it before the first quarter is out. More info →
The Book Thief

The Book Thief


"You are going to die," begins this 2006 novel. A fitting beginning to a story about hard things: a little girl and her family struggling to endure in WWII Nazi Germany. The characters are interesting and unexpected, right down to the unusual narrator. You'll see why this was an instant staple on school reading lists when it was published ten years ago, and why it has captured the hearts of readers from age 10 to 110. Beautiful, haunting, fascinating, hopeful.

More info →

What books have been lingering on your own TBR list?


Leave A Comment
  1. Byrd says:

    Call the Midwife is really good — binge-worthy, in fact — entirely due to the subject matter. The writing is really not great. As long as that won’t bother you, you should definitely read it!!

    • Jeannie says:

      I felt that way at the beginning of Call the Midwife too, but I think it got better and better. (The Mrs. Jenkins part was so moving.) I totally agree, the subject matter and the different cases are so fascinating that any weaknesses in style (and TMI at times!) are forgivable.

      • Faith R says:

        Yes – I just started reading it this week and at moments it DEFINITELY errs in the TMI department. The graphic description of a birth was a little shocking to read, but on the whole I’ve enjoyed it so far.

  2. Kiana says:

    Man! I looked up The Brothers K on Goodreads and the reviews are pretty much all 5 stars. I might have to add this to my list!

  3. Quen says:

    Yesterday, I made a similar list of books I own and want to read by the end of the year. The Book Thief was also one of mine. I’m so happy you are reading Cutting for Stone. That book has stayed with me for years. I think I might read it again one day.

  4. Hannah says:

    My sister, who is a certified book snob, loved The Book Thief. What surprised her most was how often it made her laugh, though the subject matter isn’t funny, per se. Cutting for Stone is one my sister-in-law keeps trying to get me to read because of our overseas time and the fact that our nephew is from Ethiopia. I’ll get to it, after I finish a collection of Virginia Woolfe’s short stories. Then again, I’ll probably need something funny after those…

  5. Jeannie says:

    Ooooh, good ones! I just started watching Call the Midwife about a month ago, and I’ve read the first memoir. It’s so interesting. And the TV series is just beautiful — not just the filming and acting etc. but the deep reflections on life, love, death, and of course birth. Let Your Life Speak is the only other book on this list that I’ve read, and I loved it, too. Thanks for giving us even more book ideas here! (I hope heaven will involve lots of reading because I am not going to get all the books read that I want to here on earth. 😉 )

    • Anne says:

      I loved that quote you shared from Let Your Life Speak about winter on the blog a month or two ago. That definitely made me want to bump it up my list!

  6. Ashley says:

    I am glad I read the Midwife books; but they were hard to get through sometimes. Due to difficult content, not writing.
    I read Cutting for Stone several years ago. It is excellent!
    Did you happen to watch the recent PBS miniseries on the Roosevelt’s? It was very well done.
    I’ve also not read The Book Thief.

  7. kristen says:

    Ok. I feel like I recommend that book to EVERYONE – even over Pride & Prejudice which holds the #1 spot in my heart. I feel like The Book Thief is a book everyone can – and will – love. So pretty please read it, and love it, ok? Don’t tell me if you don’t like it.
    PS. added some of the others to my never ending list.

  8. Kate says:

    Cutting for Stone is my dad’s favorite book and is on my list for this year (it was on it for last year, too). I am debating whether or not to make it my pick for book club.

    • Alex says:

      It would be a great book club pick! It’s beautiful. One of the best books I read in 2014., I recommend it to everyone. Might be a tad long for a book club, depending on your rules (it’s over 600 pages) but definitely worth it.

      If your dad loves it, you should suggest Shantaram to him. A beautiful book!

      • Kate says:

        Thanks for the recommendation! I will definitely pass it on to my dad. I’ll see if my book club is up for such a long book…they may be ready for it since this time we are reading the short and sweet The One and Only Ivan 🙂

  9. Rachel S. says:

    I read Call the Midwife and enjoyed it thoroughly. The Book Thief is on my list, too, as is Bringing Up Boys. I’ll have to sit down and fill out my list! Maybe the sequel to Life After Life that’s coming out this year. It follows Teddy after WWII. Oh, and Lord of the Flies. And The Hobbit and all that follows. And the rest of the Little House series. And Watership Down. Yeah, I need to sit snd make a list…

      • liz n. says:

        LOLOLOL….when I saw the title of this post, my immediate thought was, “Will this be the year she reads Watership Down???”

        Alas, it is not, and my heart and hopes are dashed upon the rocks of disappointment like so much flotsam and jetsam.


        On the other hand, very nice selections. I think you’ll really enjoy Cutting for Stone and The Brothers K.

  10. keely says:

    The Brothers K!!!! My pastor (whose taste I trust) told me, “It’s about baseball.” It’s about so much more than baseball!! (And he knew it was.)You’ll love it.

    For me, the book is Gilead. Recommended to me numerous times, started before but never got into. This is the year.

  11. Molly says:

    The Book Thief was excellent. I found it to be a fairly quick read. The movie was only OK, so don’t judge this book by the movie. It is an interesting take on WWII.

    I have so many books on my To-Read list it’s not funny, and there are even more books packed away in the basement from a move a couple years ago waiting to be read. I am not pre-planning my challenge list since I like to read what ever book speaks to be next, but I am keeping the challenge list close by my book shelf.

  12. The Brothers K has been on my shelf for years! My mom gave me her copy, saying I’d love it. Haven’t open it yet. I’ve also meant to get to The Book Thief forever.

    Have you read Olive Kittredge? That was another mom book. Finally got to it last year and thought it was wonderful. Olive was complex, largely unsympathetic, but then she’d surprise you. She’s a character I continue to think about.

  13. Sarah M says:

    I’ve read three of those, and here’s my tips:

    Cutting for Stone: The first 150 (!) pages were slooooow to me, but the rest was amazing. Like crying-on-a-plane-don’t-care-who-sees-me.

    Call the Midwife: the best show on TV for the last couple of years, imo. LOVED the memoir, but it’s very, very dark and sad. I haven’t read the other two in the series yet because I needed a break from the bleakness. She is an excellent writer.

    The Book Thief: I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did, seemingly, but I enjoyed it with a book club. I don’t know that you can listen to this one unless they do different voices, it’s easier to read/see the different speakers talking (you’ll understand once you pick it up). It was good, and very sad, but nowhere near my top 50.

    The books I’ve been meaning to read the last year or two are: Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, Madeline L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet, and a couple of Jeanette Walls’ novels. I’m hopefully getting to at least one of those authors this year!
    Sarah M

  14. Kayris says:

    I was disappointed by the Book Thief. I LIKED it, but after hearing people rave about it, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. I did, however, love the movie. The actress who plays Liesel is perfect for the role, as was the actor who played Rudy.

  15. Erica M. says:

    I finally started reading The Casual Vacancy. The premise itself didn’t interest me, but J.K. Rowling does. And right now, she’s pulled me in. Sure, I find most of the characters to be unpleasant, but in a fascinating way.

  16. Anne says:

    I’m haunted by two books on my ‘currently reading’ Goodreads shelf: the last third or so (?) of Radical Integrity (a bio about Dietrich Bonhoeffer) and StrengthsFinder 2.0, which is languishing because I’m at the part where you put in the code to take the test, and I am having trouble with the code. I just keep ignoring their presence on my shelf! Otherwise, I’ve been meaning to read East of Eden, for starters.

  17. Theresa says:

    I choose just one book that I must read in the following year. This year is The Shanghai Girls. It has been checked out of the library several times. A few years ago it was The Book Thief which I did not love. As much as I love making lists and reading, I find that it works best for me to let the next book choose me. Either have it come up in the library request list or I am moved my my pile of real books. I do have a very active Gooodreads to-read list but too much management makes reading a chore for me.

    • liz n. says:

      I completely understand what you’ve said, here. I certainly have a list of books I want to read, but “letting the book choose me” is how I end up with most of my reads. I find that when I make it reading a particular book a “to do,” I go into the book with the idea that it’s more of a chore than a pleasurable thing to enjoy.

  18. jeri says:

    I Love Call the Midwife series on PBS but it is on my reading list for my Doula Certification. I am glad for the idea of listening to it!

  19. Jeanne says:

    Cutting for Stone is beautiful! The Brothers K has been on my list forever, maybe next up, but now I’m interested in Ursula, under.

    Will I ever get ahead of my to-read list? (do I want to?)

  20. Tim says:

    I found a new YA series. Eoin Colfer wrote the Artemis Fowl series a few years back and I thoroughly enjoyed it, so when I saw that he has a new series out I snatched the first volume and read it quick. WARP – the reluctant assassin is great. It’s slightly darker than the Artemis Fowl series but has great story and plot, and the characterizations are just over the top enough to be captivating without being ridiculous. (I picked up volume two from the library yesterday and will dive in as soon as I finish The Small Bachelor by PG Wodehouse.)


    P.S. Can you believe I found the Colfer book in a bookstore in Kolkata on Christmas Eve? Whodathunk I’d have to go to the other side of the world to find a new series to read?

    • liz n. says:

      YES!! I’m very much looking forward to the rest of this series! I think I may already like it more than Artemis Fowl. Or maybe as much as, but for different reasons?

  21. Andrea says:

    I’ve read most of those on your list but far,far, far and away my favorite is Brothers K. I recommend it jumps to first in the list! because I’m bossy like that—only when it comes to Brothers K though. It is, along with Godric, my most recommended/given book. I’ve even forced it upon a stranger in the library when he happened to glance in its’ general direction on the shelf.

  22. Dawn says:

    I feel like I’m a step behind–I haven’t read any of these. Last year I read AND would recommend (I read more that didn’t make the list):
    Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith
    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
    I Hate My Neck by Nora Ephron
    Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Children’s Chapter Book)
    The Shack by William P. Young
    The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
    Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Childrens Chapter Book)
    Run! by Ann Patchett
    The Brave by Nicholas Evans
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck

  23. Aubrey says:

    I just seriously got so excited when I realized I’ve managed to get to a book before you, Anne! Haha. I hope you enjoy The Book Thief, it was one of my top 5 from 2014.

  24. Kym says:

    Oh, I have such a hard time with these “books everyone has read but me” books. If I don’t like them, I feel so let down after reading because everyone RAVED about that book. It makes me out books off for FAR to long before I read. My “book everyone has read” for the challenge is Unbroken. I’ve been putting it off because my MIL raved about it, but said it was a very difficult read. I feel like I know too much about someone else’s opinion now. 🙂

  25. Kim S. says:

    Call the Midwife is excellent – both the book and the show. I’m a bit concerned about the new direction the show is taking after watching the holiday special. I flew through all three books. For fans of the series I would also recommend The Nightingale Girls set by Donna Douglas. I believe there are four or five books in this set. I’ve gone through the first three. I’m a huge Anglophile so this was right up my alley.

    I was going to use Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You as my book I’ve been meaning to read (I just finished it) but I think I’m going to use that for a different purpose and say that Jennifer Chiaverini’s “Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker” has been on my shelf too long. My other goal is to start Ken Follett’s Century set book two, but that should take me a year in and of itself.

  26. Kristin says:

    I adore Call the Midwife (and the sequels). I would probably list those as among my favorite books of all time. I dislike The Book Thief, though. Dare I say I hated it?! Books are such a personal thing. It’s hard to predict how an individual will react to a book.

    For me, on the top of my list for this year are Bread and Wine which I’ve been hearing good things about for months and months…and Unbroken.

  27. Faith R says:

    Maybe I am the only one who didn’t LOVE the Book Theif. My 13 year old read it as well and liked it fairly well but we both thought there were moments that the narrator (Death) interrupts himself and that was annoying. The movie was GREAT.

    • Kristin says:

      I read the book (and strongly disliked it), but I went to see the movie anyway because I like to see movies of the books I’ve read. I think maybe I liked the movie a little more, but the whole story seemed pointless to me. Not that I think every story must be sunshine and roses, but I just didn’t see any redemption in the plot.

  28. Janice says:

    You have given me the kick in the pants to finally pull “No Ordinary Time” off my shelf. It was literally on the shelf to my right when I read your post this morning.

    My grandmother was a huge fan of the Roosevelts, so I bought her the book years ago. She loved it, and my aunt returned it to me after my grandmother passed away over 10 years ago. I have looked at it with guilt all these years knowing that I would love it to, but never made the time to read it. It is on my nightstand now. Big move up my list! 🙂

    And I loved all the Midwife books. I did find that sometimes I needed a breather between though. The reality of life in those books was a huge reminder of all that we have to be thankful for today.

  29. brianna says:

    I have read The Book Thief and enjoyed it, as well as the movie! But I LOVE Call The Midwife. I watched the first 3 seasons before diving into the book and WISH I had done it the other way. The books are quite different, it’s almost like the books are “HBO” and the show is “Disney”. I like how raw and real the author is though! She paints a vivid picture of east end London , however gruesome it is !

  30. MelissaJoy says:

    Funny, Cutting for Stone is on my TBR pile as well, like the next one. Let Your Life Speak has stuck with me. I have been meaning to read more by Palmer but not sure which one next. The Exact Place by Margie Haack is one I’m very excited about: memoir of a girl in northern Minnesota in the 50’s. I have met the author and she is quite the storyteller. Kristin Lavransdatter, Lila and My Bright Abyss are others I am looking forward to in 2015.

  31. Julie R says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 Call the Midwife books. Yes, they were detailed and graphic but such a fascinating look at a time, place, and way of life that no longer exists. Loved The Book Thief too! I highly recommend All the Light We Cannot See and Station Eleven. Both very thought- provoking books! I saw another comment about Warership Down and believe it or not, that was a book I couldn’t put down! It’s about rabbits! Crazy, huh?? I’ve been meaning to read are: Little Women, Team of Rivals, Peace Like a River, Essentialism, Red Rising, and oh so many more…:)

  32. Renee says:

    Cutting for Stone is life changing. Absolutely loved it. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who hasn’t read The Book Thief. I’ve started it twice and just couldn’t seem to get into it. I plan to read it in 2015, also.

  33. I tried to read The Brothers K but I am not sure I made it even that far. Because, baseball.

    I am thinking my theme this year is going to be Read My Bookshelves. Those include physical and ebooks that I ALREADY OWN. Because, really. I paid money for most of those. I need to read them! I already own and have been meaning to read: How Should We Then Live?, Cutting for Stone, The Woman in White, The Divine Conspiracy, The Hole in the Gospel, and oh, oodles of others. I started The Woman in White last night. It may take me six months to read, but I WILL DO IT!

  34. Laura says:

    This isn’t related to the topic, except that it is a book. 😉 I’m wondering about Greenglass House. I would love to hear about that one. Are you reading to yourself or aloud to some of your children? Thanks for any reviews anyone can give.

    Also, I love it when people share somewhat of a parental guide about books. I have a sensitive nature and am conservative. I love to read all of the reviews here, but wish I knew what controversial things might be in the books. Thanks to anyone who posts those kinds of notes.

  35. Mimi says:

    I really liked the Book Thief but I liked his book, I am the Messenger more. The Brothers K took a bit to read and I’m not a big baseball fan but I thought the book was very good. Cutting for Stone is very good. All three of these on your list left me pondering about various aspects for days afterward. I have so many I’ve been meaning to read that I’ve lost count but I’ve narrowed it down to 2 books. I’m going to read either Still by Lauren Winner or Quiet by Susan Cain.

  36. Anne says:

    Cutting for Stone is amazing. I wish Abraham Verghese would write more books. Totally different topic but his book, My Own Country, is really great too (warning: both books are graphic).

  37. Donna says:

    Great picks, Anne! I started Cutting for Stone two nights ago and I was a bit skeptical at first. But now I’m hooked! I am glad I decided to stick with it. I am planning on reading The Book Thief as well. Saving it until the fall though. I put it in ‘a book everyone has read but me’ category for your reading challenge. The challenge is absolutely amazing by the way. Thanks sooooo much for starting it! I’ll be sharing it with my readers in my links roundup on the blog this week.

    Happy reading!



  38. Pam says:

    Love these suggestions – I’ve added most of them to my list too! As for the Mother-Daughter Club . . . thanks to one of your earlier posts mentioning it, I got the first one from the library and it’s been great fun ever since. I found my daughter still up at MIDNIGHT last night finishing up the 3rd one (thank goodness today was a snow day!). I’ve enjoyed them too – I like a series we can both enjoy!

  39. Lisa says:

    I’ve been wanting to read Gone Girl but am waiting until I see the movie first–when I read the book first I’m almost always somewhat disappointed by the movie version, so I prefer to see the movie, then read the book. I’d also like to read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and more of Jeff Abbott’s Sam Capra series (I just finished Adrenaline last night).

  40. Amanda A says:

    I just started the audio book of Call The Midwife. It’s good but her details about child birth have me calling my doctor to get my tubes tied.

  41. The Book Thief is sooo good! Read it! You won’t be sorry. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. Seriously, it’s so good! (Okay, I think you get the point…)

    – Love, Felicia
    From A Silly Girl’s Thoughts

  42. Emma says:

    Cutting for Stone is an amazing read. It’s probably the best one I’ve read in several years. However I don’t see many comments about let your life speak. It’s one of the few books that I find myself rereading. I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but it is truly life changing! I will bee anxious to see what you think. Enjoy!

  43. The Book Thief has been on my TBR list for a while too. I’ve read so little over the past year or two that I haven’t bothered to pick a few books to read, although I think you just inspired me to do so. The last time I did that, I chose Gone With the Wind, which I had never read before, and a few others.

    Hope you get to and enjoy all 7 books!

  44. Jennifer H says:

    Early last year, I checked out The Book Thief, but now I don’t remember whether I started reading it, didn’t like it and abandoned it (like The Gone Girl….I know!) or just ran out of renewals before I got to it. I just put in a request for that and The Brothers K, which also sounds interesting to me off your list. I have learned not to request all the books on your list at one time 😉

  45. If you’re planning to read THE BOOK THIEF, I definitely recommend watching Markus Zusak’s Ted Talk if you haven’t. I tried to link here but it wouldn’t let me so just go to YouTube and put it in the search engine and it will come up. So. Good.

  46. Alysa says:

    Cutting for Stone has been on my list for a few years now. I really should read it!

    Definitely want to read Call the Midwives. I adore the TV show.

  47. Amy says:

    Call the Midwife is on my list. Picked it up at Lifeline Bookfest Brisbane last week! That’s a promising start to ticking it off the list

  48. Lori says:

    Loved The Book Thief. Took a while to get rolling but stick with it. Totally worth it. Also read and loved Cutting for Stone. Only other book I have on my list is one I want to read and that’s Call the Midwife. Great list btw.

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