The 2019 Reading Challenge is here! Today I’m sharing the books I’m thinking of reading in 2019.
In most categories, I share three titles I’m considering reading. I won’t read all of these, but wanted to share my ideas, for my own sake and in the hope they’ll inspire you.
If you haven’t joined this year’s reading challenge, it’s not too late. Enter your email below to join and we’ll immediately send you your free Reading Challenge kit with checklist and planning sheets. Plus we’ll stay in touch throughout the year with tips and encouragement to help you meet your reading goals.
I’d love to hear what YOU are thinking of reading in comments.
A book you’ve been meaning to read
• Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. Authors with great taste have raved about this one, which I’ve had on my shelves for years.
• A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. I’ve started—but never finished—this sweeping novel, which I brought home with me from an MMD Book Club book exchange.
• The Cooking Gene: A Journey through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael Twitty. I’ve heard rave reviews about this relatively new release, which is part personal memoir, part culinary history.
A book about a topic that fascinates you
• Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability by Aimi Hamraie. I love books about urban planning; this book is about the need to explicitly design an environment everyone can function in.
• Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward by Gemma Hartley. I have this checked out from the library right now.
• The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet. I’m seeing this nonfiction work about a real-life 1986 fire in the Los Angeles Public Library pop up on many of your best-of-2018 lists.
A book in the backlist of a favorite author
• Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson. I’m close to being a Joshilyn Jackson completist, but this 2010 hardcover remains on my shelves, unread.
• Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I’ve adored Cleave’s more recent work, but still want to read this 2009 novel (which I hear is a real punch in the gut).
• What Now? by Ann Patchett. After several readers recommended this one in the same week last summer, I picked up a copy at a Chicago used bookstore.
A book recommended by someone with great taste
• The Line That Held Us by David Joy. My husband discovered David Joy last fall and raced through all his work; Joy’s words on his own work at a book festival this fall made me want to read this even more.
• This House of Sky by Ivan Doig. Jim Mustich urged me to read this on our 1000 Books to Read Before You Die episode of What Should I Read Next.
• FKA USA by Reed King. A Houston bookseller, who had just finished reading a galley, told me this dystopian June 2019 release deserves a place on my reading list.
Three books by the same author
• Kent Haruf: I love his work but have only read a handful of his titles.
• N.K. Jemisin: Fantasy isn’t my go-to genre, but Jemisin’s writing makes me want to eat it up.
• Jhumpa Lahiri: Again, I love her work but have only begun to explore it.
A book you chose for the cover
I included this category in the challenge because I wanted to prompt readers—including myself—to read at whim and take a chance on unfamiliar books. We’ll see what catches my eye in the year to come.
A book by an author who is new to you
• Miriam Toews: this is the first category I completed, from an author whose work I know relatively little about. I finished her forthcoming novel Women Talking, which I hear is not-quite-typical for her work, on January 5.
• James Baldwin: Despite his literary and cultural significance, I’ve not yet read Baldwin’s work. I’m planning to begin with The Fire Next Time.
• P.G. Wodehouse. Would you believe I’ve never read a Wodehouse? Enough said. (Tell me where to begin?)
A book in translation
• War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I’ve long been intimidated by the length of this Russian classic, but the vast number of MMD Book Clubbers who have read it—and raved about it—in the past year or two make it feel less daunting.
• 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I keep putting this on my list, because I keep not reading it! Again, the length is intimidating.
• Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna by Mario Giordano. I’m looking forward to the second book in the Auntie Poldi series, written by a German novelist about a spunky widow living by the Italian sea.
A book outside your (genre) comfort zone
• The Stand by Stephen King. The premise intrigues me, readers say it’s terrific—but I don’t do scary, so I’m scared of this one.
• How Proust Can Change your Life by Alain de Botton. I hardly ever read philosophy, and I know nothing about Proust, but I’ve heard this is worth the (perceived?) stretch.
• Spinning by Tillie Walden. I hardly ever read graphic novels, but readers with great taste say this graphic memoir about competitive figure skating—and all that life entails for a teen—is superb.
A book published before you were born
• The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch. I’ve never read Murdoch, but I’ve been assured this highly readable 1978 Booker Prize winner about a highly unlikeable protagonist is worth my time.
• Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.I’ve had a beautiful copy on my shelf for a really long time.
• Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. How did I miss reading this in high school? If I’m not careful, all my kids are going to read it before I do.
What are YOU reading for the 2019 Reading Challenge? (If you’re not on the list, click here to sign up!)