It's January 2019 and I am ready for another annual reading challenge! My family loves to read, and my aunt, mom, sister and I regularly challenge each other each year - often following a reading challenge like PopSugar's - you can find their 2019 challenge here.
I think this year I am going to simply set a goal of a certain number of books I would ideally read, because my biggest problem is finding the time to read in the busy-ness of life. Yet every time I do, I feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. In 2018 I read 28 books, and this year my goal is 33 books (it's my age, and it felt slightly more achievable than 35!).
In 2018 we completed the PopSugar challenge, which set categories that you had to match your reads to. I set a challenge of reading 25 books and once I'd read 18-20, finding books I wanted to read for those final five categories became really hard, which is why I opted just to do a number of books challenge for 2019.
However, challenging myself broke me out of my reading comfort zone and resulted in some great books I wouldn't necessarily have picked up in 2018! As a result I have my top 10 reads list to share with you, in case you too are looking for inspiration for reading choices this coming year.
In no particular order, here are my top 10 recommendations:
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: I thought this was a touching book covering a very sensitive topic - teen suicide. While there are mixed reactions on its ending, I felt it brought the characters to life, developed a connection both between them and between the reader and the characters, and took you on a journey while teaching you something, and that's all you can ask from a book.
- Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty: I first picked up a Liane Moriarty book four or five years ago now, when I read What Alice Forgot. I quickly tore through her other published novels and then became one of many in anxiously awaiting her newest ones (and devouring the TV series Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman produced and starred in, Big Little Lies, based on another of her books. Roll on season 2!). This is her latest installment and follows a group of people who visit a wellness spa looking for a life-changing experience. I enjoyed the fact that it played on the wellness trend while also following Moriarty's usual trope of interweaving disparate characters' storylines.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I was late to the party on this tearaway success of a book, but that just meant I was able to read it right before watching the film, which was released October 2018, and that helped the whole story come to life even more. Starr is a firecracker of a protagonist who offers a fresh young adult take on the Black Lives Matter movement while bringing such humanity and heart to it.
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: A stunning teen love story with undeniably quirky and unique characters - you won't be able to put this one down.
- The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn: This was the first book I read in 2018, and in the flurry of psychological thrillers that grace the bookshelves since the huge success of Gone Girl, this is the only one that genuinely got me with its twist ending (well, since Gone Girl!), and I thought it was written really well. It had wonderful influences of film noir which helped enrich the plot throughout.
- You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero: This one is pretty odd to be on my top 10 list as I'm not a huge self-help reader. However, this was a quick read that landed its message with a powerful punch and actually gave you helpful takeaways to help enrich your life right away.
- A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan: This book made me cry twice; it's the tale of a mother who has to begin working full-time when her husband loses his job. It follows a year of her life as the family copes with this transition, and includes real-world concerns such as aging and ailing parents, children growing up too fast, worrying that your babysitter knows more about them than you do, your work causing friction with your friendships, alcoholism and marriage difficulties... it will hit home for most women dealing with even one of these issues.
- The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith: I was hesitant about launching into J.K. Rowling's murder mystery adult series (written under a male pseudonym). I am a huge Harry Potter fan and she brought a completely different world to life for readers of all ages - I thought, how can she change genres and audiences so drastically and pull it off? I was wrong to question her, because she really does and she brings to life a flawed and troublesome protagonist, Cormoran Strike, who you just can't stop reading about.
- The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith: After reading the first novel in Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike series, I couldn't resist picking up the second. Page-turning murder mysteries that I can't read fast enough.
- Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith: I was determined to read all of the Cormoran Strike novels! (And with Lethal White, the fourth novel, recently released, I am looking forward to adding the latest installment to my 2019 reads!)
If you want to read with me, friend me, message me and follow along with what I'm reading on Goodreads.