Your Fall 2019 Reading List! New Releases by Tried and True Authors | Fall Reading, New Books for FallRead More
If there is one thing I learned from massively failing my 2018 reading challenges, it’s that if I don’t pick out specific books to fill criteria for the categories, I won’t meet them. My whole point in participating in these challenges is to read outside my comfort zone, and if I don’t have a plan, I’ll keep reading what I gravitate toward (thrillers, contemporary fiction).
Happily, I’m doing pretty well on this year’s Modern Mrs Darcy challenge. I’ve already completed a book I’ve been meaning to read (Columbine), a book about a topic that fascinates you (The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding), a book recommended by someone with great taste (Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk), a book you chose for the cover (Looker), a book by an author who is new to you (The Dreamers), and a book in translation (An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good).
Anne did a great job making these categories accessible. I love the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, but those are…well… HARD. (I’ll be sharing ideas for their categories too- I have some good books earmarked and I’m excited to see how far I’ll get when I’ve got the picks mapped out).
In this post, I’m going to skip sharing recs for A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read, A Book Published Before You Were Born, and Three Books by the Same Author since those are so personal, but I did want to share ideas for everything else.
A Book About a Topic that Fascinates You
The White House: White Houses (fiction about Eleanor Roosevelt and her alleged lover Lorena Hickok), The Residence (behind the scenes in The White House), From the Corner of the Oval (memoir- a young woman gets a job as a stenographer in the White House)
Music: 27: A History of the 27 Club (non fiction about all of the musicians, i.e. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse… who all died at age 27), Mercury and Me (biography by Freddie Mercury’s lover, Jim Hutton), Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin, and Beyond (a biography from Led Zeppelin’s manager)
Serial Killers: Death in the Air (a serial killer terrorizes London amidst an environmental disaster), The Good Nurse (a nurse murders his patients for years), Whoever Fights Monsters (non fiction about of the FBI profiler who coined the term Serial Killers)
The Royal Wedding: The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding (fiction about the embroiders who worked on Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress), The Royal We (fiction about an American who falls in love with a price)
A Book in the Backlist of a Favorite Author
Lisa Jewell- The Girls in the Garden, The House We Grew Up In, The Third Wife
Tayari Jones- Silver Sparrow, Leaving Atlanta
Jesmyn Ward- Salvage the Bones, Men We Reaped
John Green- Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines
Jodi Picoult- Nineteen Minutes, My Sister’s Keeper, Leaving Time
A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste
Favorites lists from some of my top recommendation sources! (And my own- TBR Etc’s Best Books of 2018).
Sarah’s Book Shelves Best Books of 2018
Johann’s top 10 Horror Books of 2018
Larry H (my favorite recommendation source from Goodreads)
Crime By the Book’s Best Psychological Thrillers of 2018
Book Bejeweled and her Twister Hall of Fame
A Book You Chose for the Cover
You probably don’t need my help for this one, but here are some books that I’m pretty sure initially caught my attention because of their cover.
Queenie, An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, Looker, We Cast a Shadow, My Sister, the Serial Killer, If You Leave Me, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, The Mothers, Home Fire, Ginger Bread, American Housewife, #fasionvictim
A Book By an Author that is New to You
Some of my favorite books written by authors you may not have read yet: Michael Robotham (Thriller-The Secrets She Keeps), Katherine Center (Contemporary Fiction-How to Walk Away), Natasha Mostert (Supernatural-Season of the Witch), Kekla Magoon (YA- How it Went Down)
A Book in Translation
A Book Outside Your (Genre) Comfort Zone
Here are some picks that I really enjoyed that were outside my genre comfort zone.
Please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments! I think half of the reason I love these challenges is because I like finding books to fit the categories… hmm.
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I read more books last year than I have in my life! My original goal was 65, but when I hit that in August, I figured I’d keep the momentum going and try to get to 100. (Ended with 102!). My former PR was 60, so it got me thinking about what was different this year. I thought I’d write a post about what I learned in reading 100 books last year. And hopefully- if your goal is to read more books this year this will help you, too!
1. Audiobooks are the best! I listened to so many audiobooks this year- 31 total. I get a lot of audiobooks from Libby (through my library) but also pay for a Scribd account and occasionally visit Libro.fm to purchase an audiobook from my favorite independent bookstore or Audible. My favorite audiobook recommendations are here. Also- audiobooks totally count. Reading is reading…
2. ... But not every book is good on audio. The narrator really, really, matters. Ari Fliakos and Will Patton are two of my favorite narrators and AudioFile has a great list of their top narrators. One of my biggest pet peeves is when an author who does not have the narration chops narrates their own audiobook. It can really ruin the experience for me (The Secret History and The Library Book come to mind).
3. E-books are the key to me reading fast. I think it helps not to know how many pages are left- my attention is held and I stay in the moment. I also have the Kindle app on my phone, so I’m never without a book. I do have a physical Kindle and love it- I have the Paperwhite.
4. I found a lot of fantastic new books this year! I read a lot of new-to-me authors (Tayari Jones, Chiamanda Ngoche Adiche, Kristin Hannah, discovered debut authors (Delia Owens, Tommy Orange) and revisited some favorites (Ruth Ware, Jane Harper, Lisa Jewell)). I ended with an average rating of 3.97. That said, after 100 books…
5. I’ve forgotten a lot of the specifics. I called An American Marriage my favorite book from 2018 but since I read it in January 2018 it feels like years ago. I need to re-read.
6. After I decided to get to 100, I found myself forcing myself to finish books that were fine but nothing special, just so I could add it to my "count". I rarely did not finish (DNF) books as it is, but when I was trying to get to 100 it started to feel like a chore.
7. Novellas count! I’ve only read a couple of novellas in my life, but they were a nice way to up that number count without a ton of pages. The only novella I read this year was Elevation by Stephen King. It was a nice story, but well, short. I don’t know that I’m a short story/ novella kind of girl. I like character/world/plot building, and when a story is too short I feel cheated.
8. At a certain point, It did start to get hard to pick out what I should read next. I was overthinking things. I wanted to get some “buzzy” books from 2018 under my belt but everything I picked up felt too long, too dense, or otherwise not right in the moment. That’s when I said forget the goal and started to pick up what some of my best recommendation sources were calling their favorites- Educated, The Great Alone, Where the Crawdads Sing. Even though these books weren’t short- I tore through them in a few days. Lesson learned- read what you like and the numbers will come.
9. At the beginning of 2018 I sought to finish the Modern Mrs. Darcy and Book Riot Read Harder Challenges. But I found that for me, it’s one or the other. Either I had to go for volume or for content. This year I'm shooting to read 85 or so books but to also finish some challenges. I’ll be tracking my progress here.
10. Take notes! 100 books is a lot. I’m still experimenting with my favorite note taking app (have been using Evernote the most, but also use Skribal and notes in Kindle).
Ok ok- putting the 2018 wrapup to bed now. Onwad!
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