AJ’s 2019 Reading Plan

I can’t believe that it is less than a week until we are in the new year and the last of the twenty tweens, that’s pretty scary to me. Anyway, my plan is to make this the best reading year of my life and so I have set some pretty ambitious goals. Christian and I get married in March so it’s already set to be the best year of my life and so I am hoping that it will only be made better by my reading.

I am also wanting to review every single book I read in 2019. This is the third year in a row I am trying to do this, I have not even come close to succeeding before, but I am hoping that this blog will push me to be better at that.

Reading Challenges:

  1. Read 100 books. The best reading year I have ever had since I began tracking my reading, I read 84 books. This year I read 50. So, this is pretty ambitious, but I think I can do it. I am going to do a smaller aim of 10 books per month knowing I probably won’t hit that each month particularly around the time of the wedding.
  2. Popsugar 2019 challenge. You can view the challenge and some suggestions for books that fit the various challenges here, I am hoping this will stretch my reading and expose me to some books that I wouldn’t have otherwise read.
  3. Read One Book for Every Year I Have Been Alive. 1997-2019 = 22 books. The only rule for this challenge is that they can’t be rereads.
  4. Goodreads Choice Checklist. I want to read all of the Goodreads Choice 2018 winners (except for the cookbook and picture book).

Authors of the Year:

  1. Brandon Sanderson. I actually haven’t really read anything by Brandon Sanderson, but he has so many popular books and I would love to get through a large chunk of them.
  2. Rick Riordan.I have read his Percy Jackson series and The Lost Hero. I really enjoyed those so I would like to get through a few more next year having not read a single thing of his in 2018.
  3. Jane Austen.I read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility in high school and loved both. This is the only author where I am hoping I will get through all of her works next year (including P&P and S&S).

Series of the Year:

(I have started some of these series and some of them I haven’t, but I am hoping to finish all of them by December 31st, 2019.)

  1. Outlander
  2. Vampire Academy
  3. Mistborn
  4. Lunar Chronicles
  5. Crazy Rich Asians
  6. Red Queen
  7. Kingkiller Chronicles
  8. A Court of Thorns and Roses
  9. Throne of Glass
  10. A Darker Shade of Magic

5 Star Predictions:

I’m guessing I’ll absolutely love the following books and these will be like the top 10 of my 2019. Obviously, there is no real way to know but I thought it would be a fun game to guess:

  1. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  2. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
  3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  4. The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
  5. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  6. Circe by Madeline Miller
  7. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  8. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  9. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
  10. Queen of the Tearling by Erica Johansen

My final aim for this year is to more read books that I am interested in even if they have peculiar names or covers, or even if they have a stigma attached to them. Honestly, not judging myself for what I am enjoying reading will be one of the most stretching things I could do in my reading life.

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This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

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Reese Witherspoon declared this her Reese’s Book Club X Hello Sunshine pick of October and so I decided to pick it up without any real knowledge of what the book was about. So I downloaded the audio and off I went on a journey with no expectations.

I loved it.

Honestly, every single second of this book was loved by me. It is a story of a family, a family in which the last born doesn’t want to be a “he” but rather a “she”, but really it is simply about a family.

I don’t tend to spend a lot of time reading LGBTQ+ books. I have read one or two, but I don’t personally seek them out like some of my friends do. Sometimes I feel like I really can’t relate to them at all because they seem to be pushing an agenda at times and then it can honestly come out seeming contrived to me. This book wasn’t contrived, this book was so real and so heart warming and yet heart breaking simultaneously.

Penn, the dad, was my favorite character. Maybe that I have ever come across in any book. The simple reason being he reminds me of Christian. Penn is a sweet man and all his moments are what will stick with me from this book. Staying in the ER so that he can talk to Rosie whenever she comes out, or maybe just so she will get a glimpse of him, because he wants to woo her. I loved that everyone did homework together under his supervision and only after he had made them “a really good snack”. I loved loved loved his stories that he told his wife and children (honest moment: Christian makes up stories for me regularly and this similarity may be the reason I most loved this book).

I think the biggest thing about this book is it simply felt so raw and real. You could have no relation to anyone LGBTQ+ or even really know anyone LGBTQ+, and you would still likely relate to this book in some way. Because reading (or listening to, like I did) this book feels like you have been invited to join the family. The characters were real and lovable and relatable and I felt like I knew them. In this book I laughed and I cried, I got anxious and fearful, and I had so much hope.

I don’t feel like I can adequately sum up this book. I don’t feel like I can give this book what it deserves in my review. I kept saying to Christian (and Elri, my best friend) “you have to listen to this book” and that’s my advice to you too. Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, stop and go listen to this book!

Buy This Is How It Always Is Here (I personally recommend the audio)