January 2019 Reading Challenge Update: Weeks 1-5


In 2019, Rachael decided to read a book a week. Find out what books Rachael chose for the January Reading Challenge.

In 2019, I challenged myself to read at least one book a week. To make it fun, we created a fun 2019 Reading Challenge with 52 different categories to diversify my reading. Secretly, I just wanted a way to force myself to get around to the books that have been languishing on my to-read list too long.

If you are joining us in the challenge, I hope you are having as much fun as I am. My right-brained self craves order and organization, so I’m proceeding through in order. However, I do not expect you to do the same.

I thought it would be fun to update you on my progress thus far. To keep things on track, I split the full reading challenge in to smaller monthly challenges. One month in, and I’m having a blast. I’ve chosen 4 of my books because they’ve been sitting on my to-read list for years, and I’m glad to finally give them some attention.

Here’s what I read for the January Reading Challenge. I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading!

February 2019 Update →

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January: Books 1-5

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden
by Kate Morton

A Book with More than 500 Pages: I can’t tell you how glad I am that we chose The Forgotten Garden for our January book club pick. We are going to talk all about it in our January book club discussion, but I will just say I love how Kate Morton peeled away layers of revelations to finally get the overarching mystery – how did a little girl end up on a boat to Australia. ★★★★★ Read more →

Related: Long Classics That Are Actually Worth Your Time

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Casual Vacany
by J. K. Rowling

Book You Haven’t Read by An Author You Love: I’ve read all of J. K. Rowling’s other books, so I thought I would give The Casual Vacancy a chance. Honestly, I almost didn’t finish it. Without the magic of Harry Potter and the mystery of the Comoran Strike detective series, this novel just fell flat. I will admit, it did not end in the way I expected, but I still don’t feel like it overcame it’s dull premise. My suggestion: Skip this one. ★★★  Read more →

Circe by Madeline Miller

by Madeline Miller

Goodreads Winner: I’d heard such mixed review about Circe that I knew I had to read it myself. I can see why other people love it, but I had such a hard time getting into it. Miller does a good job giving a nuanced view of the characters from Greek mythology, and she makes the myths a bit more accessible to the modern reader. For myself, I think part of my problem is that I just prefer reading the original source material instead. ★★★ Read more →

Related: Goodreads Winners 2018: Popularity Has Its Benefits

Old Yeller
by Fred Gipson

Book You Can Read in a Day: I’m not sure why I read this book in January because a book that will make you cry is one of the February Reading Challenge topics. This short classic was easy to fit into one day – though I was left emotionally wrecked for the rest of the day. The real question is, do I dare to watch the movie now? ★★★★ Read more → 

Related: Short Classics You Actually Have Time to Read

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice
by Lisa Genova

Book About a Difficult Topic: I was combing through my to-read list on Goodreads for a good choice for my last pick for the January Reading Challenge when I spotted Still Alice. Frankly, I’d been meaning to read it for 4 years. Many of my readers love Lisa Genova, and I can see why. I adored her take on Alzheimer’s, which anyone who has ever seen a loved one experience dementia will agree is a difficult topic. ★★★★★ Read more →

Up Next in February

Our 2019 Reading Challenge continues with for more books in February. Be sure to check out our February Reading Challenge for book suggestions, or better yet, join our newsletter!

6. Recommended by a Friend

7. Book That Will Make You Cry

8. Book Published in 2009

9. Book Becoming Movie in 2019


What books did you read in January?

January 2019 Reading Challenge Update // All the Books We Read This Month

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  • Reply Melissa's fandom world January 23, 2019 at 4:45 am

    You’ve managed to read quite some interesting reads so far! Curious to see what you’ll think of the next ones! Happy reading!

  • Reply Kelly E. January 23, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    A book with more than 500 pages : The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (3 stars)
    A book you haven’t read by an author you love: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot (3 stars)
    A Goodreads winner in 2018: Still Me by Jojo Moyes (currently reading)
    A book you can read in a day: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
    A book about a difficult topic: To be determined.

    Still Alice is one of my favourite books, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It’s one of those books that has stuck with me since reading it. I’ve enjoyed all of her books, but that one is definitely my favourite, maybe because it hits home for me. I lost my Grandmother in October of 2018 after a lengthy decline from Alzheimer’s, and I’ll admit it sure is difficult to “lose” the person you love, before you actually lose the person you love. In 2019, I intend to take part in a walk for Alzheimer’s research along with a number of other relatives to honour her.

    Happy reading!

    • Reply Kelly E. January 23, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      * Wonder by R.J. Palacio (5 stars)

    • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Still Alice turned out to be favorite book of the month, which is saying something because I ended up reading over 20 books. I’m glad you enjoyed Wonder. It’s just a powerful story.

  • Reply Terra January 23, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    My January picks:
    1- Book with 500 pages – Book of Negroes
    2- Book by an author I love – The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
    3- Goodreads Winner 2018 – dont have one for this yet – as I started late – and none are currently available at local library!
    4 – Book you can read in a day – Charlottes Web
    5 – Book about a difficult topic – 13 Reasons why
    12-Cover With Your Favorite Color – Red, White & Dark all over (Had dark purple on the cover)
    27. Listen to an Audiobook – Frog Music – Emma Donahue

    • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Yes, the newer books are harder to get from the library. Which Goodreads winner do you think you will pick?

      • Reply Terra February 2, 2019 at 3:13 pm

        Already halfway through “the Great Alone” 🙂

  • Reply Christine January 23, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Old Yeller will just never happen for me. I’d need a box of tissues and a big glass of wine. We had to read Where The Red Fern Grows in elementary school and some other horse/dog/animal dying stories. NEVER AGAIN.

    I am glad to see your opinion on Casual Vacancy. I know that I mentioned this on IG as well, but I had seen nothing but bad comments about the title. People were bored, confused, and disappointed. Some said that Casual is better to listen to as an audiobook with all of the different characters?! I think I will pass.

    I’ve been meaning to advertise your book club on my baby FB biz account. I will definitely get on that. I hope it does wonderful!

    • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks! I never say no to free advertising. So many of the child/animal books are all about the animal dying – I guess it’s one of the lessons anyone with a pet ends up learning.

  • Reply Pat January 23, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Book with 500 pages_– The Forgotten Garden
    Had not even heard of this book before the challenge and I loved it!
    Unread book by an author I like – the STory of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth
    Berg. It was good/ but not one of her best.
    2018 Goodreads Winner – the GReat Alone
    Really liked this
    Book you can read in 1 day – The Call of the Wild – I read this as a teenager but wanted to re-read it – excellent book! (Guessvibam on an Alaska kick)

    • Reply Dana January 28, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      Pat, I also read The Call of the Wild, but for the first time. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf forever because I was afraid I was going to cry the entire way through it. Maybe that’s what made me read it so fast! I ended up really loving it.

    • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      I’m so glad you liked The Forgotten Garden! I was expecting it to be good, but it was even better than I had expected. I haven’t read The Call of the Wild in ages. Maybe I should give it a reread.

  • Reply Melissia Bruehl January 23, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Old Yeller! Maybe that should be one of my books this month. I’m so far behind but determined to still finish this month.

    • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      You can do it! Or you can cheat and double-count books. Either way is fine with me as long as you have fun.

  • Reply michelle polk January 30, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Just finished Still Alice. Yikes. I like the book and the way it was written but I hated the spouse. I don’t care if his reaction was reasonable, sorta. I love this reading challenge. It feels like it is giving me a mission instead of trying to pick a book for no other reason but that it is on my shelf.

    • Reply Rachael February 2, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      I’m so glad you are enjoying the challenge. Yes, I couldn’t believe how the husband acted. Though it would be so hard to watch your spouse decline like that.

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