Book Lists Book Reviews Books for Adults

A Year of Reading 2019: 12 Books to Read from January to December

Last year, I put together a 12 month reading guide with books to read each month. I loved picking new and old favorites and trying to match them to the seasons and holidays.

As December began, I started getting lots of messages and comments asking if I was going to do a similar thing for 2019.

The answer is YES!

Last year’s list was ALL books I’d read before – this year, I’m adding in a couple books to read that are new to me (and I’ll list in the description if that’s the case).

And this year, I’m excited to be more involved in discussing them. I’ll be posting each month about them on Instagram and then doing Instagram Stories on a weekly basis to go along with them – I hope you’ll join in the fun!

I’ll also be sending out monthly updates about the upcoming books plus some fun extras related to the books in my Year of Reading email group.

If you’d like to get those emails (and who WOULDN’T?), just pop your email address in below and you won’t miss a thing!

And now, on to the exciting part – the books themselves!

Books to read

12 Books to Read in 2019

This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are by Melody Warnick

I loved this book when I first read it a few years ago and I’ve been itching to re-read it since our move this summer. Even if you haven’t moved recently, it’s packed with ideas for how to make the most of where you live, and I cannot wait to discuss this one. It feels like the perfect way to kick off the year! (Full review here)

Becoming by Michelle Obama

This is one of the books I haven’t read yet, but I’m CURRENTLY listening to it (Michelle Obama reads it herself, which makes it even more enjoyable) and it seems like the perfect pick for February which is both Black History Month and when President’s Day is celebrated.

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

This is another one I haven’t read yet, but I’m reading it over this holiday vacation and if it turns out to be terrible (her books can be hit or miss), I’ll swap it for I’ve Got Your Number, which is another one of her books that I love love love. Her books are ideal for spring break, whether you’re jetting off to warmer climates or hanging at home on the couch.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

And another one I haven’t read yet (I know – have I read ANY books on this list? I promise I have) but when I asked for recommendations on Instagram, this was one of the most suggested titles, plus it’s being made into a movie. And the reviews are off the charts.

The Read Aloud Family by Sarah MacKenzie

This book, you guys. I feel like every parent should read it. It’s so sweet and wonderful and inspiring. I cannot WAIT to talk about it. (Full review here)

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

I like one of the summer books to be one that you can read aloud with your kids or listen to as an audiobook as a family and this one perfectly fits the bill. This story of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan is funny and exciting and clever, and the dang audiobook is narrated by Jim Dale of Harry Potter fame. You cannot go wrong.  (Full review here)

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

Summer feels like blockbuster movie time to me, so naturally, I couldn’t resist choosing this book all about The Princess Bride. It’s written by Cary Elwes (who plays Wesley) and he also narrates the audiobook (and somehow managed to get nearly every original cast member to come record their own stories for the audiobook). I listened to it and then my dad listened to it and then Bart listened to it. It’s SO fun. Be prepared to HAVE to watch the movie afterward. (Full review here)

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

I have read every single book Sarah Dessen has written and I love her books so much. They just FEEL like summer to me and this is her newest one that comes out in the spring. Whenever people finish To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and then ask what in the world to read next, I always suggest The Truth About Forever.

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley

I love books about education and September feels like the right time to read them as kids go back in school (and Target is blessedly empty again). I read this one a few years ago about the education systems in several different countries and it’s so interesting and inspiring. It’s going to be so fun to talk about.  (Full review here)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I like to read a spooky but not overly scary book in October (last year’s pick was The Thirteenth Tale) and this book, considered the most popular mystery EVER, seems just right.

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist

Food memoirs are some of my favorite books to read, especially as the holidays approach, and this one might be my all-time favorite. It’s just so cozy and delightful. This time I might even make a recipe or two out of it, but don’t hold me to it. (Full review here)

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

This is another one I’ve been meaning to read for a couple of years. After I read (and loved) When Breath Becomes Air, many people recommended this one and then! Paul’s wife and Nina Riggs’ widower ended up getting married!


Let me know if you’ll be following along – I’d love to hear what you think of this year’s picks!


Also, if you liked this post about books to read in 2019, you might also enjoy these posts:

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Sarah's Book Shelves December 28, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Where the Crawdads Sing is SO good! And really one of those novels I fee like I can recommend to most readers. All-around good recommendation.

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw December 28, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Yay! I’m so excited.

      • Reply Jasilyn January 15, 2019 at 3:29 pm

        Just as a warning, this book is not appropriate for littles to listen to. 😬 I got halfway through the audiobook before I gave it back. I listen to a lot of audiobooks while I do stuff with/by my kids, and this has a heap of adult content. (I only get/keep audiobooks I would feel ok having my kids overhear.) The writing and storytelling are beyond amazing, but I just wanted to throw this warning out there because (somehow 🤷) I didn’t expect it and thought it might help someone else make a decision.

  • Reply Danica Middlebrook December 28, 2018 at 11:09 am

    As You Wish is awesome as an audio book – I could definitely do a relisten. Looking forward to reading along.

  • Reply Debbie Clifford December 28, 2018 at 11:33 am

    I haven’t read any of these books yet. Very excited!

  • Reply Sara Millett December 28, 2018 at 11:55 am

    What a fun list! I’m excited to read along. I think that you would like Erin McCahan’s YA books. I read The Lake Effect first and then immediately found and read her two other published books. Also, you should definitely make the bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese from Bread and Wine. So easy and so good.

  • Reply Amy December 29, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Count me in!

  • Reply Mindy December 29, 2018 at 6:33 am

    I’m excited to do this. I always read the same genre and style of book. This will help get me out of my comfort zone! Thanks for putting the list together.

  • Reply Anna December 29, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Glad I discovered this blog! I will be checking out these recommendations!


  • Reply This + That December 31, 2018 at 1:02 am

    […] a good reading list and these 12 look like great picks for the New […]

  • Reply Jennifer Benson December 31, 2018 at 10:48 am

    I loved When Breath Becomes Air, but it also broke my heart. I can’t read sad books when it’s dark and gloomy outside; I’m going to have to read The Bright Hour in a non-winter month!

    That blows my mind that the surviving spouses got married!!

  • Reply Jennifer Benson December 31, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Ok, I got sucked down a rabbit hole reading about the two widowed spouses getting together and just discovered that Paul’s widow Lucy is twin sister to Joanna Goddard from Cup of Joe. All these connections are wild.

  • Reply 12 inspiring books to start the year off right - Everyday Reading January 1, 2019 at 2:01 am

    […] by Sarah MacKenzie I mean, you already know I love this book (so much so that I picked it for the 2019 Everyday Reading Book Club!). But if you’re looking to make reading with your children a bigger part of your routine […]

  • Reply Ellaina Vogrig January 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I saw Where the Crawdads Sing on this list and for whatever reason felt super inspired to check it out. I literally downloaded it onto my kindle and finished it in the same day. It was amazing. It’s easily one of my favorite books now. I really hope you read it and do some sort of review post! I can’t wait to here your thoughts!

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw January 4, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Well, I’m SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT. Thanks for letting me know and I’ll definitely do a review post!

  • Reply 2019 Reading Lineup – Danica Holdaway January 7, 2019 at 8:02 am

    […] each month. I’m also going to follow along with Bon’s Book Club, Delicious Reads, and Everyday Reading’s Year of Reading. You can also follow along with my whatever I’m currently reading on my Goodreads and check […]

  • Reply Reading Goals | sing shout praise home January 7, 2019 at 11:12 am

    […] a book club. I’ve joined Janssen’s Everyday Reading 2019 Year of Reading Book Club. Some of her picks are ones I’ve wanted to read, some are new, so this is […]

  • Reply milo January 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Are we sure that the surviving spouses got married? I know they dated for a while, but I thought they broke up instead of getting married (

  • Leave a Reply