What books to read next? 40 Books Challenge

What books to read next? 40 Books Challenge

Wondering what books to read next? Join me in my New Year 40 next books reading challenge! Today I’m sharing about categories 6-10 in the booklist and the book (or books!) I’ve selected for each.

Welcome to the 40 next books reading challenge!! We’ve had a good start to 2019 and hope you have too. Can you believe it’s already May?

I have to tell you, having a list with categories has really motivated me to try new topics and search out different books than my normal comfort zone series and authors I normally read. What about you? Have you tried a new book in another genre or new author?

Yes, it’s also brought out my competitive streak even if it is just me staring at my Goodreads number of 40 I put in for my goal at the beginning of the year. My inner child does a dance when it reports I’m 1 or more books ahead of schedule.

If you haven’t checked out Goodreads yet, click here to go to the website. Truly, it’s a good resource and helps you keep track of what you’ve read or would like to read later.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

What books to read for the 40 next books reading challenge. Check out what I'm reading for categories 6-10. #readingchallenge #40nextbooks

40 Next Books Reading Challenge

First of all, if you haven’t joined in the 40 next books reading challenge, I invite you right now to pick out your first book. Admittedly, it’s not always easy to stick to a list and I’ve veered off of it several times. However, I always go back to the categories and am determined to go through the entire 40.

Also, if you’re a list person like I am you get that little squeal of joy when you can mentally check off numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on!

Now, I also want to emphasize this is not something that has to be done in a year! It’s the year of my 40th birthday, which is where the 40 comes in. Be that as it may, it does not mean you have to stuff 40 books in the year or limit it to 40!

Different ways to participate in the book challenge

Everyone reads at a different pace, has other motivations, and prior commitments taking all their time. I love to read with a book in hand, but sometimes I just can’t give myself an hour or so a night. When the kids go to bed, half the time there are lunches to be made, laundry to do, the kitchen to clean, etc.

For me, this is the perfect time to listen to an audiobook, when I’m doing little thought activities like folding laundry, cleaning, or editing pictures. Definitely, don’t rule out those audiobooks! There are so many places you can easily get them now and listen to an app right on your phone.

Put on your earphones and bam! You’re in Winterfell.

Where to get audiobooks

My 4 main go-to places for audiobooks.

  1. Hoopla Digital – I discovered Hoopla on a suggestion from a local librarian and have the app on my phone. You will need a library card.
  2. Overdrive and the Libby app – Another app on my phone I got as a suggestion from a local librarian. See if your local library participates in the program as you do have to enter your library card information. Bonus: It’s free!
  3. Local library for books on CD for the car.
  4. Audible – I love Audible but I don’t always love to pay for it! This is my last source for when I know there’s a book I really want to listen to and can’t seem to locate anywhere else.

So let’s get to it! What books are you reading for categories 6-10?

Books to read: 40 Next Books booklist

In case you need a reminder – here’s the list I’m following for the challenge! You can also join my email list and get a PDF download of it as a bonus. Check it out below!

40 Next Books Reading Challenge booklist #40nextbooks #2019booklist

Books to read: the next 5 books

After finishing the first 5 books for the 40 next books reading challenge, I set to selecting the next five! I like to do things organized and in groups. Absolutely it’s that listmaking tendency again. It makes me feel like I have power over something. 😉

Now, pick out your own books in the categories or read along with me! Use the hashtag #40nextbooks or join the book discussion in the blog comments. I’d love to see what you’re reading and add to my own booklist!

6. Historical Fiction

In truth, historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I read a lot of it! I’ve actually read several good historical fiction books lately and will give you a sample here.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

by Hazel Gaynor

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is set in two locations in two different times with stories that intertwine. First, there is Grace Darling, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter in 1838 who bravely fought to save those in a shipwreck near her lighthouse. In Northumberland, England the story centers on her and her family, relationships and what happened because of this incident.

The second setting is 1938 in Newport, Rhode Island when unmarried 18-year old Matilda Emmerson is sent away from Ireland and her notable family for a time to have her baby far away. The family must avoid scandal at all costs as Matilda’s father is in politics. She stays with Harriet, a relative who is also an assistant lighthouse keeper.

I love the fact this story is based on the stories and true bravery of the women lighthouse keepers of this time period. I’ve read several books by Hazel Gaynor, and she’s a strong writer. Full disclosure, I have a fondness for lighthouses so it was a perfect fit.

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Bonus historical fiction books:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov and his experience trying to stay alive in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Surprisingly because of his knowledge of languages, he was given the “honored” task of tattooing prisoners numbers on when they entered the camp. He deals with his struggle of the guilt of feeling like a traitor and trying to survive and make a better life for himself and fellow prisoners.

For me, this was a new perspective on the concentration camp life and treatment by the Germans. It was a difficult read to get through at times because the realities of the time period are so heart-wrenching. It didn’t help that I was going through some other emotional issues when I read it! Therefore, this may be a book to read in the right season of your life.

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is one that’s been on my to-read list for a LONG time. Somehow I’d just never gotten around to reading it, and most likely many of you out there beat me to it. I have not seen the movie yet so am interested to see how it’s put on the screen.

Liesel’s first act of book thievery is at her brother’s gravesite. She picks up the Gravedigger’s Handbook, unable to read a word, but so begins her love of books. Liesel learns to read and steals books from Nazi bonfires, the mayor’s library, and more. She lives with a foster family and eventually they hide a Jew in the basement.

I can see why this powerful, well-written book was so popular and on PBS’s list for the Great American Read. If you haven’t read it I highly suggest you do.

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

7. Alaskan Author

To the Bright Edge of the World

by Eowyn Ivey

To be perfectly honest, it took me a while to select a book by an Alaskan author, but I’m so glad I did. To the Bright Edge of the World took me to the cold, harsh days of 19th-century Alaskan exploration. It’s not something I would have instinctively chosen and that’s where having the book challenge and categories helps to stretch me just a bit.

Colonel Allen Forrester is granted a commission to lead a team to explore Alaska’s Wolverine River. At the time it was unpassable and past attempts ended in tragedy. Yet, it is the key that opened our largest state to the Gold Rush and American presence.

The story goes back and forth between Colonel Forrester and his young wife Sophie. She’s entered a risky pregnancy and is waiting behind in the military barracks. The thoughts, fears, hopes, and lives of the characters are poignant and bring them to life off the page.

I truly enjoyed this book and the Alaskan wilderness it painted along with the struggles of the people involved. I hope you check it out too!

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Read more about the 40 next books challenge

40 next books to read list. A fun reading challenge for all. #booklist #40nextbooks

8. Anne of Green Gables

This category is one you should not skip. Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books/series of all time. Moreover, the books made a huge imprint on me as a child and helped shape my outlook on life. I love Anne, her drama, bright hopes, and determination. All the books are fun and have good lessons for kids and adults alike.

I’ve read Anne of Green Gables often and recently read much of it with my daughter. Therefore, I decided to choose the second book in the series, Anne of Avonlea, for the book challenge. But really, you should read the entire series!

Anne of Avonlea

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Oh, how I adore all of these books! However, I have always loved Anne of Avonlea for its new characters and locales on Prince Edward Island.

We see her trials, antics, and scrapes as she teaches at the Avonlea schoolhouse. She finds new kindred spirits. First, in her student Paul who tells her the stories of fairies. Also, she meets the delightful Lavender Lewis in the little stone house called Echo Lodge. Don’t you just ache to live in a little stone cottage on Prince Edward Island tucked in the woods called Echo Lodge!?

Lucy Maud Montgomery always keeps me amused and engaged in the stories, laughing or crying where it fits. In Anne of Avonlea, we have orphaned twins, Marilla, Gilbert, Diana, Anne is almost grown up, and a surprise love story. Love.

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

9. Space

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet has been hailed as a modern Science Fiction masterpiece.

The book centers around Rosemary Harper and the life she wants to leave behind to go on new exciting adventures to faraway galaxies. She joins the crew of the crazy and chaotic ship called the Wayfarer. However, she’s unaware their new assignment will possibly risk her life.

With a wide assortment of characters, all with their own quirks, we navigate the plot. Rosemary has adventures but also learns more about family. Truly, she has to figure out how to rely on and work with others and not keep everything to herself.

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

10. The Olympics

When I started to think about the Olympics category my mind immediately went to The Boys in the Boat. My father had recommended it several times to me as one I would enjoy and even went so far as to loan it to me for a while. Unfortunately, it sat in a pile and never was read!

The Boys in the Boat

by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat is one of those books to which you become emotionally attached. In my case, you start talking to the main character Joe Rantz. “Come on Joe! No, don’t do that! You can do it! Yes, yes, yes!!”

One of eight rowers on the University of Washington’s 1936 crew, Joe and his crewmates show what hard work, determination, and spirit can do. All from lower working class families during the Great Depression, the boys seek what many deem as impossible. They go for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics under Hitler’s gaze.

Spoiler alert!: Let’s just say it goes well for them and may have you jumping up and down cheering with tears in your eyes. Not that I’d do that or anything… 😉

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

What are your next books to read?

Have any of these books caught your eye? Or maybe you have others you’re reading that would fit in the categories. I’d love to hear about them. I’m always up for a good book suggestion!

If you can, follow along with the challenge! I’ll be posting on Instagram and other social media with #40nextbooks, and I hope you do the same.

Who doesn’t love to talk about books and share stories? It’s a part of human nature and helps us grow! I can’t wait to hear about your books and reading journey.

Post your reads for the challenge at #40NEXTBOOKS!

Happy reading!

Pin it here!:

Do you have a books to read list? Check out the #40nextbooks challenge and what I'm reading in the current categories. Let's read! #bookstoread #booklist #bookchallenge

More book suggestions:

Women’s what to read next: a cold weather booklist

What to read next for history fans

Summer what to read next

Spring book list: what I’m reading

40 Next Books Reading Challenge

40 Next Books Reading Challenge

Preview: Join me in my New Year 40 next books reading challenge! I’m turning 40 this year, and this booklist looks back at the past and is motivation for new learning.

Welcome, 2019!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

It’s here, it’s here! It’s finally 2019! Actually, 2018 seems to have gone by in a flash, and my kids are no longer babies or toddlers. What’s more, this is a significant year for me as I’m turning 40! How did that happen?!

Rather than dwell on the negative, I’ve decided to embrace this 40th year and look to the future. With the New Year, my resolutions vary with health, exercise, nutrition, and family goals. Also, I’ve decided to add a fun resolution just for me!

Because I love books so much I will commit to getting organized and focus on a reading goal for the year. Rather than haphazardly pick out books, this booklist is perfect to broaden my reading choices. Do you get in a reading rut? I admit it, I do! I look to my favorite authors and series and well-loved characters. It’s where I’m comfortable, and I’ll always go back to my favorites, sometimes I need a little push to try new things.

That’s where the challenge comes in!

40 Next Books Reading Challenge

40 next books reading challenge. Booklist for all, join us! #booklist #40nextbooks

Are you ready to read? I am so excited to continue picking out books for this year! It’s fabulous to have an excuse to take some time to explore new and past books you’d like to read. I can disappear for hours at a library or on online book websites just getting ideas and coming up with books I’d love to read.

I almost always have a long list of to-read books. What about you? With the 40 next books reading challenge, I’ve been inspired by my own 40th year and making time for my own personal growth. So often as moms we are pulled in so many directions and focus on everyone but ourselves.

What’s best for the kids, the family, our home? But do you know what? Taking care of yourself and growing your own mind and outlook will help everyone. You can make yourself a priority!

40 Next Books Reading Challenge booklist #40nextbooks #2019booklist

Credit where credit is due

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. The 40 next books reading challenge was inspired by my friend Marci from my Peace Corps days. She pointed out how fortunate it is to be 40 and started her own reading challenge. Of course, I thought this was a fabulous idea and have joined her challenge but tweaked the list slightly. I plan to read several of the books she has on her own list and have many of the same categories in my list of forty books.

What I’m reading: the first 5 books

To begin the year, I’ve picked out the first 5 books for the 40 next books reading challenge! Select your own in the categories or read along with me. Use the hashtag #40nextbooks and join the book discussion in the blog comments. I’d love to see what you’re reading and add to my own booklist!

1. Published in 1979 (the year I was born!)

I have a couple of books in this category I feel like I should have already read and still want to. Therefore, let’s remedy that and start with one.

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

This book is on so many booklists of best books ever. Have you read it? Does it live up to its reputation and how would I feel about it? I guess I’ll find out!

2. Set in Colorado

I grew up in Colorado and kept leaving, but I’m always drawn back. Truly, I love my Rocky Mountains, and it’s the perfect place for our family. This is a book I read long ago but feel like I’ll have a new perspective on it now.


by James Michener

Here’s another non-fiction book I love about an amazing lady that reads like an adventure novel. I highly recommend it!

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains

by Isabella Bird

3. Animal Book

This book is in honor of my childhood love of animals in nature, and now my son’s obsession with peregrine falcons, panthers, and learning about all living things. To be honest, it’s an unusual pick for me, but I’m branching out. Moreover, I’ve heard good things about this book and can’t wait to dive in!

The Animal Dialogues

by Craig Childs

Want some more book suggestions?

Spring book list book with a flower. What to read next. Book suggestions. #readingchallenge #booklist

4. A book about an artist

This book was recommended to me as a fun read with the history in the background I would enjoy. Have you read it? What do you think?

The Masterpiece

by Fiona Davis

5. Family

This story is more of a woman searching for her family’s past in India after her own heartbreaks with miscarriages and family struggles in New York. Interpret this category however you want for your book, but this is one I’ve been seeing over and over again and just hadn’t gotten around to reading.

The Storyteller’s Secret

by Sejal Badani

Join the 40 next books reading challenge!

Do you make a reading goal for the year? This list is not to limit or pass judgment if you don’t get through all 40 books, but a tool to help motivate and explore. No matter the time you have to commit or the number of books, I’d love for you to join in our book conversations! If nothing else I hope you find a fabulous new book to read and learn something in the process.

If you can, follow along with the challenge! I’ll be posting on Instagram and other social media with #40nextbooks, and I hope you do the same. Who doesn’t love to talk about books and share stories? It’s a part of human nature and helps us grow! I can’t wait to hear about your books and reading journey.

Post your reads for the challenge at #40NEXTBOOKS!

Happy reading!

More books suggestions:

Women’s What To Read Next: A Cold Weather Booklist

Summer What To Read Next

What To Read Next For History Fans

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