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!

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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.

Centennial

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

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

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

Preview: In this booklist, you’ll find my current version of women’s what to read next. Strong women, powerful women, good stories, and inspiration. This is what I’ve been reading lately.

This post contains affiliate links which means I make a very small percentage if you click through and purchase something. All opinions are strictly my own!

We’ve made it to that time of year it’s actually starting to feel like fall. The high is a mere 54 fabulous degrees Fahrenheit today, and it’s a little cloudy. I don’t know about you, but that signals tea and book reading time to me! So naturally, I took myself off to Barnes and Noble. I made the excuse to my husband that Children’s Place is right there too, and the child really needs new jeans since his are two inches too short with holes in the knees.

I love bookstores

Like I really ever need an excuse to go hang out in a bookstore.

I love visiting bookstores, and it makes me very sad there are so few of them about nowadays. I’m sounding old, but many moons ago when I was in high school my best friend and I used to spend our Friday nights at bookstores. We’d get our latte or tea (I wasn’t doing black coffee at this time), listening to the new music, going through every book and picking just the right one. It was fabulous, and hey, you can’t get into a lot of trouble at a bookstore now, can you?

Women's what to read next booklist. Looking for the perfect book for chill weather? Literature, historical fiction, tragedy, comedy, pick one here! #booklists #whattoreadnext #whattoread #womensbooks #reading #explorermomma

 

Women’s what to read next

After a while of not being thrilled with my book choices (something was off), I’ve recently had a fabulous run of winners I’d strongly suggest to anyone. There are tales of inspiration, ghosts of the mind, difficult circumstances, powerful, intelligent women, and great storytelling. You know when a book pulls you in, and your mind won’t let you, and indeed you don’t want to, leave that world until those final pages have been turned? That happened to me on almost all of these books.

So let’s get started.

The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

This was a book recommended by someone in a Facebook group I’m in, and yes, I’m in several bookclub type groups. It caught my eye because of the location, to be honest. The setting is on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska in 1974, and the book begins with the main character’s family arriving from the Lower 48. My grandparents used to live in Homer, Alaska, a key location in the book and a place I’ve visited several times myself, so it naturally piqued my interest.

I agree there is this idea that if you need to get away from society you can escape to Alaska. In The Great Alone, after the Vietnam Conflict, one family is given land near Homer and their adventure begins. They have no idea what it will take to survive off the grid in an untamed wilderness. They encounter all types of people, all with their own stories and reasons for being there. It is the story of the family, a father fighting the demons of the Vietnam War, his wife who will do anything for him, and their daughter and her coming of age and survival story. A beautifully written book and one I stayed up until 3 am one night to finish! It’s engrossing with good story-telling, and I highly recommend it.

Women’s What to Read Next Rating: ***** Five out of five stars.

 

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

by Genevieve Valentine

Imagine a well to do New York family in the 1920s. The father is a determined businessman who wants an heir and son. He and his wife have daughter after daughter until they have a collection of them upstairs he won’t admit to society. They don’t go to school, don’t go out, don’t visit others socially, they are kept in the house.

“Dressed up in the thrill and sparkle of the Roaring Twenties, the classic fairy tale of ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’ has never been more engrossing or delightful. Valentine’s fresh, original style and choice of setting make this a fairy tale reimagining not to be missed” (Library Journal, starred review).

So what do they do? It’s the roaring 20s! They learn to dance, and organized by their eldest sister Jo they sneak out at night to the clubs and find a home at the Kingfisher Club. Put on some 20s music as you read for there are bootleggers, raids, and drama. The story goes deeper focusing on each girl and is a fun read.

Women’s What to Read Next Rating: ****1/2 Four and a half out of five stars.

 

The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist I happened upon I believe through my library app suggesting it to me. I read it, and it was interesting because I then noticed it on the PBS list of top books to read and in my Barnes and Noble promo email. Quelle coïncidence! It seemed fated for me to read it.

This is the sweeping story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel. We already have something in common. But he wants to travel in search of worldly treasures. What does he truly want? How can he get it? Will he give up? Santiago learns many lessons along this mystical journey. He reads and listens to omens that come to him and follows his dreams. We all need some inspiration every now and then, and The Alchemist certainly delivers.

I liked this book very much and appreciated the positivity and determination in Santiago to never give up. Live your life and your dreams.

Women’s What to Read Next Rating: ***** Five out of five stars.

Ready for the holiday season?

Are you ready to start your pile of cozy Christmas books by the fire? Here are some I recommend.

Cozy Christmas books, a Christmas booklist #christmas #christmasbooks #fireside #explorermomma

Cold Sassy Tree

by Olive Ann Burns

I picked up Cold Sassy Tree on the recommendation of a friend, and it was indeed a hilarious journey and character study. In the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia news and/or gossip spreads like wildfire. It’s 1906 and Grandpa E. Rucker Blakeslee announces only three weeks after Grandma Blakeslee’s in her grave that he’s going to marry the young milliner in his store, Miss Love Simpson. Yes, half his age and a Yankee! Gasp! His grandson, young Will Tweedy finds himself in the scandal while having adventures of his own. At 14, he’s growing up and has to deal with class and place, is run over by a train (literally), and does his best to keep the peace in his own household.

There are lots of characters from all over town in this one and an amusing read. I took this one about a chapter at a time and had fun with it.

Women’s What to Read Next Rating: ****1/2 Four and a half out of five stars.

 

The Woman Who Smashed Codes

by Jason Fagone

I have to say, I came upon this book quite by accident, and I consider myself lucky to have done so. This is not a novel but a popular history book that reads like a spy thriller, about a real-life character hidden in history in government secrets. This era of codebreaking is fascinating, and while I’ve seen movies and read books about the British side in Bletchley Park with Alan Turing and others, I didn’t know much about the American efforts in codebreaking in World War II.

The Woman Who Smashed Codes is the true story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman. We are introduced to her when she meets her partner in cryptology and future husband, William Friedman, at an eccentric tycoon’s estate just outside of Chicago where they both worked in 1916. They become an unstoppable team in codebreaking, or cryptology, in WWI and WWII.

See a part of the Amazon summary:

In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.

Due to the secrecy of Elizabeth’s missions and work, her story had never been told before, and she herself never spoke of it. She was true to the oaths she made to the government, and only recently have some of her records be declassified.

I LOVED this book, and if you have any interest in codes, codebreaking, espionage, and the history of World War II, you need to read this book. Elizebeth Friedman was a dynamic and powerful woman who was not afraid to use her mind. Read it!

Women’s What to Read Next Rating: ***** Five out of five stars!!! Maybe more.

 

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale is a book for those of you, like myself, who love the brooding stories of the Bronte sisters such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, with perhaps a bit of Wilkie Collins thrown in, The Moonstone. (And by the way, if you haven’t read those three books, by all means order them all now or get to your local library and remedy that error in your book reading ways).

Our main character, Margaret Lee, is summoned to the country to write the biography of famous author Vida Winter. Throughout her life, Ms. Winter has invented many versions of her origins and life story to shield the truth. Now is the time to share her tale with Margaret, who has her own clouded and troubled story of her birth and childhood.

In this book, you get great characters, abandoned country houses, destroyed topiary gardens, ghosts, wild twins, a great house fire to conjure up scenes of Jane Eyre, and so much more. It’s a way of bringing those past ghosts to light and freeing those in the present of their haunting.

I know those who absolutely obsess over this book and how good it is. Yes, I enjoyed the book very much and a return to the feel of some of those Victorian novels. Each character (and there are quite a few of them!) is well-developed and well-placed in the setting. I don’t obsess over it, but I do definitely recommend reading it! It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time to really transport me back in time through good storytelling.

Women’s What to Read Next Rating: ***** Five out of five stars.

Sugar free latte with almond milk at Barnes and Noble #booksandcoffee #ilovebooks #explorermomma

Books and coffee

So now, this is me telling you, go to your local bookstore! Enjoy your sugar-free almond milk latte (that’s mine above) or coffee, or tea, or whatever! Take some time for yourself and just breathe in the books. Wander about the bookstore and find the perfect one for your mood or pick one on my list above.

Today I found myself perusing the military history section of the bookstore. Why? Well, why not? I love history, and read a lot of historical fiction, but sometimes the true stories are even more compelling. If I hadn’t hung out in the military history section I might never have found The Woman Who Smashed Codes. Of course, you can do this section hopping on your phone or online too, I just happen to enjoy the luxury of doing it in a real bookstore!

So I challenge you! Try a new genre or section to choose your next read. You just might find your new obsession.

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