2019 TBR Challenge

Have I ever mentioned how many times I have tried and failed to complete a TBR challenge? I actually got off to a really good start last year and then let my attention wander… But having an official TBR list, as Adam requires really is very beneficial in getting me to read books I’ve been “meaning to get to.” Of course, this year, I realized that I not only had too many books on the TBR stack, but too many of those I want to read NOW. Or otherwise fit in with my intentions for 2019 reading. Meaning, it turned into a very lengthy process, relatively speaking, to narrow my list down to 12 books + 2 alternates. I had some very heated arguments with myself, let me tell you! 🙂

Listed from shortest book to tallest (seems a reasonable order, right?), with two alternates at the end.

2019 TBR Challenge PileThe list

1) Three Exemplary Novels (Miguel de Cervantes)

Some short fiction (the three together are less than 200 pages) from Spain’s golden age that’s been on my shelf since high school. Shouldn’t be too hard, except…my copy’s in Spanish! At least it’s a version meant for students, so there are end notes for the more tricky translations.

2) The Man Who Was Thursday (G.K. Chesterton)

I don’t know much about this one, but I was struck by the whim to pull it off the shelf and include. I believe it’s a bit of a thriller?

3) An Acceptable Time (Madeleine L’Engle)

A holdover from last year’s list, the is the only title left for me in the Time Quintet. (Well, except Many Waters, but see “Rejects” below.)

4) Njal’s Saga (Anonymous) and 5) The Nibelungenlied (Anonymous)

I have been struck by the desire to read some of the books that may have influenced J.R.R. Tolkien. These happen to be the two already on my shelf (and have been there for a while). Looking forward to these, rather.

6) The Death of Ivan Ilyich & Other Stories (Leo Tolstoy)

Will this be the year I finally read Russian lit? I’m especially looking forward to Hadji Murat, which I’ve read some really good things about.

7) Ficciones (Jorge Luis Borges)

I started this story collection quite a few years back, but only finished a couple. I was inspired to include it on this year’s list when I saw a copy on a coworker’s desk recently.

8) Cranford (Elizabeth Gaskell)

An alternate from last year; this year, really, I’m going to read it! (Please ignore how many years I’ve been saying that.)

9) The Farm (Louis Bromfield)

On last year’s list, and I sadly never read more than two or three pages. A classic by an Ohio-native author, I’ve been wanting to read this since I started my Ohio reading project a few years back, but somehow other Ohioans kept jumping ahead.

10) 2666 (Roberto Bolaño)

I almost started this in the spring of 2018, but other books popped in ahead. This year.

11) The Aeneid (Virgil)

Somehow, it seems as if this needs to be read the same year I try out Nordic lit. Not sure why.

12) The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)

Why haven’t I read this yet?! I’d previously started it. Loved what I read. And it got re-lost on my bookshelf when something else sneaked in ahead of it. It was on my 2018 list, but unfortunately  nothing about that changed in 2018, so here’s hoping 2019’s the year.


Considering how difficult it was to choose my fourteen books, picking which two were only alternates was rather easy. Of course, I’m hoping to read these on top of all the above 12. What’s life without a little over-ambition?!

13) The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton)

I’ve heard so many good things about this one! However, someone had to be an alternate.

14) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Jane Austen + Seth Grahme-Smith)

Truthfully, while I do want to get this read, it’s mostly here to provide a light-weight alternate just in case (ha! guaranteed, pretty much…) my ambitious plans above go awry.


(AKA, I’m intend to read these in 2019 anyways, but someone couldn’t make first string.)

2019 TBR Pile "Rejects" - Beowulf, Many Waters, Iliad

A) Beowulf (Anonymous, J.R.R. Tolkien translation)

Technically, a reread (of Beowulf, not this particular translation), so I’m thinking it wouldn’t have qualified under the no rereads rule.

B) Many Waters (Madeleine L’Engle)

Another reread, one I’d hoped to finish in 2018. Ah well, best laid plans. January?

C) The Iliad (Homer)

This one was sooooo close to making the official list – since I’m “supposed” to read it for the current Classics Club spin by the end of the January. But when  I was picking my books, there was still the off chance that I would get started in December…that and someone had to miss the cut.

I’ve seen plenty of other lists around, so I know I’m in good company. Good luck and happy reading!

My official participation page.

6 thoughts on “2019 TBR Challenge”

  1. I absolutely LOVE The Man Who Was Thursday. I’ve read it 2-3 times and I’d read it again if I had the time. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is pretty amazing and I would definitely vote for reading The House of Mirth. In my opinion, it’s Wharton’s finest!! Good luck with ticking everything with a “READ” this coming year!

    1. Oh, that’s good to hear! The Man Who Was Thursday definitely jumped off the shelf at me! I’m looking forward to all of my bookish plans for the year…now, if I can just keep up with the blogging this year as well…

    1. Thanks, Jane! For a couple of them I’ve read other books by the same author, but for the most part, they’re all new to me. I’m really looking forward to them though.

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