TBR Pile Challenge – 2019

As I wrote in one of my recent monthly recaps, I failed abysmally at completing my 2018 TBR Pile Challenge. Like, real bad. I gave myself twelve measly books to read—all books that I had already purchased, that were sitting on my shelves just begging to be read—and I think I read three, yikes.

And yet, here I am again. Setting myself up for failure and disappointment. Or maybe not. Hopefully not. We’ll see. Since I’ve already told myself that this year I’m going to focus on reading the books I genuinely want to read, and not necessarily whatever is new, I am feeling slightly more confident that I can actually complete this challenge this year. Plus, instead of telling myself to read one TBR Pile book a month (twelve for the year), I’m going to set my goal at reading six. I CAN DO THIS!

I’ve gone through my bookshelves and have recorded every single book that I own but have not read. Here is that list, and, no, I’m not proud.


As I typed this list, I realized that my husband likes to buy me memoirs, which is thoughtful. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to not read them because if I have to read about one more person’s depressing experiences I’m going to have no option but to suicide myself. Query: does anyone have a happy life?

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Pretty Mess by Erika Jayne
  • Food and the City edited by Ina Yalof
  • Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnk
  • What Happened by Hillary Clinton
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston
  • Fear by Bob Woodward
  • One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common
  • The Book of Leon by Leon Black
  • Make Trouble by Cecile Richards


Not as many to choose from here (and all are recently purchased), because I plow through stories like whoa and usually get them for free anyway. I only buy fiction when I really love the book and want to support the author—or when my impulse control for spending is weak…

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • News of the World by Paulette Jiles
  • Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
  • You Think It I’ll Say It by Curtus Sittenfeld
  • There There by Tommy Orange


I get myself into trouble with this category. Most of my gardening books are for reference, but I have way too many coffee-table-style books, too. Technically, I’ve read all of them, but does one need six different gorgeous books on succulents, I wonder? 🤔

  • The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden by Roy Diblik
  • The Illustrated Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
  • Midwest Home Landscaping by Roger Holmes and Rita Buchanan
  • Pruning Made Easy by Lewis Hill
  • Pruning and Training by The American Horticultural Society


Wellness, relationships, self-defense, meditation, parenting, science, and home decorating. This last category is an eclectic mix.

  • The Art of People by Dave Kerpen
  • The Inspired Room by Melissa Michaels
  • Presence by Amy Cuddy
  • Design Mom by Gabrielle Blair
  • Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Meditations and Mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe
  • The Asshole Survival Guide by Robert Sutton
  • 100 Deadly Skills by Clint Emerson
  • Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil de Grasse Tyson
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman
  • Brain Lock by Jeffrey Schwartz

That makes 33 books for me to choose from! Surely I can manage to read six of them this year, right? I mean, right? Wish me luck. And I’m curious to know if anyone has suggestions for which books to start with first. It’d be nice to begin with a success. It keeps the motivation levels high. 😀

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