My 2019 TBR Pile Challenge List

The 2019 TBR Pile Challenge is hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader, with the goal of reading the books that have been languishing on our shelves. The challenge is to read and review 12 unread books that have been on your shelf for more than a year, during the 12 months of 2019.

My 2018 challenge was a huge failure, but it’s a new year full of new possibilities.

Here’s my list of 12 Books and two alternates:





  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013)*
  2. Swing Time by Zadie (2016)
  3. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (2015)
  4. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (2000)
  5. How to be Both by Ali Smith (2014)
  6. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (2012)
  7. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1881)
  8. Golden Hill by Frances Spufford (2016)
  9. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters (2006)**
  10. The Priory by Dorothy Whipple (1939)
  11. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (2011)
  12. The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis (2016)



  1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Caine (2012)
  2. Westwood by Stella Gibbons (1946)


*If I don’t at least read The Goldfinch in 2019, I really shouldn’t be allowed to keep blogging. PLEASE YELL AT ME UNTIl I’VE FINISHED IT!

** I started The Night Watch this past fall but didn’t get very far before setting it aside


I’m currently very excited about all of these, so hopefully that bodes well for a successful challenge! Several of these were on my TBR Pile Challenge list last year, while all of these have been on my TBR list for years now.


Do you spy any favorites on this list?

Let me know if you’re participating in the 2019 TBR Pile Challenge too! (We can hold each other accountable)


32 thoughts on “My 2019 TBR Pile Challenge List

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    1. Thanks, Cam! I’ve heard the same about the film. I’ve been saving The Goldfinch since it came out, but I definitely want to get to it before that adaptation comes out. Hopefully we’ll both enjoy The Butcher’s Hook!


  1. I have ‘The Blind Assassin’ and ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ waiting on my bookshelves too! I absolutely adore ‘The Goldfinch’ and I hope you enjoy it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m participating too, my list will be posted tomorrow. I loved A God in Ruins and Tiny Beautiful Things. And I want to read more by Ann Patchett and Sarah Waters. Good luck with the challenge! This is one of my favorite challenges, though I didn’t do very well in 2018 either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and good luck to you too! It’s a great challenge and I definitely want to focus more on it this year. Patchett and Waters are both phenomenal writers, and I’m loving Tiny Beautiful Things so far.


    1. I’m always thrilled to hear such high praise for The Goldfinch! I’ve been saving it since it was released and will be pretty devastated if I don’t end up loving it as much as I expect to.


  3. I really loved The Goldfinch. But if you don’t get to it this year maybe you don’t really want to read it? Sometimes I put off reading something and later finally realize that I’m just not into t anymore. Good luck with your challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Laila! That’s a very good point and definitely one that holds true for me with many books. In the case of The Goldfinch however, I think it’s more that I have such high hope for it that I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed. Also, since Donna Tartt has only published three books, I haven’t wanted to tear through her work too quickly. Glad to hear you loved it so much; hopefully I will too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great list — I’ve read about half of them and started Westwood last year, but got distracted and I need to pick it up again. I think it was just the wrong time to read it. I loved Quiet, The Blind Assassin, and A God in Ruins. State of Wonder is also excellent. I found The Goldfinch really engrossing though I didn’t care for the ending. And The Priory was very first Dorothy Whipple, I loved it also.

    I’ve also signed up for the TBR Pile challenge and I finished my first book already! I’ve picked all nonfiction books and I realized that nearly all of them are about English women, mostly upper class, and take place before 1950. I hope they’re not too much alike — I think I’ll need to alternate them with other books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Karen! I’m very glad to hear you enjoyed so many of these (and thanks for the warning about the ending of The Goldfinch). The Priory was one of the first Persephones I ever bought, so it’s about time I read it!

      Congrats on finishing your first TBR Pile Challenge read! Good luck on the rest of your challenge; I love the nonfiction reads you’ve chosen!


  5. I can see we have similar taste in fiction! I’ve read about eight of your list and really enjoyed them all; particular standouts were The Goldfinch, How to be Both, Blind Assassin and Portrait of a Lady (one of my favorite “classic” novels). I’ve also tried Westwood, but it didn’t “take,” perhaps because I went to it immediately after Cold Comfort Farm (surely one of the funniest novels ever written?).
    I, too, am participating in the TBR Challenge & just finished my first book, a skinny little thing I’ve had for years (White Ghost Girls); hopefully will be reviewing it shortly (I’m lazy about writing my reviews). I’m also doing the Back to the Classic Challenge and had taken a couple of weeks to read a Henry James novel (Tragic Muse), so I wanted something shorter & contemporary for next read as a change of pace.
    I think you should love The Goldfinch. It’s long but absorbing; to me the story is almost 19th century with its huge scale and (mis)adventures of a young kid whose essentially an orphan. If you don’t get to it this year, however, not to worry! Like all the great novels, it’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does look like we have very similar taste!! I’m glad to hear you loved Portrait of a Lady, How to be Both, Blind Assassin, and The Goldfinch. I’ll be very surprised if I don’t love all four as well. It’s impossible to compete with Cold Comfort Farm isn’t it?! I’ve also read Stella Gibbons’ Nightingale Wood, and while I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t hold a candle to CCF. Good luck with your challenges and happy reading, Janakay!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 1. I hate Henry James.
    2. I love Ann Patchett, although I don’t know this title. I should look for it.
    3. I just finished Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire. It’s well worth your time. And everyone else’s.


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