15 Books I’ll Totally Definitely Read This Year (I Hope)

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I feel like every book I post a picture of on Instagram or ever get asked about or buy, I say some variation of “I can’t wait to read this!” And then I don’t read it for years.

And I want to fix that. I’m doing a 23 in 23 challenge this year that isn’t going great but I’ve got plenty of time left to work on that. A few of these books are part of that challenge but I would love to be able to finish that list AND this list.

I feel like this is a common thing in the online book word, in particular, and is maybe glorified a little too much, the constant buying of books and never reading them, the buying and hiding books from your partner, you probably know what I’m talking about.

I’m not here to shame anyone for buying books then not reading them, or of buying and hiding them. I am guilty of that, after all. I’m here to hopefully encourage some of you to finally read some of the books you’ve been saying you can’t wait to read for years.

Along with this, I’m severely limiting my book buying while I work my way through the books I own. This is going pretty well. I only bought one book in March in addition to my Nightworms box!

During my end of the year wrap-up I’ll definitely come back to this post and give an update as well as how I did on my 23 in 23 challenge. If you want to make this an official challenge, check out my Backlist Reading Challenge!

  • If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
  • Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
  • Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
  • Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
  • Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.

Beating Back the Devil

Instead of running from a disease outbreak like Ebola, these doctors run toward it. They stop epidemics from happening.

This is the disease detective corps for the CDC but they are officially called the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). They aren’t household names but they work to hunt down and protect us from deadly viruses that we forget about until they hit the headlines.

This books takes us into the world of these medical detectives with Maryn McKenna, the only journalist given full access to the EIS in it’s history.

Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders

Backcountry leaders Lollie Winans and Julie Williams left on a backpacking trip in Shenandoah National Park in May 1996. On the last day of their trip, they set up camp in a hidden spot after descending the narrow remnants of a trail. When they failed to return home, the park rangers found them dead in their sleeping bags, their tent slashed, and their dog missing. The unsolved murders continue to haunt all who knew them.

When Kathryn Miles begins looking into the case, she finds a lot of conflicting evidence, mismatched timelines, and odd details. She is given unprecedented access to evidence and key witnesses to uncover the truth.

I would love to read this one! I would love any suggestions on more books about true crime in national parks if you know of any!

All Eyes on Her

Everyone thinks they know what happened when Tabby came out of the woods but Mark didn’t. Some say she pushed him off a cliff even though she doesn’t like hiking. Some say it was an accident, that she loved him and would never hurt him, even if he hurt her.

This one sounds really interesting because it’s told from everyone but Tabby’s perspective as the people from her town string the events together.

Neon Pilgrim

When she needs a little shakeup in her life, she does the only thing you do in the situation: she sets out on the 1,200 kilometer henro michi Buddhist pilgrimage through the mountains of Japan.

The Guest List

Guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together on an island off the coast of Ireland. Service is spotty and waves are rough but everything has been expertly planned.

As the festivities begin, petty jealousy mixes with well wishes, groomsmen begin playing a college drinking game, the bridesmaid “accidentally” spills on the bride, the bride’s oldest male friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast, and someone turns up dead.

Maiden Voyage

Tania was eighteen, living in New York with no big plans. But then her father gave her a choice: a college education or a twenty-six-foot sloop. She chose the boat with the caveat of having to sail it around the world. Alone.

It was her home for the next two years and 27,000 miles with just her cat as a companion. What started as just an adventure became a spiritual quest.

An Indian among Los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir

I would also really love to read this one, another Peace Corps memoir but in Bolivia this time.

Ursula, a member of the Karuk Tribe, started her Peace Corps service at twenty-five in Bolivia with excitement and trepidation “knowing I followed in the footsteps of Western colonizers and missionaries who had also claimed they were there to help.”

Over the next two years, a series of dramatic episodes brought the tension to a boiling point, and began asking herself what it means to have experienced the effects of colonialism while risking becoming a colonizing force in turn?

Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking

Rachel Love Nuwer takes us into the dark world of wildlife trafficking for jewelry, pets, medicine, meat, trophies, and fur. Our demand for these products is driving a worldwide poaching epidemic threatening countless endangered species.

The Illegal wildlife trade is now one of the largest contraband industries in the world, yet it has received little attention compared to drugs, arms, or human trafficking.

This takes us around the world to see the forces currently driving demand for animals and their parts, the toll that demand is extracting on species across the planet, and the conservationists, rangers, and activist who believe it isn’t too late to stop the impending extinctions.

When I Fell from the Sky: The True Story of One Woman’s Miraculous Survival

At seventeen years old, she got on a Christmas Eve flight to visit her father, but between Lima and Pucallpa they flew directly into a thunderstorm.

A lightning strike incinerated the plane and left Julianna strapped in her seat, falling two miles to Earth in the night. She spent eleven days walking and crawling through the jungle fighting for her life as the sole survivor of the crash.

Her only companions were maggots eating their way into her wounds. She went on to become a scientist, regularly returning to the terrain that tried to take her life.

I would really love to read this one. This story sounds incredible.

The Impossible First

Before December of 2018, no one had ever crossed the landmass of Antarctica alone with no support and was totally human-powered.

But Colin O’Brady was determined to change that. It was made even more intense as a head-to-head battle with Captain Louis Rudd, a British polar explorer that also wants to be the first to finish the journey.

In the sub-zero temperatures, he starts out pulling a sled weighing 375 pounds in complete isolation and through a series of near-disasters over the next two months.

The Nesting

Tom Faraday is determined to finish his high-concept environmentally friendly home he’s building in Norway. It’s the same place he lost his wife, Aurelia, to suicide and he wants to honor her with their dream home.

Lexi takes a job as his nanny and falls in love his the two girls, especially Gaia. But something is off about the isolated home.

Muddy footprints appear inside, Aurelia’s diary appears in Lexi’s room, and Gaia keeps telling her about the Sad Lady. She begins to expect Aurelia didn’t kill herself and they’re all in danger of something far more sinister.

These Silent Woods

Cooper and his young daughter Finch have lived isolated in his cabin in the northern Appalachian woods for eight years. It’s exactly how he wants it because he has a lot to hide.

Scotland, a local hermit, and Jake, Cooper’s old friend, are the only two people who know they exist. Every winter Jake visits to bring supplies but this year he didn’t show up which set off an irreversible chain of events showing how precarious their position really is.

The boundaries of their safe haven are blurred when one day, a stranger wanders into their woods. Finch develops an obsession with the stranger that could put them all in danger and Cooper is forced to face the sins of his past to keep them safe.

The Chestnut Man

A psychopath leaving behind a “chestnut man” made of matchsticks and two chestnuts is terrorizing Copenhagen. While investigating, they find a fingerprint of a government minister’s young daughter who was kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

No one is safe and two detectives have to put aside their differences to piece together the clues.

Love and Olives

Liv Varanakis doesn’t have many fond memories of her father, but that’s because he fled to Greece when she was only eight. She does remember a shared love of Greek Myths and the lost city of Atlantis, though so when she receives a postcard from him to come out and help with a documentary on his theories on Atlantis, she jumps at the chance.

Once she gets there though, things are a little awkward. It is the first time she’s seen her father in years, after all. She doesn’t want their past to ruin their future, and she certainly doesn’t want his production assistant Theo to see her struggle so that means diving headfirst into all Santorini has to offer.

The Darkness

When a young Russian woman’s body washes up on the Icelandic shore, it’s quietly decided it was a suicide and the case is closed.

Over a year later Detective Huda Hermannsdottir is forced into retirement at 64 from the Reykjavik police, but dark memories from her past are threatening to come back and haunt her.

But before she leaves, she is given two weeks and the chance to solve and cold chase of her choice and she chooses the Russian girl who is hope for asylum was ended on the cold rocky shores. She finds out another girl went missing at the same time and everyone seems determined to put the brakes on her investigation, but she will find the killer.

Have you read any of these? Which ones? What are some books you’ve always said “I can’t wait to read this!” about? Want to join me in reading your shelves?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a cheesehead at heart currently residing in the Sunshine State. You can probably find me reading, watching Forensic Files, or both.

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