I thought for 2019 instead of me just reading by myself, I’d let you guys know the books I’m planning on reading ahead of time!

Do you ever watch those “Get Ready with Me” or “Journal with Me” videos on Youtube? Think of this as my contribution to the “with me” trend. Who knows? Maybe I’ll turn this into a video series if I ever work up the nerve to film myself.

Anyway, this year my goal is to read books that are primarily set outside of the United States. In the cheesiest way possible, I really want to see where around the world reading can take me this year.

At the end of the month, I’ll update this post with my thoughts and probably include a mention in my monthly round-ups.

What I’m Reading this January

Just a disclaimer, for the next two months, I’m going to be using my Kindle Unlimited membership as much as possible before it expires in mid-March! If you have KU, you can download all these books for free.

Song of Achilles

Author: Madeleine Miller
Setting: Ancient Greece + Troy
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get here

My friend, Autumn, recommended this book to me. She’s such a snob with what she likes, so if she likes something enough to tell me about it, I know it’s worth reading. It’s about Achilles, of course, but from the point of view of Patroclus who, let’s be honest, was his lover not just a best friend.

The Tuscan Child

Author: Rhys Brown
Setting: Tuscany, Italy and Surrey, England
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get here

Oh, you know, my weakness for WWII stories continuing on in 2019. When a British bomber pilot is forced to land in German-occupied Tuscany, he finds refuge and love in a ruined monastery. Thirty years later, his daughter is arranging his funeral while dealing with her own trauma. This is when she discovers a letter which sets her on a journey to Tuscany and her father’s history.

The Storyteller’s Secret

Author: Sejal Badani
Setting: India
Genre: Fiction
Get here

I’ve had India on the brain for a while now! Ideally, I’ll visit for a month, but I haven’t been able to carve out a good time frame to go. So I’m going to read about the country and its culture instead. This one is about an NY journalist who suffers both a miscarriage and a failing marriage, so she decides to go to India to learn more about her grandmother’s history in India under British occupation.

Rose of Sarajevo

Author: Ayse Kulin
Setting: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia
Genre: Historical Fiction
Get here

Kulin wrote one of my favorite books from last year, The Last Train to Istanbul, so I bookmarked all the books she had available in Kindle Unlimited. While TLTtI took us to Turkey during WWII, the Rose of Sarajevo is focused on the political unrest of the 1990s in the Balkans peninsula, another topic I know next to nothing about it. It centers around a married reporter who finds herself attracted to another just as the protests begin.

Bonus Reads: John Donne and Becoming

I’ve weirdly been into poetry again after not really reading much of it since college. It started because I was trying to remember a John Donne poem that I thought had a lovely sentiment:

Let not thy divining heart 
         Forethink me any ill; 
Destiny may take thy part, 
         And may thy fears fulfil; 
                But think that we 
Are but turn’d aside to sleep; 
They who one another keep 
         Alive, ne’er parted be.

It’s from his “Sweetest love, I do not go,” and he tries to comfort his beloved because he must travel for work. He basically tells her that should something happen to him, he’ll remain alive in her memory and thus, they’ll never be parted. If she misses him, she should just pretend they’re sleeping facing away from each other.

Anyway, it lead me down a whole rabbit hole of John Donne poetry. I still think “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” is one of the most romantic poems I’ve ever read, and the line, “Like gold to airy thinness beat” is one of my favorite lines of poetry.

Another book I’d like to read is Michelle Obama’s Becoming! I got the hardcopy when Elissa and I had dinner at Busboys and Poets in DC, and I’m eager to read more about her life. Who knew I’d be reading so many female political autobiographies?!

Let me know if you plan on reading any of these or have in the comments! I always like discussion after a book, and I miss my book club from Korea. I’ll usually just read Goodreads comments to make up for not having one.

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