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Uncorked January 2020 Book Discussion

Are you a part of the Uncorked 2020 Reading Challenge? Discover book lists and books to read for our upcoming January 2020 themed book discussion: Books That Change Your Perspective.

January 2020 Book Discussion

I’m not going to lie, guys. This is my first year hosting a reading challenge, and we are going to figure out this bad boy together. Thank you so much to those who have already signed up and messaged me with your excitement. 2020 is going to be a wonderful year for community reading.

If you haven’t seen the complete 2020 Reading Challenge, you can find it here. This is a casual reading challenge with monthly themes and book suggestions per category. You can read as much or as little as you like.

How Tt Works

There is no pressure to participate every month. You can silently follow along, although we’d love to hear from you.

Each month, I will add a supplemental blog post with book ideas and book lists–like this post for January’s theme.

Share Your Journey In The Comments

The comment section of these posts is meant to be our mini-book club and forum. Please let us know what you are reading and your thoughts in the comments. I’ll end each post with ideas. You may engage with other commenters [in a respectful way] and just have fun.

I will *try* to have each monthly discussion/book suggestion post up by the 15th for the upcoming month. For February’s topic, you’ll see a matching blog post around January 15th.


Please make sure that you are on TUL’s mailing list to receive challenge updates and even more book suggestions not listed below. And maybe my cats…or sexy cocktail pics.

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What Is The January 2020 Book Discussion Theme?

A Book That Changes Your Perspective About The World

Why not start off the New Year on the right wine trail? I’m not 200% into self-help books, but I do love inspiring podcasts and books that make us think differently about the world.

This January 2020, we are reading books that have the potential to change or broaden our views. Now isn’t this every good book? I’d say yes!

But I want to know your all-time favorites. Choose a story that has the potential to blow your mind or teach you something new. Maybe even pick something that makes you uncomfortable.

What are some book ideas if you are stuck? Let’s get started!

January 202 Book Discussion Pin
Looking for ideas throughout the month of January? Pin these Uncorked January Reading Challenge Ideas for later.

January 2020 Book Ideas

Book Lists To Get You Started

Books That Make You Think Book List
Inspirational Travel Writers

Books To Make You Think is one of the best book lists on TUL for the January 2020 Reading Challenge theme.

Uncover picturebooks like The Little Prince, find yuppie YA titles like Paper Towns, and see some of my favorite travel memoirs from writers like Anthony Bourdain.

A Cook’s Tour speaks to the perfect meal and demonstrates food as a language across cultures. Bourdain truly enhanced the way I traveled in my 20s and how I connected with the locals and travelers that I encountered along the way.

Both of these lists have something for everyone including historical fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. A few more titles that you’ll find:

  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • Quiet by Susan Cain
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Book Reviews Fitting For January’s Theme

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult Book Review
The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson Book Review
The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks Book Review

A few books from 2019 that made me think differently or showcased diversity–with full book reviews–on TUL include:

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult – With a TW for abortion and gun violence, Picoult explores different women’s perspectives at a Planned Parenthood-like facility as a gunman holds them hostage.
The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson – Also a great read for March’s Mulan category, Dickerson imbues calming faith into her fairy tale retellings. While I typically don’t read Christian fiction, find an uplifting but not preachy retold classic filled with feminist vibes.
The Unfortunate Expiration of Mr. David S. Sparks by William F. Aicher – If you are looking for an indie book, Aicher takes readers on a wild philosophical science fiction ride, asking what happens when the world and environment fights back.

Popular Titles You May Enjoy:

Children of Blood and Bone By Tomi Adeyemi

While I haven’t written complete reviews, these are two more books that you might want to explore for January’s theme:

Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller – Full disclosure: I didn’t love Don’t Keep Your Day Job. However, this nonfiction read sparked my interest in Heller’s podcast, which is inspirational for bloggers and entrepreneurs. Heller believes that in order to pursue happiness, we have to find our purpose, be creative, and turn passion into a profit. Each chapter ends with journal prompts.

Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – If you follow TUL, you know that I am always early to work but late to the party. However, reading Children of Blood and Bone with the second book just out is perfect timing. While the YA storyline felt a tad overdone (don’t hate me–people LOVED this book), this is a stellar pick for representation. Adeyemi’s West African heritage blends fantasy with culture in a fast-paced romance and thriller.

What I Am Currently Reading

Literature Set In North Carolina Look Homeward Angel Thomas Wolfe
Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe – After moving to Asheville, I knew that I had to read Wolfe’s most infamous book about “Altamont.” I’m not going to lie: I cracked up at the alleged name changes. Wolfe paints a vivid picture of small-town family life in the early 1900s. This mostly autobiographical story is the epitome of wanting so much more and pursuing education. Historical fiction and classic lovers will dig this wordy but beautiful read.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker – Dagney from the dark tourist blog, Cultura Obscura, gave me this one for my birthday. I’m incredibly excited to learn about the wine underground and what it takes to be a sommelier. Will Cork Dork make me think differently about…wine?!

I am awaiting Over The Top by Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness. Will I ever get off the library holds list?

January 2020 Book Discussion Questions

I’d love to know what book(s) you are thinking of reading for January 2020’s Book Challenge. After you have completed this phase in the challenge, please tell me how you made out, too.

A few questions that you may consider for the comment section below:

What are you reading this January 2020?
What are your thoughts about your chosen titles?
Were there books that you loved? And didn’t love?
Did certain titles meet up to the hype?
What are some of the most influential books that you’ve ever read?
What’s on your to-be-read list for the year?
What is one take away from this month’s theme? How did your chosen book(s) change the way that you think about the world?
Will you change your actions or behave any differently because of what you read?

I’d love to get feedback for how helpful this post and newsletter updates are, too! Would you like to see more book ideas? Is this enough? What type of book suggestions are you craving?

Of course, you can write about whatever you want in the comments, too. Don’t forget to check your inbox for even more great book suggestions.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #UncorkedReading2020 whenever sharing updates on social media.

February 2020’s Book Theme and Discussion Is Happening Here.
If You Are Behind, The March 2020 Book Discussion Is Here.

Jennifer Christy

Saturday 1st of February 2020

Read "The Hate U Give" for the January challenge and loved it! I will put the proper hashtag when I post. Thank you for this challenge! I am also in a challenge to read unread books on my shelf (The Unread Shelf) of which there are many. When I can combine these two challenges it is definitely a win!

Christine

Sunday 2nd of February 2020

The Hate You Give is such a powerful YA novel; I am so glad that you enjoyed it. I cannot wait to read Thomas' newest book, On The Come Up. I love that you are doing multiple reading challenges, and I know that you aren't the only one. I need to clear my TBR shelf as well. That's a fabulous idea for a challenge. Good luck!

Christie

Saturday 25th of January 2020

Thanks for doing this challenge - it encouraged me to read a book I normally wouldn’t! I just finished reading A Spark of Light (Jodi Picoult) and I was left wanting more. While the book was a compelling read, I wanted more depth in the character stories and more complexity in the handling of such a controversial issue. As someone who is pro-choice, I was hoping for characters and stories that would challenge me to think differently about the pro-life extremists, but I felt like those characters were stereotypical and flat.

This book did encourage me to think more about my views on abortion and how I approach others about their views. It has encouraged a lot of interesting conversation in our house, so I think it was definitely worth reading.

Christine

Saturday 25th of January 2020

Thank you so much for participating and letting us all know your thoughts.

Have you read any other Jodi Picoult novels? I feel like a lot of them are exactly how you describe A Spark of Light.

Sometimes Picoult is hit or miss for me, and while I enjoy many of her books for the varying perspectives, I agree: she doesn't always fully flesh out her characters and stories. I also think that while Picoult tries to show all sides, she retains bias, which is totally fine (for me, at least) since she fully admits to doing that in interviews and is also a fiction writer vs say a journalist. I can see how her failure to better plump up the other side, though, is equally a disappointment. I agree, too, I thought parts were a tad stereotypical.

Like you, I also think A Spark of Light is worth reading and also what I come to expect from Picoult. I liked My Sister's Keeper, Small Great Things, and The Storyteller, but I think you'll find the same valid points, good and bad.

Thanks so much for again for sharing your thoughts and joining in on the challenge. Are you ready for a book set in Iceland?

Becky

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

I just discovered your blog on Pinterest and I am always up for a good reading challenge. I recently finished Such a Fun Age and really enjoyed. This book definitly gets you thinking about things and how you would also react in a situation similar to this. I might also finally read my Rachel Hollis book I picked up last year since that seems to be a popular one in the comments :)

Christine

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Hey Becky, I am so glad that you found us! Pinterest is great for discovering tips, recipes, books, and new things, right?! I kind of love it--it's becoming my favorite search engine/everything tool.

I'm excited that you want to do the 2020 Reading Challenge. This is the first year that I've decided to host one, and it's been so much fun. There are hundreds of people participating, which is wild.

I have heard so many wonderful things about Such A Fun Age. I also think that I'd love the title since one of the characters is a blogger that is building her brand. (Sounds like me, minus the rest of the wild plot.) This was a great reminder to add the book to my Goodreads TBR list. Thank you!

Ahaha, oh Hollis. We had a big Hollis discussion over on @theuncorkedlibrarian Facebook page, too, if you are interested. I think we went wild at the beginning of January there. I totally respect that she has helped so many women. Did you know that her husband is coming out with a book, too? I think I saw his coming March 2020, Get Out Of Your Own Way. Is it wrong that I am super curious... Please let me know what you think of Hollis. Do you think you'll read her husband's book, too?

Victoria

Tuesday 21st of January 2020

Finished Educated by Tara Westover last night. It has been a while since I have read a memoir, and I found myself having to remind myself that this was not fiction. I wanted it to be fiction for her benefit, but that is what makes Tara’s story so stunning. It will make you think deeply about family, religion, mental health, and education. I highly recommend it.It's uncomfortable to journey through someone's struggles and grief with them, but I think it's also incredibly valuable. Allowing my perspective to grow has added much gratitude to my life.

Christine

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Thanks so much for the update, Victoria. I've heard a few other people say that about Educated, too: that they had to remember that it was a true story and not just a fictional tale. I will definitely have to read Educated. I've only heard amazing things. I love stories that make us uncomfortable but teach us so much.

Keri

Sunday 12th of January 2020

So you know how I said I picked up Girl, Stop Apologizing? I was wrong. I picked up Girl, Wash Your Face. Sometimes I wonder where my memory went.

This is good though! We can compare, now! I'm a few chapters in. Not sure how I feel about it yet. We shall see!

Christine

Monday 13th of January 2020

HAHA, so many people said the same thing about confusing the two books...which my understanding is that they are both very similar anyway.

When you get to the part about Hollis allegedly failing in front of her gazillion followers (only to really not fail at all, get her bestselling title the next week after she sobbed and sobbed, and then crack open her expense champagne), let me know what you think. ; )