2016 Reading Challenge - Jo Alcock Consulting
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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge

I love a challenge. I’ve always loved puzzles and games and I’m motivated by goals. I like to stretch myself. I’m competitive; mostly against myself but also sometimes against others (fortunately I’m not a bad loser at all though so although I will always try hard I don’t mind at all if I lose). When it’s something where I’m trying to beat myself though, I’m not usually so happy when I fail as I always want to improve.

Last year I participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge and set myself the challenge of reading 20 books. I exceeded this (and rekindled my love of reading!). So of course this year I had to set a higher challenge. I went for 30 books. All well and good. But hang on, what’s this about another reading challenge? Ooh tell me more. One reading challenge is clearly not enough!

I discovered the 2016 Reading Challenge via Lisa Jeskins. I really liked the idea of this as it not only encourages you to read 12 books, but it encourages you to stretch yourself and try something new. I felt that would benefit me, and chatted to a friend about it, and we decided to do it. I set about writing my list of books. When I next saw my friend she was excitedly telling me about all the books she was looking forward to reading. Oh. My initial list wasn’t what you’d call exciting. It was more what you’d call intimidating. To give you an idea, it included War and Peace. I realised the challenge was supposed to be fun and changed some of my choices. Over the year I’ve adjusted them as I’ve progressed to remind myself I’m supposed to be enjoying reading, not turning it into a chore!

Here’s my current list and where I’m up to at the moment (those in italics are completed or in progress):

  1. Published this year – Animal by Sara Pascoe (which I adored)
  2. Finish in a day – F**k It: Do What You Love by John C. Parkin
  3. Meaning to read – The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo (in progress)
  4. Recommended by a librarian/bookseller – The Path: A New Way To Think About Everything by Professor Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh (in progress)
  5. Should have read in school – Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
  6. Chosen by partner/sibling/friend – Life Or Death by Michael Robotham
  7. Published before you were born
  8. Banned at some point
  9. Previously abandoned
  10. Own but never read – The Virgin Way by Richard Branson
  11. Intimidates you
  12. Already read at least once

So I’ve completed five, two are in progress, and I have five to go. I’ve got Harry Potter and The Cursed Child on its way for the one that intimidates me (I’ve never read a screenplay). I might attempt 1984 for one published before I was born (I was born in 1984 so seemed appropriate) but I’ll be honest I’m not excited about reading it. I have The Well of Loneliness as a potential for the banned book, but again I’m not overly excited about it. I rarely abandon books so it will have to be Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde for that one (which I know a lot of people love so maybe on a second attempt I’ll like it!). For the one I’ve already read once I’m tempted to re-read either The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, or a Harry Potter book.

In total I’ve read 19 books so far this year, so I’m a little behind schedule for the 30 but I’ve got quite a few non-fiction books I am part-way through and some great new fiction books I’m really looking forward to reading so am hopeful I’ll reach 30 by the end of the year. Who am I kidding? It’s a challenge I’m in control of so I’ll make sure I read 30 by the end of the year, even if it means reading some baby books on 31st December!

And then, do you know what I might do next year? I might just enjoy reading. You know, like a normal person. Maybe not commit to multiple reading challenges. Oh but what’s that? Ooh is that a challenge I can sign myself up to?! There is seriously no hope for me.

I’d love to hear any recommendations for the ones I still have to go on my list, or recommendations in general, particularly for fiction books. Please don’t tell me about any more reading challenges though!

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