From Reading Challenge to Love Story

2018 was the year I decided to put down my phone and pick up a book instead.

As 2017 drew to a close, I was disappointed that my enjoyment of reading had dropped off. I was instictively reaching for my phone, more out of habit than anything else.

As a child I loved reading, starting with my mum reading to me before bed and inhaling books during the summer holiday. However, as an adult it became easy to make excuses like ‘I’m too tired’, ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘I’ll just scroll on my phone’.

It was time to change that and find the passion I used to have for books. Deep down I knew I still loved reading, even if that was limited to only 2 or 3 books a year. I love researching books to read, buying books, holding a physical book and having a never-ending ‘to be read’ pile.

But it had been a long time since I had felt like that.

SETTING THE CHALLENGE

Cue my 2018 challenge: to read 12 books.

A book a month. Now that’s definitely something I could achieve – but it was going to be a challenge to change the habit of picking up my phone to picking up a book.

I start every year by reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. There’s something comforting, uplifiting and inspiring about reading this book at the start of every new year.

That was an easy book to start with, and an easy habit to keep. But what about the next 11?

DID I SAY 12 BOOKS?

Well.

11 books soon turned into 24, and by the end of 2018 I was picking up book number 30.

It’s safe to say I was pretty pleased about smashing my own goal, but even better is the fact that I have fallen in love with reading again. I’ve explored so many different types of books in the last 12 months, learnt a whole lot of new things and discovered new interests. It’s great!

books
My top 5 books of 2018!

2018’s READING LIST

Here’s a list of the 29 books I read in 2018 (as you can tell, I love THP as I read it twice)!

I read everything from self-help books and poetry, to thrillers and doctors’ diaries.

  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (read twice)
  • The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k by Sarah Knight
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Mad Girl: A Happy Life with a Mixed Up Mind by Bryony Gordon
  • The Girl Before by JP Delaney
  • Acts of Violence by Ryan David Jahn
  • The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
  • Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Lullaby by Leila Slimani
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
  • Afraid by Jack Kilborn
  • Past Mortems: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors by Carla Valentine
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
  • A Mind of its Own by Cordelia Fine
  • Doing It by Hannah Witton
  • Our House by Louise Candlish
  • No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister
  • The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
  • Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
  • Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival by Frances Ashcroft

WHAT’S NEXT?

The plan for 2019 is to read at least 24 books. I could have aimed high and set a goal of 40 books, to improve on the previous year. However, I want reading to be fun. I don’t want it to become a chore.

This year I’m focussing on just enjoying reading, trying different types of books (I’ve already got some new books on my shelf that are very different to what I’d usually pick up!) and making sure this new daily habit of reading is here to stay!

ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?

Have you set yourself a reading challenge for 2019? Or do you have any books that you think I’d enjoy? Please feel free to share – I’m always looking to add to my growing ‘to be read’ list!

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