Every year, I attempt to do at least one very hard goal. A goal that either stretches my mental attributes, my physical attributes, or a combination of the two. To give a general idea, I did this in 2016 by losing 90 lbs. in 9 months. In 2017, I decided to give my body a break and read 70 books in one year. To most people that seems like a insurmountable goal, I chose this arbitrary number because I friend I know said she would read 60 and I thought, “I can do better than that!”
Why did I do this?
- It’s fun to brag about!
- I wanted to learn something about myself.
- Wanted to get away from watching television.
The real reason I chose 70 books is that I am already a very fast reader and read at least two hours a day. I had the lucky chance to take speed reading in Junior High and it served me well in life. When reading for enjoyment, I don’t read as fast as I can but it does lead to me being able to read many books. I read all of these books on my Kindle Paperwhite.
With this challenge, I’d need to read 1.5 books a week which is normally doable. Unfortunately for my goal but fortunately for my career, I was selected to speak at 2 different conferences and teach Grad Academy at work. So for 3 whole months, I didn’t read at all. This left me with being 15 books behind at the beginning of July. To catch up, I had to read 3 books a week. It was excessive but thankfully I enjoy reading books I’ve read before and plowed through the Dresden Files.
I definitely realized that I enjoy reading way more than I enjoy watching TV. Reading a book always gives a sense of accomplishment, while watching TV does not. I learned lots of cool new words and while much of my reading is fiction, I learned a lot of about the world. A lot science fiction opened up new ideas that lead to deep dives into Wikipedia.
This is the breakdown of the 70 books I read over the course of the year divded into the categories of books I read.
Every year at work, I try to read a couple of books that would help me with some aspect of my job that I could be doing better. On my previous review, I was told I could more to improve my leadership skills so I decided to read several books having to do with leadership. I highly recommend the 1, 3, and 4 book if you are interested in these types of books.
- Managing Humans
- Lessons Learn in Software Testing
- Debugging Teams
- Who Moved My Cheese?
Fantasy was my first genre and will always be a favorite of mine. I went back this year and touch on a lot of books in this genre that I’ve had in my queue for awhile. Of these, I highly recommend 3, 4, and 6. That happens to be a ton of books but I highly recommend them all.
- Sovereign of the Seven Isles Series (7 books)
- The First Law Series (3 books)
- Dresden Files (15 books)
- Kingkiller Chronicles (3 books)
- Temeraire Series (1 book of 9)
- Stormlight Archive (4 books)
- Pale Queen (1 book)
I’ve recently been expanding into the Sci-Fi genre and I’ve been highly impressed with really old novels and some of the newest genres in this field. I highly recommend 1, 3, 9, 12, 14, 18, and 20.
- Wayfarers Series ( 2 books)
- Red Rising (3 books)
- Station Eleven
- Brilliance Saga (1 book)
- Expeditionary Force (1 book)
- The Doomed City
- Movement Trilogy (2 books)
- Bobiverse (3 Books)
- The Fold
- The Interstellar Age (1 book)
- The Murderbot Diaries (1 book)
- Redshirts (1 book)
- Hell Divers (2 books)
- Big Sigma (2 books)
- I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
- A Fall of Moondust
I am not a horror genre fan and I hate scary movies but these 3 books were really small but also very entertaining. In each book, I was pleasantly surprised by what happened and couldn’t guess the story.
- Lovecraft Country
- Sour Candy
- The Fold
While thinking about this podcast and reading about reading challenges, many people have described not enjoying reading because of the challenge. People were way too focused on meeting the goal and either sped through their books, picked books based on size versus content, read books they didn’t enjoy. In each case, that happened during this challenge for me. I will counter that I did enjoy that aspect. I found many books this year I normally wouldn’t have read if not for those three “negatives” others have commented on.
Reading can be very expensive. If each book was $5 then I spent $350 on entertainment this year. I didn’t get any these from the library and of the books listed, I had only owned about 20 the books before. But if lived by myself, cable television alone would have been $600 dollars a year, I also got more sleep because I tended to fall asleep earlier in the evening. due to reading.
Will I read 70 books in one year again? Not in 2018 but maybe sometime in the future.