I completed a reading challenge in 2017 and enjoyed it so much I decided to do another one in 2018. I spotted the perfect one when it was posted in a Facebook group I belong to. The challenge was 40 books for 40 years and was set up by a group of book-loving friends who were all turning 40 in 2018. As I was also turning 40 in 2018 I thought this would be a great challenge to join in. Here are the books I chose. As you can see, there is one missing! I will explain why I am not doing a challenge this year at the end of the post.
1)A book about ww1– Barefoot on The Cobbles by Janet Few (a bit of a cheat as the book was not specifically about WW1 but it did cover that time period and I really wanted to help out a fellow indie author and read her book!)
2)A non-fiction book about sport – knew I would struggle with this one, and despite a few helpful suggestions from people towards the end, I ran out of time, plus couldn’t be bothered!
3)A Crime novel – Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski – absolutely brilliant, highly recommended, unique format, incredibly creepy and Hydra by the same author is wonderful too. His next book Changeling is on my to-read list!
4)A book for adults written by a predominantly children’s author – The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. I’ve never read Harry Potter but was curious to read this and I was pleasantly surprised. It kept my attention and kept me entertained when staying overnight in the hospital with my son!
5)A sequel to a book you’ve already read – Force of Nature by Jane Harper – a slight cheat again, as it’s not really a sequel, but it is her second book and contains the same main character!
6) A book that’s been on your TBR pile for more than 12 months – Release – Patrick Ness – one of my favourite authors, so this was an easy one and did not disappoint
7) An autobiography – Johnny Cash – I’m a fan, plus it was an excuse to read a book I’d bought my mum for Christmas! Really enjoyed this
8) A Carnegie medal winner – One by Sarah Crossan – a quick google of Carnegie medal winners and I liked the sound of this. It was a very quick read, written in verse. Pretty good.
9) A historical novel – The Finest Hat In The Whole World – Colleen Parkinson – an easy choice, as the author is a friend of mine, and this book is incredible! I don’t normally read historical fiction but this was an epic family saga and I couldn’t put it down.
10) A book that is about Summer – Jackdaw Summer by David Almond – my son and I love David Almond and are working out way through his books, so this was an easy and very enjoyable choice. Also a quick read!
11) A book with a prominent character who is LGBTQIA – Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin – This was a book on my to-read list anyway, so it was another easy choice and I really loved this book. YA at its best.
12) A book with a number in the title – 11.22.63 by Stephen King – I love Stephen King so when I saw this title I knew it was the one to read to tick off number 12. Great book!
13) The final book in a series – Bonds of Blood and Spirit – Legacies – When I was a reviewer for the sadly defunct site Underground Book Reviews, I picked this series to read as it sounded so different to anything I normally go for. Vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters. This was the last in the series and the last book I ever read and reviewed for UBR! Fantastic series.
14) A book from a genre you normally avoid – Jackson by Tracy Podger – This is a romance book, I guess, but a very hard-hitting gritty one. I’d seen it come up in some groups I’m in on Facebook and although I never read romance or erotica, I decided to pick it for this challenge as it sounded pretty interesting. It was a really good book and it was really good to try a genre I normally avoid!
15) A children’s book you didn’t read as a child – Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl – I somehow missed this as a child but thoroughly enjoyed it for the first time as an adult!
16) A book originally published under a nom de plume – The Secret Path (Spooksville Book 1) by Christopher Pike – a google search brought Christopher Pike up as someone who writes under a pen name. I’d forgotten about his books, but I actually devoured tons of these as a young teen! I didn’t really enjoy this one though, or his writing style, now I’m an adult. I kind of skim read this.
17) A book recommended to you by a friend – The Minotaur Hunt by Miriam Hastings – My favourite indie author Kate Rigby recommended this indie book to me and I’m so glad I read it, as it’s a fantastic example of how amazing self-pubbed books can be! A disturbing examination of mental illness, I couldn’t put this down.
18) A book with a title featuring the weather – Black Storm by Mark Gillespie – Mark is an author I’ve been following for some time. I try to read as many of his books as I can, but he writes so many, it’s a job to keep up! If you like dark post-apocalyptic, dystopian and alternative history, in short, sharp bursts of action, this is the author for you.
19) A book whose title begins with the first letter of your name – Clay by David Almond – Another David Almond book, so I was happy. Just love his work!
20) A book you chose solely by the cover – Ink by Alice Broadway- beautiful cover and intriguing blurb, but this left me underwhelmed. I just couldn’t care about the characters of the story, so won’t be reading any more in the series.
21) A book where the illustrator is credited on the front cover – The Song From Somewhere Else by A.F Harrold – a kids books in the vein of David Almond, but not as good, I picked this up for one of my kids and as it is full of beautiful illustrations, the artist was credited on the front cover
22) A book published in the year you were born – Still I Rise by Maya Angelou – I don’t normally read poetry, but this was a real treat and worth doing the whole challenge for.
23) A book set in a country you’ve never visited before – Girlhood by Cat Clarke –set in Scotland. I’ve always wanted to go but haven’t made it yet. My daughter bought herself four books by this author and I read some all. Some were better than others, but my daughter got more from them than I did.
24) A book based on or inspired by a true story – Smash all the Windows by Jane Davis – a different tragedy unfolds here, but this was inspired by the Hillsborough tragedy, and Jane Davis is a fantastic indie writer I follow. I’ve read quite a few of hers now and they never disappoint.
25) a book translated from another language – Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin – Wow, this was different. Creepy, eerie, dark, confusing.
26) A Book of short stories – Paisley Shirt by Gail Aldwin – I rarely read short story collections, but I should make more effort, This was a real treat written by an author I know.
27) A book about a culture you don’t know much about – The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri – I’m sorry to say I didn’t finish this one. I just couldn’t get into it and sadly none of the characters interested me.
28) A collaboration novel (2 or more authors) – Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King – another slightly disappointing one. It was good, but not great, and it was the characters that let me down. I just struggled to care about them!
29) A book by an author you’ve never read before – Mexican Whiteboy by Matt De La Penna – I think this was on my to-read list for some reason, but I’d never heard of the author and it was a pleasure to discover he has more than one book out as I really, really enjoyed this. The characterisation was spot on. I will definitely read the rest of his when I can!
30) A book with an alliterative title – Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay – bought this for my daughter as she had been enjoying the TV show, but sadly I didn’t really enjoy it, or the TV show.
31) A book you spotted on bookstagram – The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz- having read and loved Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe, I spotted this on Instagram and knew I had to read it. It was brilliant and I love this author!
32) A fantasy novel – The Oscillator – JK Neve – a brilliant, short, YA fantasy novel written by a guy who comes to my writing group, this was an easy choice!
33) A book set in space – Space Police by David Blake – spotted in a Facebook group, knew it would help tick this one off, but it wasn’t my kind of book
34) re-read a book you read as a child – My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards – I loved these books as a child so it was great to read this one again!
35) A book of poetry or a book written in verse – With Double blade – Jean Gill – again, don’t often read poetry, so it was good to be dragged out of my comfort zone and I really liked this
36) A book considered a classic in your favourite genre – The Pigman by Paul Zindel – My favourite genre is YA, and this was a pleasure to read.
37) A green book – Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – This came up when I googled ‘green’ books, and as I loved The Handmaid’s Tale, it was an easy pick, but I didn’t really like it, sadly. It just didn’t do much for me.
38) A 2018 debut novel – The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – Brilliant YA book written in poetic verse, I devoured this and loved every page.
39) Read a holiday-themed book around the time of that holiday – Pet Sematary by Stephen King – another slight cheat. I chose Halloween and this is a spooky book, but not one specifically about Halloween. Was great reading it again though, and it prompted me to watch the old version of the film again.
40) Start a book on your birthday, a book that simply takes your fancy! – The Outsider by Stephen King – I got this as a birthday present so it was the perfect choice and I really really enjoyed this one.
So, there they are. The good and the not so good, as well as the slight cheats and the one I didn’t read! I’m proud to point out that there are 12 indie books in this list! It was great to be able to tick books off from the challenge and help out my fellow indies at the same time. This was a great challenge and I mostly enjoyed it, however, I’m not doing one this year. Last year, most of my reading time was taken up by trying to complete this challenge and by editing my own books on my kindle. Therefore, my to-read list of books I actually want to check out is ridiculous! I need to tackle that this year and I don’t want to read any books that are not my kind of thing. It is good to get out of your comfort zone, and I admit that the poetry, short stories, romance and historical fiction books I read for this challenge were all a pleasant surprise, but at the same time, you know what you like, don’t you? I know what I like, and what I am always searching for is compelling, well-written and character driven books, in almost any genre. Hard to find at times!
So, folks what did you read in 2018? What was the best book you read? The most disappointing? Did you discover any new authors? Are you going to take part in a reading challenge this year? Please feel free to comment and share!