At the start of 2018 I set myself a challenge to read at least twenty-six new books by the end of the year. As we approach the end of 2018 I have finished thirty-three books, of which three I had read before. Still, thirty new books means I have exceeded my target and it is probably the most I have read in one year since graduating university in 2010. This is the complete list:
I’m pretty happy with that list. There is a real emphasis on financial books and this has helped me with my financial education. As a result of those books, and the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series in particular, I have become much more focused on investments and building a financial foundation for myself.
The highlight of the list was A Higher Call. There are not many books that move me to tears but that book did. I am generally well read on the Second World War but even I learned a lot from this book. It was the story of two pilots and their experiences that really got to me. I will not say too much about the book for fear of spoiling it, but it was the best new book I read in 2018.
Towards the end of the year, once I had already hit my twenty-six book target, I gave myself a break and bought the Warlord Trilogy by Bernard Cornwell. This trilogy is made up of The Winter King, Enemy of God and Excalibur. It is a retelling of the story of Arthur, set in post-Roman Britain as the various Kingdoms attempt to halt the Saxon invasion. I have read the books several times, but not in the last few years. This time I wanted to experience the books in different medium and purchased the audiobooks. The books are narrated by Jonathan Keeble, although I think a different release is narrated by someone else. Keeble’s narration is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience of listening to what is my favourite series of books. It is a shame that these books are not more widely known. Many people know of Bernard Cornwell for his Sharpe series and for the Last Kingdom series that is now a successful TV series. However, those who I have spoken to who have read these books all agree that they are amongst the best they have ever read. Even the author, Bernard Cornwell, has gone on record as stating they his favourites from all the books he has written. In a post-Game of Thrones world, there would be a market for a big budget series based on these books. Although there are only three books, there is enough material to cover at least six seasons of television, assuming ten to twelve hours per season, but I digress.
There were a few duds from this year, including The Templars and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I found The Templars to be quite dry and not very engaging. It was a real slog to get through. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was also a little dull and I found it to be a little self-indulgent. It was a disappointing read especially as many other books I had read referenced this work.
Looking to 2019 I have set a new challenge to read fifty-two new books by the end of the year. Included in this is a joint challenge with Now We Live contributor John Rothwell. We have each picked six books that we need to read. We will then each write a short review of the book and publish these each month.
My picks are as follows:
Old World, New World by Kathleen Burk
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
A Chronicle of the Crusades by Sebastien Mamerot
Britain against Napoleon by Roger Knight
The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins
God’s Philosophers by James Hannam
John’s picks are:
The Dog’s Last Walk (and other pieces) by Howard Jacobson
Modernism by Peter Gay
The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser
Stan and Ollie by Simon Louvish
Born in Blood by John J. Robinson
Pompeii by Mary Beard
The Proposed Reading Schedule:
January: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
February: The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser
March: Old World, New World by Kathleen Burk
April: The Dog’s Last Walk (and other pieces) by Howard Jacobson
May: A Chronicle of the Crusades by Sebastien Mamerot
June: Modernism by Peter Gay
July: Britain against Napoleon by Roger Knight
August: Born in Blood by John J. Robinson
September: The Battle for the Falklands by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins
October: Stan and Ollie by Simon Louvish
November: God’s Philosophers by James Hannam
December: Pompeii by Mary Beard
We will update this blog with details of how we get on with the challenge.
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Critic. Writer. Thinker. Observer. Creator of nowwelive.com.