Books 4 and 5

After the lapse of the original schedule I was eager to catch up and get ahead of myself again. Luckily I had a huge bout of anxiety which was semi cured by my wife insisting I read a self help book so here’s books 4 and 5

Book 4 – Instant Confidence by Paul McKenna

Great self help book, read it in an afternoon and has helped with my self esteem issues over the last two days. Would recommend it for anyone, no matter how confident, as it’s got some great techniques for focusing and not getting distracted by everyday worries. 5 stars for what it is

Book 5 – Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Amazing insight into a comedian’s life. Normally autobiographies are tediously filled with boring anecdotes that pander to fans, not this book. Steve really nails what it’s like to be a developing standup, you never feel like he took his fame for granted and you can see the work he had to put into himself to get where he is. As a comedian this book was exceedingly inspiring and useful for not feeling like you’re doing the wrong things. Again 5 stars.

Next book is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick

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Book 3

I’ve now caught up with myself and finished book 3 on week 3. It’s a great feeling to be completing a book a week, there’s a sense of accomplishment and I’ve missed having something to talk to people about

Book 3 was Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and I have to say WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?! Seriously what was it? Was it a war story? A Sci-Fi novel? The feeling of wondering where your life has gone and why time is short in paper form? Nonsense?

I couldn’t tell you which of those it was, it was all and it was none. I don’t know if I enjoyed it but I’m definitely glad I’ve read it. 4 stars because it’s clever and emotional but in a subtle way. This has killed my curiosity for Kurt Vonnegut. And so it goes.

Next book is Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

The First Two Books

Phew! First two books finished of the 52 week book challenge, only 32 more to go.

First off I have to admit I’m halfway through week 3 and I’ve only finished two books, I’m already behind. I could make excuses about work and commitments but I finished the first book in two days then found it hard to engage with the second. It won’t happen again (it totally will but you never know).

Week 1 – The Power by Naomi Alderman

This was an incredibly engaging novel. The story was original, the characters relatable and the themes were so current that you could cut yourself on how close they came to the edge. A brilliant book, slightly disappointed at the ending but made up for in its prologue. Read it. I’ve never read a novel like it.

Week 2 – Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I had trouble getting into this book. Gladwell starts with a sports analogy and my lifetime of avoiding any kind of sport means I disengage with the material as soon as it’s brought up in whatever form it comes up in. Also I’m not used to reading non fiction, one of the reasons I’m doing this, preferring fiction or current news to long books on specific topics.

However once I got over myself and pushed through I read the second half of this book in a single day. Fascinating subject matter and full of interesting information which, while relevant to the topic being discussed, provides insights I didn’t expect to find in this book. Again a great book but longer than it needed to be.

Next up Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

The year long book challenge

Book lovers! *Fanfare noise* I now announce the start of my 52 week book challenge

First some background

There’s a period of my life I hate, one I wish I could delete forever, when it was over I got rid of as much of the things from it as possible. I sold everything or just gave it away, I wanted nothing left of it that didn’t have to be left. That included most of my books. My life is now perfect, I’ve got everything anyone could ever dream of and so I’ve started to rebuild my library.

I love reading, always have, on a holiday with nothing but time I used to read 5 to 10 books happily now I can’t finish a book a month, my attention span shot from social media and streaming services. I’ve bought all of these books and I never seem to read them so I’m setting myself a challenge.

I’ve chosen 34 books to read in 52 weeks. Hopefully this should work out to almost a whole book a week. Some books will take two weeks, no way I’m finishing Sapiens in a single week, some will take a couple of days, Cat’s Cradle I’m looking at you, so in the end it’ll even out.

The 34 books I’ve chosen are:

The Red Queen by Matt Ridley
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
This is a Call by Paul Brannigan
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
How I escaped my certain fate by Stewart Lee
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My Autobiography by Charles Chaplin
Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson
Chasing the scream by Johann Hari
Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig
Non-Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Fear and loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Lost in the funhouse by Bill Zehme
Fairyland by Paul J. McAuley
Silent Bob Speaks by Kevin Smith
The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Originals by Adam Grant
Globalization and it’s discontents by Joseph Stiglitz
Nudge by Thaler and Substring
The Tiger that Isn’t by Michael Blastland
Power by Naomi Alderman
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
A closed and common orbit by Becky Chambers
The Humans by Matt Haig
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

I’ve always believed that reading widely and frequently makes you a much better person more capable of dealing with the world we live in, I’m hoping that this challenge will make me feel as good about my mind as I now do about my body.

There’s a couple of rules I’m going to stick to with it

1. If a book is rubbish I’ll stop reading it and sub in another one, no point in wasting time with shit books

2. No starting new books until I’ve finished the current one

3. Post a review of every book

So this is the start of it, some of the books have been bought for me, some I started and forgot to finish, some I found in charity shops with hand written notes in the margin, one is the sequel to an audiobook a lovely comedian bought me and some are brand new, inspired by things other people are reading.

If you want to tell me some of these are rubbish before I get to them do so and I can get rid of them before I waste a week on them.

If you want to join in with me that’d be fantastic

First book is Power by Naomi Alderman, already done three chapters and hooked.