Part of my before 30 list includes doing an annual book challenge of some sort; at first I wasn’t quite sure what kind of challenge to set myself when suddenly I thought why not try to read a book a week for a year to help me read more and further develop my knowledge.
I’ve always loved reading, I guess I get it from my mum who is the definition of a book worm, but lately I haven’t put much time or effort into reading for a multitude of reasons but mostly because of laziness I guess – it’s easier to scroll social media and waste time that way than it is to bury my head into a good book.
Enough is enough it’s time to get reading, I thought to myself.
So I went out and bought a book: I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart. And I did it, I read it in a week.
My next shopping spree for books I thought I’d be a little more prepared so I purchased 3 books; Going South. A Road Trip Through Life by Colin Hogg; 11 Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela by Ndaba Mandela; and Hippie by Paulo Coelho.
This time though I read Hogg’s book in less than a week, 4 days to be exact. I quickly got started on the next one, again only taking me 4 days to get through Mandela’s novel. So I went out and bought 3 more.
Long story short in the space of 23 days I read 5 books.
I am well and truly smashing my annual reading challenge thus far and from what I’ve been sharing on my socials about it I’ve been getting a few questions asking what I’ve been reading and what I’ve thought of them.
Here’s my recap of the books I’ve read so far, I will continue to update this post over the weeks as I keep ticking books off.
Book #1: I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart
This book was hilarious, as is Kevin Hart in my opinion. I’d always just thought of him as the successful comedian in so many films I had watched but there’s actually a whole lot more to the guy, especially his story of perseverance and determination to make it in the world of comedy. I now have a whole new understanding of the stories behind a lot of his comedy shows.
It’s a light hearted read, with some heavy and emotional parts though. Well worth the read if you ever come across it. 10/10 from me.
Genre: biography, autobiography, humour.
Book #2: Going South. A Road Trip Through Life by Colin Hogg
This book was a really hard read for me to be honest, I just couldn’t get into it. It had so much promise, an exciting road trip with a friend during his last days, a travel adventure. Instead it was kinda boring and slow going, written by a baby boomer that doesn’t seem to appreciate much and was too caught up in the past. Honestly, the last 30 pages were the only good part of this book in my opinion.
Genre: biography, autobiography.
Book #3: 11 Life Lessons from Nelson Mandela by Ndaba Mandela
I thought this book was really insightful and a pleasant read; I found it to be both a brief educational introduction to Nelson Mandela himself as well as into certain South African cultures. It was interesting to hear about Nelson Mandela from an outside perspective.
Genre: biography, memoir.
Book #4: Hippie by Paulo Coelho
I loved this book, it spoke to all my wanderlust and free spirited vibes. The journey Paulo went on made me want to go on a spiritual travel journey of my own. However, the ending was a real surprise, definitely not what I expected. If you love travel and just going with the flow I highly recommend this book.
Genre: autobiographical novel, biographical fiction.
Book #5: The Boy in The River by Richard Hoskins
Heart wrenching and educational at the same time. If you’re intrigued by other cultures and have a crime interest as well this book is a must in my opinion.
It took me only 2 days to get through it I was that invested in the story.
It’s definitely not for the faint hearted, based on a true story about a child’s torso that was found in the River Thames in London in 2001, also known as the Adam murder case.
If you know of the case already you’ll know that the case is still unsolved, I didn’t know this prior to starting this book and had high hopes for a better outcome, the case being solved.
Hoskins did a really great job transitioning between various times in his life that related to the overall story as well as bringing other cases that he had worked on into the storyline.
Genre: crime, child sacrifice, murder.
Book #6: Ordinary People by Diana Evans
I had high hopes for this book but it wasn’t all that special to be honest. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve become to attached to non-fiction books and story telling that I’m starting to stray from the fiction world.
I liked the way Evans linked song lyrics and titles throughout the book; starting from the title its self (a note to John Legend’s song Ordinary People) to other songs from the likes of Michael Jackson.
I must admit though, the title does reflect the characters within the book – they are just ordinary people that also reflect the ordinary lives of real life people.
Genre: urban fiction, domestic fiction.
Book #7: Chasing the Scream – The First and Last Days of The War On Drugs by Johann Hart
What a read. I loved this book; I found it incredibly interesting and really got me thinking about the idea of the ‘drug wars’ that go on in so many countries.
Book #8: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This is a book that I think you either love it or you don’t, and unfortunately I think I have to learn more towards the ‘don’t‘.
Genre: Novel, Drama, Fantasy, Quest, Fantasy Fiction, Adventure fiction
Book #9: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Woah! What an ending; I was NOT expecting that at all and I’ve gotta say it really tugs at the heart strings. Also, WTF?! How can you end a book like that?!
Genre: Novel, Domestic Fiction
Book #10: Scrublands – Chris Hammer
I LOVED this book. I was gifted this book for Christmas and I smashed it out in a week.
I found it so gripping and really struggled to put it down, and was a little sad when it was finished – luckily enough Hammer has a second novel that follows on from Scrublands and I can’t wait to start reading it.
Genre: Novel, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Book #11: The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
Prepare to cry as this book really tugs at your emotional strings for all the obvious reasons. One of my favourite things about this book was the way it flowed, it really read like a first hand recollection of events that took place particularly through the eyes of the main character, but also through his lover.
A few years ago I had the chance to visit what remains of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, a location that features in this story. I love when I can physically imagine how certain things or places in a book would be in real life, which in my opinion helps to really bring a story to life; this is one of those times.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book #12: Silver, Chris Hammer
Genre: Mystery Crime, Fiction, Thriller
This is the sequel to Scrublands, and while a decent read Silver didn’t grab me as much as Scrublands did. It took me a little while longer to read it and the ending was definitely not what I was expecting.
Book #13: Trust, Chris Hammer – CURRENTLY READING
You can view full reviews of the books I've read as well as an extensive list of the ones I plan to read on my GoodReads account here.
Do you have any book recommendations I should add to my reading list?