As I was turning 40 this year, I decided to mark the occasion with a special reading challenge: to read a book published in each year of my life, between 1982 and 2022. As someone who loves to read and the freedom it provides for my mind to explore new ideas and places, I was super excited to see what this challenge would bring.
As I embarked on my reading journey, I discovered a lot about my own tastes and preferences. I read a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and found that while I tend to lean towards non-fiction, I also enjoy historical fiction.
Some of the books I read had a major impact on my life, such as “Quiet” by Susan Cain which helped me understand and appreciate introverts but mainly to discover more of myself.
Others, like “Love Letters of the Great War” edited by Mandy Kirkby were such a sweet way to spend my time.
Some, like “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely, made me learn so many fascinating things but also that I love reading about social experiments.
“The Wisdom of No Escape” by Pema Chödrön, “Peace Is Every Step” by Thich Nhat, and “My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, confirmed that mindfulness and the plasticity of your brain are all you need for your well-being.
Speaking of well-being, I loved “Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?” by Julie Smith, published this year. I believe that this book is the most complete contemporary book written about how to use our minds to feel better.
Definitely illuminating was “The Feeling of What Happens” by Antonio Damasio because it gave me the answer to an existential question I had had for a long time.
I loved reading about psychology topics and especially about emotions. I can’t wait to read more and more about these.
Finally, at the beginning of the year, there was a book that left me with a big smile and enthusiasm that have not yet faded, “Mudlarking” by Lara Maiklem.
As I progressed through the challenge, I found that reading wasn’t a challenge at all, I enjoyed every single moment of it and building the habit to read more felt very easy.
The initial goal was to read 41 books but I ended up reading 48. Here they are:
The real challenge (which – to clarify – was not part of the challenge I had set for myself) was actually writing reviews and writing them in a language that is not my native one. Another difficulty I encountered was searching for interesting older books that were still relevant and engaging today. But even this ended up being part of the fun, as I discovered new authors and works that I might have otherwise missed.
I was determined to see the challenge through to the end and I am extremely happy that I completed it. I feel satisfied and enriched as a reader but at the same time eager to read more and more. Also, this challenge was a great way to explore the full range of my reading interests and discover new ones.
And while the challenge is now complete, I can’t wait to continue reading in the future and choose books based on my mood and interests of the moment, rather than being bound by the publishing year.
I hope you enjoyed following my reading journey this past year and that it has inspired you a bit to embark on your own reading adventures.
Happy reading! 🙂