2018 In Books

Another year, another stack of books read. For the last few years I’ve been participating in the Goodreads Challenge. You start the year by giving yourself a target number to complete, and are able to keep track on your progress through the website. In 2018 I set myself the target of getting through 60 books, which I finally reached on the 30th of December, and have set myself the same goal again this year.

In July, I moved jobs to be a bit closer to home and as a result I now drive to work instead of the 2.5 hour round trip on the train I used to have. While this has been lovely for my work/life balance, it does mean I’ve lost quite a big chunk of my reading time, so hitting 60 again might be a little ambitious. We’ll see.

Rather than talk about all 60 books I read, I’ve picked out the 5 highlights, but the full list is at the bottom if you’re interested. I love browsing charity shops for books, so you will no doubt find some older books here mixed in with a few newer ones.

I’d love to hear if you took the Goodreads Challenge and how you got on. How many of my books from 2018 have you read? Any recommendations, please leave a comment.

In no particular order, my top 5 reads of 2018 were:

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

Very different to the books I usually read, which is probably why it has stayed with me for so long. Oddly I didn’t particularly enjoy reading it at the time as it is pretty slow I did take a little pause in the middle somewhere and briefly considered leaving it there. I’m glad I stuck with it. The main character, Toru looks back on his college years, and the events that shaped his life, in particular love and loss. Looking back now, I can’t remember a lot of what happened in the book, or how it ended, but more the journey the characters take along the way

The History Of Bees – Maja Lunde

One of my favourite books of all time is Station Eleven, and this uses a similar device of telling different stories from different times, which are all interlinked. In The History Of Bees we follow a story from England in the mid 19th century, near modern day America, and late 21st century China. As the title suggests the link between the 3 narratives is bees, but deeper than that it explores the state of the environment, and the rather depressing fate we’re currently heading towards. The book also explores the relationship between parent and child, as that is the key relationship in each of the stories. After finishing this book you will want to get out there and do something for the environment.

Quiet – Susan Cain

This is a book about introverts, and how dramatically undervalued they (we) are. Throughout the 20th century there’s been a rise in the ‘Extrovert Ideal’, which now seems to dominate what we value the most in western culture, but it hasn’t always been this way. This book is equally valuable for introverts and extroverts, and will make you cherish the differences between us all and how together we can bring about the most change in our world

The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred Year Old Man – Jonas Jonasson

Jonas Jonasson is probably my favourite writer. This is the sequel to ‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, so if you haven’t read that yet stop what you’re doing and go find it. Allan Karlsson (our Centenarian protagonist) has been involved in most of the major events of the 20th century, and all by complete accident. Allan just lets the world happen around him. You will come away with the feeling that life is full of serendipitous moments, and I find it hugely uplifting, and laugh out loud funny. I would also recommend another Jonasson book ‘The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden’.

I Think You’ll Find It’s A Bit More Complicated Than That – Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre is a physician, academic and science writer, and this book is a selection of some of his most interesting articles and essays over the years. You’ll be scared by some of the bad science and lazy research that he calls out in this book, and also encouraged to dig a little deeper. Don’t believe everything you read because even some of the most respected sources can be much lighter on the facts than you would think.

The complete list of 2018 reads:

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Attwood
  2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
  3. Adapt – Tim Harford
  4. The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman
  5. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
  6. Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance
  7. The Little Book That Beats The Market – Joel Greenblatt
  8. Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  9. Artemis – Andy Weir
  10. The 4 Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss
  11. The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
  12. The New Paradigm For Financial Markets – George Soros
  13. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin S. Sharma
  14. Linchpin – Seth Godin
  15. E-Squared – Pam Grout
  16. Reminisces Of A Stock Operator – Edwin Lefevre
  17. Lost In A Good Book – Jasper Fforde
  18. The Boy On The Bridge – M. R. Carey
  19. Utopia For Realists – Rutger Bregman
  20. The Templars – Dan Jones
  21. Day 21 – Kass Morgan
  22. Golden Son – Pierce Brown
  23. Killers Of The Flower Moon – David Grann
  24. The Hidden Oracle – Rick Riordan
  25. The Postman – David Brin
  26. Tin – Padraig Kenny
  27. Mayday! – Clive Cussler
  28. The History Of Bees – Maja Lunde
  29. Who Moved My Cheese? – Dr Spencer Johnson
  30. Moonwalking With Einstein – Joshua Foer
  31. Start With Why – Simon Sinek
  32. The Room – Jonas Karlsson
  33. Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
  34. Jump Start Your Marketing Brain – Doug Hall
  35. The Fellowship Of The Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
  36. Quiet – Susan Cain
  37. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  38. The 30 Day MBA in Marketing – Colin Barrow
  39. All Marketers Are Liars – Seth Godin
  40. All You Need Is Kill – Ryosuke Takeuchi
  41. How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  42. The Star Wars – J.W. Rinzler
  43. Universal – Brian Cox
  44. Deadpool & Cable – Fabian Nicieza
  45. The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
  46. Purple Cow – Seth Godin
  47. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson
  48. The Laws Of Simplicity – John Maeda
  49. What The Dog Saw – Malcolm Gladwell
  50. Entrepreneurial Confessions – Elliot Lum
  51. Choose Yourself – James Altucher
  52. Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel
  53. The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred Year Old Man – Jonas Jonasson
  54. I Think You’ll Find It’s A Bit More Complicated Than That – Ben Goldacre
  55. The Undoing Project – Michael Lewis
  56. The Stand – Stephen King
  57. Mortal Engines – Philip Reeve
  58. We Can Remember It For You Wholesale – Philip K. Dick
  59. Snakes In Suits – Paul Babiak
  60. 500 Words You Should Know – Caroline Taggart

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a streamlined mind is my goal, this is my journey.

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