Reading, Reading Challenges

Reading Books from Each Year of My Life 1986-2020

Hello! Welcome back to another reading challenge post. Last week I talked about how I enjoy setting reading challenges, and reading lists for myself. (You can check that post out here for some background.) Today I wanted to talk about another challenge that I am currently working my way through. I started this challenge in July of 2019 just after my birthday, and the goal was that it would be a year long challenge. Seeing as how we are almost at the 1 year mark, and I am only a third of the way through, that is not going to happen. So I’m extending it another year.

I got the idea when Emma from Drinking by My Shelf completed a challenge where she read a number of books from the day she was born. I really loved the idea, and started looking into doing that for myself. As I was looking for books that were published in 1986, I decided that I wanted to switch the challenge up a bit for myself, and read a book from each year of my life. Because I’m apparently incapable of setting challenges of reasonable length.

Because of the way the years work out, I’ll be reading 1 book more than my actual age. Since I am not going to be completing this challenge by this year’s birthday, I’ve added 2020 on to the list. So the challenge covers 1986-2020, which is 35 books. 35 books isn’t unreasonable for me to read in a year, but I like to read a wide variety of books, as well as reading more current books, which makes it more difficult.

There are some years where I am determined to read a specific book, or one out of a couple books. In these cases, even if I read a different book from that year, I’m not going to consider the slot completed, unless I get to the end of the challenge and find that I still haven’t picked up the preferred book. On the other hand, there are a some years where, if I happen across a book that fits the year but wasn’t on my initial list, then that’s the book I’ll put into the slot.

I’m also trying to not fill too many slots with multiple books in a series, if possible.This means that if an author I love releases a book a year, I’m not going to binge read their books and list them for 5 or 6 consecutive years. Make sense? One exception to this rule for now is The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett – there are a few books from that series on the list of possible titles.

I decided not to list all the options I’ve included on my list because it’s so rough, and fluid, so I will just mention the books I end up using to fill the slot. I’ll try to give a progress update every few months, depending on how many books I get through in the time. For now, here are the books I have read so far. I have completed 13/35.

1986 – The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
This is book 2 in the Discworld series. I enjoyed this one, though it’s not among my favourites. There were some great quotes and I liked it better than book 1, so it might even be one I re-read at some point. Stay tuned at some point in the future for more Discworld content, including recommended reading guides.

1988 – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
This is a short, somewhat strange, book that is SO GOOD. I absolutely loved it and would 100% recommend it. It’s been less than a year since I read it first, and I’m already thinking about re-reading it.

1998 – Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
This was a re-read. I decided it should have a place on this list since the Temperance Brennan series is a favourite for me and I read and re-read all of them regularly. These books are definitely “comfort reads” for me.

2000 – Storm Front by Jim Butcher
I mentioned this book in my Magical Readathon wrap up post. This is the first book in a Mystery-Fantasy series that I am really enjoying. I have read the first 2 books in the last two months and have the third out from my library already. I may write a more in depth look into the series in an upcoming post.

2011 – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This is a fantasy retelling of the story of Achilles. I didn’t love this as much as Circe, by the same author, but it was really enjoyable and I will definitely keep reading Madeline Miller’s books. If you enjoy Greek myth retellings, these are definitely ones to look into.

2012 – Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
This is the first book in a Middle Grade fantasy series that I have started reading over the past year. I am loving it so much. The characters and the stories are so well written! It is without a doubt a new favourite series. There are 8 books out so far.

2013 – NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
This one was definitely out of my comfort zone, as it is horror, but I think I enjoyed it? I’m still not completely sure how I would rate it. It is very long, and it is the type of book that felt long. It is also the type of book that is supposed to make you uncomfortable at times.

2014 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Unpopular opinion – I didn’t really like this book. There. I said it. For the most part I enjoyed the first part of the book. But then there’s a twist/switch part way through that ruined the book for me. It wasn’t the twist itself, but everything that happened after the twist. I will probably still check out more Gillian Flynn in the future.

2016 – The Dry by Jane Harper
This is the first book in a Mystery/Thriller series set in Australia. It took me awhile to get into the story, but I’m not sure if I was trying to do too much while listening to the audiobook. I plan on picking up at least one more book in this series.

2017 – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The internet loves this book. I will say that this wasn’t my favourite Taylor Jenkins Reid book – I think that place goes to Daisy Jones and the Six, but I really enjoyed this one. I love the writing style, and the way that it makes you feel like the characters mentioned could actually exist.

2018 – Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
This is the first Robert Jackson Bennett book that I have read, as well as the first book in a new fantasy series. I loved the magic system in this book, and I really enjoyed the story and the characters. My favourite character is the talking key… are you intrigued? This was a five-star read for me and I cannot wait to pick up 2.

2019 – The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
This was such a cute contemporary romance. I loved the writing, and I loved the concept, which is two people living in the same flat (apartment) that work completely opposite schedules and communicate primarily through sticky notes. Would highly recommend.

2020 – The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
This is the third and final book in the “Truly Devious” series. It is a young adult mystery series set in a strange boarding school with a mysterious past. I thought this one wrapped up the trilogy well, and I enjoy where they left the characters. I think book 2 might have been my favourite, but this is definitely a trilogy that I plan on re-reading.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any suggestions for books I should read for the years that I have not yet completed?

Until next time,

Meaghan Signature

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