The 2018 Reading Challenge is here and I’m excited for what lies ahead and the books I’m yet to read. In January I set myself the challenge of ‘reading my age in books.’
So here it is – 37 books in 2018 is the challenge and I’m ready. Each time I finish one I’ll add it to the list.
As an author, I believe it’s important to read both within your genre as well as outside it. As I’m an aspiring children’s writer, you’ll see a lot of children’s books on this list – I won’t apologise for that! But you’ll also see plenty of books about writing and about self-improvement. There may even be books on here that I simply wanted to read! It’s a true mix of stuff.
All the books on the 2018 Reading Challenge list have links with them so that if one grabs your reading eye, you can click through and read it yourself. The brief synopses are not my own, but the publishers’.
I’d love to know what you’re reading this year, so drop a comment in the box below and give a recommendation. Sharing is caring, y’all.
The 2018 Reading Challenge
1. Bad Dad by David Walliams
There are fat ones and thin ones, tall ones and short ones.
There are young ones and old ones, clever ones and stupid ones.
There are silly ones and serious ones, loud ones and quiet ones.
Of course, there are good dads, and bad dads . . .
A high-speed cops and robbers adventure with heart and soul about a father and son taking on the villainous Mr Big – and winning!’
2. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss
‘Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book―a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers.
From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.’
For a full review of Tim’s book, see my post here.
‘The follow-up to his bestseller The War of Art, Turning Pro navigates the passage from the amateur life to a professional practice. “You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.” –Steven Pressfield
TURNING PRO IS FREE, BUT IT’S NOT EASY. When we turn pro, we give up a life that we may have become extremely comfortable with. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own.
TURNING PRO IS FREE, BUT IT DEMANDS SACRIFICE. The passage from amateur to professional is often achieved via an interior odyssey whose trials are survived only at great cost, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. We pass through a membrane when we turn pro. It’s messy and it’s scary. We tread in blood when we turn pro.
WHAT WE GET WHEN WE TURN PRO. What we get when we turn pro is we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and live out.’
4. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
‘A woman who won the love of a king and ascended to royalty by virtue of her beauty, Elizabeth fought tenaciously for the success of her family — her daughter who would one day unite the warring dynasties and her two sons whose eventual fate has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower.
An active player in the power struggles that surrounded her, she made hard and courageous choices, always trying to protect those whom she loved. Informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills, Philippa Gregory gives an unforgettable voice to an extraordinary woman at the heart of a devastating conflict.’
5. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
‘Practical, funny, implementable advice and stories that will help you understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to be a badass all the time.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT.
YOU ARE A BADASS IS THE SELF-HELP BOOK FOR PEOPLE WHO DESPERATELY WANT TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES BUT DON’T WANT TO GET BUSTED DOING IT.’
6. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
‘Michael Hyatt, one of the top business bloggers in the world, provides down-to-earth guidance for building and expanding a powerful platform. To be successful in the market today, you must possess two strategic assets: a compelling product and a meaningful platform. In this step-by-step guide, Michael Hyatt, former CEO and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, takes readers behind the scenes, into the new world of social media success.
He shows you what best-selling authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs, musicians, and other creatives are doing differently to win customers in today’s crowded marketplace. Hyatt speaks from experience. In Platform, Hyatt will teach readers not only how to extend their influence, but also how to monetize it and build a sustainable career.’
7. The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig
‘It is Christmas Eve and all is not well. Amelia Wishart is trapped in Mr Creeper’s workhouse and Christmas is in jeopardy. Magic is fading. If Christmas is to happen, Father Christmas knows he must find her.
With the help of some elves, eight reindeer, the Queen and a man called Charles Dickens, the search for Amelia – and the secret of Christmas – begins . . .’
8. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk
‘Four-time New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk offers new lessons and inspiration drawn from the experiences of dozens of influencers and entrepreneurs who rejected the predictable corporate path in favor of pursuing their dreams by building thriving businesses and extraordinary personal brands.
In this lively, practical, and inspiring book, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone, from a plumber to a professional ice skater, will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; podcast platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and other emerging platforms such as Musical.ly.
Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint to living life on your own terms.’
9. 6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd
No BS, No fluff, No Academic Theories, and No Sugar Coating. Just real world, tactical, hardcore strategies from being in the trenches. Peter Voogd, who’s labeled the leading authority for Gen Y leadership reveals the exact strategies he’s used to go from dead broke to over 6 figures within 6 months in multiple industries.
If you’re one of the select few who are serious about success, this book will change the game for you. Most Entrepreneurs struggle with inconsistent income, low productivity, and don’t have enough time in a day to get everything they want done? Peter shows you the fastest and most effective ways to maximize your income, get bigger things done in less time, and helps you create your ideal lifestyle. It will help you create a quantum change in the results you enjoy in your personal and professional life.
10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter Illustrated Edtn) by JK Rowling
‘This stunning new fully illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban brings more breathtaking scenes and unforgettable characters – including Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Professor Trelawney. With paint, pencil and pixels, Kay conjures the wizarding world as we have never seen it before.
Fizzing with magic and brimming with humour, this full-colour edition will captivate fans and new readers alike as Harry, now in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, faces Dementors, death omens and – of course – danger.’
11. Entrepreneur Revolution by Daniel Priestley
‘The world is embarking on a new age. The age of the entrepreneur, the agile small business owner, the flexible innovator. The days of the industrial age are over. It’s time to break free from the industrial revolution mind–set, quit working so hard, follow your dream and make a fortune along the way. The slow dinosaurs of the industrial age are being outpaced by fast–moving start–ups, ambitious small businesses and technological innovators.
Entrepreneur Revolution is a master class in gaining an entrepreneurial mind–set, showing you how to change the way you think, the way you network, and the way you make a living. Successful entrepreneur Daniel Priestley will show you how to embrace the Entrepreneur Revolution and thrive in the new age.’
12. Man’s Search For Meaning: The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust by Viktor Frankl
‘A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn’t) with the experience. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest – and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.
The sort of person the concentration camp prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. Frankl came to believe man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.’
13. Fantastic Mr Dahl by Michael Rosen
‘So, how did Roald Dahl get into writing? Where did he get his ideas from? What ingredients in his life turned him into the kind of writer he was? Michael Rosen comes up with some of the answers to these key questions in his lively biography, especially for children, of the world’s No.1 storyteller.
Full of stories and funny anecdotes from Roald Dahl’s school days and family life, Michael Rosen’s fascinating observations creates a vivid picture of one of the most famous writers of all time.’
14. The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
‘Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.
When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.’
15. Hack the Entrepreneur: How to Stop Procrastinating, Build a Business, and Do Work That Matters by Jon Nastor
‘In Hack the Entrepreneur, Jonny Nastor will be your personal mastermind, coach, and mentor as he gives you the guidance and kick in the ass you need today. You Should Read This Book… If you are stuck and don’t know what to do next… If you want to control your destiny… If you want to design a lifestyle that puts you in control of your time and income, this book is for you… If you want to do work that matters… If you want to work on projects that make a real impact and have meaning to you and others, this book will let you discover your true value… If you want the freedom to travel… If the idea of working on your business while traveling the world makes you smile, digital entrepreneurship and Hack the Entrepreneur is for you.’
16. The Obstacle is the Way: The Ancient Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage by Ryan Holiday
If the competition threatens you, it’s time to be fearless, to display your courage. An impossible deadline becomes a chance to show how dedicated you are. And as Ryan discovered as Director of Marketing for American Apparel, if your brand is generating controversy – it’s also potentially generating publicity.
The Stoic philosophy – that what is in the way, is the way – can be applied to any problem: it’s a formula invented more than 2,000 years ago, whose effectiveness has been proven in battles and boardrooms ever since. From Barack Obama’s ability to overcome obstacles in his election races to the design of the iPhone, the stoic philosophy has helped its users become world-beaters.’
17: Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits ― to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin
‘Most of us have a habit we’d like to change, and there’s no shortage of expert advice. But as we all know from tough experience, no magic, one-size-fits-all solution for everything from weight loss to personal organisation exists.
In Better Than Before, explores her theory of The Four Tendencies dividing people into four basic groups: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner and Rebel. Gretchen Rubin answers the most perplexing questions about habits with her signature mix of rigorous research and engaging storytelling (and a personality quiz to establish which of the Four Tendencies fits you):
– Why do we find it tough to create a habit for something we love to do?
– How can we keep our healthy habits when we’re surrounded by temptations?
– How can we help someone else change a habit?
Rubin reveals the true secret to habit change: first, we must know ourselves. When we shape our habits to suit ourselves, we can find success- even if we’ve failed before.
Whether you want to eat more healthfully, stop checking your phone, or finish a project, the invaluable ideas in Better Than Before will start you working on your own habits – even before you’ve finished the book.’
18. Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke
‘We all love stories. But why do we tell them? And why do all stories function in an eerily similar way? John Yorke, creator of the BBC Writers’ Academy, has brought a vast array of drama to British screens.
Here he takes us on a journey to the heart of storytelling, revealing that there truly is a unifying shape to narrative forms – one that echoes the fairytale journey into the woods and, like any great art, comes from deep within. From ancient myths to big-budget blockbusters, he gets to the root of the stories that are all around us, every day.’
19: The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone
‘Twelve-year-old Moll Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.
Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.’
20. Northern Lights: His Dark Materials 1 by Philip Pullman
‘Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford.
The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world…’
21. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
‘Morrigan Crow is cursed, destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But, as the clock strikes midnight, she’s whisked away by a remarkable man called Jupiter North and taken to the secret city of Nevermoor.
There she’s invited to join the Wundrous Society. Mystery, magic and protection are hers – if only she can pass four impossible trials, using an exceptional talent. Which she doesn’t have…
Perfect for fans of the Harry Potter series and His Dark Materials, this series takes readers into an extraordinary world, setting hope and imagination alive.’
22. Coaching for Performance: The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership by John Whitmore
‘An international bestseller, featuring the powerful GROW model, this book is the founding text of the coaching profession. It explains why enabling people to bring the best out of themselves is the key to driving productivity, growth, and engagement.
A meaningful coaching culture has the potential to transform the relationship between organizations and employees and to put both on the path to long-term success.’
23.The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
‘From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him.
As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place. With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small.
Except, it seems, someone has been there before them.’
24. The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
‘In The Success Principles, the cocreator of the phenomenal bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, helps you get from where you are to where you want to be, teaching you how to increase your confidence, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose, and realize all your ambitions. Filled with memorable and inspiring stories of CEO’s, world-class athletes, celebrities, and everyday people, it spells out the 64 timeless principles used by successful men and women throughout history–proven principles and strategies that can be adapted for your own life, whether you want to be the best salesperson in your company, become a leading architect, score top grades in school, lose weight, buy your dream home, make millions, or just get back in the job market.
Taken together and practiced every day, these principles will change your life beyond your wildest dreams.’
25. A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
Makepeace, a courageous girl with a mysterious past, defends herself nightly from the ghosts which try to possess her. Then a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard for a moment. And now there’s a ghost inside her.
The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, but it may be her only defence in a time of dark suspicion and fear. As the English Civil War erupts, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.’
26. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley – but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back in London . . .