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The Reading Challenge [2016 books read review]

I’ve seen a lot of people joining Good Reads and the reading challenge the they have each year.

For those who haven’t heard of Good Read (shame on you!) it’s an online platform where you can track your readings. You can include books that you’ve read, you’re currently reading or you’d like to read. There are also reviews on each and every single book, so you can read some of them to decide if it’s worth the read of not. Now, about the reading challenge… Good Reads has launched it a few years ago and it challenges you to set a reading goal at the beginning of each year.

I love reading and I wanted to read more, because it’s such a resourceful way of learning and development.

For 2016, I’ve set the goal of reading 12 books.

One book per month. It sound reasonable.But I failed. I managed to read 11 books. Close enough. I have friends who set a goal of 46 books during 2016. I am more realistic. Anyway, I admire them if they managed to read 46 books in an year.

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I wanted to share with you some short reviews of the books I’ve read last year. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for this year’s challenge. I am not very good at writing reviews, so be warned that I might have leaked a few spoilers here and there. Consider yourself warned! So, without no further ado, grab a large mug of tea and let’s do this!

The photography kit

One of my 2016 goals was to take up photography more seriously. I am quit passionate about it and I was always frustrated that my pictures weren’t as beautiful as I wanted them to be. I got five of Michael Freeman’s photography books as a present and I’ve read almost all of them by the end of the year.

Here’s what I’ve read:

  • 101 Top Tips for Digital Photography;
  • Michael Freeman’s Photography School Series
    • Exposure – available here;
    • Composition – available here;
    • Light & Lighting – available here;

I’ve read them in the exact same order as I’ve listed them above. And I highly advice anyone who’s thinking about taking up photography and reading his books to read them in the same order. They will make so much sense and they helped me learn so much about digital photography. I also have the digital editing book and I can’t wait to read it!

Stop worrying, start living by Dale Carnegie

I’ve bought this book for my Mum, because she was getting through a rough period and I thought this book will help her. I had to read it before I gave it to her, of course.

This book is really good for those who worry about every single thing in their life. I didn’t realise I was one of them until I read this book. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt from it is that once you accept the worst that can happen, you will be free to live your life.

The book is available here.

Eat that frog by Brian Tracy

This books is super thin and you can read it in less than a day. It’s a personal development books and it gives you some really good time management pieces of advice. So if you don’t have that much time to read, but still need to upscale your time management skills, this book is for you.

Book available here.

How I became stupid by Martin Page

How I became stupid is Antoine’s journey of trying to convert from a highly intelligent individual to a stupid one. Antoine is very intelligent and is an intellectual as well. He realises that stupid and mediocre people live happily that people like him. He tries different methods to become stupid and he eventually succeeds in a way. His journey is unbelievable funny and painfully real. This book actually made me think seriously that I should be stupid to be more happy.

Book available here.

The 4 hour workweek by Tim Ferriss

I’ve started this book twice last year. I really hated the first 100 or so pages because I felt like I was reading a transcript of a cheap teleshopping show. But after I manage to get over those first 100 pages I really enjoyed it. I was not planning on leaving my 9 to 5 job back then, but I wanted to learn new thing on the entrepreneurial side. And I did. His pieces of advice are really simple (some ridiculous, at least for me) and it’s a good source for inspiration and motivation to start your own business.

Book is available here.

Mars and Venus in the bedroom by John Gray

John Gray is famous thanks to his ‘Mars & Venus’ book series. I’ve read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and Mars and Venus together forever  and I really enjoyed them. John Gray’s books are not the average relationship crappy books. He is very funny and explains thing in a fun, yet serious way.

I decided to read this book because there is a lot of taboo and forbidden topics when it come to what happens in the bedroom between the partners. He makes reading the book very natural and not embarrassing at all. You will definitely learn a lot of new thing about how men and women think and react.

I also advice you yo read the other books from Mars and Venus series, they are really good reads.

Book available here

Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

My Mum got this book as a present for her birthday – I think, and I stole it for a few weeks to read it.

Now… I’ll be honest and I will say that I have a love – hate relationship with this book. I think it’s because probably I’m on in my mid 30’s, facing a divorce. But I actually kinda couldn’t stand Liz, I truly don’t know why.

The book is about a woman in her 30’s, who decides to spend 3 months in Italy, India and Indonesia, after her ugly divorce and a failed romance. 9 months of travelling and adventures. I loved the eat part, most probably because I’m a foodie and I also love Italian food. The other two parts (India and Indonesia) weren’t so catchy for me. Although I love Indian culture (and food) and found that part the most boring.

Book available here.

Harry Potter and the cursed child by J. K. Rowling & other 2 dudes

I’ve let this the last book on purpose. I am a 90’s child, which means that the Harry Potter fandom got me (and my Mum) and I literally grew up with Harry Potter in my veins.

Although I might have skipped a lot of details from the original books, my Harry Potter feeling were over the moon. I finished the books in a few hours and after that I’ve spent one week complaining how I need more HP books. Beside being a play’s script (which cuts a lot of details and magic atmosphere of the Harry Potter universe), there were some weird things. The biggest one was that I never excepted that Harry will let his relationship with one of his sons go so wrong.

Overall I am not 100% happy with the story line, but my inner child is still crying of joy for having the chance of reading a new Harry Potter book.

Book available here.


What and how many books have you read in 2016? Have you joined the annual reading challenge from Good Reads? My goal for 2017 is to read 12 books again – I think it’s a good ratio for me.

Also, do you prefer physical books or you read them on your Kindle?

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  • I love reading new books, thanks for sharing this!

    http://www.myclusterofthoughts.com/

    • Anytime, Katherine! Hope you found some inspiration.

  • I’d love it if I had the time to read more books, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now but just never seem to find the time to squeeze in! :( Great post! x

    http://www.jacobblackwell.co.uk

    • I totally understand you. I was thinking the same, but to be honest, these are just excuses. Once you find a good book you will make time to read it because you’ll enjoy it a lot.

  • I think 12 books is really reasonable. I love the mixture of books you have selected. I’m currently reading Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon.

    Roxie | The Beautiful Bluebird

    • I never heard of that book. What is it about?

  • Stephanie Parrell

    Great year for reading! Love your review of these books and the layout of your blog. love love love! happy reading.

    • Thanks, Stephanie! So happy you like both the reviews and the blog’s layout! ❤️

  • I should probably hang my head in shame because I read…umm…somewhere over 120 books in 2016….in my defense, I live in an apartment complex that has a library. I can’t be trusted with so many books within such easy reach. :P

  • Ashley Stephenson

    I read so much at the beginning of last year – I think my ending number for 2016 was like 33 books or something like that. I set the same goal for this year but it is moving slow – I am halfway through my first book. Good luck on your reading goals!

  • So happy i found this post I actually want to enhance my photography skills writing these books down now
    http://sheismelrose.net/

    • You will love them, Melody! Also, one piece of advice I can give you is to practice as you read them.

  • I didn’t read as many books as I had hoped to last year. This year I’ve set a goal of 12; I agree with that anything more is unrealistic given all we have to accomplish in a day. I still prefer actual books or audiobooks and I buy them in stores at Barnes & Nobles because I’m too impatient to wait for an Amazon delivery. LOL.

    • I also prefer real books. Audio books actually make no sense to me.

  • Leah

    I set my goal for 50. I read 75. Crazy. Yes, I know. But I love to read. I am always looking for my next book fix.

  • Last year was the first time I ever kept track of how many books I read, I set the goal for 100 and I read 101. I have a lot of time to read and I read a lot, so for me this was a challenge but also doable. My goal is the same for this year!

    • I envy you for having time to read 100 book in just 56 weeks. It sounds impossible to me. I struggle with one book per month.
      Congrats and good luck overachieving your goal this year as well, Taylor!

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was okay…I’m a diehard Potterhead and I thought it was okay. I wouldn’t recommend it to a non-Potterhead! Will check out the others.

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlifeblog.com

  • I’m a big fan of setting reading goals too. I love using Goodreads too!

  • jennadesigns

    Big Magic is a great book. You may like it. It’s by the same author as Eat, Pray, Love. I haven’t read that book, but enjoyed Big Magic quite a bit. If you’re looking for a gritty coming of age memoir, Excavation is good too!

    • I’ve heard a lot about Big Magic online. I’ll have to check some in-depth reviews of it, because it seems like a lot of people like it. Thanks for the tip, Jenna!

  • I have heard so many mixed reviews on The Cursed Child but I still haven’t read it myself yet! It’s definitely on my list for this year, though!

    • Let me know what you think about it, Kiara! I would love to share opinions about some things.

  • Tammy Nix Ellington

    I love your honest reviews! I’m going to add How To Be Stupid to my TBR list.

    • Glad you appreciate honesty, Tammy! Hope you’ll enjoy How To Be Stupid, it’s a really nice, yet with a deep meaning book.

  • Jae

    I love Goodreads! It’s like Facebook for bookworms! Hehehe! I set a reading goal of 25 books last year, but only managed to read 11 books (shame!). This year, I set 12 books as my reading book, which I think is more forgiving. It’s mid-January, and I’m still at 35% with the book I’m currently reading! :(

  • I’m a big fan of Goodreads! I read 51 books last year and I set my goal for 50 again this year. I used to read more, but with a busy schedule these days it’s just not happening. I haven’t read HP and the Cursed Child. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it and I’m just a little anxious about it, but your comment about the nostalgia of it makes me think I should pick it up just for that! :)

  • Neely

    Love all the recs! Huge fan of harry potter books!

  • Rachel Golden

    I love that you set an overall goal for books to read in a year! I love reading and definitely don’t do it as much as I should. I read The Cursed Child & absolutely loved it. Right now I’m working on the Lord of the Rings trilogy & I have a list a mile long of books I want to read!

    • I’m planning on reading The Lord of the Rings too this year, hopefully.

  • Wow! That’s impressive! I started three books in 2016 and finished 0….. My goal is to read those three books this year. lol

    • I also tend to start books and finish them a few months later. I know the struggle.
      Good luck reading those 3 books this year!

  • Karissa Ancell

    I love reading and keep track of my reading goals with Goodreads. I read a lot every year.

  • Sheila Jo Spencer

    I don’t set a specific goal for the year, but I’m always reading something in print and usually have an audiobook for my commute. Belonging to a book club forces me to get more reading in!

    • We don’t have such things as reading clubs around here. Or at least not that I am aware of. But it sounds like a nice way to keep you going.

  • Kat

    I have 16 on my list this year. Let’s hope that I would be able to read them all. I have read a few on your 2016 list (harry potter, eat pray love and ). I am interested in the dale carnegie one.

    • Dale Carnegie’s book is really an opening mind book. I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

  • Shani Ogden

    I don’t think I’ve ever set a goal for a certain number of books in a year, but I know that last year I read at least 20. Most of them were novels, which are probably a little easier to get through than informational books like the photography ones that you read. This year, I expect I’ll probably read around the same amount. I just finished The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows.

  • Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie

    Sounds like some really great reads! I need to check out those photography books you mentioned. I’m really trying to improve in that area too!