It all started in 2016 when my friend Delaney announced at our Book Club that she was going to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I swear I actually laughed out loud. I absolutely adore books and I knew she was an avid reader, but I thought of that kind of goal as well, lofty at best. I mean, who has the time?! We decided that we would all use the Goodreads app to track the books we were reading and to set our own personal 2016 challenges. Not one to dismiss a goal, Delaney ended up leaving us all in the dust by reading an epic total of 79 books. In a year. Ultimate bookworm legend.

I set my goal last year as a healthy 30 books. Around two a month plus a few slim reads, I thought that was reasonable. Well, I made it to 25 and I am stupidly proud of myself for this. I have a goal of 30 again in 2018 and with copious amounts of breastfeeding ahead of me this year, I’m feeling optimistic.

I should explain my motivation behind keeping up with this annual goal thing (I’m not one for resolutions of many other kinds). I’m aware that it may seem a bit arbitrary and well, silly. But, with 2018 being my third year of aiming for a certain amount of books I have found that it absolutely, unequivocally increases the amount I read. Before, I would have opted for TV, or read no more than a page a night as I dozed off to sleep. Only to re-read the same page the next night in hope of remembering what the hell I had actually read and maybe, just maybe I could string the story together. It didn’t matter how much I was enjoying a book. I just never made the time.

Needless to say, I didn’t get through a book very fast back then. Although I had a list of books I wanted to read as long as my arm so it wasn’t a lack of want. It was just, a lack of motivation and habit.

Now, I find myself a bit more invested in what I’m reading. I actually look forward to early nights curled up with my book and I look forward to eating into my ‘To Read’ list (although I’ve recently made my peace with the fact that, much like laundry, I’ll never reach the bottom of it). I find little moments, like my lunch break at work or the maternity hospital waiting room and I seize them for a good bit of page turning.

Another reason I’m slightly obsessed with the Goodreads app is that I am nosey as hell and I love to see what other people are reading. Peering at someone’s bookshelf is a bit like having a sneak peek at the groceries of the person in front of you on the conveyor belt. The books your consume are such a personal choice. So in the spirit of nosiness, I thought I would list the 25 books I read last year, in the order that I rated them. A book round-up of sorts. Although I’m not sure that star ratings can really sum up my thoughts on a book, so I’d be happy to hear if you’ve loved or loathed any of the following yourself.

5 Stars

The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More – Annie Rasor-Rowland
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success – Shawn Stevenson
Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic – Esther Perel
Gillespie and I – Jane Harris

4 Stars

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Art of Living – Thích Nhất Hạnh
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
Blindness – Jose Saramago
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
Ramayana – Daljit Nagra
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle – Kirsty Wark

3 Stars

Notes From a Small Island – Bill Bryson
The Brightest Star in The Sky – Marian Keyes
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives – Gretchen Rubin
Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart – James R. Doty
The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Digital vs Human: how we’ll live, love, and think in the future – Richard Watson
Sunset Song – Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine – Derren Brown
Tinkers – Paul Harding
Dubliners – James Joyce
I love a good mix of classics, non-fiction and fiction. Anything goes really (except stories where children are mistreated or abused… I still can’t shake A Child Called It from my psyche 15 years later)!

Do you give yourself a reading goal?
Are you on the Goodreads app? (If so we should totally be friends)
What have you read recently and loved?