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Reading Challenge for 2024

Reading Challenge for 2024

I haven’t set a reading goal before but over the last few years I have been struggling to read as much as I would like. There always seems to be other things I should be doing instead. Consequently, the number of books I have read has decreased year on year.

  • 2015: 76
  • 2016: 60
  • 2018: 49
  • 2019: 72
  • 2020: 60
  • 2021: 41
  • 2022: 37
  • 2023: 36

There are a number of reasons for that. Some of it was due to things happening in my life that left me with little mindspace to read. Some of it is due to the fact I read the first three Stormlight Archive books last year and each of those is over 1,000 pages long.

Regardless of the reasons, I decided that this year I want to read more. The goal I have set myself for it is 75 books. That’s the simple goal.

It gets more complicated though, because some books are long (Stormlight Archive) and some books are not so long and I don’t want to be able to manipulate the results by reading shorter books.

I figured that 100,000 words is a good length to make an average and worked off that number. I read both on my Kindle and audiobooks so a rough guess is that I average about 200 words a minute across those. So all I did then was work out how long it would take me to read 75 books and then broke that down to a daily goal of 1 hour and 45 minutes. If that ends up being more or less than 75 books it doesn’t matter, I will be happy having read that amount each day.

That was the plan. The start of the year didn’t work out quite how I planned and I am only now catching up to have an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes per day.

The goal is to read more and in order to hit that amount of time, I am having to read at times I didn’t used to. Times when I would have been on Reddit or wasting my time on something else. So this challenge is having an added benefit in making me spend less time on social media.

As of this morning, I have finished three books this year:

  1. A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik (2024-01-04 Thursday)
  2. How To Be A Stoic – Massimo Pigliucci (2024-01-08 Monday)
  3. The Last Graduate – Naomi Novik (2024-01-11 Thursday)

I am starting the last Deadly Education book now. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recomend it. It’s very good.

My Favourite Books This Year (So Far)

I have struggled to get into a reading groove this year but there are still some great books that I would recommend checking out. These are in no particular order.

  1. The Anglo Saxons – Marc Morris

The period of time between the Roman Empire leaving Britain and the Norman invasion isn’t something that is written about a lot. It was a time when Britain had multiple kingdoms and has always fascinated me. I’ve read a few books on the subject, but this is one of the best. Well written and captivating. I ended up buying it for the Kindle, as an audiobook and also as a paper book so I could see the pictures clearly.

  1. The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

I’ll be honest, it took me a while to get into this. I think I started it last year and then put it down for a few months before returning to it in April. I’m glad that I did. Enough has been written about these books that if you’re interested then you’ve probably read them already. But, if like me, you gave up on this one, maybe it’s worth another try? As soon as I finished this I read the next three books in the series.

  1. The Warlord of the Air – Michael Moorcock

The book I am currently writing is set in a steampunk world, so I thought it was a good idea to go back and read one of the first to be released. Very glad that I did because not only is it steampunk, but there is some travel to alternative realities, which is something I really enjoy. A very quick read.

  1. Out of Sight – Elmore Leonard

I picked this up in a charity shop purely because I liked the cover and have enjoyed some of Leonard’s books in the past. It’s another quick read and an enjoyable change of scenery from the fantasy and sci-fi books that I had been reading up to this point in the year. Although there are some parts of it that are almost as unbelievable as magic swords.

  1. The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain – Ian Mortimer

Another book that has been highly influential. The Time Traveller’s Guide books are excellent and I have enjoyed the whole series. This one is going to be particularly interesting if you have enjoyed Bridgerton. There are some really interesting insights into that world. 

  1. The Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

Not the first time I have read this, but somehow I enjoyed it a lot more this time. Possibly because I came to it off the back of watching the excellent Starship Troopers film, so I was more primed to see the satire of the story. I am currently reading my way through the other books in the series and enjoying them.

So there you go, six books that won’t be a waste of your time if you decide to check them out. Let me know what you think if you do read them, or if there are others that you would recommend I read.

Recommended: The Space Between Worlds

by Micaiah Johnson


Cara works in the wealthy Wiley City but she grew up in the wasteland beyond the city walls. Her job is travelling to different worlds where other versions of her have been killed, because no one can survive in a world where their counterpart is still alive.


The premise caught my attention. I’m a sucker for alternative reality stories. There is something different about this one though. Although there are likely an infinite number of alternative realities, people are only able to travel to those within a range of similarity to the base reality, which in this case is 380. So the realities they visit aren’t very different to the original.

The differences are more about the people, which means the main character is able to learn more about the people on Earth-Zero (the base reality) by talking to their counterparts. Which is a much more subtle thing than I’m used to seeing in this type of story.

Earth-Zero, by the way, isn’t our Earth. It is metaphorically similar in the differences between the wealthy and the poor, but is not the same.

The characters are interesting and feel fully-realised. The differences between them and their counterparts are situational. Something different happened to them in their history, but in most cases they are essentially the same person.

The story itself takes a little while to get going, but that time allows the reader to learn more about the characters and start caring about them. Which, given how complex Cara is, probably couldn’t be done any quicker. At first she isn’t an easy person to like, but by the end I really wanted her to succeed.

Along the way there are a lot of twists and turns. More than one chapter ends with a revelation that changes how you view the characters.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a story with alternative realities, but isn’t really about alternate realities.