2013 Reading Challenge

Completing Antony Beevor’s The Second World War yesterday evening at about 9.30 means that:

  1. I clearly had a wild New Year’s Eve
  2. I just barely succeeded in my 2013 Reading Challenge to finish 40 books this year.

At 783 pages it was a heck of a way to end, but I’ll save my thoughts on that book in particular for another post.

So, what have I learnt from this?

Reading this many books is surprisingly hard

As evident from only hitting the magic number 40 on the last day, it was a close-run thing. Things never fell too far behind schedule, but I did often struggle to find time to read around the other things in my life. However I managed to resist the temptation to give up, or the almost equally strong temptation to pad my number by reading lots of short books. I certainly benefited from having a few long distance flights, as well as…


This is something I discovered a while ago, but audiobooks can be brilliant. Once again I did a lot of walking throughout the year, whether with the dog, into town, or just random jaunts to clear my head. Then there’s the large amount of travelling mentioned above: whilst being sat on a plane is an ideal time to read a real book or ebook, there’s all the walking around airports and long waits standing in queues associated with it too (especially you, US immigration). I’ve never understood those people who seem able to walk around with a book in front of their face (and heaven forbid trying to do that and keep the dog under control at the same time!) So audiobooks are a great way to make better use of that time.

With these I mainly caught up on some sci-fi classics, and am currently working my way through A Song of Ice and Fire (which also deserves its own post in the future).

The Kindle Paperwhite is great

My old 3rd generation Kindle finally gave up the ghost mid-way through this year. Actually it was still working, but the battery was clearly knackered and it would never seem to be charged when I wanted it. With the above mentioned travelling in mind, I decided to splash out on a new Paperwhite model.

Whilst I loved my old Kindle too, the Paperwhite is just nicer. The screen is better, the faster refresh is very noticeable, and I actually find the touch screen keyboard easier to use than the physical one. Plus losing the physical keyboard means it fits better in my pocket, and the light comes in handy for reading in the dark. Overall there’s nothing really revolutionary, but it all adds up to a very pleasant and convenient reading experience.

It was totally worthwhile

I’m really glad I decided to do this challenge. It meant I got round to experiencing some great books, some of which I’d wanted to read for a long time. Goodreads gave me just enough motivation, without nagging me and making it seem like a chore. And in what was often a very turbulent year for me personally, it was always nice to have reading, and with an overall goal in mind, to fall back on.

Obviously I’ll be doing it again in 2014. I’m raising my goal to 45, which is hopefully not too ambitious. We’ll see in a year!


Here’s the full list of what I read.

2 thoughts on “2013 Reading Challenge”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.