My 2022 reading challenge – how I got on …

In 2022 I celebrated my sixtieth birthday. In order to mark this momentous event I decided to read sixty books during the year – one for each year from 1962 to the present day. I called this my 60 Books from 60 Years Challenge and have been reviewing the books chosen as I went along. You can see how I started out on this challenge with my first blog on the subject here. I freely admit that I stole this idea from someone else on social media.

Sixty books is slightly more than one per week and given that I usually read more than 300 books each year I thought that it was a target which could easily be achieved. I certainly started well but I soon became bogged down and a few books were very long (I did not check length before I chose them) and some were just hard going. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (no review yet) was long but wonderful. The Sea The Sea by Iris Murdoch (see review here) was manageable in length but very easy to put down and very hard to pick up again. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (see review here) was both long and overwhelming. Other books, not part of the challenge, forced their way into my consciousness and I was continually made guilty by the enormous size of my to-be-read pile which I am trying, and failing, to whittle down.

In short, I haven’t finished the challenge in one year.

I have made it to a book for the year 2000 and have read a few more of those remaining but have not yet published reviews of them. I have 11.5 books still to finsh but have indulged myself over Christmas with some favourite authors so I haven’t made much headway recently.

I shall finish the challenge in the next month or so as I certainly don’t intend to give up. Many of the books I have read have been excellent and I name a few in my lists of favourite books read this year (see non-fiction, audio and novels). Some of the books I had read before and have enjoyed finding again (Dune by Frank Herbert is a good example – see my review here) and I have used the opportunity to explore books or authors I feel that I should have read such as Ernest Hemingway (see here) and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (see here). Some of the books were not originally written in English such as Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (see here) and others are by authors from other parts of the world, including The Famished Road by Ben Okri (see here) and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (here). It’s a very varied collection of novels, more by luck than judgement.

When I have finally finished my challenge I intend to create a list showing each book with its year and linking to the appropriate review.

I have really enjoyed my 2022 challenge and suggest a similar idea for any of you who want to stretch your reading muscles a bit. I have decided against a challenge for 2023 to give myself a bit of a break and hope to write a few more general blogs about my reading life along with the regular reviews of what I am reading.

How you choose the books you read doesn’t really matter. Whatever works for you. Just keep reading ….

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