My reading challenge + favourite books of 2019 so far!

As a child, I spent hours reading. I was rarely found without my head in a book, whether it was late at night when my light was supposed to be turned out, on holiday at the beach or in front of the TV, reading was always a passion of mine.

But with life getting busier, I had lost the habit of picking up a book. Inspired by someone I follow on Instagram with an enviable stack of books and a goal of reading 75 books in the year, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution would be to get back into reading, setting myself a target of reading 50 books. It’s a big goal that’s going to require a year’s worth of commitment!

Three months in…

I’m pleased to report that I’m smack on target, though this is largely due to having some down time by the pool in Bali on my honeymoon! Maintaining consistency in my reading is definitely more of a challenge now I’m back to reality.

While it may sound trivial, I feel like recommitting to reading is making me a more interesting person. After kicking off the year with a few great books, I was itching to tell everyone about them! I’ve been moved, challenged and inspired. With a little effort, finishing a book (and ticking it off on my Good Reads app!) is far more satisfying than meaningless TV and the depths of the internet.

Are you thinking about reading more? Here’s some of my favourites so far:

Normal People, Sally Rooney

You have probably seen Normal People topping the “must read” charts, and for good reason. I absolutely loved this book! The storyline focuses on two characters, Connell and Marianne, who grow up in the same town but come from dramatically different worlds. Rooney’s writing draws you in, with complexity, tenderness, heart-ache and challenges that really moved me… it’s a coming of age book that I can’t do justice here. Read it.  

I followed this up with Rooney’s first book “Conversations with Friends”, which I also recommend but it didn’t move me the way Normal People did… I was left reeling for days after this. 

Eggshell Skull, Bri Lee

Another extremely powerful, moving book. “Eggshell Skull” is a legal doctrine which states that a defendant must take their victim as they find them. In my mind, this doctrine immediately brings to mind thoughts of victims whose vulnerability lies beneath the surface. For Bri Lee, daughter of a policeman, law grad and Judge’s associate, this means finding her strength and determination for justice.

Eggshell Skull follows Bri’s journey as an associate, dealing with the horrific crimes she is faced with in the court room whilst dealing with her own personal history and its ongoing impact on her life. It’s haunting, moving and powerful story that will stay with me for a while.

Educated, Tara Westover

Another book that I couldn’t put down! Tara was born and raised in a Morman survivalist-home in rural Idaho, USA. Born without a birth certificate, Tara never stepped into a classroom until she was 17. Crazy, huh?Educated is a story of self-discovery, from the challenges of living in the mountains and dangers within her home through to fighting for and finding herself with education. Hugely eye-opening and extremely inspiring, this is a biography worth reading.

So, what’s next?

I’m currently reading The Trauma Cleaner, with my list of books to read growing longer by the second. I’m also looking forward to reading Becoming by Michelle Obama (who doesn’t love MIchelle?), Boy Swallows Universe by Aussie writer Trent Dalton, the Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris and Less by Andrew Sean Greer. 

My tips for reading more?

Make a conscious effort! Remove distractions and start with a book that gets you excited to read! This can be as easy as putting your phone away… I’ve found that I haven’t had to make time, rather, I just had to reallocate time that I was subconsciously filling with mindless activities.

Not loving the book that you are trying to read? Unless there’s a particular reason that you have to read the book right now, put it away. I have always tried to persevere with books I’m not loving, but all it ends up doing is resulting in me losing interest all together. Now I tell myself that every book I’m not connecting with is standing between me and reading a book that I love.

Have you read a great book recently? Please let me know, I’d love to add it to my list!



*PS. Just wanted to include a quick content warning on these books, which all cover sexual assault, abuse and mental health issues.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Phoebe Vertigan