2018 Reading List and Reading Challenge – 70 Books, 2 books each week

 “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
-Charles William Eliot

For the past 2 years I’ve been making a reading list. 2017 reading list was a bit heavy with a lot of unrelated challenging categories. This year I’d focused more on books related to areas I want to focus on and have chosen relatively lighter reads than last year. I’ve either removed unknown and irrelevant areas or kept such books at minimum.

Reading Challenge
In 2018, I want to read 70 books, less than last year’s 100. I’ll begin this challenge from May 1st and about 35 weeks would be left in the year. Averaging about 2 books per week, something similar to last year.

How I Selected These Books?
I don’t want to read a book which would consume lot of time and without me gaining anything. So since March beginning I’ve been listing down areas I want to learn about and then going through reviews of and opinions on some of the best and well known books. I’ve also interacted with lot of people and asked what are their favorite books and which books had most impact on them.

The 4 Areas of Improvement for 2018:
For 2018 I’ve defined 4 areas I want to improve upon most, I call them the 4C’s for easy remembrance. They’re about being more: 1. Creative 2. Conscientious  3. Communicative & 4. Clutter-free. I’ve included books related to each of them in this list.

Priority of Books:
I missed some of the important books last year. To avoid that, I’ve added some must read shelves. The absolute must read shelves are: Writing, Death, Suicide, Depression & Mental Health, Cancer, Critical Thinking, Biology & Diseases, Psychology, Communication & Rhetoric and finally Ethics, Morality, Virtues and Humanity. These shelves will get priority over all other books.
Since I plan to write some fiction this year and I’ve been mostly reading non-fiction for the past 3 years or so, I’ve added 10 fiction books.

I’ve not kept any textbooks of areas I’m studying like last year; as I never read them cover to cover and often skip large parts. About 10 books in this list are from last year’s reading list that I’ve added to this list.

Reading Order and Categorization:
I wanted to group books by week and when I should be reading them. For that I wanted to label them on how large they are, so I’ve added a categorization and their length. I’ll post a rough week by week reading order post separately. Each book is categorized from Very Small to Medium to Very Large and is followed by number of pages:
(VS: < 100, S: < 200, M: < 350, L: < 500, VL: > 500)

I still need to add 3 books, so please suggest your favorite books!
The current Reading List has 67 books and I need 3 more. What are your favorite books? What is the most impactful book you’ve ever read?

Part I: Non-Fiction
A few years ago I’d realized I don’t read any non-fiction book. I decided to change that by reading 3 books in 2011 and achieved it. Since then I’ve been increasing the target from 1 book every month in 2013 to 1 book every week in 2016 to 2 books each week in 2017 and 2018. If you find reading challenging and want to start reading, start small and slowly increase. In no time you’d be reading a lot of books.

My areas of focus are related to my life goal: To Reduce Suffering in the World through the Project for Better World Without Diseases, Disasters and Despair. So For Despair/Man of Wisdom shelves are: Ethics et al, Philosophy, Psychology, Depression, Stoicisim etc. For Diseases shelves are: Cancer, Bio & Diseases. For Disasters: General Science. General Shelves: Biographies. Also some Personal shelves like Fitness, Writing, Communication and Business. Here’s the non-fiction list:

Writing (2)

  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King   (M, 320p)
  • The Elements of Style – William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White (VS, 105p)

Death (2)

  • How We Die: Reflections of Life’s Final Chapter – Sherwin B. Nuland (M, 278p)
  • Mortality – Christopher Hitchens (VS, 104p)

Psychology, Self-Development and Productivity (8)

  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience – Mihaly Csikszentmihaly (M, 303p)
  • Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha – Tara Brach (M, 333p)
  • On Dreams – Sigmund Freud, Montague David Eder (Translator) (VS, 64p)
  • The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life – Francine Jay (M, 298p)
  • This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life – David Foster Wallace (S, 138p)
  • The Hero With a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell (L, 416p)
  • How to Live on 24 Hours a Day – Arnold Bennett (VS, 92p)
  • The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle (M, 229p)
  • Self Control – Its Kingship and Majesty – William George Jordan (S, 192p)

Suicide, Depression and Mental Illnesses (4)

  • The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression – Andrew Solomon (VL, 576p)
  • Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide – Kay Redfield Jamison (L, 432p)
  • November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide -George Howe Colt (VL, 640p)
  • Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig (M, 266p)

Cancer (2)

  • The Death of Cancer: Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable and How We Can Get There – Elizabeth and Vincent DeVita (M, 336p)
  • The Truth in Small Doses: Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer and How to Win It – Clifton Leaf (VL, 512p)

Stoicisim and On Stoicism (3) 

  • The Discourses – Epictetus (L, 384p)
  • Musonius Rufus: Lectures and Sayings – Musonius Rufus (VS, 102p)
  • A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy – William B. Irvine (M, 326p)

Biographies and Mémoires (4)

  • The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank (M, 283p)
  • Leonardo da Vinci – Walter Isaacson (VL, 600p)
  • Twelve Against the Gods – William Bolitho (M, 316p)
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World – Tracy Kidder (M, 333p)

Survival, Exploration and Adventure (4)

  • In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette – Hampton Sides (L, 454p)
  • Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival – Dean King (M, 351p)
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing (M, 282p)
  • Adrift: 76 Days Lost At Sea – Steven Callahan (M, 344p)

    Applied Ethics, Morality, Virtues and Humanity (4)
  • The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty – Peter Singer (M, 224p)
  • The better Angels of Our Nature – Steven Pinkman (VL, 806p)
  • Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? – Michael J. Sandel (M, 308p)
  • After Virtue: A study in Moral Theory – Alasdair MacIntyre (M, 304p)

General Science (2)

  • Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming – Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (M, 357p )
  • Scale: The Search for Simplicity and Unity in the Complexity of Life, from Cells to Cities, Companies to Ecosystems, Milliseconds to Millennia – Geoffrey West (L, 481p)

Popular Space Science (2)

  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson (M ,222p)
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield (M, 295p)

Challenging, Hard to Read (1)

  • Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland – Christopher R. Browning (M, 271p)

Communication and Rhetoric (2)

  • The Elements of Rhetoric: How to Write and Speak Clearly and Persuasively – Ryan N.S. Topping (??)
  • How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships – Leil Lowndes (m, 345p)

Critical Thinking (3)

  • An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments – Ali Almossawi and Alejandro Giraldo (VS, 56p)
  • Logically Fallacious – Bo Bennett (M, 248p)
  • How to Lie with Statistics – Darrell Huff (S, 142p)

Philosophy and Spirituality (7)

  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind – Shunryu Suzuki (S, 138p) 
  • The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus: A Roman Slave – Publilius Syrus, Darius Lyman Jr. (Translator) (VS, 92p)
  • The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers – Will Durant (VL, 704p)
  • The Dhammapada (S, 114p)
  • Be Here Now – Ram Dass (L, 416p)
  • The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays – Albert Camus, Justin O’Brien (Translator) (M, 212p)
  • Brahma Sūtras – Badarayana (S, 192p)

Fitness (1)

  • Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance – Alex Hutchinson (M, 320p)

Biology and Diseases (4)

  • House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox – William H. Foege (M, 240p)
  • The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria – Randall M. Packard (M, 320p)
  • Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor – Paul Farmer (L, 438p)
  • Illness as Metaphor – Susan Sontag (VS, 96p)

Business, Finance and Economics (2)

  • The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World – Niall Ferguson (L, 442p)
  • Business Adventures – John Brooks (L, 408p)

Part II: Fiction (10)
I’ve decided to read fiction books this year. This is mostly based on recommendations, seemingly interesting premises and/or very high reviews. I only included standalone books which aren’t part of any series. The fiction books list:

  • Silmarillon – J.R.R. Tolkien (M, 333p)
  • Kingdom Come (#1-4) – Mark Waid & Alex Ross (M, 231p)
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (VL, 584p)
  • Fahrenhite-451 – Ray Bradbury (S, 175p)
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein (M, 288p)
  • 2BR02B – Kurt Vonnegut (VVS, 15p)
  • Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse (S, 152p)
  • Pollyanna – Eleanor H. Porter (M, 304p)
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini (L, 367p)
  • A Brave New World -Aldous Huxley (M, 288p)
  • Daytripper – Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá (M, 256p)Already Read 

Part Rereads (Favorite books that I go back to again and again)

  • Bhagvadgita – Original translation (without commentary) 
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer – Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
  • Letters from a Stoic – Seneca
  • Enchiridion – Epictetus 
  • War of Art – Steven Pressfield 

    “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  – Dr. Seuss

    What are your favorite books? Which books would you suggest me to read? Share in the comments!

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    Till the next time, keep improving yourself, stay positive, see the joy around you, radiate happiness, stay emotionally resilient, take good care of yourself and keep trailing on your Untrailed Path.

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