The Epic Reading Challenge of 2018 – Bless this Mess Stylez

Do you remember as a kid doing the MS readathon? I freakin’ frothed it. A book nerd from way back, obvs. Essentially it’s a few months where you get sponsored per page or per book and you fundraise for Multiple Sclerosis research. You get prizes and incentives along the way and, obviously, get to soak up a whole lot of reading time too. Win win.

I’ve always loved reading. I’m a non fiction gal myself, trying to learn as much as possible about as many things as possible. The odd fiction sneaks in too but generally, if I ain’t learning, I ain’t goan read it.

In recent years, reading time has been subbed out and pushed to the sidelines. What bolstered into its place? Social media, Netflix and, ok, some ‘chill’ too. [Still totally an advocate for ‘chill’, just now it’s reading and chill].

As part of my 2018 resolution barrage [I’m a list maker, there’s a few that snuck in this year] – regular reading powered its way to the top of my agenda. Why? Because getting lost in a fictional world [albeit rare for me] is such an incredible feeling; because my time is precious and I’d rather use it to learn and grow than to find out what Kim’s surrogate baby was named [it’s Chicago, fyi]; because it allows my body to rest and repair at the end of a day and doesn’t douse me in anti-sleep blue light from a screen; because it made me so happy as a kid and I miss that sense of lazy satisfaction with a good read.

So the decision was made. Initially it was a book a week for 2018 but I allowed myself a bit of wiggle room, because it’s meant to be for me and for my happiness and allow me to practice a little self love. Regimented reading regimes kind of defy that whole ‘loving’ notion. So I’ve eased off a bit and I’m [lovingly] aiming for 4 books a month [48 for the year]. If I get there – epic, if I don’t – that’s ok too.

January has already seen me devour four. BUT it had a week away where our days were spent exploring the Great Southern [not a euphemism] and nights were spent reading for hours in a van [not as creepy as it sounds]. When I first did a little post on the socials about the challenge, so many people chimed in with what they were reading, that they liked the book I had chosen, and all sorts of dialogue kicked off. YES! This is what I’m wanting! Recommendations, discussions, critiquing and explorations of all the things we consume and devour when we read and absorb. Which brings me to today, and a recap of the books I’ve read thus far, hoping to share a little with you all and maybe prompt a read along if something tickles your pickle? Which brings me to the Twenny Eighteen list so far…

First we Make the Beast Beautiful – Sarah Wilson

This candid account of Sarah’s personal experience with and research around anxiety is an incredible exploration of mental health. I learnt so so so much about anxiety and its associated behaviours that are self nourishing versus self sabotaging. It is an incredibly well researched book, loaded with professional and expert interview, scientific studies and anecdotal discussion. It de-stigmatises mental health and opens the channels for honest, unrestrained and authentic discussion around the topic. Essential reading for errybody.


What I did while you were Breeding – Kristen Newman

Recommended by a travel buddy, this was an absolute pearler of a read. Autobiographical, hilarious, travel inspired and empowering – it was a light hearted read about a woman in her 20s [then 30s and 40s] whose path lay a little to the left of her friends. Whilst they found love, married and had babies, she was exploring her work and the world. A comedy writer by trade [hence, hilarious] she gallivanted around the globe and details her escapades. I loved that she proved everyone’s path is unique, and undeniably their own.


The Martian – Andy Weir

With great hesitation, I amended the challenge to include one fiction book a month. 25% fiction for the year. Ugh. BUT! Clever Emily chose the best book to kick things off with. This book wasn’t my ideal genre by a long stretch, but something pulled me to give it a chance, so I started with a few chapters as a taster. 4 days later, it was done. This was an epic read and instilled that sense of ‘being lost in a fictional world’ that I mentioned earlier. SAH GOOD.


You can Heal your Life – Louise Hay

I read this about 6 years ago when I first moved away from home and remember liking it. Sort of. I needed a new book to take to the beach and so this one got grabbed off the shelf, simply to fill a void and refresh my memory. I couldn’t put it down. Taking SO much more away from it than my initial read [I don’t even think I finished it in the past], I sucked in every lesson and challenge and piece o’ wisdom from this timeless little classic. It’s a little hippy, yes, and encourages totally accountability and acknowledgement of our own power within any and every situation. But I love that. It’s a dose of the feel goods and gives the reader tools to make their lives ever brighter and more sparkly.


And that’s it folks! I would LOVE to know what you are reading at the moment! Your favourite books, the ones of your to-read list, the ones that you could read again and again, or ones that you’d simply recommend? Comment below or hit me up on socials (@mlemar on instagram)!

Blessings and books out the whazoo x

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