2021 Reading Challenge – Part 3

Welcome back to my 2021 Reading Challenge. Since the last update, where I had finished 32 books, I have now completed 59 which is keeping me nicely on track to finish 104 by the end of 2021.

I have found myself in a science-fiction mood over the past few weeks and this has led me to discover some extremely talented authors, such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Claire North and Ruth Ware. For all the excellent stories I have experienced, like Kowal’s Calculating Stars series, there have been some real duds. The last book I finished, The Last Astronaut was just dull. It had some cool ideas but the execution was terrible. The vast majority of the book follows a team of astronauts exploring an alien environment but it was simply monotonous, as there are only so many ways you can describe a pitch black setting with some water and ice. I felt like I waited for most of the book for something, anything, to happen.

One highlight since the last update has been the interactions I’ve had with authors on Twitter, as well as the messages sent back and forth with Imogen Church; a great voice artist who brings life and emotion to the audiobooks she narrates. Often I will buy an audiobook just on the strength of her voice work.

If I was to pick one favourite book from those I’ve finished since Part 2 was posted, I would have to go with Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. I’m a sucker for stories involving multiple lives, reincarnation, or the multiverse. In this story, the protagonist lives his life over and over again, and he has to work out why the end of the world seems to be happening earlier and earlier in time. An investigation begins involving messages being passed back and forth through time. I simply loved this book.

I feel as though I should give a mention to Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I’ve read The Martian and Artemis and enjoyed both, although I do feel that Weir can only write one type of protagonist. Although on the surface, the three lead characters from the stories mentioned are very different, their “voice” is almost identical. What I really enjoyed in Project Hail Mary was the interaction between the two lead characters. It was funny, sweet and engaging.

What I’m itching for at the moment is an epic sci-fi series to get stuck into. I keep looking for something that blows my mind the way The Three Body Problem trilogy did. The Calculating Stars came close, as did the Fear Saga by Stephen Moss. I’m looking for something that is “hard sci-fi” and not space opera. I’m not looking for space battles or space fantasy, but something a little more realistic. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to read them in the comments.

Below are some links to the Amazon listings for the books mentioned. Buying through those links will earn this site a small commission at no extra cost to you, so please use those links if you are going to buy from Amazon. Also, I’ve included a full list of the books completed in 2021 so far, as well as a few graphs because, well… I like graphs.

In the list below you will see an entry for a book titled Aberrations by Darren Scothern. Those of you who know me in real life will probably know that Darren, my dad, is an author. Aberrations is a sequel, of sorts, to his previous novel Abominations. I know my opinion will be viewed as biased but both these books are fantastic stories. I’ve included a couple of links to Darren’s recent work on Amazon below.

The above image will take you to Darren’s Amazon page.


  1. Leap of Destiny: Not Alone Series – Book 5 by Craig Falconer (audible).*****
  2. Revelations: Not Alone Series – Book 6 by Craig Falconer (audible).*****
  3. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (audible).*****
  4. Elephants on Acid by Alex Boese (audible).**
  5. Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese (audible).**
  6. Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse (audible).**
  7. The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek (audible).***
  8. The Remaining: Book 1 of The Remaining Series by DJ Molles (audible).*
  9. The Asshole Survival Guide by Robert I. Sutton (audible).***
  10. The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman (audible).***
  11. My Sh*t Therapist by Michelle Thomas (audible).*****
  12. The List by Siobhan Vivian (audible).*
  13. Of Ants and Dinosaurs by Cixin Liu (audible).*****
  14. The Supernova Era by Cixin Liu (audible).***
  15. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (audible).****
  16. A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger (audible).***
  17. Paranormality by Richard Wiseman (audible).****
  18. The Lying Room by Nicci French (book).****
  19. The Pig That Wants to be Eaten by Julian Baggini (audible).***
  20. Rip It Up by Richard Wiseman (audible).***
  21. What If? by Randall Munroe (book).*****
  22. Practice Perfect by Doug Lemov (audible).**
  23. The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney (book).**
  24. Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferris (audible).***
  25. The Awakening: Not Alone Series – Book 7 by Craig Falconer (audible).****
  26. Weaponised Lies by Daniel Leviton (book).****
  27. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (book).*****
  28. Hidden Wonder: Not Alone Series – Book 8 by Craig Falconer (audible).*****
  29. Endgame: Not Alone Series – Book 9 by Craig Falconer (audible).*****
  30. The Chain by Adrian McKinty (book).****
  31. The Test by Sylvain Neuvel (book).**
  32. Men Who Hate Women by Laura Bates (audible).****
  33. Goldilocks by Laura Lam (book).****
  34. How To Have A Good Day by Caroline Webb (audible).*
  35. Fear The Sky: Fear Saga Book 1 by Stephen Moss (audible).****
  36. Fear The Survivors: Fear Saga Book 2 by Stephen Moss (audible).****
  37. Fear The Future: Fear Saga Book 3 by Stephen Moss (audible).****
  38. Failures of State by Jonathan Calvert & George Arbuthnott (audible).* Note: this book had great content but possibly the worst narration I’ve heard, hence the low rating.
  39. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (book).***
  40. The Fuck-It List by John Niven (book).*****
  41. Aberrations by Darren R. Scothern (book – proof reading a second draft).*****
  42. The Truth by Neil Strauss (audible).*
  43. Infinite by Brian Freeman (book).***
  44. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (audible).***
  45. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke (audible).**
  46. The List by Carys Jones (book).***
  47. The Calculating Stars – Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut Series by Mary Robinette Kowal (audible).*****
  48. The Fated Sky – Book 2 of the Lady Astronaut Series by Mary Robinette Kowal (audible).*****
  49. The Relentless Moon – Book 3 of the Lady Astronaut Series by Mary Robinette Kowal (audible).***** 
  50. House of Correction by Nicci French (audible).****
  51. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (audible).****
  52. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (book).*****
  53. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (audible).*****
  54. Not Alone: Origins by Craig Falconer (audible).****
  55. The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood (audible).****
  56. 2034: The Future Laid Bare by Grant Williams (book).*
  57. Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham (audible).****
  58. Primordial Threat by M. A. Rothman (audible).**
  59. The Last Astronaut by David Wellington (audible).**

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