Last year I began sharing my booklist on the blog. Those who love to read love to hear what other people are reading. Because I love reading the booklists of others, I thought I’d throw mine out there as well to give some ideas to anyone looking for their next good read. This year, I printed out Tim Challies’ reading challenge, which has 104 creative categories, and decided to see how many I could tackle in one year. So, here are the categories I’ve checked off so far, and the books that fit into them (in the order they appear on the challenge, not the order in which I read them):
1. A book about Christian living: Simplify Your Spiritual Life, by Don Whitney. I was using this book as a resource for speaking at our ladies’ ministry, and found enough nuggets to entice me to read the whole thing. Written in bite-size sections, it is a fast read full of practical helps to, well, simplify your spiritual life.
2. A book your pastor recommends: Eight Twenty Eight, by Ian and Larissa Murphy. My husband is my pastor and he brought me this book to read, so. . . The beautiful, heart wrenching story of a couple whose lives were turned upside down by a debilitating accident before their marriage, and who decided that love was strong enough to continue with their wedding plans anyway.
3. A book written by an author with initials in their name: The Intimate Marriage, by R. C. Sproul. This was honestly not the best marriage book I’ve read, but it did have some helpful sections that shed some light on why I react to certain things the way I do. Nothing like a vague recommendation, I know, but this is a booklist, not a marriage therapy session, so that’s all you’re going to get.
4. A book with 100 pages or less: Wrestling with an Angel, by Greg Lucas. Written by the father of a severely disabled son, this book is short, easy to read, and difficult to fathom. The grace God gives in excruciating circumstances is nothing less than amazing. This story of a father’s love for his son brought me to tears.
5. A memoir: Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber. Given to me and highly recommended by my new best friend, this is the story of one woman going to Oxford and finding Jesus there. It’s a really good book, one that reads like a novel, but one take away in particular was the encouragement I found in the fact that in the midst of the secular, higher education environment, Christ is still alive and working.
6. A book you own but have never read: If God is Good, by Randy Alcorn. This one has been on my shelf for a couple of years, but its size had deterred me even though I knew it would be really good. I debated between placing it in this category or in “A book more than 400 pages” but there aren’t many books on my shelf that I haven’t read, so that’s where it went. If you have ever struggled with reconciling a good God with a world full of suffering and evil, this is the resource you need to find. It’s very large, but the chapters are small, easily manageable and could even be read on their own if one section title seems to be exactly what you are looking for. If you cling to a good God in an evil world without doubting, this is still a great choice because it will only strengthen that faith. Excellent, excellent writer.
7. A book by a speaker at a conference you have attended: Fear and Faith, by Trillia Newbell. I met Trillia and bought her book at a conference last August, but didn’t read it until this January, which was God’s perfect timing because it met me exactly at a point of need, described elsewhere on this blog. If fear tends to plague you and follow you around, nagging at your thoughts on a daily basis like it has always done to me, read this book. It will definitely be on my read-multiple-times list.
8. A book about prayer: Praying the Bible, by Don Whitney. Very short, very easy to read, incredibly helpful. I read it cover to cover on an hour long flight. This book, if you follow its suggestions, will help get your prayer life out of a monotonous rut.
9. A book about marriage: Mingling of Souls, Matt Chandler. This marriage book walks through the Song of Solomon and through the journey of marriage from attraction to well past the honeymoon. If you are looking for a solid biblical book about relationships or marriage, choose this one.
10. A novel longer than 400 pages: Dominion, by Randy Alcorn. I had read this one a few times before, so I blew through it pretty quickly, but it is so good. It is part of a trilogy of suspense novels in which Alcorn manages to tackle social justice issues, theology of Heaven, and a page-turning plot with the skill of a master. This one deals with race issues, gang issues, and even touches on angels and demons a bit. Would be great summer reading that will teach you and edify you while entertaining you at the same time.
11. A book by a woman conference speaker: Connected, by Erin Davis. I love to hear her speak and read her blogs (she runs the blog at Lies Young Women Believe and also blogs for True Woman), and this book left me longing for more true community in my life. So many of us are lonely, but we never slow down long enough to develop the relationships that would meet our needs for companionship. I am slowly looking at my own life and seeing if there are ways I can rearrange and trim down in order to build the meaningful relationships I crave.
So I’ve read 11 books in 4 months (not counting many children’s books I read to my kids or with my kids or just picked up because I still enjoy a good children’s book). Definitely on pace to finish the Avid Reader plan (26 books in a year), but need to pick up the pace a bit to achieve the title of Committed Reader (52 books in a year). Obsessed Reader, with its 104 books in a year, is a dream that I might can achieve when my nest empties out. All my books aren’t in the picture since they didn’t all belong to me. I’ve already begun the stack for part two of this series–beginning with one that could fit in the category of “A mystery or detective novel” or “A book written in the twentieth century” or “A novel set in a country that is not your own” or . . . You see the fun this list can be! I challenge you to print it off and start the journey with me. Let me know if you do!
That’s what I’m reading, but I love to hear what others are reading. What are you reading these days?