Each year I keep a list of the books I read. It’s fun to look back and see what I read and how it corresponded with my personal and emotional journey. It’s also a nice record-keeping tool.
At the beginning of every year, I create a basic list of things I intend to read. I do this knowing that I will inevitably add many more titles along the way. Sometimes I’m in a store or a library and a book just calls to me. I cannot ignore it. So, it gets added to the pile for the year. My basic list this year was more of a goal than a collection of specific titles. I wanted to be intentional about reading works written by people of different faiths, cultures, and backgrounds than my own. I wanted this for both fiction and non-fiction choices. It is a practice I will continue.
I am a firm believer that fiction can teach you things you’ll never glean from non-fiction, so I’ll never shy away from including both categories. The power of story can plumb the depths of your emotions and insights, so don’t discount fiction!
Pure – Linda Kay Klein
White Mughals – William Dalrymple
The Color of Compromise – Jemar Tisby
A Year of Biblical Womanhood – Rachel Held Evans
A Forever Family – Rob Scheer
Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance
Pastrix – Nadia Bolz Weber
Faith Unraveled – Rachel Held Evans
The God Who Sees – Karen Gonzalez
All the Places to Go – John Ortberg
The Very Good Gospel – Lisa Sharon Harper
The Ultimate Exodus – Danielle Strickland
Everything Happens for a Reason – Kate Bowler
Rise of the Mystics – Ted Dekker
Dear Martin – Nic Stone
Sundowners – Lesley Lokko
Little White Lies – Lesley Lokko
Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple
The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton
The Tree Bride – Bharati Mukherjee
Paris by the Book – Liam Callanan
A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness
A Private Affair – Lesley Lokko
Big Stone Gap – Adriana Trigiani
This is how it Always is – Laurie Frankel
The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf – Mohja Kahf
The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness
Time After Time – Lisa Grunwald
Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
Drowning Ruth – Christina Schwarz
The Identicals – Elin Hilderbrand
The President is Missing – Bill Clinton/James Patterson
For the last few years I’ve tracked the books I read and the movies I watched. In the beginning of 2018 I posted my reading list of 20 books on this site. I ended up reading 10 of those books…plus 25 more. I’m not great at sticking to what I intend to read because if something catches my interest I’ll drop everything I planned and read it. In the last quarter of the year I got on a biography/autobiography kick, which you will notice in the lists. I’ll put an asterisk next to the books I highly recommend, but I enjoyed 99% of what I read in 2018. I averaged 3 books a month, which was great considering the busy-ness of my year. What did you read last year?
Fiction: Harry Potter (7 books) – J.K Rowling A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle The Visitors – Sally Beauman The Hellfire Club – Jake Tapper An American Marriage – Tayari Jones The Commonwealth – Ann Patchett The Masterpiece – Francine Rivers The 49th Mystic – Ted Dekker
Non-Fiction: Braving the Wilderness* – Brene Brown Laugh it Up – Candace Payne Love Does* – Bob Goff Waco: A Survivor’s Story – David Thibodeau I’ll be Gone in the Dark – Michelle McNamara The Very Worst Missionary* – Jamie Wright Everybody Always – Bob Goff I’m Still Here* – Austin Channing Brown Inspired* – Rachel Held Evans Work Rules -Lazlo Bock What She Ate – Laura Shapiro Nevertheless – Alec Baldwin Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick The Andy Cohen Diaries – Andy Cohen The Rainbow Comes and Goes – Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper This Life I Live – Rory Feek Sully – Chesley Sullenberger A Life in Parts – Bryan Cranston In Such Good Company – Carol Burnett Stories I Only Tell my Friends – Rob Lowe What Happened – Hillary Clinton
Last weekend I found the equivalent of buried treasure for a bibliophile like myself. I read an article about The Book Thing in Baltimore, but I was sure there had to be a catch. A used bookstore where every book is free? My mother was also intrigued, so we made the one hour trek to the city on Saturday.
Believe the hype. And bring lots of bags or boxes.
The Book Thing is tucked away on a tiny street. When we arrived at 11am, the place was bustling with people combing over bookshelves. Most of them had boxes or bags to hold their finds, and a few had wheeled carts. Everything is categorized (the rooms are color-coded to help your search), but they’re not in order within their category…so finding a specific book might be a challenge.
Within five minutes of entering the building, I knew this would be a multiple-trip destination. I couldn’t even begin to plumb the depths of their offerings in a single morning. When it comes to books, I enjoy combing the shelves and letting titles or covers “jump out” at me. Even though the place was crowded, most everyone seemed to have the same mindset. No one rushed me during my perusing.
I spent two hours at The Book Thing, and I left with 24 books. I found some great fiction selections as well as a National Geographic from the month and year of my birth. I also picked up some travel books. They may be outdated but they’re a good starting point for my research. The volunteers (who were constantly restocking the shelves) were extremely helpful and gave us pointers on where to look for certain books. Once you’re ready to leave, there’s a sign-out sheet to let the staff know how many books you took home.
If you’re anywhere within a reasonable drive of Baltimore and you love books, I highly recommend The Book Thing. It was a great experience!
One of my favorite things about the new year is starting a fresh list for tracking the books I read. Yes, every year I keep a list of the books I read and the movies I see in theaters. In the past I’ve completed reading “challenges” with varying levels of success. I’ve always enjoyed the experience because the challenges encouraged me to read books that are different from my usual genres or subjects.
This year, I compiled my preliminary list based off my conversations and experiences in 2017. I call the list preliminary because I always end up reading books throughout the year that aren’t on my initial list. I’ll explain my reasoning behind the book choices after the list. So, here we go:
Fiction – A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
– The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
– Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
– Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
– The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
– Braving The Wilderness by Brené Brown
– Work Rules by Lazlo Bock
– Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
My fiction choices are all re-reads for me. I knew I wanted to re-read A Wrinkle In Time before the movie premiere. Then, last year with the Harry Potter anniversary dates that trended on social media and the fact that I watched the movies for the first time, I decided it was time to re-visit Hogwarts. Once I saw a theme of re-reading emerging, I decided to add other childhood favorites to the mix. Charlotte’s Web and Jacob Have I Loved are two of my all-time favorite books…my original copies are well-worn. On my 21st birthday, my mother gifted me an annotated copy of Charlotte’s Web, which is the version I’ll read this year. It’s also been quite awhile since I’ve visited Narnia, so those books are on the list as well.
For non-fiction, I took a practical approach. I pre-ordered Braving The Wilderness, and I didn’t get around to reading it in 2017, so it was #1 on my list. I purchased the other two books after hearing their authors speak at the Global Leadership Summit, and I want to read them before inevitably purchasing new books at the 2018 Summit.
What are you reading this year? Do you make a list or do you just pick books as you go?