So, um … those 52 books?

New Years’ always finds people a bit brazen and drunkenly ambitious, doesn’t it? I fall asleep hours before toast time, but cement my goals for the new year days — sometimes weeks — before. In a cloud of bravado and resurrected determination, I’ll pin a list, unrealistically grand, to my desk, my calendar, my blog and anywhere else I think might cultivate accountability. It’s a good thing, too, because without all that advertisement, I’d easily forget. And often still do.

2014 began in just such a way. Do you remember? It’s all a bit fuzzy to me now. Fortunately, I have friends who remind me of my idealized proclamations. And they check in on me. So, um … do you remember those 52 books?

52 books challenge

The 52 Book Challenge

Toward the end of December I decided that I would read 52 books in 2014 and I would report all about them on facebook and Goodreads and here on the blog. (Click here to read the original post.) I did post about a few, but didn’t make it past March with any measurable regularity.

My friends tell me it’s time for an update.

Below is the revised list. Those crossed out are titles I’ve read. Those in orange are titles I am currently reading. Everything over 20 has been added since the original post. If you want reviews or ratings, check out my Goodreads page. Admittedly, I’m still learning the ins and outs of that site, but it is where I’ve posted most of my bookish thoughts this year.

  1. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Memoir)
  2. The Jesus-Hearted Woman: 10 Leadership Qualities for Enduring and Endearing Influence by Jodi Detrick (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Leadership)
  3. Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas (BIOGRAPHY)
  4. Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom by Tricia Goyer (WORK and FAMILY LIFE BALANCE)
  5. Jesus in the Present Tense by Warren Wiersbe (BIBLE STUDY)
  6. One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World by Tullian Tchividjian (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Theology)
  7. Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh (PARENTING)
  8. Six Ways to Keep the Good in Your Boy by Dannah Gresh (PARENTING)
  9. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Prayer)
  10. Small Things with Great Love: Adventures in Loving Your Neighbor by Margot Starbuck (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Social Justice)
  11. Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis (MEMOIR)
  12. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff (CHRISTIAN LIVING)
  13. The Exodus Road: One Wife’s Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue by Laura Parker (MEMOIR; Social Justice)
  14. Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances by Kimberly L. Smith (MEMOIR; Social Justice)
  15. Secrets to E-Book Publishing Success by Mark Coker (PUBLISHING)
  16. The Book of Common Sense Writing, Editing, and Small Press Publishing by Chila Woychik (PUBLISHING)
  17. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt (PUBLISHING)
  18. Christianish by Mark Steele (CHRISTIAN LIVING)
  19. Running Scared by Edward T. Welch (CHRISTIAN LIVING)
  20. Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan  (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Leadership)
  21. The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler (PARENTING)
  22. 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters by Dannah Gresh (PARENTING)
  23. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick (Fiction)
  24. In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar (Fiction; Historical-Biblical)
  25. Grounded by Neta Jackson (Fiction; Chick-Lit)
  26. Because of Winn-Dixie (Fiction; Youth)
  27. Amy Inspired (Fiction; Christian Women)
  28. Unrivaled (Fiction; Historical)
  29. Divergent by Veronica Roth (Fiction; YA Dystopian)
  30. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Fiction; YA Dystopian)
  31. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Fiction; YA Dystopian)
  32. Southern Fried Sushi (Fiction; Chick-Lit)
  33. Daughter of the Ganges by Asha Miro (MEMOIR)
  34. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Women)
  35. Mirror Ball: Living Boldly and Shining Brightly for the Glory of God by Matt Redman (CHRISTIAN LIVING)
  36. Ever After: Life Lessons Learned in My Castle of Chaos by Vicki Courtney (CHRISTIAN LIVING; Marriage and Family)
  37. Love Idol: Getting Rid of Your Need for Approval  by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Admitting defeat?

Part of me wants to feel guilty that I’ve not stuck to my list. Good grief, I’ve not even listed 52 books, much less read half that many! If I still plan to meet my goal, I have only 16 weeks to read 37 books. Before you calculate the probability of that, do note that those 16 weeks also include major holidays, school functions, out-of-state trips and regular life. Beyond quantity, I’ve clearly not prioritized what I said I wanted to read. Almost everything I have read wasn’t on the original list.

A much larger part of me, however, recognizes that reading to capacity isn’t the point at all. Reading means nothing if it doesn’t impact you. If it doesn’t make you think, even in the slightest, about life and truth and love and justice, then … what’s the point? If it doesn’t challenge you to better understand the world and strive to make it a better place, why bother?

This is why reading is so vital! This is why I’m completely dumbfounded when friends tell me they don’t read. Not reading, to me, is akin to completely detaching oneself from society and growth. I just don’t get it. 

“I read like the ink from the book is oxygen and I’m gasping for breath.”

I am a slow reader, but I am always, always reading. I’ll not assess the value and glory of that merely by the number of titles finished.

For more thoughts like this, check out this article: Is it Possible to Read Too Much?

For a list of ten books that have greatly impacted me personally, click here for the facebook meme. (You have no idea how difficult it was for me to list just ten.)

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