Reading Challenge Update

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15785815_10154783082447180_157255297_oAt the beginning of the year I committed to read 52 books. I know I read a fair amount, but I often have several books going at once, and some books never get finished. But this challenge had helped me stick with just one book through completion (for the most part) and I have enjoyed the feeling of finishing more books that way.

But in mid-February, I took a leap off my plan because some books came to my attention that made me want to stop everything else and just read those. So, in the spirit of avoiding legalism to my own rules, I diverged and went a little nuts.

Here are the books I have read so far this year:

A Lantern in Her Hand

Eight Cousins

Sycamore Row

The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio Kindle | Harcover | Paperback | Audible

Present Over Perfect

Twelve Years a Slave Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audible

Tools of Titans Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

The Four Hour Body (There were a few chapters I skipped- a couple on intimacy and the use of drugs for mind enhancement, none of which were morally appropriate for me). Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audible

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback | Audible

Started but not finished:

As I was discussing the reading with my daughter, Anne Mary, we discussed the merits of the reading challenge. When I worked outside the home, I often listened to the news on the way to work, heard discussions of current events, met new people, read papers, and formed relationships with people outside my family.

As a stay-at-home mom, my world had shrunk. My focus was (and is) appropriately on my immediate family and the tasks at hand. In the last three years, I have done a significant amount of hosting people in our home, so my circles grew a little. But reading books takes you into the mind of someone else on a whole new level. You can read about worldviews, times in history, interesting perspectives, tragedies of humanity. You can build your spiritual strength, and you can learn skills you could not develop on your own.

For example, reading Twelve Years a Slave, gave me a heart filled with compassion for those who have slavery in their family’s history. I was horrified. I was encouraged by the author’s tenacity and wisdom. and I was inspired to continue to do my part to raise my children to be acutely aware of the problems with prejudice and hatred and to avoid them.

Reading Tools of Titans has taken my mind in a whole different direction. In this book, he interviews over 200 of the world’s top performers, asking them questions such as: What is your morning routine? How do you work out? What book do you gift the most often? What advice is often given in your field that you think is wrong? Then he shares the answers. This was simply fascinating for me to read, and weighing in at 700 pages, I think I deserve a book pass- but I committed to 52 books and I am going to do my best to make it.

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus was a fictional book my Beth Moore. This was a first for me. I did not even know she wrote fiction!  I enjoyed it very much and actually listened to it as an audio book while I was cleaning the house and driving from place to place. This became a very welcome use of my significant amount of driving time.

Each of these books has changed the way I think about the world and how I converse in the current culture. I want to be culturally relevant, and culturally sensitive. Each of these books is helping me to better understand people outside of my four walls. And I do want to understand them- I want to love people well. I want to welcome people into my heart and home with an attitude that says, “We may be different, you and I, but you are welcome here.”


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