2016 Reading Challenge July Update

2016 Reading Challenge July Update

This year I have been participating in Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge. It’s been fun so far. It has pushed me outside my comfort zone to read things I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, yet it’s flexible enough that I have been able to find a way to fit in books I really wanted to read.

I set my goal at 42 books. I’m one month past the halfway mark and I’ve finished 24 so far. I decided not to follow the list straight through, but to pick from all over as things interested me and I was able to find a category for them.

So far, 15 of my 24 books have been non-fiction, all but 2 of them theological works. 9 of the books I’ve read so far are novels, several (the Narnia books) are one’s I’ve read aloud to the girls. I’m happy with that balance, especially considering several of the theology books I’ve read so far are large works.

What follows are the books I completed in July and the reading challenge category they fulfill. I’ve listed them in the order in which I completed them.

#18 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (A classic novel). An excellent classic novel that I recommend strongly, especially for men. Read my review at the link. [link to my review]

#19 The Puritan Family by Edmund S. Morgan (A book written in the twentieth century). [link to Amazon.com]

#20 The Rover Boys At College by Edward Stratemeyer (A mystery or detective novel). A novel from the early 20th century. My copy belonged to my Grandfather. It’s not a great novel, but it’s an easy read and kind of fun. [link to Amazon.com]

#21 The Masculine Mandate by Richard D. Phillips (A book by a Presbyterian). I highly recommend this book to all men. It explores God’s calling on men to “work and keep”, applying these two tasks to marriage, parenting, friendships, and the church. [link to my review]

#22 The Life of Adoniram Judson by Edward Judson (A book by or about a missionary). A biography of my favorite missionary. It long, and not easy to find in print (I read an original, first edition printing from 1883), but worth the effort. Though maybe not the first book I would recommend about this amazing man, who was the first American missionary.

#23 The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (A novel longer than 400 pages). Not a bad novel, but not a great one either. Most of the plot elements are lifted from Lord of the Rings, but the names have been changed, it’s a sword made by the good guys, not a ring made by the bad guys, Other than that, it’s pretty much a rehash of the Lord of the Rings, but it was fun and quick. [link to Amazon.com]

#24 Church History 101 by Sinclaire Ferguson, Joel Beeke, and Michael Haykin (A book about church history). This small book is a very easy and enjoyable read. Each short chapter covers one century of church history beginning with the 1st and ending with the 20th. The book is small, physically and in terms of content, and that’s a good thing. It will easily fit in your pocket or lunch box so you can take with you anywhere. Brance’s rule #7 is “Never go anywhere without a book”, and this book makes that easy. I’ll be giving this book away to those who ask for a primer on church history. [link to Amazon.com]

What follows is the complete list of categories, with completed categories marked and the book for that category in parenthesis.

The Light Reader (13 Books)

  • ☐ A book about Christian living
  • ☒ A biography (The Confessions of Saint Augustine)
  • ☒ A classic novel (Northanger Abbey)
  • ☐ A book someone tells you “changed my life”
  • ☐ A commentary on a book of the Bible
  • ☒ A book about theology (Roman Catholic Theology & Practice: an evangelical assessment)
  • ☒ A book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle (What Is The Gospel?)
  • ☐ A book your pastor recommends
  • ☒ A book more than 100 years old (Truth Made Simple)
  • ☒ A book for children (The Silver Chair)
  • ☒ A mystery or detective novel (The Rover Boys At College)
  • ☒ A book published in 2016 (Evenmere)
  • ☒ A book about a current issue (The Biology of Desire: why addiction is not a disease)

The Avid Reader (26 Books)

  • ☒ A book written by a Puritan (The Travels of True Godliness)
  • ☒ A book recommended by a family member (A Chance To Die – The Amy Carmichael Story)
  • ☒ A book by or about a missionary (The Life of Adoniram Judson)
  • ☐ A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize
  • ☐ A book written by an Anglican
  • ☒ A book with at least 400 pages (Confessing the Impassible God)
  • ☒ A book by C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien (The Horse and His Boy)
  • ☐ A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title
  • ☐ A book with a great cover
  • ☐ A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers
  • ☒ A book about church history (Church History 101)
  • ☐ A graphic novel
  • ☐ A book of poetry

The Committed Reader (52 Books)

  • ☒ A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with (Fresh Power)
  • ☒ A book written by an author with initials in their name (The Magician’s Nephew)
  • ☐ A book that won a ECPA Christian Book Award
  • ☐ A book about worldview
  • ☐ A play by William Shakespeare
  • ☐ A humorous book
  • ☐ A book based on a true story
  • ☐ A book written by Jane Austen
  • ☐ A book by or about Martin Luther
  • ☐ A book with 100 pages or less
  • ☒ A book with a one-word title (Manliness)
  • ☐ A book about money or finance
  • ☐ A novel set in a country that is not your own
  • ☐ A book about music
  • ☐ A memoir
  • ☐ A book about joy or happiness
  • ☐ A book by a female author
  • ☐ A book whose title comes from a Bible verse
  • ☐ A book you have started but never finished
  • ☐ A self-improvement book
  • ☐ A book by David McCullough
  • ☐ A book you own but have never read
  • ☐ A book about abortion
  • ☐ A book targeted at the other gender
  • ☐ A book by a speaker at a conference you have attended
  • ☐ A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you

The Obsessed Reader (104 Books)

  • ☐ A book published by The Banner of Truth
  • ☐ A book about the Reformation
  • ☐ A book written by a first-time author
  • ☐ A biography of a world leader
  • ☐ A book used as a seminary textbook
  • ☐ A book about food
  • ☐ A book about productivity
  • ☐ A book about or relationships or friendship
  • ☐ A book about parenting
  • ☐ A book about philosophy
  • ☐ A book about art
  • ☒ A book with magic (The Tombs of Atuan)
  • ☐ A book about prayer
  • ☒ A book about marriage (This Momentary Marriage)
  • ☐ A book about a hobby
  • ☐ A book of comics
  • ☐ A book about the Second World War
  • ☐ A book about sports
  • ☐ A book by or about a pastor’s wife
  • ☐ A book about suffering
  • ☐ A book by your favorite author
  • ☐ A book you have read before
  • ☐ A book about homosexuality
  • ☐ A Christian novel
  • ☐ A book about psychology
  • ☐ A book about the natural world
  • ☐ A book by or about Charles Dickens
  • ☒ A novel longer than 400 pages (The Sword of Shannara)
  • ☐ A historical book
  • ☐ A book about the Bible
  • ☐ A book about a country or city
  • ☐ A book about astronomy
  • ☐ A book with an ugly cover
  • ☐ A book by or about a martyr
  • ☐ A book by a woman conference speaker
  • ☐ A book by or about the church fathers
  • ☐ A book about language
  • ☐ A book by or about a Russian
  • ☐ A book about leadership
  • ☐ A book about public speaking
  • ☐ A book by Francis Schaeffer
  • ☒ A book by a Presbyterian (The Masculine Mandate)
  • ☐ A book about science
  • ☐ A book about revival
  • ☐ A book about writing
  • ☐ A book about evangelism
  • ☐ A book about ancient history
  • ☐ A book about preaching
  • ☒ A book about the church (The Glory of a True Church)
  • ☐ A book about adoption
  • ☐ A photo essay book
  • ☒ A book written in the twentieth century (The Puritan Family)

Bonus (109 Books)

  • ☐ A book from a library
  • ☐ A book about business
  • ☐ A book by an author less than 30
  • ☐ A book published by a UK-based publisher
  • ☐ A book you borrow
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