2016 Reading Challenge August Update

2016 Reading Challenge August Update

The Valley of VisionThis year I have been participating in Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge. Particular books are not specified, but rather, categories. I’m enjoying the challenge. 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 now 8 months into it and I’ve finished 29 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, 18 of my 29 books have been non-fiction, all but 2 of them theological works. 10 of the books I’ve read so far are novels (11 if you count the Shakespeare play), several (the Narnia and Andrew Peterson books) are one’s I’ve read aloud to the girls.

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

#25 On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness [Amazon.com affiliate link] by Andrew Peterson (A novel set in a country that is not your own). I’m pushing the category with this one. But technically it fits. This book is one I read aloud to my kids. They loved it. I enjoyed it too. In the same vein as Narnia or Lord of the Rings, but written with a younger audience in mind, this book is entertaining and funny, full of adventure and great creatures.

#26 Macbeth [Amazon.com affiliate link] by William Shakespeare (A play by William Shakespeare) One of the Bard’s tragedies. There is intrigue, murder, and war, but there is also a lot of insight into the fallen nature of man, and the inner workings of conscience. A good read that has me looking for another Shakespeare work before the year is out.

#27 Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to S. Mark Vindicated Against Recent Critical Objectors and Established [Amazon.com affiliate link to the paperback edition, the kindle edition is free or you can download an iBooks version for free here] (That’s quite a title!) by John William Burgon (A book written by an Anglican). This book was recommended to me as I had an interest in the subject of the authenticity of this passage. It gets a bit technical in places and a working knowledge of Biblical Greek will serve you well, but even without knowing any Greek, there is still some good information here that will be useful even to the layman who is interested in the different textual traditions that result in differences between translations.

#28 The Four Loves [Amazon.com affiliate link] by C.S. Lewis (A play by William Shakespeare). This one by Lewis is good but not great, which is how I would characterize most of his non-fiction writing. He does have some good insights into sinful man’s motivations behind our acts of “love”. The chapter on friendship is probably the best, though it is still weighed down by some of Lewis’ less than biblical assumptions about the origins of man. I also found his discussion of eros interesting, in that he distinguishes eros (an act of the soul) from venus (an act of the body), which I found to be a helpful and needed distinction.

#29 The Valley of Vision [Amazon.com affiliate link] by Arthur Bennett (A book published by The Banner of Truth). This book has, without a doubt, done more for my prayer life than any book I’ve ever read, other than the Bible itself. It is a collection of prayers drawn from the writings of the Puritans and edited together into a deeply theological, enjoyably poetic format. Using these prayers as part of your daily spiritual disciplines is like learning to pray by example, from the Puritans themselves.

The following 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 (Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel According to S. Mark…)
  • ☒ 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 (The Four Loves)
  • ☐ 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 (Macbeth)
  • ☐ 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 (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness)
  • ☐ 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 (The Valley of Vision)
  • ☐ 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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