I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions (as usual), which means I haven’t broken any either (which is pretty fantastic). Just before Christmas, I did learn on Facebook, via a friend from Texas, about the Reading Challenge 2016 from POPSUGAR. It got me interested. Then I read of a similar reading challenge on Tim Challies’ blog, which reeled me in completely.
If you haven’t heard of the Reading Challenge, the gist of it is you read as many books as you can, generally involving a smattering of different genres in the list. Challies uses four levels: The Light Reader, The Avid Reader, The Committed Reader, and The Obsessed Reader. Obviously, the amount of books goes up with each level. I decided to aim low and go with the first level at 13 books in a year because I’m pretty sure I can hit that bar and jump over it. Being realistic, I’m not holding out much hope of reading the 104 books at the Obsessed Reader level, which is two books a week. We’ll see how things go.
In our house, there are many books. My wife and I both have a love for books. But since we also have many children (five of them, which is relatively a lot in the twenty-first century in these United States when you’re not Mormon) and we love them also, jumping veraciously into a book just isn’t as easy as it used to be. Child rearing generally means shoving book-reading time into the luxury category—filed next to date nights and riding a tamed Tyrannosaurus Rex. Naturally, taking part in some kind of structured reading plan (especially when it includes the word “challenge”) appeals to us.
Currently, I’m reading Winterdance by Gary Paulsen, having finished a George Grant book about Theodore Roosevelt entitled Carry a Big Stick. The latter book, a little over 200 pages, was a quick read, making me want to read a bit more on T.R. Grant focused on Teddy’s faith, qualities (including his impulsiveness), and character traits which made him the leader that he was. Winterdance is an entertaining and even poetic biographical tale about Paulsen’s training for and running in the Iditarod, an 1180 mile sled dog race in Alaska in the 1980s. The film Snow Dogs with Cuba Gooding, Jr. was loosely based on Paulsen’s experiences. I’m enjoying it so far. Paulsen’s dramatic flair for conveying the comedic and absurd makes great reading.
On the horizon, I’m planning on reading F.F. Bruce’s The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, which was recommended by another friend of mine. My wife is reading Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live? and it’s very enjoyable to see her enjoying it as I enjoyed reading it a while back. I especially like the give and take we engage in as we both are reading our respective books. On that note, I am looking forward to reading more and learning more this year with a bit of structure.