100 Books in a year (round 3) 

I love to read. I’m pretty busy and focused on ministry and other projects but I am able to knock out about 2 non-fiction books a week. Usually I’m reading at various points in a half dozen different books but end up finishing a few books each week. 


I have done this and recorded the journey a couple of times here on the blog and so I thought it would be fun to do again. I’ll create a page near the end of September to mark a definitive starting and ending point. I’ll post the titles of the books I’ve read and thier page count as well as a simple star system (1-5). To let you know what I thought of the book. If I post a review on here I’ll share the link. 

Many of the books I read are “foils” in that I purposefully read books from an opposing view point. If I post on one of these books I will simply put the word “foil” in parenthesis beside it so you will know that I don’t fully believe or endorse that book. Regardless of if I agree with the author, I will still rate the book on the star system according to the quality of writing and the quality of arguments… So a “foil” book might get a 5 star rating if the author took on the actual arguments on an issue instead of raising and creating “straw men” arguments or diverting our attention from the real issue.

At this time my interests are pretty heavy in theology, philosophy, American history, business, economics, leadership, parenting, and obviously Christianity. I do read a little fiction but I do prefer non-fiction.

What books would you recommend for the list? 

101 Books in a Year

A couple of years ago I set out on an ambitious adventure to read 100 books in one year. I exceeded my page goal but came up about 18 books shy by the dead-line. At the time I was finishing up my master’s degree. This year I am unencumbered by school work (I’m not writing papers) and I wanted to challenge myself to again read 100 books in a year.

101 Books? You may be thinking, “Hey the title says 101 books?” I know. In addition to reading 100 regular books I want to continue my tradition of reading the Bible all the way through at least once this year. (The Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, but for my purposes here I’ll count it as one). At the bottom of my book list I’ll keep a tab of the 66 books of the Bible and how many times I’ve read each book since the start date (some shorter books I’ll have read dozens of times before the end of the year… For example I read the book of James about 46 times this summer). This is the first time I’ve measured my scripture reading against my other reading.

What kind of books? I’ll be reading all sorts of books according to my interests. I’ve decided this year to limit my fiction intake and make an intentional shift to read more science, nature, history, business, and economics books in addition to a heavy lean towards theology.

Why November? Obviously starting in November may seem a bit out of the norm, but in analyzing my reading patterns I came to realize that I read more when the daylight hours are shorter. I hope to pass the 50 book mark in March and provide myself with a comfortable lead going into summer.

Why Blog about it? I wanted to blog about it for two reasons. One, for accountability. I want others to know my goals and feel some pressure to meet them. The second reason is to provide a forum for interaction. I’m hoping you’ll provide me with solid leads on good books, encouragement and a challenge (I know some of you read incredibly more than 100 books a year).

What have you read so far? I’ll be keeping a list of books I’m reading, have read, and the scripture I’ve read on the page marked 101 books (current). I’ll be updating it weekly. Feel free to provide your comments and recommendations. I’m looking forward to the journey.

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook (A Review)

The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley is one of the first books I have had the pleasure of reading as an e-book!  That aside, here is the review:

The format of the book is somewhat intriguing.  Kinley weaves an engaging story around zombies for about half of the book. The other half he unravels the zombie allegory. What the reader is left with is a chapter by chapter alternation between zombie allegory and the frame work for a kind of Biblical worldview.

Overall I really appreciated the book. The story is engaging and Kinley does have a gift for writing.  However, I think this is one good idea that didn’t really reach its fully intended purpose. The non-fiction chapters were too lengthy and engaging to be placed between the fiction chapters. They would have served better as an optional discussion and reading guide at the end of the book. There were also some places where I thought that perhaps Kinley was trying to press the metaphor too hard (all metaphors break down somewhere and a good author will make the break at the right place).

One new master of metaphor that I have come to appreciate in this genre is Matt Mikilatos. You can catch his unique monster story in his new book, Night of the Living Dead Christian.  You can read my brief review here.

I enjoyed reading this book. I give it three stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The 100 Book Reading Challenge and How it Has Changed Me

For those of you following along, you know that I took up the challenge to read 100 books this past year.  I made my page number goal and then some but missed my book goal by 18.  Never-the-less I’m confident that I have read more in the past year than I have in any single year prior.

It’s difficult to asses all the changes that attempting such a goal has had on me.  Yet as I reflect on the past year and dream about the future I cannot help but notice that I have changed as a result of becoming a more disciplined reader. I am different than I was a year ago and here is how:

1. I don’t waste as much time (though I still have the ability).  I thought I was busy before and didn’t have enough time to read more, but I found out that by eliminating or reducing a few small pleasures (like late night TV, facebook stalking,  spending time with my wife and children… Ok! I was kidding on that last one.) that I have more time than I thought I did and can spend it in more productive ways like reading.

2. I’m a faster reader now. I didn’t set out to increase the rate at which I read or even comprehend what I read, but as a result of reading more often it just happened. I read faster now and comprehend better than I ever have (but I’m still not a speed reader by any stretch of the imagination).

3. I’m a more discerning reader.  I’ve learned that the quality of the books you read is more important than the quantity of books you read. My goal next year is not to read more books, but to read better books.

4. My Daughter is a better reader. She’s five and she’s advanced from just knowing the sounds that letters make to reading on a first grade level in the past year. (Technically if you count all the books I’ve read to her I’m well over double my 100 book goal.)

5. I’m actively and intentionally encouraging others to read. This past year I volunteered to mentor a couple of kids at our local junior high and have been impressed to see them start reading at and above their grade level. I’m also involved at my daughters elementary school helping her peers learn their sight words.

I’m sure I’ve changed in other ways as well. These are just the 5 that jumped out at me.  I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks about my goals for next year! And I’ve got some big ones.  How about you? What are you thinking about challenging yourself to next year?

 

A Review of “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn

The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn is a quick and easy read that addresses the issue of giving from a Biblical perspective.  I really appreciate Mr. Alcorn’s candor and straightforward style.  His transparency is ultimately what makes the book so good.  He is asking the reader to join him on an adventure that he has already undertaken.

Throughout the book Mr. Alcorn manages to artfully prod at the heart of the reader on how to give from a biblical perspective.  The material is both factual and persuasive, theological and practical, sensitive and pointed. Overall it is a fantastic non-fiction book with just the right amount of motivation and practicality.  The fact that it is about giving with a biblical mindset makes it even more stunning.  I was both convicted and challenged to follow God more surely with our finances through this book and I highly recommend this book to you.

The Treasure Principle is only around 120 pages, small, and hardcover making it an excellent gift book even for those who don’t read much.  This is one of those books that I wish someone had handed me at 18. The retail price of The Treasure Principle is $9.99 (Hardcover), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com. I gave it five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

“The Secret of Indigo Moon” By G. P. Taylor (A Review)

The Secret of Indigo Moon (The Dopple Ganger Chronicles) by G. P. Taylor is a fascinating book filled with mystery and intrigue.  The book is designed for children and young adults who don’t read often.  The narrative switches between a regular novel format with plain words on a page and graphic novel format where pages are filled with art depicting the scenes as they unfold.  Over all I was very impressed with the format.  The art work is also top-notch and fascinating in its own right.

I really enjoyed the content of the book.  G. P. Taylor is a master storyteller when it comes to engaging a middle school audience.  The Secret of Indigo Moon is a suspenseful tale of mystery and intrigue  filled with secret passageways, cover-ups, and disguises.  I found myself reading the whole book in one sitting.

I really like The Secret of Indigo Moon and I highly recommend it for middle school students and adults who enjoy such literature.  I especially like the blending of graphic art and novel formats.  I think it will engage a younger audience.  The retail price of The Secret of Indigo Moon is $19.99 (Hardcover), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $13.59. I gave it five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I have too many books, so I’m giving some Away

I have too many books!  So I’ve come up with a creative way to give away some of my books, reward those of you who stop by here from time to time (or just today), and get some of my blog posts out there. So here is the deal:

1. Pick a favorite blog article from this blog (I’ve listed a few of mine below, but you can pick yours)

2. Share a link to that article via Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, etc.

3. Let my know which post you shared and how by commenting on that post or this one. (example of a comment: I shared your “review of Generous Justice” on my Facebook Page.)

On Friday, February 25th, 2011 I’ll randomly select the winners. Right now I have at least 3 books to give away but I am scouring my shelves for more.  I’ll be giving books away according to how I rated them.  So if your name is drawn first you will get  a 4 or 5 star book in my opinion.  If your name is drawn last you might end up with a 2-3 star book (I won’t burden anyone with a 1 star book).  Obviously if more than 3 people enter,  not everyone will get a book.  If less than 3 enter you may get more than one book. There is no limit to how many times you can enter.  Just share a different blog post with each entry and place a separate comment on this blog so your entry gets counted properly.  If you have questions leave a comment and I’ll answer.  If you win, I’ll mail the books to you providing that you live in the continental United States or Canada.  (unless of course you live here in town, then we can make arrangements for me to drop them off).

Here are a few of my favorites from over the past year or two:

What is your Favorite Children’s Book? (Give Away)

It seems like these last few days I have been covered up with kid stuff so I thought one more day couldn’t hurt.  But rather than me telling you about kids resources, why don’t you tell me.  I want to know your favorite Children’s book! It can be a book that someone read to you when you were a kid, a book that you read to your kids, a book your kids read or whatever.  In the comments section give me the title of the book and what makes it special to you.

I happen to have an extra copy of the book pictured above (This Little Prayer of Mine) and will draw a winner from those of you who post. (I’ll Draw on Good Friday, April 2nd).  If you win I’ll contact you via e-mail and let you know.  In the mean time here are some posts on kids stuff that I’ve done over the last few months.

Sammy and His Shepherd (This is my favorite kids book to date)

The Lightlings

The Prince’s Poison Cup

What’s In the Bible? with Buck Denver

The Children’s Storybook Bible

Tell Me About Your Blog

One of the reasons I started blogging was to interact with a wider audience.  I enjoy getting to know people.  At the same time I have some ideas that I hope are an encouragement and blessing to others.  That is the nature of blogging.

Today I have decided to expand my blog a little and include some links to other blogs.  Many of you who read and check by here have blogs of your own.  I would love to know about them, check them out, and possibly add them to a blog list on my site.

So Leave a Comment about your Blog

All I need from you is your URL and a little information about your blog.  Is it a blog about books? Nascar? a Family blog? etc.  Later in the week and as I have time to check out blogs I will create a page with the list of blogs. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing your blogs.

Book Give Away on Wednesdays

So here is the deal.  I like to read and I have free books coming in from a few sources now.  However, I rarely read a book twice and I am a little limited on book space.  So I have decided to start giving away some fairly new books on my blog.  I get a few questions here and there about it so I thought I would put up a short post describing how I hope to do this.

How does it work?

Intermittently on Wednesdays I will put up a post with a book that I am want to give away.  Sometimes I will just ask you to leave a comment (Like: why do you want this book?) and place everyone’s name in a hat and draw out a name.  Sometimes I will ask for creative comments and pass on a book to the one with the most creative comment.  And I’m leaving the door open to change the process in the future.

How often will you give away a book?

Hopefully at least every other week and maybe every week.  It depends on how high my give away stack is at the time.  Check back in each Wednesday morning to see.  I generally write my posts well in advance before they are published and will have Book Give Away posts scheduled for early Wednesday morning.

Who can enter?

Anyone. That is anyone with a shipping address in the continental United States.  I don’t mind paying a small amount of money to ship a book.  If you win and I don’t have your address, I will contact you via the e-mail you supplied when you left your comment and you can provide me with an address then.  Otherwise I don’t need to know your address.

How do I know Who won?

I will post in the comments section on the following Monday announcing who won.  If you won I will also contact you via e-mail and make arrangements to get you the book.

Here is what I ask of you if you want to enter:

  1. That you be polite when you comment.
  2. That you read the book (or pass it on to someone who will) if you win.