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?


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

“The Lightlings” (A Children’s book Review)

The Lightlings by R.C. Sproul and Illustrated by Justin Gerard is a great book for parents to read to their children.  The story is a deep and rich allegory that plays on the theme of being scared of the dark.  The grandfather in this story shares about how some people are scared of the light and begins to tell his grandson about a race of people known as the Lightlings.

The book gets really interesting at this point as the story shifts from the comfort of a grandfather telling a story in a home to the magical world of the Lightlings.  However the world of enchantment is short lived as the Lightlings disobey their king and run to the darkness to cover their shame.  The story of grace and redemption in coming to the light then unfolds.

I really liked this book and where it was headed.  The book has a lot of strengths and can open the door for deeper discussion with your children.  Perhaps the greatest strength to this book is the list of 13 questions to ask your kids and scripture references that come at the end of this book.  This helps ensure that its not only a bed time story, but a teaching moment.

That being said, there are a few things that jumped out at me.  I was puzzled why the Lightling creatures needed to be created as fairy like creatures.  My daughter already gets fairies and angels a little confused. I think its the wings that do it for her.  All allegory breaks down at some point.  And while illustrating the run to the darkness, Sproul leaves much unsaid about how or why the Lightlings disobey the Light King.  In my opinion, as an allegory this is where the story is the weakest. That being said, all allegory breaks down at some point.

Over all it was a great book and I would recommend it for parents with young children.   The Lightlings is an excellent resource. The retail price is $18.00 (Hardcover), and is available at places like for $12.24. I gave it four stars.

Disclaimer: A PDF of this book was provided for review by Reformation Trust Publishing. They will send me a complimentary copy after they see my revies.  There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for me to call it like I see it.