This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Fitly Spoken Word. Happy New Year! So I’m not one for hopping on bandwagons, but when a friend posted about Tim Challies’ 2017 Reading Challenge, I didn’t even hesitate before I jumped in with both feet.
The challenge is set up to accommodate any type of reader – from “light” to “obsessed” – and to encourage said reader to read through a wide variety of genres, subjects, and eras throughout the course of the year. Start at the beginning of the list, choosing your own books based on various criteria, and read as little as one book a month or as much as two books a week.
I’m super excited about this challenge, and I’ve picked out all my books for the first set! My excitement has even rubbed off on my husband, who is a self-proclaimed “non-reader”. He’s hoping to get through the “Light Reader” section during the course of the year. Here’s what I’m hoping to read in the next six weeks:
Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace is a book I just received for Christmas, so I was pleased I could fit it into the list to start off my year. As the title suggests, it’s about John Newton, author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”, and the love of his life, Polly.
A Classic Novel
I have a whole handful of Thomas Hardy novels on my boookshelf that I acquired as a teenager, and I cannot for the life of me recall which of them I read. I recently re-read (or read for the first time?) Far From the Madding Crowd, and for the challenge, I put Tess of the D’Urbervilles on the list. Pretty sure I’ve never read that one. I think.
A Book About History
For this category, I chose a book that I picked up at a used book sale somewhere that intrigued me. As a bonus, I’m hoping to drag my whole family into Washington, DC, to tour the Capitol building so that I can impress them with all my newfound knowledge gained from reading A Spiritual Heritage Tour of the US Capitol.
A Book for Women
I have a whole stack of such books on my to-read pile, so I picked one called She’s Got Issues. It sounded perfect for me!
A Book About Theology
So this might be cheating, but I chose a book I had already started, called Deconstructing Calvinism. I’m not sure what made me pick up this book, other than it was a deal on Book Bub one day, but I’ve slowly been working through it. This challenge will make me pick up the pace a bit and finish it off.
A Book With at Least 400 Pages
Well, that was an easy one. Kind of leaves the field wide open! I went with another Christmas present, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen. As a huge Jane Austen fan (who isn’t?!), I had thoroughly enjoyed another novel written by the same author, called The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, which very imaginatively pretends to be exactly what the title suggests. I was impressed by the author’s ability to capture Austen’s voice and craft an incredibly realistic narrative that left me wanting to believe it was true. I’m hoping I’m not disappointed by this second book.
A Book Recommended by Your Pastor
Our pastor recommends a lot of books, and thankfully, I already had a few in my library. The one I went with was Autopsy of a Deceased Church. My husband has already read it, and we discussed it at length, so I’m thinking it will be an easy read. Another one to cross off my list!
A Book About Christian Living
This was another category with lots of potential options on my to-read shelf. I went with a really short one called Stay Encouraged. Hey, I’ve gotta be able to squeeze all these books in somehow!
A Book More Than 100 Years Old
I wasn’t really quite sure if this meant a physical book that was literally more than 100 years old, or just a book first published more than 100 years ago, so I went with the latter. I kind of figured that 100+ year old books can get pretty pricey, making them unreachable for lots of people, so I assumed it probably wouldn’t have been on the list. Besides, a book that old is pretty easy to ruin, and who wants to be responsible for a ruined book! So I’m going with an electronic version of a book from my Goodreads To-Read Shelf, Evelina by Frances Burney. By all accounts, it’s a silly overly dramatic novel, but it’s often brought up in literary discussions regarding romance novels, Regency novels, and Gothic novels, so I think I should read it. Then I can feel very literary.
A Book Published in 2017
So 2017 has barely started and no books published yet, so this might get tricky. However, I’m leaning towards Tamera Alexander’s newest book, A Note Yet Unsung. Having read the previous books in the series, I know it’s going to be more or less fluff, but a girl’s gotta have a break in the middle of all this heavy reading!
A Book for Children or Teens
With a category this broad, I could read a board book and call it a day (Good Night, Moon, anyone?), but I already knew what I wanted to choose: 100 Cupboards by N D Wilson. I met the author at a conference last year, and was impressed by his imagination and purpose. I’ve already read one of his more recent books, and my son read this one, so I know I will enjoy it.
A Book Of Your Choice
Another more-or-less fluff choice, but I had been working through this series throughout November and December 2016, and this book is the last one of the series. It’s by Patricia Veryan, who wrote excellent novels in the Georgian/Regency genre, but with her own very special adventure/mystery spin. Her books are always funny and mostly clean, and I’ve read almost all of them. This one is actually not one of my favorites, but like I said, it’s the last in a series, and I have to finish the series! It’s called Lanterns.
A Book About Current Issues
I picked the only book already on my shelf that even remotely applies: Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. It covers most of the current issues in politics today, so I think it qualifies.
If you want to join in on the reading fun, click here to check out Tim Challies’ reading challenge. Tell me in the comments what books you’re wanting to read in 2017 – I’m always looking for new recommendations!
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