Some of you have asked for my 2013 reading plan and so here are a few quick thoughts, as well as the booklist. 1. I don't have time to read 100 books in 2013. I didn't have time in 2012, and I don't foresee ever having the time to commit to such a project. If you know me at all, you know the possibility of failure is rarely a reason to not try something. Mumbo-jumbo about not setting yourself up for failure has never appealed to me much and so there is a very real possibility that I will hit March or September and get plumb tuckered out. I hope that doesn't happen, but I won't feel too badly if it does. The point is, I'm going to try.
2. On the suggestion of Mathew Sims, who reads voraciously—and blogs about what he reads, I scheduled the books out for the entire year. I will be reading, on average, eight books a month, with three books being spread out through the whole year (The Love of God by DA Carson, The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, and Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem). The goal of this project is not to cover my bases on what's hot or not in various genres, the goal is to read and reread books that have piqued my interest. I have one or two books from each of these sections per month: fiction/novel, theology, non-fiction/essay, memoir/biography, children's lit/young adult. No book is too short, some books are too long. Some are rereads, some I've never heard of before.
3. I top-loaded the second and last quarter, and made the first and third quarters a bit lighter. Because of my commitments elsewhere (work, Church, home. etc.), I knew that I would need to have lighter reading happening especially in the first quarter of this year. The quantity is still around eight a month, but the quality is a bit lighter.
4. I tried as much as possible to group like books in the same month. For example, one month I'll be reading Crooked Little Heart by Anne Lamott, Living in Fiction by Annie Dillard, Evangelical Feminism by Wayne Grudem, Practical Theology for Women by Wendy Aslup, Bossypants by Tina Fey (this was my roommate's suggestion when I told her I wanted to read a few pop-culture books...), West With the Night by Beryl Markham, and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. This will be a month that I'll be focusing on the role of women in the church, the world, the culture, and in literature.
5. I made a spreadsheet of all the books, color coded them by books I already owned, planned to buy, would need to borrow from a friend or the library, or were work related. This way I could begin to budget my finances and my time in order to have the books on hand at the beginning of each month.
6. I read best when I read straight through a book. I'm a fast reader so this works for me. However, there are some books here that I want to read more slowly and so I'll have two piles each month: one pile will be the books I read over the course of the month and one pile will be the books I'll read in one or two sittings. Think of this like snowballing your debt, get the little ones done first so you can give the bigger ones their due time.
7. When I was in high-school reading 100 books a year was the norm. I've always been a voracious reader, but it's only been in recent years that my book reading has lessened and my online article reading has increased. Part of the reason I'm doing this is because 2012 was a beating in the online blogosphere. Controversy abounded and I was wiped out. I began to see places in my mind that weren't bearing much fruit because of what occurred online and the speed at which opinions were bandied. So this is my small attempt to step back, do what I love (read in quiet), and reap a different reward.
Pray for me if you think about it. I'll be writing a blog at the end of each month with a short blurb about each book completed that month so you can follow along with me!