At the end of 2018 I set a few reading goals (they can be read in all the glory - or not so glorified - below). I am, today, writing an update. How did I do with my reading goals? Where did I fall behind and where I might have exceeded my expectations?
Some goals are hardened and fast. There are other goals that are similar to the phrase 'there are rules and then there are rules that are more suggestions'. I was serious about some of my reading goals and some that, while I would have liked to meet the goal, I'm okay that I haven't.
Back in November, while reading Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill, I began formulating what would be the first of my reading goals for 2019. I had intended to read Philbrick's In the Hurricane's Eye but it was new and our library system does not allow holds on new books. So I visited the shelves for an alternative by Philbrick and chose Bunker Hill which is a piece of history I knew bits and pieces of, only. This led me to my first proposed reading goal for 2019.
no. 1: Read 12 historical non-fiction books in 2019. Non-fiction is by far my favorite genre. When I say non-fiction is my favorite genre I am actually referring to my preference for Christian non-fiction. Since I am indubitably aware my knowledge of history is sorely limited - and I enjoy non-fiction, two characteristics that will blend together admirably. Because I have enjoyed the historical re-telling of actual events in the past such as Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, and Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer that the idea of reading a piece of history each month in this way is definitely worth my time and, shall I say, effort.
I set a goal of read 12 (or 1 book a month) historical non-fiction books. Because, generally, historical non-fiction are bulky, thought-provoking, and time-consuming reads for me, I know that even reading only one book a month in this genre is a lofty goal. Challenging enough, and yet feasible. This goal aligns well with another goal this year: to learn something new every week; another newly created, thought-provoking, brain-teasing challenge that will invariably support, yet another new year focus, my One Little Word.
A few making onto my to-be-read (TBR) list for 2019 are definitely, Philbrick's In the Hurricane's Eye, and any others by O'Reilly, in particular, Killing Jesus or Killing Reagan. We recently watched Band of Brothers on DVD and I added Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers to my cart as a Christmas gift for Jeff but also, unapologetically, because I wanted to read the story of Easy Company of World War II. And I still have Hidden Figures on my bookshelf.
So, here's where I stand: this absolutely, completely did not happen. I just never got around to reading historical non-fiction books. In fact, I read way fewer non-fiction of any sort this year than I normally have read in past years.
no. 2: Read 3 books a-loud to my husband. What began, in September, out of necessity, reading a-loud to Jeff - for the connection, for the time together, so that we could grow in Christ together, I am hoping we continue this effort in 2019. In September I read a-loud The End of Me by Kyle Idleman, a re-shaping of me to be more like Christ. It was an easy and humorous, yet thought-provoking first read. Then in October through December we read a-loud The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer, a re-newing of the mind to be more like Christ's. We don't read everyday. Sometimes only one chapter at a time. Some weeks we read a little bit every morning before work. Some days we've discussed the heck out of what we've read and other days we've pondered and meditated the text on our own.
I realized, being that Jeff is part auditory learner, and we need this for the health of our relationship and for our relationship's with Christ, continuing to read a-loud in 2019 is a must TBR. It is here I had to foremost set a realistic goal: reading 3 books a-loud to Jeff seems realistic - one book every 3-4 months. Our marriage counselor suggested some marriage-type books and I have in mind at least one of the three books being marriage related, but I think, for us, growing spiritually, first individually - and together, is just as important and maybe even more important for us right now.
These are a few of the potential TBRs: The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, Love Does by Bob Geoff (this would be a re-read for me but it's been awhile and would be worthwhile. Plus I think Jeff would thoroughly enjoy the conversation and appreciate the easier read), This Momentary Marriage by John Piper, or even Radical by David Platt. I'm still contemplating what to read next.
Where I stand: Jeff and I read Love Does by Bob Geoff, Everybody Always by Bob Geoff, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Cherished by Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado, and Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, and Becoming Christmas by Max Lucado, in 2019. So, WAY MORE than 3 books!!!
no. 3: Read 120 books. In 2018 my goal was Read 100 Books. I achieved the goal - just barely. However, this doesn't mean I'm shying away from upping my reading game in 2019. It does mean I'm kicking negative to the curb and planning to succeed. If the number one reason for success is believing I can succeed then planning is indispensable - and, essential. This means I will need to read more than two books a week to meet my goal.
While I came extremely close to reading 120 books in 2019 I missed it by 5 books, reading 115 books in 2019. Here's the deal, though, I'm happy with my results!
no. 4: 2019 Reading Challenge. Off and on over the past couple of years I have participated in an online annual reading challenge. I decided this year since I am crafting my own lofty reading goals I might as well add a 12-book reading challenge. As an avid follower of Modern Mrs. Darcy, the place I most often find reading recommendations, I decided I would keep this challenge simple and follow along with her 2019 Reading Challenge.
I completed Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2019 Reading Challenge (actually, the first year I've completed one of her challenges), thus fulfilling No. 4 of my reading goals.
a book you've been meaning to read: Where the Crawdads Sing (and I finally did! in book club)
a book about a topic that fascinates you: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Having loved Stargate SG-1 forever, when I heard great reviews about Dark Matter, even though I'm not a sci-fi reader, I gave it a shot and, because, the idea of alternate realities and time travel is fascinating I actually like reading the hard-to-understand science-language.
a book in the backlist of a favorite author: W.E.B. Griffin's, The Lieutenants, 1982
a book recommended by someone with great taste: Ali Edwards', who I admire tremendously for a lot of reasons, recommended David Sedaris' Calypso. I was pleasantly surprised at some of the humor, and totally uncomfortable at the content
three books by the same author: Usually, J.D. Robb only puts out two books a year but I hadn't read the second book in 2018 so I actually read three books by J.D. Robb in 2019, Connections in Death, Vendetta in Death and Leverage in Death
a book you chose for the cover: Like Lions by Brian Panowich (the book wasn't any good but the cover is beautiful)
a book by an author that is new to you: Celine by Peter Keller, but I, also, ended up reading his newer book, The River. Both were fantastic! Both 5 Stars!
a book in translation: Night, 1958(Fr.) 1960(Eng.)
a book outside your (genre) comfort zone: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, gothic, chilling, suspense, cringe-worthy and so outside my (genre) comfort zone
a book published before you were born: Anne of Green Gables, 1908 and The Railway Children, 1906, The Blue Castle, 1926, and Night, 1960 (English)
And, that's it - my reading goals for 2019.
But that's not all. In years past (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015) I have documented what I have read in various formats: In 2018, at the end of each month I created a 2-page 6 x 8 scrapbooking layout of what I read that month for my All About Me album. In 2017, I did something similar. I created a 1-page 12 x 12 page of what I read that month for my Stories 2017 album. In 2016, I made a separate 4 x 4 album with page layouts of each book I read that year - all 52 books. In 2015, I simply made a 2-page scrapbooking page template and inserted book covers into the pre-designed squares with each book I read.
no. 5: Continue the 'tradition' of documenting what I've been reading in 2019. This year, however, I'm changing things up completely and moving to the Traveler's Notebook (TN) to document what I have read. Most likely I will continue making digital pages that I will insert into the TN. Because I will be reading - a ton, I needed something that could accommodate my loftier goals. A burgeoning traveler's notebook is charming, delightful, and a - dream.
I documented what I've been reading throughout 2019 in a traveler's notebook and I am excited to report this was a successful and completed album!
no. 6: Start a book club!!! While this was not on my radar by any scope of the means but over summer, after hearing all the deets from Ali Edwards about her book club that she faithfully attends, and loves, I began contemplating starting a book club. Then, I jumped in with both feet and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my book club! The best thing I could have done in 2019!
I am anticipating an exciting journey in 2020 by reading books.