Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Great Book Challenge of 2011

I love to read. That has been the case for as long as I can remember. If my hands are idle, I have been known to read any obscure piece of writing - I just can't seem to help myself! I remember being so frustrated in graduate school that I never had time to 'read' - because I was too busy reading and studying for classes. Like most, I have preferences to what I read for 'fun' (I typically don't count reading for work as 'fun') - I enjoy murder mysteries, books about sports, romance novels (not the trashy kind - the ones with a plot), Christian-living books, and the occasional biography (although - the only biographies I typically read are sports biographies - haha)

(Complete side note - if you like to read sports biographies - I highly suggest Beyond Belief - Josh Hamilton's story, and Coming Back Stronger - Drew Brees's autobiography. I read each of them in a day - and re-read them both (I think I've read Josh's book three full times now). GREAT reads!)

Among my list of goals for the new year (more to come in a post by the end of the week), I have challenged myself to read 35 books. Like I said, I read all the time, and typically have at least two books going at a time; that being said, I am not really sure if I am overestimating my abilities or underestimating. I guess time will tell.

One of my *endearing* traits is that I love books. Bookstores are my kryptonite. I actually ban myself from Half-Price books because I walk in for one thing (which they usually don't have) and walk out with about 5 new books (or more) each time. Thus, I have a lot of books on my shelves at work and at home that I have yet to read. Go figure. I had planned to just read those, as well as a few I had picked up toward the end of December, and just go from there. My plan was to read whatever I found interesting at the time. Then....that plan changed. You see, I have gotten into the habit of reading a lot of mindless fiction. Books that I call 'bathtub books' (most of the world calls them "beach reads" but that term depresses me that I can't read them at the beach, so I renamed them!). While they are great, and have helped me establish a nightly routine that has eliminated the inability to fall asleep fast. pick 35 mindless books is not really a challenge, is it? And what would I have gained at the end of the year...not much. So....the plan is to mix it up. I have thus far picked 25 of the 35 (with the disclaimer that I may change a few) - 19 of which I already have on my bookshelves. I am completely open for suggestions on the other books of course - and hope to keep you posted on my progress and may even enlighten you with a book review or two (as long as I don't start having flashbacks of high school English!).
Oh, and the other kicker of the challenge? I will not be buying any books. Why, you might ask? Good question. It's not because I wanted to add another layer of the challenge - although that is certainly a result. The reason I will not be buying any books is that I have also challenged myself to a year long spending freeze. *Gasp!!* Yes, no spending money on books. I promise I'll write more about this in my "Goals of 2011" post. So...anyone wanting to buy me gift cards, just message me and I'll send you my address - haha! Just kidding. Kind of. Ok, yes, I'm kidding. I have this all figured out.....famous last words..... In actuality, I will need to come up with 16 books that I want to read that I do not currently own. I'm thinking that between the public library, the school library (cool perk of working for a college), my mom's church library, and beg/borrowing/stealing from friends, that finding 19 books won't be too hard. Both the public library and the school library have inter-library loan which means if they don't have what I'm looking for, they can usually get it from another library.'s to the first challenge of 2011, and the list of my intended:
Books currently on my shelf:
Plan B - Pete Wilson
Unspeakable - Sandra Brown
Women and Money - Suze Orman
Love Me, Never Leave Me - Marilyn Meberg
Crazy Love - Francis Chan
Forgotten God - Francis Chan
Between Sundays - Karen Kingsbury
The Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan
The Bullpen Gospels - Dirk Hayhurst
The Kite Runner - Khaled hosseini
His Brother's Keeper - Johathan Weiner
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Hunting for Hope - Scott Russell Sanders
Why Good Things Happen to Good People - Stephen Post & Jill Neimark
Living a Life that Matters - Harold S. Kushner
The Dumbest Generation - Mark Bauerlein
Covering - Kenji Yoshino
Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin
Books I don't have yet -
Tick Tock - James Patterson (Michael Bennett series - out on Jan 24)
10th Anniversary - James Patterson (Women's Murder Club series - out on May 2)
Freedom - Jonathan Franzen
The Christian Atheist - Craig Groeschel
Do you have any fun challenges in mind for 2011 or any books you're planning on reading?

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