After taking Leadership and Management Foundations, I’ve been inspired to be more deliberate in setting reading goals. The professor read a book a week. Classmates were compiling lists of books to read the next year. The words “strategic reading” were kicking around. Random friends on facebook were commenting on their reading challenges.
I was inspired to take up the challenge. But not some random challenge. A strategic challenge customized to me.
Here’s what I came up with for 2015:
- A Leadership Book
- Something Technical
- A User manual
- Something theological
- A Christian Biography
- A devotional
- Something regarding a Biblical Language
- Something in French
- Something about Marriage
- Something about homeschool/parenting
- A random novel
- A Romance novel
- A “classic”
- Science Fiction
- A Fantasy or medieval novel
- A mystery
- A Western
I knew I didn’t have time to read a book a week, so I wasn’t sure how many items to put on my list. I came up with 17 categories, and went for one in each category as a goal. I ended up reading 33 books in 2015.
Non-Fiction #1: A Leadership Book
(Because I delight in this subject)
Leading Congregational Change: A Practical Guide for the Transformational Journey (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series). Our church was on the verge of changing to a new season, and this book seemed very appropriate and helpful.
Non-Fiction #2: Something Technical
(Since I’m reading technical things as part of my job/jobs anyway. I think this was too broad of a category, so I broke it up in 2016)
–6 Essential Secrets for Board Retreats that Work (available as a free ebook when you sign up for a mailing list on Amy Eisenstein’s fundraising website). All good advice. I’d like to see it in action one day.
–RCIS Senior Instructor Course Student Reference Manual. (Sorry, not available to the general public as far as I know). I read this book while taking the qualification course for work.
Non-Fiction #3: A User manual
(I had a notion that I wanted to know how to use everything I owned)
CIVILIZATION 3 user manual (we had recently acquired the game, so I read through the manual.)
Non-Fiction #4: Something theological
(Apparently this was too broad of a category, as a couple of commentaries landed here)
Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. All very good advice.
Understanding Jesus: Cultural Insights into the Words and Deeds of Christ This book had been recommended to us a few times, so we finally bought it and read it. Very interesting insights that you don’t usually hear about.
Faith That Endures: A Practical Commentary on the Book of Hebrews This was a textbook for a class.
Hebrews (The NIV Application Commentary). This was a textbook for a class.
Non-Fiction #5: A Christian Biography
(I have heard the advice from many sources that a Christian should read Christian biographies from time to time. I’ve read many before, and I agree I should do it more often!)
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd
This book had been a gift from a friend in college back in 2005. I’ve been feeling guilty for not reading it for ten years when I always wanted to! I finally disciplined myself and made time for it by making space for this genre on my reading goals.
Non-Fiction #6: A devotional
(because devotionals, by nature, should help me in my spiritual life)
Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups by Foster/Smith (2005-06-27)
This book was introduced in my Spiritual Formation course, and I finished it in 2015 (can’t have partially read books lying around!)
I wasn’t sure if “devotional” was the best category for Unnamed, but I had no where else to put it.
Non-Fiction #7: Something regarding a Biblical Language
(Since I’m doing an MA in Biblical languages)
Williams Hebrew Syntax, Third Edition This was a textbook for a class.
Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar (I read this as a review before taking a class)
Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (I read this as a review before taking a class)
Non-Fiction #8: Something in French
(this could actually have been French fiction as well, but the French language itself is not made up, so it ended up next to the other language category)
Mes Pas Sur La Plage This one was also like another missionary biography. The true story of Anita Demers’ upbringing. I’ve actually met her and her husband.
Non-Fiction #9: Something about Marriage
(Since I’m married, and my list strategically helps me invest into what I think is important)
Marriage Matters: Extraordinary Change through Ordinary Moments
Non-Fiction #10: Something about homeschool/parenting
(Since I’m a homeschooling parent, and want to strategically read about it)
Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families. Less is more. A much needed message.
And now the Fiction categories:
Fiction #1: A novel
(Since there are books that may not be covered by my other categories, or I may repeat a category.)
Last Mango in Texas: A Novel. I like Ray Blackston, since he does a good job of writing how a guy would think.
Fiction #2: A Romance novel
(My wife loves romance novels, and it turns out I like them too!)
Ramshackle Rose (one of my wife’s favorites- a good introduction to the genre of Christian romance)
-We also read an unpublished Christmas story called Tinsel in a Tangle from someone named Laurie Germaine (one of my wife’s friends she met through the ACFW group she is in). It was so good! I can’t wait to see it in print! I never knew I would enjoy a Santa’s workshop/elves/North Pole/romance story…
Fiction #3: A “classic”
(My dad always taught me to appreciate the classics)
David Copperfield. I think this book is actually very useful for teenagers, to help teach them wisdom in guarding their hearts and selecting a mate.
Fiction #4: Science Fiction
Death Trap (Robot Wars Book 1)
Double Cross (Robot Wars Book 2). I remember Sigmund Brouwer came to my Junior High once, and I got to participate in a writer’s workshop that he led. I enjoy his books, too. He’s a Christian, and does a good job in the Sci-Fi department, making room for faith (he writes other genres as well). The Robot Wars series are good stories, and I would have no problem letting my kids read them in a few years, and look forward to reading the rest of the series myself.
Fiction #5: A Fantasy or medieval novel
(a genre I’ve often enjoyed, and have dabbled a bit in writing some myself)
Golden Daughter (Tales of Goldstone Wood Book 7). The Goldstone Wood books are excellent allegories of Christian truths, without being overtly allegorical. It’s a well developed fantasy world, and it’s amazing watching the cross-overs between books.
By Divine Right (The Darkwater Saga): A Novella. Loved it. Usually a free book (to advertise the rest of the series). I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them.
Fiction #6: A mystery
(I used to read piles of mystery stories in my youth: Encyclopedia Brown, Hardy Boys, etc. perhaps I should get back into the genre)
Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery Book #1). This was a great idea! A long time ago, someone wrote “rules” for how to write a murder mystery (the rules are included in the book). This story set out to deliberately break every single rule. And she pulled it off!
Fiction #7: A Western
(One of my wife’s favorite genres)
Petticoat Ranch. Another one of my wife’s favorites. I liked it too, and want to read the rest of this series.
At three stories each, I read 6 Christy Miller books in total. I was first introduced to this world a few years ago when my wife recommended the Katie Weldon Series, and she has put the Married Years books on her wish list. I feel like I’m getting to know some of my wife’s friends by reading these books. I think these books may be helpful for getting into the head of how a teenage girl thinks, which could be helpful as I raise my own daughter.