Reading Challenge 2008

Jennifer tagged me for a book meme.  As I was reading her meme and some others, I began to realize how limited I have been in my reading.  I have read few, if any classics.  I have read few books listed on book club selection lists.  I love to read, but I have a narrow field of books I have read.  I tend to lean toward the same authors, the same type of genre - in general I do not challenge myself. If a book doesn't grab me, I won't stick with it.  I know I am missing out on some great works of literature by not being persistent.   

Morgan is an avid reader. She reminds me of myself at her age. She will finish a book in one sitting. She will read for hours on end in her room.  She seems to always have a book with her.  I am thrilled she has such a love for books and reading. I also see her tending to read the same authors, the same types of books and being hesitant to challenge herself in reading something out of her comfort zone.  (Her mother has been a poor role model!)

We are studying the Revolutionary War in school right now. I found a great set of books put out by Scholastic.  The books are written in different historical time periods (each time period has a set of 3 books) from the perspective of a young girl writing a diary. When I first showed the books to Morgan she was less than thrilled with the idea of reading these books.  I told her she had to read one of the Revolutionary War books before she could read one book of her choice (Hmm, maybe I need to take a bit of my own advice).  There was a bit of grumbling but as she got into the book, she loved it.  It was very exciting for her to make the connections to what we are studying in school.  There have been lots of Aha moments - so cool!

So, I am going to do the book meme, but later. I am putting it on hold while I broaden my reading horizons.  Jennifer, I hope you don't mind!  What I need, my fellow bloggers and readers, is suggestions (any must reads for an avid reader) for my personal reading challenge for 2008.  I will keep a list on my sidebar of the books that have been suggested and mark them off as I read them. To hold myself accountable, I will do a monthly update on my progress.

I am looking forward to seeing your suggestions and beginning my reading challenge!  


Dave and Jenni said...

As an English major in college and avid reader, I can definitely relate to getting hooked on one author. For the last couple of years, I've been trying to expand my horizons too!

I don't know if you've read them, but I like some of Frank Peretti's books. I noticed your list of books on your blog and it seems like we may have similar tastes. Anyway, Peretti's "Oath" is fantastic!

You might also like Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven." It is *not* Christian based, but it was a very interesting read to get a take on the secular view of heaven. I found it very thought-provoking.

And finally, some of Bill Bryson's stuff is pretty funny. "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is a good one - it's a non-fiction book about him moving back to America after living in England for 20 years. Sometimes his books can have a little bit of language (again, he's not a Christian either), so check them out a bit before you buy/borrow them. I think Bryson just did a book on the life of Shakespeare that looks really interesting, but I haven't read it yet.

Anonymous said...

Suggestions, eh? I'll be back to give you a bunch! :)

I was like you, I only read what interested me. I had to be stretched which is why I purpose to read from the categories I listed on my post. And guess what? I enjoyed it---though I still struggle at times to read through some of them.

And, as I mentioned it's good to read all the works by some authors. I have read everything written by John Piper---well, almost all of them, minus one or two books. So, find an author or two and stick to them.

I'll be back with book titles!

Glad to see your Morgan enjoy reading. My oldest, Megan, does NOT and it about kills me! No joy for her there. :(

Renee said...

Oh, Kristen...I can SOOO relate to this post. I feel like if I did this meme right now, it would just say things like "Christian parenting books", or "Christian living/ women books", "Christian fiction", or even some 'chick lit'. Nothing challenging or impressive.

I too have been inspired by readers like Jennifer (Meditations and Musings), Jennifer (Gathering Grace), and Sarah (the best days of my life). I plan on adding some of their favorite books to my bookshelves soon (and actually reading them!)

Here are the books that I plan on reading as soon as I can get them.

To Kill a Mockingbird (I have heard from several different people that this is a great book)

Anna Karenina -Tolstoy (I think this will be daunting, but I have heard such wonderful things about it)

Blue Like Jazz -Donald Miller(I think this was written by someone who was searching out his faith, and it looks really interesting)

I also want to read some Jane Austen books, and I have never read some of the girly classics like 'Little Women', or 'Anne of Green Gables', so I want to read them as well.

Let me know what you choose...maybe we can start this journey together!

Sarah Markley said...

So no one mentioned Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre...absolutely the best. Its the only book I've read over and over. You must, must, must. Breathtaking.

For some good American lit, try Willa Cather (My Antonia). Also, John Irving's A Prayer For Owen Meany is long but an excellent story.

I think its sad, but a must (and quite short) is Elie Wiesel's Night. Very sad. But definitely worth it.

On the Christian spectrum, we've read Ted Dekker's Black, Red, White series twice through now. Different, but earthshattering. I wouldn't recommend anything else by him (except for Martyr's Song). His writing is mediocre but the series is EXCELLENT and definitely his zenith (in my opinion).

Christian nonfiction, try Ravi Zacharias, Brennan Manning, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, (If you haven't already).

Sorry for the long comment. =)

Sarah Markley said...

I forgot to mention Nicholas Sparks. Wholesome...I like him for the most part. A little sentimental in places, but his non-fiction book I think called Three Weeks With My Brother, is quite good. Sorry.

Earen said...

Ok, all you amazing readers. If I did this my list would include...the Bible. I'm SO terrible about reading! Sorry I'm not much help! I did read Ezekiel Option & thought it was GREAT!

Joy said...

hi, kristen. okay, you haven't read little women or pride and prejudice? you gotta read those! i'll work on the book list as i've had numerous requests. the cool thing about the list my husband has is it doesn't have some of the classics you'd think and it includes some modern fiction as well. i think it might have an adolescent lit slant as he is a middle school english teacher. but, i'll work on putting that together for the ones who have requested it. congrats to you for challenging yourself. i think it's good for us and a good model for our children that you're never too old to learn new things. thanks for stopping by! and i'm going to add you to my links :)

Rohal Call said...

I have so many to suggest I'm not sure where to start. I have been mulling it over, so it has taken me a while to actually comment on this post. I decided to do a lot more reading during our year in Korea, and I also wanted to read more classics. Well, I joined three book clubs and they have stretched my horizons. I added a list to my side bar of what I have read since Aug and my ratings....

I decided to give you some suggestions from different genres. These are some of my favorites...

Classics---loved Anna Karenina and Uncle Tom's Cabin. I am going to read Emma for a book club next month...I'll let you know.

You said you like children's books, and you should really read the whole Chronicles of Narnia series if you haven't already. They are quick reads and SO good! I have been reading them this year in between other books (I like to keep some variety).

A Thousand Resurrections by Maria Garriott. The author is the pastor's wife from a church my husband and I attended in Baltimore. It is VERY well written and is the story of starting an interracial church in the city, raising their 5 kids "in the world but not of the world." Great stories, picture, and all TRUE! I have recommended it to two book clubs, and it got rave review at both. One group actually asked her to speak at a church women's retreat!

Too Small to Ignore by Dr Wess Stafford (president of Compassion International). My aunt recommended this to me, and I loved it. It changed my perspective on how we view children, and I love books that stretch my understanding or thinking.

A Girl Named Zippy--I laughed out loud. This is not a Christian book, but it is light and very funny.

I am excited to see how it goes!

Kim Bob said...

When I first saw your “Reading Challenge 2008” list, I thought “Wow, I’m impressed that she will be reading all these books,” especially Tolstoy & Jane Austin. And then I read your blog that preceded the list and realized it is a composite of suggestions.

Since you are asking for suggestions, I will give you a list of books from a male’s point of view. Some of the books we have read in my mostly female book club and they were surprisingly pleased with these books.

- Will Thomas – This author has become a favorite of our book club. Mr. Thomas is a full-time librarian in the city where I live. These books are all in a series about a contemporary of Sherlock Homes who does the same thing (Sherlock Homes is not even mentioned in the books).
- Some Danger Involved
- To Kingdom Come
- The Limehouse Text
- Hellfire Conspiracy
-The Celtic Crusade Series – The Iron Lance; The Black Rood; The Mystic Rose by Stephen R. Lawhead
- Byzantium by Stephen R. Lawhead
- The Painted House by John Grisham (I read all of JG)
- Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- The Trees; The Fields; The Town by Conrad Richter (Three books of a series.)
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

- 1776 by David McCullough (or anything by DM)
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kerns Goodwin
- The Light & the Glory by Peter Marshall
- Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman (Maybe listed under October Skys, which was the name of the movie based on this book.)
- Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose (About the Lewis & Clark Exhibition.)
- Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan