Earlier this month I shared my parenting goals for the new year, and today I’m talking reading goals for 2017. I’ve already shared how this hobby of reading made a comeback in my life this past year and brought back to me the joy books gave me as a little girl. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to up my reading game this year and branch out in the books I select, so I’m excited to share the goals I’ve set, but first, I want to talk last year’s reads.
2016 Reading + Why I Fell Back in Love With Fiction
I read more books last year than ever reading in one year, finding some were duds and others spectacular. Fiction is my favorite, and while I haven’t read an overtly Christian fiction book in years, I’m amazed at how a strong story echoes the gospel story I love and ends up strengthening my faith in unexpected ways, impacting me in a manner the author probably never intends. It’s powerful to realize gospel elements – creation, fall, redemption – woven into the majority of good stories, highlighted in narrative themes that aren’t necessarily meant to shine Jesus but to the heart that loves Him, they do.
Of course, I read much for the sake of pure enjoyment, the experience of escape, comfort, seeing life through the lenses of people whose lives, cultures, and challenges are different than my own. And, well, sometimes I read certain books just to not feel left out. Any fellow FOMO readers?? Understanding the literature shaping our culture helps me be the kind of believer who engages and impacts it with kingdom purpose, and that’s important to me.
Aaaahhhh, so many reasons to read books! Though not all written recently, these were my favorite fiction books that I read in 2016, strong on the story elements that I love so much:
Find my 2016 favorites here:
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
2017 Reading Goals
I’ve set a number goal for myself, but I’m more interested in making sure my reading material covers several specific things:
- 8 chapter book read-alouds with my kids. It’s hard for me to give up my own book time to read to my kids, but I know it’s so valuable!
- 5 parenting books. A long time ago, I stopped picking up books about parenting, but as I’ve mentioned recently, I need help, y’all! I want books with practical wisdom that retain a gospel-focus and help me keep my eyes more on Jesus than performance and results.
- 6 books that are already on my shelf. Addicted to used book sales, I’ve collected books that stay sitting on my bookcase, unread, while my library holds list decides my reading. I’ve decided six of my reads this year need to come from what I’ve already bought.
- 2 literary classics. I just haven’t picked up books in this genre since college, and I’d love to tackle several, now that a teacher isn’t making me read them. I’m thinking Rebecca and maybe something by Jane Austen. What do you think I should pick?
- 2 books written from an African-American perspective. I don’t know what else to say about this except that I love learning about and from other cultures and long for diversity in the stories I read. I read quite a bit in the African-American genre but not a lot written by black authors. Brown Girl Dreaming is one of those I plan to read early this year.
- 3 new(ish) Christian non-fiction books. I love learning more about the Christian life and growing from the teaching and testimonies of others, but I admit I’ve read few of these books in recent years. It’s challenging to find a writing style I like combined with theological reliability. But I’ll press on to find the good ones!
- 3 Christian classics. For each of those Christian non-fiction books I read this year, I want to also read a book written by a believer who lived a long time ago. It sounds bad to write “the older and deader the author, the better,” but reading old books alongside the new will surely provide balance and perspective in discerning the trustworthiness of newer voices.
- 5 books that I personally discover. I’m not a risk-taker when it comes to selecting books. I rely regularly on a couple of people for book suggestions, and unless one of them tells me a book is good (or I hear about it on the podcast What Should I Read Next?), I rarely pick it up. I peruse the shelf of new releases at every library visit, reading back cover synopses, always discovering something that intrigues me. But afraid that it won’t be good since I haven’t heard anything about it, I re-shelve it for fear of wasting my time. This year I’m making myself try books I’ve heard nothing about. I can always stop reading a bad book, but how fun to let myself pick the book by its pretty cover and find it to be delightful!
The rest of my reading will be made up of my usual loves: contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and memoirs.
I’d love for you to follow my reading journey. You can see what I read on Pinterest: Books I’ve Read In 2017 and check out Books I Read in 2016. I also rate the books I read on Goodreads (with at least a 3-star meaning that I found the book worth my time) and am aiming to write more reviews on there as well. I’ll also be sharing book reviews on the blog more frequently and look forward to hearing what you think and what you’re reading!
I’m curious about your reading life. Fill me in on what you’ve loved and feel free to share any recommendations you have that fit these goals. Have you made reading goals for the new year? Let me know if you use Goodreads or track your reading anywhere else – I’d love to visit!