IMG_0457I don’t need assistance in reading more.

I need help reading intentionally.

It’s easy for me to read to escape—when things start coming up I have to remind myself to stay present and to feel the feelings, to embrace what’s happening in my body instead of fighting it. I LOVE books. More than movies. More than television. And with every good thing given, it’s balanced on a razor’s edge. It’s so easy for me to take something good and abuse it, using it to escape instead of to grow. And the more I am using books to escape, the quality of what I’m reading plummets. I’m looking for my next escape and I end up reading all sorts of random things that aren’t beneficial for me.

This year I felt an invitation to be more intentional about what I was reading. I hope this will combine my love of reading and remind me to stay present in my life.

So I’m using the process created by Anne over at

Her process is simple: 12 books in 12 categories. Here’s what I picked for this year

Series: A book published this year

The High Mountain of Portugal

Author: Yann Martel

I adored The Life of Pi. I had never ready a story that surprised and delighted me as much. I haven’t read anything else by Yann Martel, so I’m looking forward to meeting up again with this story-teller.


Series: A book you can finish in a day

glassmagicianThe Glass Magician

Author: Charlie M. Holberg

The first book in this series, The Paper Magician, kept popping up as a recommended read every time I turned around. And even though I enjoyed the first book, it took me a lot longer to read than it should have because I kept getting distracted. I am notorious for not finishing series so I decided to a) make progress in this series and b) not have it hanging over my head.

Series: A book you’ve been meaning to read

lifechangingThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Author: Marie Kondo

I first bumped into this one at Barnes and Noble. I was intrigued and glanced through the first chapter. I didn’t buy it that day but I kept noticing it. I finally bought it after hearing Anne rave about it, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

Series: A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller


Series: A book you should have read in school

taleoftwoA Tale of Two Cities

Author: Charles Dickens

I never read this book in high school like most of my peers. I know the opening lines and am familiar with the plot, thanks to Wishbone (anyone else remember that show about the dog re-enacting stories?). It’s time to check it off the list.


Series: A book chosen by a spouse, child, BFF, etc.

waterWater From a Deep Well

Author: Gerald L. Sittser

I have been geeking out of over Richard Foster’s Streams of Living Water for over a month. (There’s a blog series in the works.) The same friend that gave me that book said this was next up. I’m looking forward to learning more about the rich heritage of my faith.


Series: A book published before you were born

thomasmertonContemplative Prayer

Author: Thomas Merton

I have been reading several things lately whose authors have quoted Thomas Merton. I have also recently had the opportunity to practice contemplative prayer in a group setting. I am interested in learning more about this practice


Series: A book that was banned at some point

colorpurpleThe Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

I googled banned books and was drawn to this one. Like most, I had heard of it and have a vague idea what the plot is.



Series: A book you previously abandoned

magicianslandThe Magician’s Land

Author: Lev Grossman

This is the third in a series. It made the cut because I just want to finish the series. I enjoyed the other two books, but didn’t love them. They are darker than most magic/fairy-tale books I read. I do appreciate the difference, but it’s not something I’m drawn to.


Series: A book you own but have never read

usesofenchantmentThe Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Author: Bruno Bettelheim

I love fairy tales and magic so I bought this because of the title and never read it. I’m looking forward to carving out space for this one this year.



Series: A book that intimidates you

warandpeaceWar and Peace

Author: Leo Tolstoy

I started this book years ago…and got bogged down. It’s been sitting on my bookcase waiting for me to come back to it. I loved Anna Karenina and desperately want to add this to my repertoire (it’s a pride thing, for sure…how many people have read this one?) but I’m also sacred of it. It’s a thick, involved story set in a culture and time from which I am far removed.

Series: A book you’ve read at least once

poisonwoodThe Poisonwood Bible

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

I might be most excited to revisit this one. I read this when I was still in high school. I didn’t like it. I was too young and immature in my faith to appreciate how true these types of stories are…how often in our pride and arrogance we hurt the ones we claim to love. Slightly older (and maybe wiser), I’m looking forward to reading her words and letting this story unravel and sitting in the tension. Even though I didn’t “like” it fifteen years ago, this is I story I haven’t been able to forget.

What’s on your TBR list for 2016? Have any other recommendations for me? And hop over to Anne’s blog to get her printable and to sign up for the challenge.

1 Comment on on reading

  1. I have ways of escaping besides reading, so the reading I want to do often takes a back seat to my chosen methods of escape. Also, having worked in a Christian book store for 12 years I find, that while I have a collection of really good books, they lack the diversity I want in the books I read. I like the categories used. When I first saw categories I was thinking genres. I subscribed to the Kindle Deals email. That should help me in an effort to expand the types of books I am reading.

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