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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
November 02, 2009
Seven years into blogging and six years into daily blogging, I’ve decided to try something, well, completely different. Today I want to introduce to you a new blog I’ve begun. It is called 10MillionWords.
First, though, let me say that, as far as I see it, not much is going to change here at challies.com. I intend to continue to blog daily in much the same way I have been doing for all these years. I love what I do here and don’t intend to change things up anytime soon. This blog is still my priority when it comes to writing and, I hope, will always be so.
Having said all of that, let me tell you about my new project.
A few months ago I found a site that provides archived lists of all the New York Times bestselling books from 1950 to the present. I began browsing through the list and was struck by the great diversity in the books that make their way onto the list. They really do run the gamut, touching on every genre, covering the spectrum from left to right, from Christian to atheist, from one extreme to the other. I found myself wishing that I had been able to read more of these books over the years. What a well-rounded, interesting view of culture and worldview they would give me. To read these books from any given period, whether the 50’s or 60’s or today would be to learn something about the culture. It would be a snapshot of the people, of what they are thinking about, of what they are learning, of whom they are learning it from.
From there I began to wonder if it would be possible to read all of the bestsellers over the course of a period of time. I began to run through the archives, trying to figure out how the list works, how many books are added, how long they remain there, and so on. When I had done the quantifying and qualifying I realized that I could probably read all of the bestsellers for a year and do so without completely neglecting all of my other responsibilities in life. When I did the math I found that all of the words in all of those books would probably come in at somewhere around 10 Million Words.
You can see where this is going. In 2010 I intend to read all of the New York Times bestsellers. I will qualify this by saying that I’ll be reading all of the hardcover, non-fiction bestsellers. Fiction has little appeal to me and does not offer as valuable a snapshot of the culture as does non-fiction; the softcovers have generally already been released as hardcovers. So it made sense for me to focus on just that one list. There are fifteen books on the list and it is updated once weekly. On average there are three or four books added each week. Some weeks there are as few as one new one added or as many as seven. In any case, I am going to attempt to read them all. My intention in all of this is to find in those books lessons on culture and worldview.
Through the rest of 2009 I will be reading as many of the bestsellers as I can and trying to “find my voice.” I will be trying to find the best way to seek out and communicate the lessons about worldview and culture that will be the heart of this project. I may also try to focus some attention on books dealing with reading better, reading faster, increasing retention, and so on.
So I am going to encourage you to visit the new site, 10MillionWords.com. There are already quite a few reviews over there of some books you may enjoy. The site is hosted at Gospel Coalition. I mentioned the site to them and, for various reasons, we felt it would be a good idea to “park” the site for the year. You may like to subscribe via RSS or subscribe via email. You might also like to follow 10MillionWords via Twitter or join the Facebook group. At the very least, visit the site, bookmark it, and drop by a few times. I think (and hope!) you will find it an interesting and valuable stop on your online travels in the months to come.