2016 Reading Challenge Update: June

This year I have been participating in the 2016 Reading Challenge, a fun way to increase and diversify your reading through another year. I took the challenge and set this year’s goal at 104 books. However, because so much of my reading has to go toward reviewing books that are recently published and of interest to Christians (both for reviews published here and in WORLD magazine), I decided to pick from all over the list rather than working through it in order. What follows are the books I completed in June and, in parentheses, the reading challenge category they fulfill. They are listed in the order in which I completed them. Below that is the complete list of categories I need to cover.

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  1. For the Glory by Duncan Hamilton (A book about sports). An excellent new biography on Olympian and missionary Eric Liddell.
  2. The Faith of Christopher Hitchens by Larry Taunton (A book about worldview). Taunton describes his friendship with atheist Christopher Hitchens while focusing on the fascinating spiritual conversations they shared immediately prior to Hitchens’ death.
  3. God Took Me By the Hand by Jerry Bridges (A biography). Jerry Bridges, who made a great impact on me through his books, tells of God’s kind providence displayed all throughout his life. While by no means destined to be a classic memoir, it is still well worth a read.
  4. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (A book about the natural world). Jahren’s book is essentially a love letter to botany. She loves plants and loves to tell of her love for plants. She is also quite profane at times and antagonistic toward the Christian faith.
  5. Rescuing the Gospel by Erwin Lutzer (A book about the Reformation). As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches, this is just one of many books that recount those events. Lutzer’s work is a great introduction to Martin Luther and the Reformation he sparked.
  6. How the Gospel Brings Us all the Way Home by Derek Thomas (A book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle). Derek Thomas focuses on Romans 8, one of the sweetest and most significant chapters in the Bible. In its own way, Romans 8 tells the story and theology of the Bible.
  7. Operation Thunderbolt by David Saul (A book with at least 400 pages). Saul recounts the 1976 commando operation that rescued Jewish hostages in Entebbe.
  8. Reset by Nick Hall (A book about evangelism). Hall provides an ecumenical call for young people to “reset,” to turn around their lives by turning to Christ.
  9. The Matthews Men by William Geroux (A book about the Second World War). Many of the men of Matthews County, Virginia, served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during the Second World War and Geroux uses them to talk about an important and overlooked service that allowed the Allies to win the war.
  10. 100 Ways To Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost (A book about writing). Though outdated in some ways (“Buy a set of encyclopedias and keep them near your desk”) there are many excellent tips for writers in this work.

You can see my previous updates for January, February, March-April, and May.

The Light Reader (13 Books)

  • ☒ A book about Christian living (Delighting in the Trinity)
  • ☒ A biography (Good Took Me By the Hand)
  • ☐ A classic novel
  • ☐ A book someone tells you “changed my life”
  • ☐ A commentary on a book of the Bible
  • ☒ A book about theology (The Deep Things of God)
  • ☒ A book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle (How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home)
  • ☐ A book your pastor recommends
  • ☐ A book more than 100 years old
  • ☒ A book for children (Good Picture, Bad Picture)
  • ☐ A mystery or detective novel
  • ☐ A book published in 2016
  • ☒ A book about a current issue (Black Flags)

The Avid Reader (26 Books)

  • ☐ A book written by a Puritan
  • ☐ A book recommended by a family member
  • ☒ A book by or about a missionary (William Carey)
  • ☒ A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize (All the Light We Cannot See)
  • ☐ A book written by an Anglican
  • ☒ A book with at least 400 pages (Operation Thunderbolt)
  • ☒ A book by C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King)
  • ☐ A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title
  • ☐ A book with a great cover
  • ☒ A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers (Red Platoon)
  • ☒ A book about church history (A Great Blessing to Me)
  • ☒ A graphic novel (Essex County)
  • ☒ A book of poetry (Sojourner Songs)

The Committed Reader (52 Books)

  • ☒ A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with (Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife)
  • ☒ A book written by an author with initials in their name (Conscience)
  • ☐ A book that won a ECPA Christian Book Award
  • ☐ A book about worldview (The Faith of Christopher Hitchens)
  • ☐ A play by William Shakespeare
  • ☐ A humorous book
  • ☐ A book based on a true story
  • ☐ A book written by Jane Austen
  • ☐ A book by or about Martin Luther
  • ☒ A book with 100 pages or less (God and Politics)
  • ☒ A book with a one-word title (Dreamland)
  • ☒ A book about money or finance (Living in the Light)
  • ☐ A novel set in a country that is not your own
  • ☒ A book about music (Unashamed)
  • ☒ A memoir (Skyfaring)
  • ☐ A book about joy or happiness
  • ☐ A book by a female author
  • ☒ A book whose title comes from a Bible verse (The Forgotten Fear)
  • ☐ A book you have started but never finished
  • ☒ A self-improvement book (Habits of Grace)
  • ☒ A book by David McCullough (Brave Companions)
  • ☐ A book you own but have never read
  • ☐ A book about abortion
  • ☐ A book targeted at the other gender
  • ☒ A book by a speaker at a conference you have attended (The Whole Christ)
  • ☒ A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you (Black and Reformed)

The Obsessed Reader (104 Books)

  • ☒ A book published by The Banner of Truth (J.C. Ryle)
  • ☒ A book about the Reformation (Rescuing the Gospel)
  • ☒ A book written by a first-time author (Under Our Skin)
  • ☒ A biography of a world leader (Victoria: A Life)
  • ☐ A book used as a seminary textbook
  • ☐ A book about food
  • ☒ A book about productivity (Your Days Are Numbered)
  • ☒ A book about or relationships or friendship (The Lovers)
  • ☐ A book about parenting
  • ☐ A book about philosophy
  • ☐ A book about art
  • ☒ A book with magic (The Snow Child)
  • ☒ A book about prayer (Moving Mountains)
  • ☒ A book about marriage (Tying the Knot)
  • ☒ A book about a hobby (Floodpath)
  • ☐ A book of comics
  • ☒ A book about the Second World War (The Matthews Men)
  • ☒ A book about sports (For the Glory by Duncan Hamilton)
  • ☐ A book by or about a pastor’s wife
  • ☒ A book about suffering (When Breath Becomes Air)
  • ☒ A book by your favorite author (What Is the Trinity?)
  • ☐ A book you have read before
  • ☒ A book about homosexuality (Messy Grace)
  • ☒ A Christian novel (Jump)
  • ☒ A book about psychology (Imagine Heaven)
  • ☒ A book about the natural world (Lab Girl)
  • ☐ A book by or about Charles Dickens
  • ☐ A novel longer than 400 pages
  • ☒ A historical book (The ISIS Apocalypse)
  • ☒ A book about the Bible (A Peculiar Glory)
  • ☒ A book about a country or city (One Child)
  • ☐ A book about astronomy
  • ☐ A book with an ugly cover
  • ☐ A book by or about a martyr
  • ☒ A book by a woman conference speaker (Hope Heals)
  • ☐ A book by or about the church fathers
  • ☐ A book about language
  • ☐ A book by or about a Russian
  • ☒ A book about leadership (Zeal Without Burnout)
  • ☐ A book about public speaking
  • ☐ A book by Francis Schaeffer
  • ☐ A book by a Presbyterian
  • ☒ A book about science (The Sleep Revolution)
  • ☐ A book about revival
  • ☒ A book about writing (100 Ways To Improve Your Writing)
  • ☐ A book about evangelism (Reset)
  • ☐ A book about ancient history
  • ☐ A book about preaching
  • ☒ A book about the church (Discipling)
  • ☐ A book about adoption
  • ☒ A photo essay book (Humans of New York)
  • ☐ A book written in the twentieth century

Uncategorized

  • Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith
  • Core Christianity by Michael Horton