Posted in reading, theology

Challies Reading Challenge 2019: How did I do?

By Elizabeth Prata

Since it’s year-end and I’m concluding the Challies Christian Reading Challenge, the next couple of days will be about books and bookish things. I already wrote about a Bible Reading Plan.

I like a challenge. I like to have goals. I need them in order to stay on track and be productive. I like Reagan Rose’s Redeeming Productivity blog and podcasts, “A Christian Approach to Getting Stuff Done”. Otherwise I’d melt into a puddle of TV-watching couch potato with a melting brain to match! I recommend Rose’s blog and podcast, they’re great.

Here’s my reading progress for 2019, as I get ready for another Christian Reading Challenge for 2020:

1. Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
2. My Reading Life, Pat Conroy
3. The Reckoning, John Grisham
4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman
5. Where’d You Go Bernadette, Maria Semple
6. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, Edwin Abbott
7. The Running Man, Stephen King
8. Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick
9. The Phantom ‘rickshaw and Other Ghost Stories, Rudyard Kipling
10. In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, Donvan & Zucker (not finished yet)
11. It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis (abandoned)
12. The Machine Stops, E. M. Forester
13. Competing Spectacles, Tony Reinke
14. Internet Inferno, Michael John Beasley
15. Empty Nest What’s Next, Michael Howe
16. Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books, Tony Reinke
17. Her Husband’s Crown, Sarah Leone
18. Work and Our Labor in the Lord, (Short Studies in Biblical Theology, James M. Hamilton Jr.
19. Narrow Gate Narrow Way, Paul Washer
20. Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes
21. Disciplines of a Godly Woman, Barbara Hughes
22. Can I Have Joy In My Life? Sproul (Crucial Questions, #12)
23. Both Sides Now Ecclesiastes commentary, Peter Barnes (almost finished)
24. Roaring of the Lion, Amos Commentary, Ray Beeley (almost finished)
25. Letters of Margaret Paton, Margaret Whitecross Paton
26. Selina Countess of Huntingdon, Faith Cook (abandoned)
27. The Believer’s Joy, M’Cheyne
28.  Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
29.  Never Enough: Confronting Lies about Appearance and Achievement with Gospel, Ivill

GoodReads totes up your stats. I can’t vouch for the completeness of the stats compared to my real life, I often don’t go to GoodReads and plug in my books or my progress, but it seems a fairly accurate view of my reading productivity this year.

My favorite secular books were The Running Man and Where the Crawdads Sing. My least favorites were Rudyard Kipling’s The Phantom Rickshaw. Creepy. Kipling outdoes Stephen King in the horror genre with this one, and I could not get into It Can’t Happen Here. Sinclair Lewis just is too wordy.

My favorite Christian books were M’Cheyne’s Believer’s Joy and Beasley’s Internet Inferno. The following is according to GoodReads. Sad to see of my chosen books that GoodReads shows that M’Cheyne’s is least known.

On to 2020 reading. This is Challies’ list for readers picking the Avid Level, or one book every two weeks. I haven’t plugged in the titles yet, I need to think about it a little more.

I still have a bit left to go in Roaring of the Lion: A Commentary on Amos by Ray Beeley, and a bit more on Both Sides Now: A commentary on Ecclesiastes. I should be done within the next two days, the turn of the year & decade. I’m not going to finish the Story of Autism on time, though I’d like to. That book will be in play for 2020.

I discovered yesterday that on Instagram there is a hashtag #bookstagram. I found it by reading York Avenue, a design and bookish NY living style blog by Jacqueline Clair. Clair’s essay Girls Who Read was the gold mine that alerted me to this wonderful but oh-so-dangerous deliciousness of photos of apartments and homes with artfully arrayed books, people reading books, and just photos of piles of books. Bibliophiles will understand 😉

If you see any books on the Challies Reading Challenge theme list above that you’d like to recommend for me, I’m all ears!

Happy 2020 and happy reading.



Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.