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Book Challenge Update and Some Number Crunching

For those of you who weren’t reading my blog back in September, I challenged myself at that time to read through all of the books on my bookshelves at home before buying any new books or checking books out from the library to read. You can find the challenge I made to myself here.

I was going to post pictures of my bookshelves again today, but after updating the pictures, I can’t see any marked difference, and it look like I haven’t been doing much reading at all. I decided I just couldn’t post the pictures. I really have been reading and I really have  been following my challenge, at least to some extent, but the bookshelves just don’t show it.

How very disappointing.

In retrospect, I see a few reasons that my challenge is not working as well as I had anticipated:

1) I need to read some youth and young adult fiction for my job as a children’s librarian.

2) Changing circumstances for Husband and me have led to the need for purchasing and reading certain books on topics that our former at-home library was lacking.

3) Simple, embarrassing, occasional lack of willpower. (I work in a library. It’s just hard.)

I keep a spreadsheet on my computer where I list the books that I read. I have columns for the date (month and year) a book was read, the title, the author, and then columns for seven genres. The seven genres I have listed are: Christian living, biography, nonfiction, Christian fiction, general fiction, classics, and youth fiction. Obviously ‘general fiction’ and ‘nonfiction’ comprise a very wide array of books, but they work for me right now.

When I read a book, I record the month and year in which I finished the book, the title, the author, and then I mark ‘1’ in the column of the genre under which the book best fits. I’m displaying my true nerd-ness now, because I enjoy being able to crunch book numbers. I might want to see how many books I read this month compared to last month, how many books I read in a year, how many books I’ve been reading in each of the genres in recent months, and so forth.

I started this list two years ago. Just in case you are curious (and because, again, I like seeing the numbers), over the past two years I have read:

Christian living – 16
Biography – 11
Nonfiction – 14
Christian fiction – 9
General fiction – 14
Classics – 8
Youth fiction – 37

I don’t know if I should be embarrassed by those numbers or not.

Anyway, I thought that today I would just share with you the titles of books that I have read (or am reading) since the start of my self-imposed challenge in September:

  • Chalice, Robin McKinley, youth fiction
  • The Help, Kathryn Stockett, general fiction
  • Closing the Achievement Gap: How to Reach Limited-Formal-Schooling and Long-Term English Learners, Yvonne Freeman & David E. Freeman, nonfiction
  • This Present Darkness, Frank Peretti, Christian fiction
  • The Unfinished Angel, Sharon Creech, youth fiction
  • I Am the Messenger, Mark Zusak, youth fiction
  • Twilight, Stephenie Meyer, youth fiction
  • New Moon, Stephenie Meyer, youth fiction
  • Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer, youth fiction
  • Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer, youth fiction
  • One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp, Christian living
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder, biography
  • The View From Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg, youth fiction
  • Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Tom Mula, general fiction
  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, classics
  • Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen, classics
  • Let Justice Roll Down, John Perkins, biography
  • *Heaven, Randy Alcorn, Christian living
  • *The Adoption Decision, Laura Christianson, nonfiction
  • *Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Toni Weschler, MPH, nonfiction

*Books that I am currently reading. I am definitely not above reading multiple books at the same time.

That means:

Christian living – 2
Biography – 2
Nonfiction – 3
Christian fiction – 1
General fiction – 2
Classics – 2
Youth fiction – 8

Have you read any of the books on my list above? What books would you recommend to me (if I was allowed to check out books from the library)?



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