Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How You Can Enjoy Making a "Reading List for 2017"

Anyone else feeling the pressure to have a reading list this year? Up until last week, I simply read whatever and whenever I wanted. No pressure. Then came along numerous blog posts and Pinterest boards touting their “Reading List for 2017.” Perusing a few of them got me to thinking: Um, I wonder if having a list would enhance my reading efforts?

Out of curiosity, I decided to give it a try, but on my own terms. You see, a part of me cringes at the idea of a predetermined reading list, fearful such structure would rob me of the joy that shows up when I discover a book I really want to read. But then, there's also a part of me that knows . . . if you don't plan for something, most likely it won't happen.

So, I came up with an alternate "list" plan that permits a bit of spontaneity, takes into consideration my values, plus reflects my interests and preferences, unlike those offered online. Those primarily use prompts, such as “Read a book that received an award” or “Read a book published in 1950,” from which you develop a list. I've nothing against creative prompts and one day may go that route. But for me, the idea to build my own list, and tweak it a bit by giving myself the freedom to add or delete titles at whim, is more my style.


The aim of my 2017 list is simple: enjoy a diverse mix of genres, and read 100 books by year's end. 

My list is incomplete at this stage--only 18 titles so far--though growing quickly. Each day I keep finding new titles to include, such as this morning's two additions: Traces of Guilt and Homegoing. Ready to view my list? Okay, here are my choices, plus my reason behind each selection:


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. The premise of this book intrigues me as does it's foreign setting. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. 

Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. This novel addresses two tough subjects: rape and abortion. Discovering the author (one of my favorites) based one of the book's characters on her personal abortion experience made me want to read the title even more.

I Let You Go by Claire Macintosh. I like a good, British mystery and I'm told this one is quite good with a surprise ending. Maybe a book you read in one sitting?

The Green Ember by S. D. Smith. Fantasy books don't usually enthrall me, but I'm giving this one a try due to its very positive reviews. But bunnies as main characters? We shall see.

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi. Initially, I ruled this book out but then changed my mind when a reviewer made the comment about the author "not accusing or excusing" but portraying accurately African's slave history.

Traces of Guilt (An Evie Blackwell Cold Case) by Dee Henderson. Her O'Malley Series is terrific so I'm banking that this first in a new mystery series will be too.


Parables by John MacArthur. Some of Jesus parables still puzzle me. Maybe MacArthur will remove some of my frustration by explaining in depth the meaning behind each one.

The Art of X-ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing by Roy Peter Clark. Don't know if this book will live up to its promise, but counting on one out of the 25 titles referenced will teach me a tip or two.

Franchising McChurch: Feeding Our Obsession with Easy Christianity by Thomas White. Many (me included) are questioning the direction and methods of today's church. This book appears to present a balanced and biblical viewpoint on the hot topic.

Night by Elie Wiesel. Have wanted to read this acclaimed Pulitzer prize winner for a long time. I'm pretty sure his Holocaust story will move me to tears.

Rethink How You Think by David Stoop. Over 20 years ago I read this book (formerly titled Self Talk) and frequently recommend it to others. Time to revisit this gem that is full of wise counsel.

Loving People: How to Love and Be Loved by John Townsend. Wishing I were better at loving others makes me want to hear what this respected Christian psychologist has to say.


Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis by Abigail Santamaria. Ever since I saw the movie, "Shadowlands," I've wanted to know more about this woman who married C.S. Lewis.

Born a Crime: Stories from a Southern African Childhood by Trevor Noah. Books with an African setting intrigue me and this one appears to have both fascinating and educational elements. 

He Speaks in the Silence: Finding Intimacy with God by Learning to Listen by Diane Comey. Expecting to learn valuable lessons from this true story involving a deaf adult.

Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us by the Events Through Our Lives by Ravi Zacharias. This man's intellect amazes me. I've wanted to hear the story of how he came to believe in Christ . . . and now's my chance.

God is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn't Make Sense by Jennifer Rothschild. In all honesty, I started this bio last year and was captivated by how she handled and adapted to the news she was going blind, but I never finished it. It's time I do. 

The Fairy Tale Girl by Susan Branch. Even though I read books two and three of this series out of order it didn't matter. Each of these is illustrated and told with such charm. I'm looking forward to Book 1 which covers Branch's life during the l950-1980's. It will be the perfect Spring read.

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How does my list compare to yours? Any title of mine make your list too? Or is there a book you would like me to read in 2017? Hey, I'm open to suggestions ... like another 82! 

Hope to return soon with titles I read in the past 30 days that merit recommending, so do come back!  


P.S. I need your input. I'm trying to identify what other things, besides book reviews, would be helpful to you who read this blog. Have any advice for me? 


  1. I love to read and probably the only thing that would make me not want to read is if I had to make a reading list! :-) That puts too much pressure and feels like homework to me. One of the best things about being an adult is not having to do homework!

    As far as other things besides book reviews, I enjoyed your blog on collections. Maybe something on organization (which I love), favorite classic movies, another recipe entry, and pets. Those are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. Happy reading!

  2. You may be right about a reading list feeling like homework. If I start to feel pressure from my list then to the trash it goes. So far, so good. Your blog post suggestions are great! Think the idea of doing one on pets would have wide appeal and give me a good excuse to visit my local humane society to take photos ... and bring home a puppy!

  3. You are so organized in our thinking, dear Julie. I just pick books higgledy-piggledy and constantly read all sorts of things. Just finished Storm Rose, about a boat which was used to help East Germans escape. Excellent story and now I'm into The One Boy In A Million, which is also excellent. offers me books I would probably never have heard of before I became a Kindle devotee. Your list is excellent and I'm going to look into several of your choices. As always, you make me think! :)

    1. I'm not familiar with "Storm Rose" but it sounds good and just may add it to my list. Eager to hear your take on "The One Boy in a Million," which was one of my favorites on audio from last year. Happy reading!

  4. A list would work for me. I like checking things off. As a matter of fact I have a weekly To-Do list. It's the only way I get things done. I'm not saying that everything gets done on that list. I do love your recipe stories though.

    1. Since you like lists I bet you would like the bullet journal concept. I'm fascinated by it and just might try to keep track of all my book related lists in one. Didn't know you were a fan of the recipe stories. Guess I'll have to write more about my disasters and successes in the kitchen. Thanks for taking the time to comment!


Always happy to hear from anyone who stops by my blog.