Book Plan for 2019

Library with a book ladder and lampWhen it comes to focus, I’m not always very good. At this point in my life though, I’ve learned that it’s a weakness and so I’ve tried my best to create guardrails along the way that help me to stay a little more focused than I naturally would. White boards. Notebooks. Post-It notes. Whatever it takes to help me get brought back to center after veering off the path. Yearly book plans, for me, act as a sort of guardrail to help me stay somewhat focused on what to be reading.

Over the last few years, I’ve been doing this with mild success. Mild success means that I haven’t ever read more than 50% of my list. At the same time, I’ve averaged about five and a half books per month, nothing to shake a stick at. So, success, in my book, isn’t making sure that I conquer my list, it’s helping me stay focused on something. I’ve learned that if I focus on nothing, I’ll hit it every single time.

Still doing my best to diversify my list. I’ve had a knack for choosing non-fiction books that would be most likely categorized as evangelical and Christian and span around two hundred pages. Pretty consistent with that here with a few diversions thrown in here and there for good measure. A few novels. Some books that peers read decades ago. Doing my best to round the list out as best I can.

So, without further ado, here is my list for 2019. This is no promise to get through all these books, it’s just helping me to stay more focused than I would have if left to my own devices.

G.K. Chesterton “Orthodoxy”

Zack Eswine “Preaching to a Post-Everything World”

Matthew Everhard “A Theology of Joy”

Darrell Guder “Missional Church”

John Irving “A Prayer For Owen Meany”

Philip Jenkins “The Next Christendom”

Tim Keller “Ministries of Mercy”

Tim Keller “Center Church”

Jack Kerouac “On the Road”

Stephen King “It”

Erik Larson “The Devil in the White City”

Justin Lee “Talking Across the Divide”

Patrick Lencioni “Death By Meeting”

Will Mancini “Church Unique”

Alister McGrath “C.S. Lewis”

Sally Morgenthaler “Worship Evangelism”

Barack Obama “The Audacity of Hope”

Jackie Hill Perry “Gay Girl, Good God”

Soong-Chan Rah “The Next Evangelicalism”

Alan Roxburgh “The Missional Leader”

Francis Schaeffer “The Church at the End of the 20th Century”

Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson “The New You”

Simon Sinek “Start With Why”

Frank Viola “Reimagining Church”

Like I said, there isn’t a huge expectation that I will complete this list. Fifty percent completion is good for me. There will be book reviews along the way (they accounted for 44% of books read last year). There will also be books that grab my attention along the way, books which have been recommended to me which feel significant enough to me that I need to set other things aside to pursue.

My biggest concern in all of this is that while filling my mind with what’s in these books, I miss what’s going on around me. Doing my best to remain present and focused at the same time.

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The 2018 Book Plan

20180103_090939This is Year #5 for me doing an annual book plan. I’ve been trying to streamline the process year by year to see if I can get better. Last year, I read 69 books. My book plan had twenty-two books total of which I read eleven. So, 50% isn’t a horrible number, but I certainly want to do my best to move closer to achieving 100% read on my list.

I never used to be the guy who would read halfway through a book and then just leave it, but it’s been happening more and more. A number of the books on my list for this year are books that were started in 2017 or before which I never finished. Call it a Year of Jubilee, trying to play catch up a little bit.

I’ve tried to pepper my list with books that are strictly for enjoyment. Finally going to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books for the first time in my life.

I’ve also got a number of books that are related to my position as a pastor. They run the gamut on topics as my role is fairly diverse. Just like baseball teams have utility players, I feel like I’m a utility pastor in many ways, playing roles across the board and filling in gaps as they need to be filled.

There are 30 books total on this list, a bolder number than the 22 books that were on last year’s list. But I have been intentionally setting aside books over the last few months, piling them up on my desk and keeping them in front of me as I’ve looked towards compiling this list.

As always, I am open to book suggestions. As I’ve posted my Books Read In 2017 post on social media, I have had people make recommendations which I hope to follow through on in 2018.

Here’s hoping for a more successful completion of my list in 2018!

Bill Bryson “A Walk in the Woods”

Steven Curtis Chapman “Between Heaven & the Real World”

G.K. Chesterton “Orthodoxy”

Bruce Cockburn “Rumours of Glory”

Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. “Younger Next Year”

David Daniell “William Tyndale – A Biography”

Kevin DeYoung “The Hole in Our Holiness”

Shusaku Endo “Silence”

Zack Eswine “Preaching to a Post-Everything World”

Michael Frost “Incarnate”

Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch “The Shaping of Things to Come”

Nicky Gumble “Alpha – Questions of Life”

Caleb Kaltenbach “Messy Grace”

Tim Keller “Center Church”

Erik Larson “The Devil in the White City”

Joseph Loconte “A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and A Great War”

Barack Obama “The Audacity of Hope”

Stacy Perman “In-N-Out Burger”

Eugene Peterson “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”

John Piper “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals”

Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin “Growing Young”

Soong-Chan Rah “The Next Evangelicalism”

Francis Schaeffer “The Church Before the Watching World”

Francis Schaeffer “The Church at the End of the 20th Century”

James K.A. Smith “You Are What You Love”

Paul Tillich “Dynamics of Faith”

J.R.R. Tolkien “The Two Towers”

J.R.R. Tokien “Return of the King”

J.R.R. Tolkien “The Tolkien Reader”

Tish Harrison Warren “Liturgy of the Ordinary”

Book Plan for 2017

Library with a book ladder and lampThis is my fourth year of putting together a reading plan. I’ve still not got a good rhythm on it. I think there are far too many unknowns for me and there are far too many good books out there that I am longing to read. So, I’ll keep plugging away and trying.

I’m trying to broaden my horizons a little bit more. I’ve been feeling a pull to more diversity in my plan, so I’m adding some touches here and there. I know that there will be blog books as well, books that I will review for my blog, which is always an unknown. I’m, never quite sure just what kinds of books will be offered, so it’s hard to predict those books. 

My plan for 2017 will be to lessen the number of books in the plan in hopes that I will be able to be more efficient in reading books from this list. It hasn’t gone well in the past when I have tried to read books on my plan when I’ve had an extensive list. Out of the 28 books on my plan for 2016, I only finished 9 of them, but I still managed to read 52 books for the year, one less than 2015, an average of one book per week. 

Maya Angelou “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Rachel Held Evans “Evolving In Monkey Town”

Victor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch “ReJesus”

Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon “Resident Aliens’

Howard V. and Edna H. Hong, editors “The Essential Kierkegaard”

Walter Isaacson “Steve Jobs”

Tim Keller “Center Church”

Tim Keller “Preaching”

Stephen Mansfield “The Search for God and Guiness”

Brenda Salter McNeil “Roadmap to Reconciliation”

Matt Mikalatos “My Imaginary Jesus”

Jürgen Moltmann “A Broad Place”

Flannery O’Connor “The Complete Stories”

Andrew Peterson “The Warden and the Wolf King”

David Platt “Counter Culture”

Preston Sprinkle “Living In a Gray World”

Preston Sprinkle “People To Be Loved”

John Steinbeck “Of Mice and Men”

Howard Thurman “Jesus and the Disinherited”

Mark Twain “How To Tell A Story and Other Essays”

N.T. Wright “Simply Jesus”

This is my plan which I know will most likely shift and change a little bit, but if I don’t start out with something, I’ll have a hard time hitting anything.

Would love to hear about some of your favorite books and whether or not you have interacted with any on this list.

Happy reading!