2016 Reading Challenge

If you know me well, you know I love to read. That’s why when I found out about the Goodreads app, I was all over it. One of its features is the ability to set annual challenges for yourself to read a certain number of books. While I wouldn’t say I read large amounts at a time, I do try to be consistent in taking time to read regularly. This year I resolved to read 15 books. Here is some of what I’ve read so far:

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories
A collection of writings by a woman who died young, it was both thought-provoking and entertaining. Since the essays and stories were relatively short, it made for a quick, easy read. Sometimes I would have to pause at the end of a story to process what I had just read, and I pondered with awe how this girl came up with so many creative ideas and put them onto paper so beautifully.

Released from Shame: Moving Beyond the Pain of the Past
I bought this book for under a dollar, and I loved it. Right now I’m going through a phase of being fascinated by nonfiction that focuses on psychology, emotional health, personal growth, etc. This definitely beckons you to face the darkness of your past, or it teaches you how to better relate to those who have had a challenging past. While full of sadness, it also offers hope and healing to weary souls.

Women Who Run with the Wolves
This one took me months to read. I started it sometime last year and didn’t finish it until just a couple months ago. But I mean that in a good way. This was a long, dense, but amazing read. It explores ancient folklore and reveals psychological lessons we can learn from various stories. Written primarily for a female audience, it challenges women to embrace their femininity to the fullest. If you decide to read this book, take your time and savor it. Don’t pressure yourself to rush through it or it may become overwhelming.

Sunny Side Up
I guess this is technically a graphic novel. I haven’t read much in this genre, but I really enjoyed it. I was able to breeze through it in a day, and it provided somewhat of a mental break after the other longer books I had been reading. I actually was able to get a galley free from a library sale. Set in the ’70s, the story follows a girl who travels to Florida for summer vacation. It was seemingly light-hearted at first, but I soon realized  it included a more somber twist. Thought-provoking, yet tender as well.

The first book in the Dreamtreaders’ series, this adventure novel explores the world beyond waking reality. It brings the dream world to life in a way I hadn’t thought about before. This was a great book to read before my bedtime to help me wind down at the end of the day. It was exciting and fun, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
Spirituality is another subject I love reading about. The author is irreverent but genuine, and he brings up some excellent points and questions about the Christian faith. The book follows his journey between his fundamentalist Christian upbringing and his explorations of less conservative, more “worldly” lifestyles. The author’s relatability and honesty about his doubts makes the Christian faith seem less intimidating. An enjoyable read that made me think.

I have other books that I’m reading or have read, but the above list is a handful of the ones that have really stuck with me. Share in the comments what you’re reading this year!

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