2019 Reading – Reflections and Paths Forward

A reflection on what I read in 2018 and why I won’t be replicating that in the New Year.

According to what I recorded on Goodreads, I read 189 books. Goodreads even tells me that this amounts to 56,478 pages, in total. A handy tool, but I’m not sure why I would ever need that number outside of a reading contest, right?

I think I had a crisis, of sorts, when it came to the end of 2018. One of the most popular activities for both readers and bloggers is to come up with their “2018 in Review” reading list. These usually feature a list of their top ten favorite, most influential, most poignant, titles read or released in that calendar year. Of course, I wanted to throw in my two cents on what the best books that I read over the course of the year were.

But my brain broke, and I couldn’t think of any.

Quite simply, I think I ended up reading too much. There were some truly great standouts in that list – NT Wright’s The Day The Revolution Began, Eugene Peteron’s As Kingfishers Catch Fire, and Peter Leithart’s double volumed commentary on Revelation. Some came fairly easily to mind. Others didn’t. As I reviewed what I had read in the year prior, I realized I barely remembered them. Of course, I remembered their central premises and a few arguments or points that I had learned from each. But I don’t think I remember the shapes of the books, their peculiarities, or anything else like that. And that doesn’t seem fair.

And, really, part of why that number is so high is because a lot of them were Star Wars novels. Those are about a dime a dozen, usually breezy reads without much going on below the surface. This is partly why I am working through them as part of my Legendary Adventures articles over at Mynock Manor (whom, I might add, had a stellar year in 2018!)

So, I want to focus my reading in two ways for 2019:

First, I am entitling 2019 #TwentyWrightTeen. I have a pile of NT Wright’s books in my home, a lot of which I haven’t read. And, let’s be honest, a lot of which that I would be extremely happy to read again. And again. So my plan for TwentyWrightTeen is to work through the pile I have before delving into other titles which I do not yet own. This will range from lesser known titles, like The Lord and His Prayer to a few of the better known titles, such as Paul and the Faithfulness of God and Paul: A Biography. Outside of taking better notes for personal edification, I will be doing a bit more extensive blogging on the more salient and interesting portions I come across!

Second, I am focusing more on pastoral theology, homiletics, and similar theological books. I will be, in June, Lord willing, graduating with my Master of Divinity. In order to take full responsibility for this, I want to be preparing my heart and my mind now for the new struggles, challenges, joys, and opportunities this will open for me. I want to be spending a lot of time asking what a pastor is, what they do, how they preach, and more. (I hope these books answer – and ask – a lot more questions than I can come up with here!)

I have also been blessed with being a part of two reading groups. The first is a book club with brothers and sisters from church, wherein we take turns picking books for the group to read. The second is one at work, where we are challenging each other to read 17 different books from 17 different genres.

So, that’s 2019: NT Wright and pastoral training. What are your 2019 plans for reading?

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