I did it! I reached my goal of 100 books in 2018 and it’s only September! What now? Keep reading, of course! I created an Instagram account to help me track my reading. Feel free to follow along @meganbyrdreads!
A second reading goal is to read at least one book each month by a non-white author to expand my knowledge and perspective. Thus far I have succeeded, but there are still three months to go!
A third, less pressing goal was to check off the 12 different categories of books Anne Bogel (aka ModernMrsDarcy) suggests to help vary the types of books read this year. I completed that in August but will continue to list the categories for the remainder of the year.
I have read 4 books in August and 1 thus far in September by non-white authors (indicated with a *). I read the following from Anne’s list (even though I have completed all twelve categories, it’s still fun to see the variety): 1) a memoir, biography, or book of nonfiction (NF), 2) a book recommended by someone with great taste (GT), 3) a book by a favorite author (Fav), and 4) a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own (DiF).
August pt. 2:
91. Surrendering My Ordination: Standing for Gay & Lesbian Inclusivity in the United Methodist Church by J. Philip Wogaman (NF)
The author shared his story and reasons for giving up his status as an ordained minister in the Methodist church. The impetus was the refusal to allow a person in a same-gendered marriage to be considered for ordination. The author talked about the laws of the church as well as the ethics of such a decision. He talked about how the beliefs of the church affect real people and can be barriers to them receiving the grace and love of God intended for all people.
I was hoping to receive more in-depth information about his beliefs and how he interprets the Bible. Not that he promised this, it was just a hope of mine. I did appreciate him sharing his experience publicly.
92. Blue Babies Pink by Brett Trapp (B.T.) Harman (audiobook) (NF)
Brett shares the story of his life, focusing on his struggle to reconcile his same-sex attraction feelings with his Christian faith.
I appreciated his honesty about his experiences. I learned a lot by hearing him talk about his struggle with his fear and shame and loneliness. I am glad that I listened to him read his story.
93. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Jess does makeup for clients celebrating special occasions, living month to month in NYC. She hears about a four-hour psychology project that nets $500 and lies her way into it. The professor invites her to continue the research for more money and Jess agrees, but she soon thinks she may be in over her head. What is Dr. Shield’s real purpose behind Jess’s involvement? What is the truth and who can she trust?
I really liked that the perspective shifts between Jess and Dr. Shields, slowly revealing a little more info. I continued to hop back and forth between who was responsible for a previous research subject’s supposed suicide. I was guessing until the end.
94. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (GT)
Leni’s family has been nomadic, especially since her father returned from being a POW. Now, when she’s 13, her father has decided to move the family to Alaska for a fresh start. It’s exciting but also a bit frightening as the long, dark winters probably won’t be good for her dad’s dark, violent moods. Will they survive and thrive in the harsh Alaskan climate or will it be too much for the fragile family?
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I experienced the full range of emotions – happiness, fear, trepidation, sadness, joy. Parts of the book I was anxious about continuing to read become I was afraid of what might happen to one of the characters I cared about. I wasn’t sure if a positive ending would be possible. There’s a lot of brokenness in the story. Very emotionally engaging and a good story.
95. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis (GT) (NF)
A lot of people liked this book so I thought I would check it out. A few of the chapters had encouragement for me (like the one about writing) but overall it felt more like Rachel sharing her life experiences in snippets. She has been through some difficult things but I thought she would talk more about her faith and God’s role in her life. I wouldn’t really consider it a Christian book, more of a memoir. It felt like she was talking about her perseverance in tough situations and how she got to where she is by her own power and we can be successful too if we try hard and believe in ourselves. I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of what she did. She kind of put everything out there in the name of honesty without really saying they weren’t the best choices or discouraging others from doing similar self-destructive things. I wouldn’t recommend this book unless you are already a fan of the author.
96. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan* (DiF) (Fav)
Ah Ma has had a heart attack and all of the family is gathering at her house to spend time with her in her seemingly last days. Rachel convinces Nick to go and apologize to his grandmother and end the estrangement. The big question everyone is curious to find out is who will get Tyersall Park in the will. Meanwhile, Astrid and Charlie keep facing disaster as they try to head toward marriage.
It had all of my favorite (and not so favorite) characters. There were plenty of kinks and twists to keep me on my toes. And it ended satisfactorily. I think it’s open enough for a fourth book in the series. I guess we’ll see if the story continues. A wonderful, entertaining trilogy!
97. Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow (NF)
Derek Black grew up the son of white nationalists and for a long time was seen as the next face of the movement. He had a radio show and regularly posted on Stormfront, a white nationalist website. When he began attending New College of Florida, a liberal university, he met and became friends with the people he thought were part of what he claimed was “white genocide” – Jewish, Muslim, Hispanic, and African-American people. Getting to know them personally and being questioned regularly by his good friend-turned-girlfriend caused him to begin evaluating and questioning his beliefs. Eventually, he realized the errors in his thinking and disavowed white nationalism. It caused a rift between him and his family members, especially his parents. With the rise of Trump’s presidential bid and the rhetoric surrounding it, Derek realized he needed to be more vocal about the erroneous beliefs of white nationalism.
It was a very interesting book that explains some of the beliefs of white nationalists along with a greater understanding of Trump’s election and many of his supporters. A relevant read for our current America.
98. Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee (NF)
Kayla Aimee struggled to get and stay pregnant. When she became pregnant with her daughter, everything was going along like normal until her 24th week when the doctors discovered she was contracting and dilated. They put her on bedrest and managed to keep the baby inside until her 25th week when they performed an emergency c-section. Her daughter lived in the NICU for months as the family waited in tense uncertainty to see if she would survive. Kayla shares her experiences and fears and how that affected her faith in the hope of helping, supporting, and/or encouraging other mothers of micro-preemies.
It was a very vulnerable and open story of her experience. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to not know day-to-day whether your child would survive. I had two points of similar experience with Kayla in that with my first child I was unknowingly having contractions (I didn’t feel anything either) and I also ended up having an emergency c-section with my daughter shortly after my 36 week check-up (went from the doctor’s office to the hospital across the street). It was traumatic enough for me and I had a mostly healthy baby who went home with us when we did a few days later. I’m thankful Kayla was willing to share her story.
99. Tides of Deception by Christy Barritt (Fav)
The first spin-off of the Lantern Beach series. Skye has been enjoying her simple life in Lantern Beach until one day she sees someone from her past. Ian, her old boyfriend, and his family are in town and the boy her friend Austin just saved from drowning looks really familiar. Could it be the baby she was coerced into giving up for adoption? Will her potential relationship with Austin be ruined when he finds out about her past? Who is responsible for all of the “accidents” that have been happening to Skye and Austin?
I enjoyed getting to read more about the Lantern Beach crew. I speculated about who might be guilty of the bad things that were happening. I look forward to the next book!
100. It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh (Fav)
This book was a breath of fresh air! Sheila reminds us that we don’t have to be perfect because Christ was perfect on our behalf. Our job is to take our whole selves to Jesus and offer everything to him whose power is made perfect in our weakness. She addresses the topics of admitting when we’re stuck and struggling, changing the way we think, moving forward even when we’re afraid, letting go of the need to feel in control (and acknowledging that God is always in control), rising above disappointment, celebrating our scars, and choosing to not let failure keep us from trying again. At the end of each chapter, there are action steps to help move forward in each area.
This book was full of encouraging truth. I highlighted a lot of parts and will be returning to this book again. It’s a great read for people who struggle with feeling like they have to work for God’s approval or for those who feel like their pasts and flaws disqualify them from an abundant, purpose-filled life. It’s also great for anyone who wants reminders of the truth found in God’s word about who he is and who we are. I highly recommend it!
I hope you have enjoyed my updates thus far. Now that I’ve reached my goal of 100, I will only post updates at the end of each month. I’ll combine the second half of September with October so there will only be three more of these reading challenge posts. I hope you’ll stick with me!