The Challies 2016 Reading Challenge

Want to read more in 2016?

Me too.

One of my favorite bloggers, Tim Challies, created the 2016 Reading Challenge to give direction to people who want to tackle more books this year.

Here’s a link to the 2016 Reading Challenge. He’s got plans for 13, 26, 52, and 104 books. You can click the image below for a larger view.


I’m currently tackling the 52 book challenge, aiming for a book a week to keep pace.

If your year of reading hasn’t started out how you hoped, never fear! You can start fresh today and still easily tackle 13 or 26 books, or if you’re ready for a quicker pace, you’ll need to read a book a week plus squeeze in an extra seven somewhere along the line.

Instant is in and tweets and status updates are easier to digest because of their low caloric value. But book readers continue to be influencers and leaders because books change and sharpen minds.

I had to do a little retrofitting to make the books I read so far fit this list. It’s going to take more planning going forward to make it all work, so that’s my next task.

Here’s what I’ve read so far in 2016.

Completed in 2016

  1. The Damascus Countdown – Joel Rosenberg The final book in The Twelfth Imam trilogy. My friend Grant got me hooked on Joel Rosenberg, who some call the “modern day Nostradamus.” I’m not sure his interpretations of some biblical prophecies are completely accurate, but he writes captivating Christian thrillers.
  2. The Speechwriter – Barton Swain A hilarious tale of being a speechwriter for former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, you’ll laugh a lot but probably walk away from the inside view of a political office with a more jaded perspective.
  3. The Third Target – Joel Rosenberg From ol’ Joel’s newest trilogy, a first-person perspective of a journalist meeting with leaders of ISIS and navigating reporting on a peace process in the Middle East. One of my favorite Rosenberg books.
  4. Awe – Paul David Tripp – Tripp says our problem with worship is that we aren’t in awe of God and his love for us, so we look to other things (money, sex, relationships, work) for temporary satisfaction. I agree with the premise and recommend the book because I see the battle happening for my awe daily in my own life.
  5. Stuff Matters – Mark Miodownik A fascinating look at the everyday materials that make up our world. Miodownik’s passion for the seemingly mundane (like paper and concrete) help you appreciate the simple stuff we take for granted.
  6. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr A captivating historical fiction novel set during WWII from the perspective of a young blind girl in Paris and an orphan boy in Germany. Doerr crafted some of the most incredibly, descriptive prose I’ve ever read, and the story is a simultaneously heart wrenching and beautiful picture of humanity.
  7. Do Over – Jon Acuff Acuff melds helpfulness and humor in an amazing way. I was highlighting like a madman and note taking nonstop in this book about taking charge of your career, and laughing the whole way through. I’ve already given this one away as a gift.
  8. Fool’s Talk – Os Guiness The great-great-great grandson of the famous brewer helps us think about the role of apologetics and persuasion in evangelism, tackling big objections to Christianity and sharing interesting anecdotes along the way. Fairly intellectual, but a helpful guide on evangelism in a pluralistic, postmodern world.

Currently reading

  • Triggers – Marshall Goldsmith I have a habit for reading books about habits. Goldsmith is an executive coach who helps people who dominate the business world handle that nagging problem of behavioral change, and he only gets paid if they’re successful. Chockfull of “of course!” wisdom on changing habits and behavior, but helpful because of the sheer simplicity.
  • Future Crimes – Marc Goodman We’re currently watching Person of Interest and I’m reading this book, so I’m ready to go off the grid entirely and smash all of my internet-connected devices. A pessimistic but realistic look at the reality of everything being hackable, and what that means in a world of hackers, criminal masterminds, and organized crime. Eye opening and fear inducing, and if you don’t have eternal hope for the future, well, I don’t know how you make it through this one without being entirely freaked out and saddened at the state of our world.


  • A book about Christian living (Awe – Paul David Tripp)
  • A biography
  • A classic novel
  • A book someone tells you “changed my life”
  • A commentary on a book of the Bible
  • A book about theology
  • A book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle
  • A book your pastor recommends
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book for children
  • A mystery or detective novel
  • A book published in 2016
  • A book about a current issue


  • A book written by a Puritan
  • A book recommended by a family member
  • A book by or about a missionary
  • A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize (All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr)
  • A book written by an Anglican (Fool’s Talk – Os Guinness)
  • A book with at least 400 pages (The Damascus Countdown – Joel Rosenberg)
  • A book by C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien
  • A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title
  • A book with a great cover
  • A book on the current New York Times list of bestsellers (Stuff Matters – Mark Miodownik)
  • A book about church history
  • A graphic novel
  • A book of poetry


  • A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with
  • A book written by an author with initials in their name
  • A book that won a ECPA Christian Book Award
  • A book about worldview
  • A play by William Shakespeare
  • A humorous book (The Speechwriter – Barton Swain)
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book written by Jane Austen
  • A book by or about Martin Luther
  • A book with 100 pages or less
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book about money or finance
  • A novel set in a country that is not your own (The Third Target – Joel Rosenberg)
  • A book about music
  • A memoir
  • A book about joy or happiness
  • A book by a female author
  • A book whose title comes from a Bible verse
  • A book you have started but never finished
  • A self-improvement book (Do Over – Jon Acuff)
  • A book by David McCullough
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book about abortion
  • A book targeted at the other gender
  • A book by a speaker at a conference you have attended
  • A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you