A Year of Reading

How long do you keep your New Year’s resolutions? A week or two, a few months, or maybe just a few days?
Back in January 2020, Adam Bingham told me about a ‘book-ish' New Year’s resolution he had embarked on and I was intrigued to find out how he got on. So here is the story.

Joy: So Adam, what bookish challenge did you set yourself in January 2020 and why?
Adam: At the start of 2020 I decided to set myself a target of reading 52 books over the course of the year, so averaging one book a week. I was inspired after reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. He talks about how, at the average reading speed, a person could read about 200 hundred books in a year if they read for just over an hour a day. He also gave some statistics on the amount of time most people can spend on social media and watching Netflix, etc. It made me want to use my time more productively and so I set my target for 52 books in the year (didn’t want to jump straight into 200!).

J: Quite a challenge! Did you reach your target?
A: Unfortunately, I didn’t hit my target of 52 books and only managed 43. A couple of books in the middle of the year were very academic and philosophical which I had to take at a much slower pace.

J: Still an impressive achievement! What kind of books did you read?
A: I read quite a variety of different books including fiction, biographies and literature. But most of them were Christian books. Even within this there was a variety: some were very easy reads, and others were much more academic and theological. A few were more academic than I usually go for, but they were books I had been keen to read for a while. I also read some Charles Dickens which isn’t something I had tried before, and it did take me a while to adjust to the style of writing.

J: So out of the books you read which would you recommend?
A: Three in particular:
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer This is a great book that has helped to shape my life, and as a family we made many changes to our day to day life as a result of this book. The idea of the book is to help us slow down and enjoy our life with God rather than missing out because of the busyness of life.

Deep Discipleship by JT English This was a really interesting book on spiritual formation within the church and the role of the church in forming disciples which I found extremely helpful.

Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll Not the most exciting of books but one I found really beneficial. A bullet journal is a method of journaling to help with productivity, goal setting and planning.

J: And what about the books you didn’t enjoy – was it hard to persevere?
A: There was only one book I didn’t finish. I started it but just never really got into it and so moved on to a different one, but other than that I found it easy to keep going.

J: What impact did this challenge have on your life? What have you learnt?
A: I really enjoyed this challenge and think it has had a really positive impact on my life. It has helped me to realise the enjoyment I get from reading and learning, and in a difficult year it has been something that has helped me to relax and enjoy myself. I read a lot about spiritual formation and spiritual disciplines, and it has been something that I have been able to put into practice to help me to go deeper with God and enjoy Him more.

J: Have you continued reading at this level into 2021?
A: I am hoping to! So far I have read about one book a week. I didn’t set a target this year though, as I don’t want to just get in the habit of flying through books and not getting as much out of them as a result. So I purposely have a few weightier books coming up which I know will force me to slow down and take my time to take it in, process and reflect on the content.

Thank you Adam!
Joy McIlroy