Reading Goals and Free Book

I took a break from the blogosphere this past week for the most part. Time with family took precedence. But here we find ourselves enjoying the first day of a new year and it is almost over already. My wife and I spent some time recently discussing some goals for ourselves and for our family in 2012. It was a profitable conversation and one that will probably be revisited throughout the year.

One of the areas that we discussed (because one of the great joys of both my wife and I) is reading. About reading Douglas Wilson says:

Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write. Read until your brain creaks. Tolkien said that his ideas sprang up from the leaf mold of his mind: your readings are the trees where your fallen leaves would come from. Mind mulch. Cognitive compost. (from Wordsmithy)

So here are some of the (mostly) reading goals that I have set for myself this year:

  • I plan to read the Bible through twice this year.
  • This  year I am going to memorize the book of Philippians.
  • I am going to read through Calvin’s Institutes. I have read through large portions but never from beginning to end. That is going to change this year. In fact I am going to invite you to join with me in this journey. More on this later though.
  • I plan to read two books on parenting (because I am a dad) and at least one book on Marriage (because I love my wife).
  • I plan on reading at least one new systematic theology and biblical theology this year.
  • I plan on reading at least two books about the cross and Christ’s work of redemption.
  • Because I enjoy theology most I tend to draw mostly from this well. So even though I have read from other areas I wanted to begin this year being more intentional in my reading by delving into some other disciplines. To this end I am going to sample business, history, science, math (this is going to be a subject that I will probably enjoy the least), literature, fantasy, mystery and politics and other miscellaneous topics. I tend to read a little from each throughout the year but this year I want to read more of each.

I hope to read about 30-40 other books on theology and the church. I know that may sound like a lot but I know so many others who read so much more. Indeed, I too used to read much more but with two jobs, and a family – which includes two awesome little boys – I need to keep things realistic and in perspective. Some could carry more and read more – praise God for them. I cannot at this time.

To help you begin this year with good reading material I am going to be giving away a free book! You can qualify for this contest by commenting on this post. You must answer the question “What is one reading goal that you have?” (big or small) and list which of the three titles you would like to recieve.




  1. 2 books on parenting and one on marriage? Either you love your child more than your wife or you are twice as good at being a husband than you are at being a father. 😀

    I always plan to read Tozer’s “Knowledge of the Holy” and R. Kent Hughes “Disciplines of a Godly Man” at least once a year. I also plan to read a book on abortion, a book on adoption, and whatever I can about starting non-profits and reforming the orphan culture of Romania (recommendations accepted).

    If I should win a book, I would like “Bloodlines”.

    1. I just finished several marriage books and I don’t think I have read a parenting book in over a year so that was my reasoning there. When I wrote it down I knew someone would comment on it :). Cruciform Press has some books that might be beneficial on those topics you mentioned – and they have electronic versions so that might be worth looking into if you are still in Romania.

  2. Ah, I shall always remember the great questions you posed for discussion on the pick line at the PDC – usually generated by the many books you were reading! My main goal this year is to read through the Bible (haven’t done it since high school), and my other list of reading material is growing longer by the minute!

    If I should win your book give-away, I would like the Kellers’ book on Marriage. =)

  3. My 20 cents:
    1. Congrats on your new blog! I think I noticed it on Facebook a month or two ago.
    2. Congrats on your reading goals! Pastors should be some of the most well-read citizens in the land.
    3. Read lots of Doug Wilson (blog and books). Some of his theology is interesting, but his writing is top drawer. (So is his son’s. I recommend “Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl” if you haven’t seen that yet.)
    4. You will enjoy the Institutes. I’m through Book II of IV, and it’s extremely readable/accessible and devotional. Doug Wilson has a study guide for it.
    5. Speaking of the Wilson clan, his daughter Rachel Jankovic has a good book on parenting: “Loving the Little Years.” It’s more geared towards mothers, but I enjoyed it. Doug and Nancy (his wife) have some great books on the family too.
    6. Suggestions for the cross of Christ: 1) Must read: John Stott’s “The Cross of Christ.” I’m about 3/4 through—wow. 2) Sproul’s “The Truth of the Cross” is short and packed.
    7. On the fantasy side, you (and your boys) might be interested in Nate Wilson’s Ashtown Burials series (have I mentioned the Wilsons yet?). Book 1 is out in hardback, and it’s slated for a series of 5.
    8. My reading goal: Read more than in 2011. I was somewhere in the 40s. (
    9. The Kellers’ book, please. 🙂

  4. I love your goals, Kendall!

    My reading goal this year is to read at least 12 books – I haven’t identified them yet but here are the first two: (1) The Heart of the Story by Randy Frazee and (2) Jesus, my Father, the CIA, and me – a memoir by Ian Morgan Cron.

    If I win I’m going for Keller’s book on marriage. Thanks for the opportunity!

  5. Ambitious goals, Kendall! One reading goal that I have this upcoming year (post-school, so, June through December) is to read 2 books per month. No decision on topics yet. So, if I win this contest, maybe I could start with “Practicing Affirmation” by Crabtree!

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