My 2017 Reading List: April

manreadingabook

by John Ellis

After the month of April, my goal of reading two hundred books in 2017 may be out of reach. Having read nine books last month, my total for the first four months of the year is fifty-one. This means that I will need to read one-hundred and forty-nine books during the remaining eight months of 2017. At an average of 18.6 books per month, it’s doable, but highly doubtful. To be fair, in April I began reading Paul: An Outline of His Theology by Herman Ridderbos. That dense tome has eaten up (in a good way) much of my reading time.

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My 2017 Reading List: March

manreadingabook

by John Ellis

It is with great shame and my head hung low[1] that I confess to having only read twelve books this month. A full month of thirty-one days, mind you. I mean, in the “partial” month of February I managed to read eighteen books. I blame the paltry number of books I read this past month on the fact that I spent almost a whole week traveling and guest-lecturing. If I lose to my daughter in the Daddy VS Daughter Reading Challenge, the blame falls squarely and solely on the shoulders of my friend who “forced” me to travel that week.[2]

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My Reading List for My Kids for When They’re in High School

book stack

by John Ellis

This past Sunday, a friend of mine asked me to write an article listing the books that he should’ve read in high school, but probably didn’t. To be fair to my friend, he’s a nuclear engineer, and having not read these books has not stunted his ability to be a productive adult; assuming that he hasn’t read the following books, that is. On the other hand, I know people who have read the following books who have not been very productive as adults. Make of that what you will. Anyway, my friend’s request is only one of the reasons why I compiled this list.

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Writer of The Shack, William Paul Young Outs Himself as a Heretic

The_Shack

by John Ellis

Two months ago, I ordered a copy of The Shack, the New York Times bestseller that has sold over twenty million copies.[1] I intended to read it and then write a review in time for the release of the movie. However, the book is so poorly written that I was unable to force myself to read it. It’s that bad.

For the record, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy reading The Shack. Over the years, I’ve become very familiar with the contrived plot, blasphemous characters, and heretical teachings. It’s been inescapable. The number of family and friends who rave about the book match the family and friends who denounce the book. Not long after its release, I researched the teachings of The Shack and concluded that, at best, it wasn’t worth my time reading; at worst, I would just become incensed over the heresy being subtly introduced (or not so subtly) to brothers and sisters in Christ. The devil is indeed a lion seeking to devour people. The movie, of course, changed my perspective on the value of me reading the book, and that brings me back to my opening paragraph. And, as stated, I couldn’t force myself to finish The Shack.

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My 2017 Reading List: February

stack-of-books

by John Ellis

A friend asked me if I read more than one book at a time. I replied in the affirmative and added that I have a system, of sorts. I also said that I would attempt to explain my system. Briefly, and suddenly realizing that this can barely be classified a “system,” I read from a novel every night before going to sleep. Other than that, I’m reading at least two theology books at a time as well as a general interest book. By general interest, I mean whatever my interest is at the time. At any given moment, my interest could be history or sociology or theatre (I make sure to read at least one Shakespeare play a month) or philosophy or, I don’t know, books on how to build a pergola in the backyard. So, for February, I read four novels (technically, one is a collection of short stories), six “general interest books,” and eight theology books.

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The 4 Hardest Books of the Bible to Read

reading-bible

by John Ellis

I have a love/hate relationship with click-bait titles. On one hand, click-bait titles feel a little dirty and, at times, dishonest. On the other hand, though, click-bait titles help me keep my job. There are many platforms on the interwebs competing for clicks. My editors at PJ Media have a job to do, and that job is making sure that eyeballs end up on my articles. Click-bait titles are part of that job.

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My 2017 Reading List: January

snoopy-readingby John Ellis

As 2016 came to a close, I began noticing a multitude of blog posts and articles listing the author’s 2016 reading list. I like the concept, but, not to brag, well, too brag a little, my year-end reading list would be incredibly long. I have no idea how many books I read in 2016, but my goal for 2017 is two hundred books (I’m working on another article fleshing out that goal a little bit). If I were to go back over 2016, I wouldn’t be too surprised to discover that I surpassed my 2017 goal in 2016. Even if I fell short of two hundred books by, say, fifty, an article listing the books with a short blurb about each would be well over 15,000 words[1]. At that point, I may as well write my own book.

In order to participate and still keep the articles a manageable length, I’ve decided to write month-end reading lists throughout 2017. Sadly, my reading list in January puts me behind the eight-ball when it comes to my reading goal for 2017. Thankfully, it’s the first month of the year, so I have plenty of time to catch up[2]. One note – I’m including books that I finished reading during the month. Three of the books on this list were begun in December. It will all work out because when December 2017 ends, there will undoubtedly be three or four books that I will be reading but will not finish until 2018. For example, I am currently reading four books that I started in January that will not show up until the February list.

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