#10: Read 30 non-academic books.
Tom and I have really gotten into reading through books together, usually one person reading out loud to the other. Most recently, we finished The Five Languages of Apology while driving to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. This book was written by Gary Chapman, who also wrote The Five Love Languages, which I would probably say has helped our marriage more than any other book...besides the Bible (duh). If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it, whether you're married or not. Chapman basically presents the idea that everyone has their own idea of what is considered loving, and learning to speak others' "love languages" greatly improves the quality of your relationships. For example, my primary love language is Quality Time: if you want to hang out with me, even if we barely talk, I feel on top of the world. Well, in Apology, he outlines five different ways in which people might perceive an apology to be truly sincere. Through reading this book, I discovered that my primary apology language is Genuine Repentance; unless you at least indicate the desire not to repeat whatever you did wrong, I probably won't take your apology very seriously. Tom's, on the other hand, is Accepting Responsibility, admitting you were wrong. See the difference? No one language is any better or worse than the others; they just show how different people are. Very interesting. The sociologist in me was loving it.
Also, this past Sunday, I finished Mark Driscoll's Confessions of a Reformission Rev. It's a pretty quick read, but it packs a wallop; I really feel like it taught me a lot about church planting, church leadership, and how I, as a layperson, can contribute to the well-being of my local church. I've listened to Driscoll's sermons for years now, and he is an acquired taste for sure. His honesty is brutal at times, but refreshing, and that carries over into his writing style. He definitely revealed the less glamorous side of church-planting, and as one of the most successful (if not the most successful) church planters of our time, I'd say he knows what he's talking about.
So...I'm coming to the realization that I will probably not meet this goal. The Driscoll book was the 10th one I've finished since I started this challenge, and I seriously doubt I'll be able to read 20 more books by September of next year. I'm currently "in the middle" of more books than I can keep track of (seriously...just hop over to the Tracking page...it's getting a little ridiculous), but it's been hard to find the time to finish any of them. I just love books too much; it gets me into trouble sometimes...! That being said, I recently had an idea for a new blog to start once my 999 days are over.
There are SO many books out there that I want to read, but I know that if I keep going the way I'm going now, I'll start all of them and never finish (this should not be!), so maybe this will be a good way around that. It's sort of a one-person book club, if you will: One book per month, with a short "review" at the end of the month. That will force me to focus on one book at a time, and I think knowing that I'll have to write about it at the end of the month will help light a fire under me to actually finish it. I'm pretty excited about it!