It’s that time of the year again. Time to make New Year’s Resolutions you’ll never keep. At least that’s the tradition.
Twenty-one years ago I made the only New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever kept. I decided I would do something to improve my mind – read more books and watch less television. I made a resolution to read an average of at least two books a month.
Twenty-one years later I’ve read 874 books. A few of the best ones I’ve read more than once. I’m now averaging 42 books per year or 3.5 books per month. (This year I set a record with 73 books!) Seven years ago I increased my list by adding audio books I could listen to while driving to and from work.
Books are wonderful. Nothing beats a good book in front of a warm fire on a cold winter afternoon. Add a good cup of coffee or warm apple cider and I’m in hog heaven.
I teach bible study classes and sometimes give public speeches. Books are a great way to illustrate your message. They broaden your horizons and deepen your appreciation of the world around you, the history that got us here, and the people who enrich our experiences. How often can you say that about the last sitcom you watched on television?
In no particular order I’ve listed my top ten fiction and non-fiction books read in the last twenty-one years:
- Up Country – Nelson DeMille
- The Killer Angels – Michael Shaara
- The Traveler’s Gift – Andy Andrews
- Day of Confession – Allan Folsom
- The Bear and the Dragon – I & II – Tom Clancy
- The Kill Artist – Daniel Silva
- State of Fear – Michael Crichton
- The Ezekiel Option – Joel Rosenberg
- The Brass Verdict – Michael Connelly
- The Venetian Betrayal – Steve Berry
- The Boys in the Boat – Daniel James Brown
- Band of Brothers – Stephen Ambrose
- Great Souls – David Aikman
- The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
- The Three Year Swim Club – Julie Checkoway
- Losing Ground – Charles Murray
- Bonhoeffer – Eric Metaxsis
- The Church Awakening – Charles Swindoll
- Team of Rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin
- The Bible
It was much more difficult to decide on the list of top ten non-fiction books than fiction books. The reason is that they make a more lasting impression upon you. Fiction is generally for entertainment while non-fiction is for education. However, there can be lessons learned from fiction, especially when it is historical.
This year I’ve decided to make another New Year’s Resolution for my health – this time to improve my body. I started a regular exercise program three months ago when my back gave me trouble and I’m determined to continue that at least three days or more every week. It has already made a huge difference in the way I feel, the way I look, and the way I sleep. Why wouldn’t I continue?
I challenge you to do the same. Make a New Year’s Resolution this year that’s good for you – either your body or your mind or maybe even your soul. How about reading through the Bible this year cover to cover?