Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The 30 Before 30 Wrap-Up

Well, folks. I did it. I completed my year-long goal of reading 30 books between my 29th and 30th birthdays (with 5 days to spare, thank you very much). When I turned 29, I noticed a lot of my peers creating "30 Before 30 Bucket Lists." Well, I'm not very adventurous so I decided just to challenge myself to get back into reading. I used to be a voracious reader (which is why I use words like "voracious") but life got busy, I got lazy, excuses, excuses. Not only, did I challenge myself to read, I challenged myself to read something outside of my normal genre (inspirational fiction - aka Christian romances). Originally, I just asked for recommendations and ordered them from the library. Once I ran out of recommendations, though, I found myself grabbing random "general fiction" books that fell pretty comfortably into my wheelhouse without the "Christianeese." So I made myself this list:

7 Christian Living Books
5 Non-fiction

18 Fiction:
5 Highly Recommended by Friends 
1 From a Genre You Wouldn't Usually Read 
1 On the Bestseller List 
1 Book You Should've Read in High School But Didn't 
1 Published the Year You were Born 
1 Highly Rated on Amazon/Goodreads 
8 Just Because

Overall, I stuck to it pretty well. You can scroll down on my 30 Before 30 Page to see where each book I read fell into this list. I ended up with 10 "Just Because," only 4 non-fiction, and 4 highly recommended by friends. Not bad!!

So here are my grand thoughts regarding "branching out:" I enjoyed it! I found a few new authors I really like (JoJo Moyes, Kate Morton, Janet Evanovich, Liane Moriarty, Kristin Hannah). I read some great books. My favorite fiction reads were probably: You Before Me (Moyes), The Secret Keeper (Morton), Dear Mr. Knightley (Reay), The Rosie Project (Simison), The Heist and its sequels (Evanovich), The Nightingale (Hannah), and Big Little Lies (Moriarty).

I also read some that I really disliked: Unspoken (Henderson), The Cuckoo's Calling (Galbraith), The Girl on the Train (Hawkins), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), and Unfinished Business (Roberts). Honestly, most of them weren't badly written (with the exception of Unspoken). They were just too dark for me, too depressing, too sexual, or too boring. I wrote in one of my reviews, that the thing I appreciate the most about Christian fiction is the redemption element. That element is sorely missing in a lot of secular fiction.

As for non-fiction, I forced myself through 11 books. Haha. I'm not a non-fiction reader. The only ones that weren't "Christian living" were autobiographies of funny people (Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, Melanie Shankle) and the complete opposite: the awful story of Unbroken. Again, Unbroken was masterfully written and did have that redemption at the end that I so crave. It was just way too dark and horrible for me.

The Christian living books I particularly enjoyed were: Out of a Far Country (Yuan), Loving God with All Your Mind (George), A Woman After God's Own Heart (George), Crazy Busy (DeYoung), and Give them Grace (Fitzpatrick). By "enjoy," I mean, it was thought-provoking, got me in the Word, made me ask questions and think through hard topics. I never really enjoy reading Christian living books like I do straight up fiction. :-)

You can see the whole list of books I read and read my reviews on them by clicking the link here.

And here's the bonus: Forcing myself back into the reading world whet my appetite and got me reading voraciously again. I made myself stay out the inspirational fiction genre for my 30 Before 30, but I got back into it anyway. I actually read 45 other books outside of the 30 Before 30 in the past year! (Also documented on my 30 Before 30 Page) So when I set out to read 30, I ended up reading 75! Whoa, baby! Never mind the fact that we ate a lot of frozen pizza for dinner this year and my girls watched a lot of TV. Lol. I loved this challenge for that benefit alone - it got me reading and enjoying reading again!

So the question remains, will I continue to branch out or will I wander back to the comfort and familiarity of inspirational fiction? I think you'll all be pleased to hear that I will continue to read "secular" fiction. I find myself gravitating toward the "new fiction" section at the library and looking up my favorite new authors. I.F. will remain my genre of choice. You'll never truly pry me away from it. But I've learned to enjoy mainstream fiction as well. Mission accomplished. :-)

1 comment:

  1. 75 before 30 ... very impressive! Well done, Sadie!


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