Friday, February 5, 2021

January Reading Challenge

Last year I so loved the Brighter Winter Reading Challenge. Not only was it ia fun way to add more reading to my life in mid-winter, but it encouraged me to spend less time on a screen. 

I like that the Brighter Winter program doesn't not choose specific books, but has a wide variety of challenges that can fit the books I wanted to read. Here is a list of the books I read for the challenges in January. One book could be used for two challenges.

Disclaimers: This post contains affiliate links. And please don't compare your amount of reading to mine. I'm a fast reader, and I probably don't do something that you do so I have more time to read. My reading has increased since I don't have Ed to talk to.

Read a book based on its cover: I never choose a book by the cover; almost all the books I read were receomended to me by friends. But I went to a used bookstore and picked up Between You and Me: Coffesions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris, a book I knew nothing about. Since the cover said it was a memior by a long-time editor, I thought it might be interested to a grammar nerd like me. It was. Except for a chapter on profanity and a few pages about her transgender brother, I throughly enjoyed this glimpse into a magazine editor's world.

Read a book with nonhuman characters/ Read a book set in winter: I chose to listen to the audio of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. The reader did such an excellent job that though I've read this book more than once, he made me want to listen to the entire series.

Read a poetry book for at least 20 minutes: I chose a book of poetry by Annie Johnson Flint. I struggle to enjoy poetry but knowing about the suffering in Flint's life made these poems meaningful.

Read a book with a three-word title: In A Different Beautiful by Courtney Westlake, she tells about her daughter's severe skin condition. Her example of surrender and acceptance in the face of grief was inspiring.

Read a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit/ Read by a fire: Elizabeth Goudge's novels so beautifully describe England and the old homes of the Elliot family that I always long to walk into her stories. I read The Heart of the Family which was the third in the Elliot series. I didn't enjoy it as much as the first two books, but it is always fun to revisit characters that you have fallen in love with.

Read a book published in 2020/Read a memoir: The Boy in the Window by Bobby D. Eaton is a sobering yet ultimately victorious story of a young boy growing up in a sharecropping home amidst poverty, abuse, and neglect. The love of neighbors changed the entire family and the forgiveness and healing that the author found in Christ is soul-strengthening.

Read a book inspired by a true story/Read whilte waiting for an appointment: Some of the ladies at our church are getting together to discuss The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield so I knew I needed to read this book this month. Rosaria is a former lesbian who found Christ because a pastor invited her to dinner, and she is now passionant about opening her home up to others. This book stepped all over my toes.

Read a classic: Authors like Tolkein and Lewis gave George MacDonald the credit for showing them how fantasy can describe truth. I read The Wise Woman which is a collection of short stories. The long sentences and fluffy descriptions are examples of the Victorian writing style, but some of his word pictures will stay with me.

Read a collection of short stories: I inhaled The Living of These Day over a weekend. I'll share more about this book in a future post.

Read a book with a blue cover/ Read a new-to-you middle grade book: Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose is a verse novel about the Lost Colony in Roanoke, North Carolina. It didn't feel realistic to me for the events playing out as the author imagined them, but it was a fun way to learn some history.

Read a book outside your genre comfort zone: Since I don't like to give negative reviews, I won't mention the title of the book I read for this challenge as it wasn't worth reading in my opinion.

If you did the Brighter Winter Challenge in January, I'd love to hear about your favorite book.


  1. I’m currently listening to “Captive in Iran” by Maryam Rostampour. It’s been very soul searching n I recommend it highly! Really appreciate/enjoy your book reviews. Ruth Weber

  2. I'm having fun with the Brighter Winter Reading Challenge. My favorite challenge was the read a book challenge was read a book set in a place you've always wanted to go was Anne of Green Gables. I listened to it and the reader did an amazing job of switching her voice between characters.
    You do read fast girl! I have The Gospel Comes With a House Key. I have it on my tablet but I haven't read it. Maybe that could fulfill the book to be read challenge.
    Thank you for sharing your books with us. Have a blessed weekend.

  3. I really enjoyed several of the books I read, so I'm not sure how to pick which one was my favorite. I really liked From the White House to the Amish, by Katrina Hoover Lee, also I liked Unplanned, by Abby Johnson, No Turning Back, by Pablo Yoder, and Heidi, by Johanna Spyri

  4. I enjoyed listening to From the White House to the Amish. Currently I'm listening to The Saturdays another Elizabeth Enright book. I had read Then There Were Five in this series and thought it excellent children's writing except for the colorful exclamations liberally sprinkled throughout the book. It doesn't seem this one has as many. I also recently listened to Kisses From Katie and would recommend that, too.

  5. Thanks for sharing about the books you read. I'm not doing the reading challenge but I'm reading aloud Nicholas Garrison by Katrina Hoover Lee for our homeschool. It is really good. We are also listening to the audio of From the White House to the Amish which I'm enjoying all the history in it.

  6. I forgot to mention I enjoyed reading From the White House to The Amish by Katrina Lee Hoover too. I saw many of the ladies mentioning it.

  7. I also really enjoyed gospel comes with a house key! Her book about her journey to christianity is also convicting. I'm preparing to write an essay on hospitality and I thought of her book as a reference.

  8. I read Becoming for the memoir and place I want to visit(Washington DC), From the White House to the Amish for book published in 2020, Ella Enchanted for non human characters, The Turquoise Table for blue cover and 3 word title and probably a few others. I'd love to hear what you're reading now since I'm having a harder time finding books this month...

  9. I don't think I've ever heard of the Brighter Winter Reading Challenge, but I really do like to talk about books I've been blessed to read. Recently I was just re-reading a few books by a pastor named Merlin Carothers. He was a well-known, best-selling Christian author just a generation ago, and his books have really helped to nurture my relationship with the Lord. The ones I re-read are called From Fear to Faith, Bringing Heaven into Hell, and Let Me Entertain You. And another book I read some years ago and would like to reorder now, is about a North Korean woman who was a political prisoner and became a Christian after her release. It's called Eyes of the Tailless Animals. It's not light reading (even the reviews on Amazon will try to prepare you for that), but very impactful and memorable.

  10. That sounds fun! You read one of my very favorites- "The Gospel Comes With a Housekey". Her other books are good, too. And, have you read "Gay Girl, Good God" by Jackie Hill Perry? These books help me relate to girls in our children's ministry, and others who struggle with same-sex attractions.

  11. What a great idea! I've never heard of a challenge like this. Thank you for the recommendations, from one grammar nerd to another!

  12. I didn't do this challenge but now I wish I would've. Thanks for another handy list of to-reads. :)


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