Simply Sather


So much has happened in the past 364 days!

Major surgery, a 10-week recovery, a wedding, a mini and full honeymoon as well as a half dozen trips…we’ve been busy!

At this time last year, when I knew I was going to be facing mandatory rest, I began to think about pursuing a reading challenge to keep my mind active though my body would need to be still. I’d been participating in other folks’ reading challenges for years, but knew that I needed to simplify my expectation.

So last year, I decided that I was going to strive to read 100 books in 365 days.


To be honest, I chose that amount because I’d heard someone else had done it. Yes, call it what it is – competitive and prideful. I needed to chill out and read to challenge myself while also reading for enjoyment. It helped that a couple of folks close to me called me to refocus why I really wanted to complete a reading challenge.

I wanted to complete a reading challenge to be stretched but most importantly to get back into reading. I enjoy the stories and appreciate the opportunity to dip into worlds I’m not comfortable with or have no experience with and because reading encourages me to dream.

Remembering why I wanted to do this challenge, made me change my total from 100 to 65 books. It was important to stretch myself but also incredibly important for me to complete what I’d set out to do.

grateful for this recommendation from another book lover earlier this year

And I did it!

I read 65 books in 365 days from November 01 2017 to October 31 2018 plus one, bringing my total to 66 books in one year.

You can see the list here.


You’ll also notice a second challenge.

It’s the one about reading one classic book each summer. (I really like this criteria to define a classic.) This happened because I tried to read Pride and Prejudice in July and it took me so much longer. I just could not get into it and had to force myself to finish it. Giving myself a longer time to experience and labor over the language of the classics will hopefully help me really read, comprehend and experience the content.

pride + prejudice, my first summer classic

In the summer of 2019, I’ll be sure to choose my book by May and give myself June through August to complete it.


With the first of November right around the corner, I’ve finally decided upon my newest reading challenge.


Here’s why…

From 01 November 2018 through 31 October 2019 I will read books that are BORROWED, LOANED, GIFTED + RECOMMENDED including JODI PICOULT’S‘ FULL BODY OF WORK.

small, great things by jodi picoult – be still my book lovin’ heart

My first annual reading challenge was based on the number of books read, this one will be focused on the amount of money spent. Which needs be zero dollars. Zip, Zilch. I’m not even wanting to spend any money on overdue library fines. Zero dollars spent by me on books going forward, that is the crux of this reading goal.

If you’ve not heard of it, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University’s second step is the Debt Snowball. I am on that step. There are debts that are still outstanding and as much as I enjoy reveling in my book loot – having them sit on my shelf, owning them – this year no new books will be purchased and collected by me. God’s gonna get His and then my debtors theirs.

This means that books must be loaned to me by willing friends (I promise to return them in great condition), borrowed from my public library or a friend’s personal library gifted and however the books come to me, they must be recommended.  The exception to recommended books will be my reading all 25 of Jodi Picoult’s books in the coming year starting with Spark of Light which I picked up when she came to speak in Dallas in early October 2018.

I don’t know what this list is going to look like, but I hope to be reading at least a few books every month. Books of variety, exposing me to new and very different experiences, stories, cultures and lives than what I’ve been drawn to and a more relaxed reading rate since the only number that matters most this go ’round is the number ZERO.


If you are able or willing, here’s how you can you support + encourage me as I tackle my challenge:

  • share the titles you feel I must read in the comments below
  • set aside any books you’d be willing to send to me – I will read & review them
  • share what your book club is reading/planning to read
  • recommend books you know I’ll be able to get from the library (preferably in print, but digital recommendations are acceptable)
  • share Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles you think I may enjoy following for more recommendations
  • share the best Free Little Libraries in the Keller, Southlake, Grapevine area in Texas
  • check in on my progress here and subscribe to receive monthly newsletters that include soul tending tips + reading updates + news about the happenings around Simply Sather
  • follow my book reading feed on Instagram @readwithregina
  • share the part of this reading challenge that you are incorporating into your reading life – solidarity book lovin’ pals…

Reading regularly and diversely helps me tend to my soul. There’s just something about turning pages, feeling the emotions of a story, learning, experiencing something new and growing as a result of the words you read.

In addition to reading my Bible daily, I will be reading just about anything I can get my hands on without spending a penny.

Will you join me?