I have been an avid reader for a very long time. It is how (besides the travel I’ve been blessed to experience) I’ve been able to see the world, learn about people so different from me and to connect with others through stories.

These are the books that have helped me experience different people, cultures and places in the world. Books that spoke to my soul, changed or challenged my thinking and/or caused me to grow have an (*) after them and are emboldened. This means I really, really, really want everyone to read them and for us to have a worldwide book club discussion about them.

Though I’ve participated in other book challenges, fairly competitive ones (read the most books the fastest for the right to choose a future book challenge category type of competition), 2017 was the first time I decided to personalize my own reading challenge. Each challenge is now recorded here.

Note that my various challenges are in reverse order – the current reading “challenge” is at the top.

books in photo: library, loan + gift (left to right)


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

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 to be zero dollars. Zip, Zilch.

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 the public library or a loan from friend’s personal library, gifted and recommended.  And that I will be reading all 27 of Jodi Picoult’s books in the coming year – but in reverse – 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 a few books every month. Books of variety, exposing me to new and very different books than what I’ve been drawn to and a more relaxed reading rate since the only number that matters this go ’round is the number ZERO.


Life After, Katie Ganshert | loan from a fellow bookworm

No One Ever AskedKatie Ganshert | loan from the same fellow bookworm

A Spark of Light, Jodi Picoult (Book 27 of 27) | purchased before the challenge began


Off the Page, Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer | library loan, Jodi Picoult (Book 25 of 27)

Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan | library loan

JANUARY | 2019 

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg | library loan

Taming the Dragon Within: How to Balance Women’s Hormones with Essential Oils, LeAnne Deardeuff, DC & David Deardeuff, DC | loan from a friend concerned with my natural hormone replacement journey

China Rich Girlfriend, Kevin Kwan | library loan

The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Dream, Gary Younge (Updated Edition) | library loan


Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult | library loan, Jodi Picoult (Book 23 of 27)

Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult | loan from a gal pal, Jodi Picoult (Book 26 of 27) – also this is my second time reading this one

Coretta Scott King and the Story behind the Coretta Scott King Award, John Bankston | library loan

Coretta Scott King: I Kept On Marching, Kathleen Krull (part of the “Women Who Broke the Rules” series) | library loan

Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan | library loan

Becoming, Michelle Obama | gift from Wisconsin gal pal

Red Clocks, Leni Zumas | library loan + Well Read Book Club selection

Between the Lines, Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer | library loan, Jodi Picoult (Book 22 of 27)

It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way: finding unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered, Lysa TerKerkeurst | purchased (Winter Bible Study at Keystone Church)

MARCH | 2019

The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult | library loan, Jodi Picoult (Book 23 of 27)

How to Stop Time, Matt Haig |library loan + Well Read Book Club Selection

A Woman is No Man, Etaf Rum | Book of the Month (February 2019) – a gift from my son

Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. : If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up., Brené Brown | library loan

APRIL | 2019

The Third Hotel, Laura Van Den Berg | library loan + Well Read Book Club Selection

The Lone Wolf, Jodi Picoult | library loan, Jodi Picoult (Book 21 of 27)

Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover | gift from a friend

The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides | Book of the Month (January 2019)

Before She Knew Him, Peter Swanson | Book of the Month (March 2019)

MAY | 2019

Sing You Home, Jodi Picoult | library loan, Jodi Picoult  (Book 20 of 27)

The Map of Salt and Stars, Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar | library loan + Well-Read Book Club Selection

Beyond the Point, Claire Gibson | Book of the Month (April 2019)

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea, Bob Burg and John David Man | gift from a friend

L’appart: The Delights and Disaster of Making Paris My Home, David Lebovitz

House Rules, Jodi Picoult | library loan, Jodi Picoult (Book 19 of 27)

How Not to Die Alone, Richard Roper | Book of the Month (May 2019)



After attempting to create a virtual book club around this book and being so disappointed in reading it, I knew I wanted to continue dabbling in The Classics, but that I could only really stomach one a year. So each summer, I will choose ONE to read and take all three months to do it.

O N E   A   S U M M E R

2018 | Pride + Prejudice, Jane Austen

2019 |


1 | 65 BOOKS IN 365 DAYS

From 01 November 2017 through 31 October 2018 I planned to READ 65 BOOKS IN 365 DAYS. There were no parameters for the specific books I chose because the quantity was important to get me back into reading regularly.

I chose the books – a variety from other bookworms I’d been following online or ones that were loaned to me. Very few were purchased.

It helped that I joined the public library’s very laid back monthly book club. The selections were ones I would not have chosen and conversation amongst other book lovers always brought about recommendations for other goodies.


01|65 Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain

02|65 Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist

03|65 Unashamed: Candid Conversations about Dating, Love, Nakedness & Faith, Tracy Levinson + Friends

04|65 How to Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style & Bad Habits, 4 Friends


05|65 The Little Paris Bookshop, Nina George

06|65 What Husbands Need: Reaching His Heart + Reclaiming His Passion, Judy Carden

07|65 When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi

08|65 Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny, Tony Evans

09|65 The Guardian, Nicholas Sparks

10|65 Who Am I?, Jeff Little

11|65 Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty

12|65 According to a Source, Abby Stern

JANUARY | 2018

13|65 S is for Silence, Sue Grafton

14|65 Bridge to Haven, Francine Rivers

15|65 Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate*, Jerry Bridges

16|65 The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

17|65 Fashioned to Reign: Empowering Women to Fulfill their Divine Destiny*, Kris Valloton

MARCH | 2018

18|65 Chemistry, Weilke Wang

19|65 A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle

20|65 Allegedly, Tiffany D. Jackson

21|65 Bad Feminist*, Roxane Gay

22|65 Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, Maya Angelou

23|65 Follow the Cloud: Hearing God’s Voice One Next Step at a Time*, John Stickl

24|65 How to be a Grown-Up, Emma McLaughlin + Nicola Kraus

APRIL | 2018

25|65 This Is Just My Face, Gabourey Sidibe

26|65 Harvesting the Heart, Jodi Picoult

27|65 Paris: Eyewitness Travel 2018*

28|65 Balancing in Heels, Kristin Cavallari

29|65 Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists*, Milbourn + Nicodemus

30|65 Little Fires Everywhere*, Celeste Ng

31|65 The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks + Sarah Pekkenan

32|65 The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed The Game, Nancy Churnin

33|65 A Good Cry, Nikki Giovanni

MAY | 2018

34|65 Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel, Vivian Shaw

35|65 Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life, Jenna Bush Hager + Barbara Pierce Bush

36|65 Today will Be Different, Maria Semple

37|65 Small Great Things*, Jodi Picoult

38|65 Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, Amy Kaufman

JUNE | 2018

39|65 Love & Gelato, Jenna Evans Welch

40|65 Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling

41|65 Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family, Daniel Bergner

42|65 Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less*, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

43|65 So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed*, Jon Ronson

JULY | 2018

44|65 Stones*, Jennifer Fliss (unpublished, beta-reader)

45|65 Butler: A Witness to History, Wil Haygood

46|65 Black Girls Rock: Owning Our Magic, Rocking Our Truth, Edited by Beverly Bond

47|65 The Novelist, Angela Hunt

48|65 Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History, Karen Blumenthal

AUGUST | 2018

49|65 Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence – And How You Can, Too, Gary Vaynerchuk

50|65 The Gunners: A Novel, Rebecca Kauffman

51|65 The Power of the Other: The Startling Affect People Have on You, from the Boardroom and Beyond – and What to Do About It, Henry Cloud

52|65 I’m Happy for You, Sort Of…Not Really: Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison*, Kay Wills Wyma

53|65 Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

54|65 I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness*Austin Channing Brown

55|65 My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel, Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris

56|65 Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story*, Debbie Tung

57|65 You are Free: Be Who You Already Are, Rebekah Lyons


58|65 The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

59|65 by invitation only, Dorothea Benton Frank

60|65 Vox*, Christina Dalcher

61|65 100 Ways to Love Your Husband, Lisa Jacobson

62|65 Ghosted, Rosie Walsh

63|65 The Chalk Man, C.J. Tudor

OCTOBER | 2018

64|65 Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis

65|65 The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss

66|65 Laura & Emma, Kate Greathead