I was planning to put up a list of my favorite books of 2009 today.  However, last night I picked up one I just got about 2 weeks ago, and after getting about 1/2 way through I realized that this one needs to be at the top of my list.  So the new plan is that I’ll finish this book & post my list next week.  (How’s that for a teaser!)  I guess I’ll have to stick with average-looking books for the last 2 weeks of the year so nothing else messes up my list!

So I thought rather than doing a book list, today I’d talk a bit about “how” I read.  A little background first. Recently the leaders here at the church & I went through a couple of self-assessment tests.  One was StrengthFinders 2.0, the other was a similar, but the more intense type of assessment.  On the StrenghtFinders test, one of my top five strengths was “Learner.”  On this other test, my number one theme was “Studious.”

It reminded me of high school when the only Senior Superlative I won was Most Studious.  (I thought I had a shot at best eyes, but I think that one was rigged.)  In other words, I have always loved to read.  When I was a kid it was mostly comic books, but the Chronicles of Narnia & Stephen King novels were a pretty regular staple as I got older.

In the 10 years between when I graduated from college, and when I got involved with the Vineyard, I read some, but not all that much.  Once I got in the Vineyard, one of the many things that stood out to me was this passion to learn and grow that so many of the pastors I met had.  So I got back into a more regular habit of reading & would generally read 20-25 books each year.

But at the start of last year, I made a resolution, that I was going to start reading a book a week.  Now I know some people for whom that isn’t a big deal, but I made it through 2008 averaging a book a week.  This year I tried to up the total a bit.  What I learned however was that being in the middle of a building project is not the best time to get a lot of reading done.

Now that the building is done & we are in, I have more time to read!

So what do I read?  Here’s a quick list of the stuff I generally read over the course of a day/week:

1. The Bible

Probably not a big shocker.  But my general reading plan for the Bible, (I do miss a day here or there), is as follows:

  1. 1-2 chapters in the Old Testament.  (I start in Genesis & read through to Malachi)
  2. 1-2 chapters in the New Testament.  (Same pattern…Matthew -> Revelation, repeat)
  3. 1 Proverb.  Today is the 11th, so I read Proverbs chapter 11.  So over the course of a month, I read through Proverbs.
  4. 5 Psalms.  Similar to Proverbs…today was the 11th, so I read Proverbs 51-55, and since there are 150 Psalms each month I read through.  (Note:  On the 24th of each month, I may skip the old & new testament readings…you can figure it out)

2. The Red Sox

Okay, might seem like a weird follow-up to the Bible, but this is my morning sports page with breakfast.  I read the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and ESPN Boston.  In case you are wondering if I only do that during the regular season, that would be a no.  I keep up with the Red Sox every day.

3. Blogs

I read, or a least skim a lot of blogs.  In the next few weeks I’ll post a few of my favorites, & maybe get some suggestions from you too.

4. And finally books.

First, how I like to read: My favorite way of reading a book is to have the actual book, crack it open & sit down in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee, or on the couch with Liz & the kids and just read.  However, there are two other ways I have started enjoying books over the past couple of years…Last year I started getting audiobooks for when I was walking about town, or driving in the car.  While I clearly enjoy audiobooks, the main problem is that I love to mark up books.  So I am going through an audiobook now realizing that I need to get the paper copy of this, mark it up, and implement a lot of what I’m learning.

This year for my birthday I received a Kindle 2 (my wife is awesome!).  While I don’t think I’d ever want to give up paper books for an e-reader, the Kindle has been great when I’m traveling.  I’m one of those people who go to a 4-day conference & take 5 books thinking I’ll have a chance to read them.  Usually, I come home with little reading done & a sore back.  Now I generally travel with one paper book & my kindle.

And finally, what I like to read.  I am not a big fan of fiction, although I will occasionally crack open one on vacation just to relax.  Likewise, I don’t really enjoy biographies.  I tend to be someone who gets bored by history but loves to look ahead at what is coming.    I love books on culture & theology.  I like to read about areas in my life where I need to grow.  Probably my favorite books to read however would be on leadership, both church leadership and leadership in general.  (I’d love to hear what types of stuff you like to read.)

So there it is…I love books!  And remember next week I’ll post my favorites from this past year.