Top Post’s of 2019

Doing a top post’s of a year is what all good, lazy bloggers do at the end of the year. This is actually only the second one I’ve done because I didn’t know until last year that WordPress gave me all these stats. Anyway, overall, this year was a little better than I thought. I had the least post since I started taking the blog a little more seriously back in 2016 (I had over 100 post that year), with only 16. I was happy to see that my views/visitors were actually higher than 2017, but dipped from last year (63 post and almost 50,000 words). I think this is due to finally have some legacy past, some that keep showing up in search engines. For instance, Sapiens led in 2017 and 2018, despite being posted in 2016; it dropped to 11 this year. This has led to an interesting impact, as no a single posts I actually wrote this year made it to my top 10 viewed post this year. So, here it is, my most viewed posts of 2019:

Book Review: We’re Pregnant
Book Review: Disciplines of a Godly Man
1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
Book Review: Imperfect Disciple
Book Review: Darkness is My Only Companion
Book Review: Five Marks of a Man
Book Review: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
1 Thessalonians 1-2:12
Cheat Sheet to the Minor Prophets
Book Review: Practicing the King’s Economy

Unsurprisingly, seven of the 10 were book reviews. For my review last year, I noted that these are the majority of what I did, and also the most popular, and that I should do more of them. Yet, my goal was to actually do less and focus on more original content, however that didn’t really happen this year. Of the seven book reviews, six were in the top ten last year (Five Marks of a Man being the outside), which I think must have more to do with the popularity of the book than with what I have to say about it. What was surprising, where two of my seven part Thessalonians, series were in the top 10, and my Cheat Sheet (which was my intro) to the Minor Prophets made its way up there, despite being written back in 2016. The Minor Prophets series (which I never finished) and the Thessalonians series are probably the two series/set of writings I’m most proud of, so it was cool to see them pop up. 

Of posts actually written this year, I’m Still Here was number one. I would think the page view would skew heavily towards things written in the January, but interestingly, while 2019 Reading Challenge was number 3 (and my second post written), my 2018 Reading Challenge review (first post written) was the least viewed of the year. Maybe bad timing.

I’ll post one prediction for 2020, I think the Review I did this year for Confronting Old Testament Controversies will be up there. It is a great book, and I hope it takes off. So, that is it for 2019. I appreciate everyone who has read or commented on my posts. Thanks for playing along, I’ll try to do better next year.

2019 Reading Challenge

As I recently posted, I beat my goal for 2018 in terms of number, but didn’t really read all the books I wanted to read. So much so, that I am going to straight up cute and past a good bit from last year’s goal. Once again this year, I plan to lower the number of books I plan to read, this is partly so I can make sure I get to the books I really want, and because some are fairly long, but also, and I may post about this a bit later, but I plan to interact more with each book. With that taken into account, my goal this year is 20 books this year.

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I currently have 14 of them on the mantel in my living room to remind me to focus on actually getting these books done. You can check out my Goodreads 2019 Challenge page if you like list form, it actually shows 16, because I added three commentaries, but I may not read word for word, two of them, and am only counting one towards the challenge. After these 14, I have three other books (stretch goals I guess) that I’d like to get to, time permitting and somewhat depending on what review books seem incredibly interesting and what the library has available that I have requested, more on those below. The books are as follows:

Non-fictionGödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, at 822 pages, this is the second biggest book on my list for this year and one of my top five life goal, big book, non-fiction books to pick up. As Sprout just turned four, I’ve added Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

Biography/autobiographyA Full Life: Reflections at Ninety was on my list the last two years, but I didn’t make it to it, so I’ll stick it back on this list.

Fiction – After reading The Fall of Hyperion and Endymion (Hyperion), the sequels to one of my favorite books from 2017, Hyperion, I plan to end the series this year with the final book in the Cantos, The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion) At 864 pages, Anna Karenina, will be my biggest book this year and the third longest single volume fiction book I’ve ever read. Rounding out the fiction section will be a collection of stories from one of my favorite authors, Stephen King, Just After Sunset: Stories.

Christian-y type books – Only four books are planned in this category this year, though this categories tends to be the largest due to ARC books and loans from friends. Knowing God is a classic at this point, but I haven’t yet read it.

Commentaries, Theology, and Language – Because two 800 page books won’t take me long enough, I’m also picking up two more 600+ page books. First, I want to get back into finishing Bavnick so I have Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ, on the list with the ridiculous hope that I will actually make it to the even longer (912 pages) Volume Four. Second, my church is a doing a 40+ week study on Mark, so I’ve picked up The Gospel of Mark (The New International Greek Testament Commentary, and will likely skim the Tyndale and Bible Speaks today commentaries as well, but I don’t think I will count them towards the challenge.

Finally, for something different in this new category I just made up, I’m attempting to gain an understanding of Biblical Greek. For that I’ve chosen Greek for the Rest of Us: Using Greek Tools Without Mastering Biblical Languages.

None of the books in this category will be read all at once, but studied or read-through, throughout the year. I’ll use the commentary as we move through the sermons and go in and out of Reformed Dogmatics, probably after each major subject. I’m not entirely sure yet how to study the Greek, but likely either a few days a week for the year, or every day for a few weeks/months. Maybe there will be some guidance in the book itself.

Devotional – I’ve typically read a whole year devotional, such as My Utmost for His Highest (my review), but this year I’m going back to the whole Bible with the M’Cheyne reading plan, which I’ve written about before. The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It  looks like another great and challenging book from Peter Enns. Both Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives and Speaking Truth In Love are pretty well known in Christian Counseling circles, so I’d like to check them off the list.

Stretch Goals – So, I have 14 books on the list, which leaves six others unplanned. These will most likely come from review request, a book someone lends me, or if one of the books on my long library list becomes available. However, if that doesn’t come through, and I finish the previous 13, I have a few other plans. One is to read another book on church history. I’m torn on what I’ve heard is the best in Christian history – Church History in Plain Language or I may start another 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power Vol. 1: The Age of the Early Church Fathers (Grace Publications), which is the first in a four volume series (I’d love to hear from anyone who has read either or has a suggestion as to which would be better).

I’ve also had Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy on my list from 2017 and 2018, but also didn’t get to it. This book and the history one are obviously somewhat long, and can be dense, so another book I think I want to get to is The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, which is a book I bought for Mrs. MMT a few years ago on the advice of MxPx front man Mike Herrera. Finally, as a pair, I was given a book that reviews a Christmas Carol from a Christian perspective, and as that is one of my favorite all time stories, I’ll read the story then the review together and then respond to both.

That’s it. Hopefully I’ll tighten down and actually get to the ones I wanted this year. Feel free to share goals or insights on any of the books in the comments.

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