Becoming a Better Reader: The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge

“Fiction is the human attempt to discover, understand, and apply truth through stories.” -Karen Prior (see a helpful video about why Christians should read fiction here)


Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved reading. In college, I studied English literature at Clemson and was constantly reading multiple novels and then I went on to get my MDiv and was constantly reading theology books. Unfortunately, I have found in the years since completing school, my reading has steeply declined. I still love reading but I find myself wanting to to a "mental rest" and just watch Netflix or a I get distracted by my phone or a million other things. It makes me sad to think about the time I have wasted and the books I have missed out on and I really want to purpose to be a better ready.

Some months ago, I discovered Modern Mrs. Darcy's blog and podcast.  She has inspired me to be purposeful about my reading and to make goals. Without goals, it is so easy to get sidetracked by everything else that is going on or to becoming lazy. She has a one year reading challenge that is supposed to start at the beginning of the year but I'm going to start it now and go by "school year" so this challenge will take me from August 2018-August 2019. Here's the challenge:

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge

My hope is that by sharing my choices with you, it will give me accountability to actually complete this challenge! I would also love to start a dialogue and perhaps even inspire some of you to read a little more this year.

Without further ado, here are my choices:
A Classic You've Been Meaning to Read: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
A Book Recommended by Someone with Great Taste: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
A Book in Translation: A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos
A Book Nominated for an Award: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Book of Poetry or Play: Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (*technically an allegory but I felt it was close enough!)
A Book You Can Read in a Day: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
A Book that's More than 500 Pages: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (*Actually 464 pages but close enough!)
A Book by a Favorite Author: Persuasion by Jane Austen
A Book Recommended by a Librarian: Great Expectations by Charles Dickins
A Banned Book: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
A Memoir or Biography: Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas (*on Audible) and Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore
A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion than Your Own: Night by Elie Wiesel

Other Non-Fiction Christian Books I Plan to Read this Year:
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs
Keeping the Heart by John Flavel
John Newton by Jonathan Aitken (*on Audible)
Newton on the Christian Life by Tony Reinke
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson


Other Books I Considered by Didn't Make the Cut for This Year:

Middlemarch by George Eliot
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
The Count of Monte Cristo (*I've listened to about half of this on Audible and gave it because it's so long but it's one of my favorite stories and I want to get back to it at some point!)
Beloved by Toni Morrison
I was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhorn
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Guernsey and the Potato Peel Society by Shaeffer and Burrows
The Time Quintet by L'Engle
When Life Gives You Lulumons by Lauren Weisberger
The Clockmakers Daughter by Kate Morton
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover
Louise Penny novels

A Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbs
The Heart of Christ by Goodwin
Communion with God by John Owen
A Quest for Godliness by J.I. Packer
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Baiton

I would love to hear what books you're hoping to read this year or if you've read any of the books listed above in the comments below!