Broaden Your Literary Horizons

If you know me at all, you know that I love to read. In fact, I like to tell people I was born with a book in my hand. I started reading when I just 3 years old, and haven’t stopped since!

I can easily read over 100 books each year, the majority of which is fiction. I love a good character-based novel (like the Mitford series), and fiction that teaches as well as entertains (like historical fiction or intellectually-stimulating mysteries). I turn to authors like Agatha Christie, Dee Henderson, and J.R.R. Tolkien when I’m sick, stressed, or simply longing for a good “comfort” read — the characters feel like old friends to me, and I love visiting with them several times each year.

Fiction is great for stretching your imagination, introducing you to new places and experiences, and increasing your empathy and understanding of different types of people.

But too much fiction can dull your mind: it’s easy to get addicted to “fun” reading, and neglect the harder genres which require more focus and thought. Yet those harder genres also provide greater dividends in knowledge and understanding!

Join the 2016 Reading Challenge at!

This year, instead of simply trying to reading more, I’m striving to read more types of books.

I want to read more purposefully, instead of simply drifting to the easy choices and whatever looks good at the library. I want to push outside my comfort zone to broaden my literary horizons — to expand my academic knowledge and appreciation of other forms of literature, both fiction and nonfiction.

I came up with a list of 20 types of books to read this year — some are borrowed from Tim Challies’ reading plan, and others were added to round out the list:

  • Biography of a notable Christian
  • Biography of anyone
  • Book that changed someone’s life
  • Commentary on a book of the Bible
  • Book about theology
  • Book with the word “gospel” in title/subtitle
  • Book about Christian living
  • Book your pastor recommends
  • Book written by a Puritan
  • Book about a current issue
  • Book about leadership
  • Book of poetry
  • Book for children
  • Classic novel
  • Mystery or detective novel
  • Sci-fi or fantasy novel
  • Book of short stories
  • Book published 100 years ago
  • Book published 50 years ago
  • Book published in 2016

I also plan to continue enjoying my usual favorites along with these particular subjects or genres, and hope to read more than one title per category — but I’m not worrying about that until I get through the list at least once!

Anyone want to join me?

I know it’s already February, but it’s not too late to jump in and start broadening your literary horizons! I’ll try to share monthly updates this year of what I’ve read (with bite-sized reviews) and which categories they fit into. If you’re doing a reading challenge — mine or otherwise — I’d love to see your updates on those posts as well!

Do you have any reading plans for this year? If so, please share!

PS – Need some help figuring out how to improve your reading choices? Check out Tony Reinke’s book, Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (read my review of it here).


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4 thoughts on “Broaden Your Literary Horizons

  1. I would lime to read more classics but I never make time for them. I will be interested in what book of poetry you choose. Looking forward to hearing about the books you read.

    1. I’ll be interested to see which book of poetry I choose, too! I have a few ideas, but haven’t settled on anything yet. 🙂

  2. […] I’m thoroughly enjoying the chance to explore different genres and meet new authors as I attempt to broaden my literary horizons in 2016! (Read more about it here.) […]

  3. […] year’s literary challenge (#Read2016) is perhaps the best thing I could have chosen to expand my literary […]

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