12 Months, 12 Books

I have a new goal for this calendar year: Read 12 books in 12 months!

I’m already off to a great start. I finally finished “Mere Christianity1 in January when I was in Haiti (although that doesn’t count because I started it in 2009.

When I was in Haiti, I also read:

In the last month, I also finished reading:

And now I’m in the middle of:

As long as I can finish by the end of the month, I’ll be on track. Here’s what I think is up next (in no particular order):

That still leaves me one book short of the twelve I want to read, which is not for lack of having a list. I want to keep at least one spot deliberately open so I can choose something excellent as I discover new books.

The types of books I’ve listed above are the types of book I generally like to read. Based on that, what books would you recommend I look into?

In the meantime, I’m going to leave you with this excellent bit from Hustling God2 that I’ve been reflecting on lately:

When I wake up in the morning, I can jump in the shower, grab a cup of coffee, and rush off to work to be productive. Inevitably that will destine me to a day of running. Like Jacob, I will either be running to make something happen, or running away because it didn’t happen as it was supposed to. But if sometime in the morning I become still with prayer and the words of God, then it will occur to me that all of the important things have already been accomplished today. The sun came up and the earth stayed on its axis without any help from me. The Psalms remind me of that. I have awakened to a world I did not create to receive a salvation I did not earn. The Gospels make that clear every time I read them. And I need that reminder, because there are so many temptations in the course of the day to be my own savior, which is always, always, a temptation to hurry in the wrong direction.


  1. An excellent, although somewhat dense, book. I recommend reading it, although take your time; it took me the better part of 6 months. 

  2. Page 64 

L’Abri and Itinerary v0.5

11/12 June 2009

L’Abri was the shelter for my journey. After traveling for over five weeks, it was time to stop for a moment (although I wish it could have been more). It was great to see Quinn. It was even better to have some great conversations with some amazing people at L’Abri.

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Huemoz, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland

I was able to finish a book I have literally been try to finish for almost two years and have started, stopped, and restarted several times, The Language of God by Francis Collins. I read over 150 pages in two sittings, morning and afternoon.

The Language of God is a decent book, not great. From an engineer’s (or scientist’s) perspective, I found it lacking in detail. However, I assume such omission was not a matter of ignorance, but rather an attempt to make the book more acceptable to a general audience. I would have liked something more on par with Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time in terms of science content.

I also began reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and upon finishing the preface, immediately wished I had read this eons ago.

It was nice to be on a schedule, having set times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was nice having a time set aside for me to just ponder. And it was actually nice for me to have my computer locked away for a littler while, and something that I should probably do more1.

As John, the Swiss L’Abri “Director” noted in his email to me about my request for refuge at L’Abri, “A couple of nights is not very long to deal with theological questions, but perhaps it can serve as a beginning.”

The few nights I was there were a good start for me and a reminider of what I need to focus on. It also reminded me why I want to retire to Switzerland, perhaps even Huemoz.

I took some time to meditate on my trip. Where I had been, what I had seen, and what I wanted it to be about. I looked at what my current plans were and decided that they would not do if I wanted to make it with my sanity intact…not to mention, perhaps actually enjoying the trip.

Thus, I also sat down and refigured the rest of my trip. I wrote down the cities I was planning on going to, researched them some more, and then wrote down an even smaller list of cities. Thus leading to Itinerary v0.5, which I now present to you with the applicable changes:

  • July 10-13: L’Abri, Huemoz, Switzerland
  • July 13: Leaving L’Abri in the morning, travel to Arbon, Switzerland via Interlaken and Luzern
  • July 13-14: Arbon, Switzerland
  • July 14: Leave Arbon, Switzerland for Vienna, Austria on the overnight train.
  • July 15-17: Vienna, Austria
  • July 17-21: Budapest, Hungary
  • July 21-25: Prague, Czech Republic
  • July 25: Travel to Krakow, take a bus to Auschwitz and back, then travel to Warsaw
  • July 25-29: Warsaw, Poland
  • July 29 – August 1: Berlin, Germany
  • August 2: Frankfurt, Germany
  • August 3: Leave Frankfurt in the morning for Seattle (via Chicago O’Hare)

Still pretty intense, but nowhere near the pace Charlie and I had going for Turkey and Greece. Most of Austria was gutted, because I didn’t have any real interest in going. Based on my prevoius experience, three nights and four days seems to be a good amount of time to spend in a city; and more importantly, an amount of time that I’m willing to spend and not feel like I missed it or spent too much time there.

In Arbon, we’ll be hanging out with Remo and Gunther, who you may remember from my last trip to Switzerland. They are two brothers who live in Arbon and are super funny.

So, to all the amazing people I met and had the opporunity to talk with at L’Abri, and who managed to find this blog and read this far down, a heartfelt thank you for taking me in. It was pretty much just what I needed, and I shall return.

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Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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Montreux, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland


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  1. I’m also thinking about switching to a system where I only check my email three times a day