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A reading resolution, part 2

Tallying the feedback from dozens of bibliophiles


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YOU’LL RECALL I WAS EMBARKING on my one-book-at-a-time strategy for reading more books in 2023, and I asked you to write me about your own reading plans. Boy, did you ever. So many letters, I lost count—thank you. I had so much fun reading them and laughed with delight many times.

That’s the good news. Here’s the bad: Your letters exposed me as a book-reading amateur. A dilettante. A bush-league dabbler!

To wit: I actually started my one-book plan on Christmas Day and by New Year’s Day had read 2.5 books. Not bad, right? Well, yes, bad, considering that I was on vacation and that pace is completely unsustainable. Meanwhile, WORLD reader Jim Archer of Houston has qualified twice for the Century Club (reading 100 books in a ­single year). Several of you wrote to say you’d also neared or passed the century mark, but the record-holder for most books read in a single year is Bonnie Tollefson of Medford, Ore. Last year Bonnie clocked in at a superhuman 331—nearly a book a day! (Is it fair that Bonnie’s a retired librarian?)

As to whether WORLD readers tackle one or multiple books at a time, the split was about 60/40, with multi-bookers in the majority. Most multi-bookers said their simultaneous reads usually fall into specific genres, such as one book each in devotional, theology, fiction, and nonfiction. Others, though, classified their multiple books by physical location, such as bedside, living room, and elliptical trainer. At least two of you in this category make the very most of your time by stashing a book in each bathroom. Bob Hellam of Seaside, Calif., cracked me up, calling these his “toilet books.”

Several of you sent along spreadsheets or lists you use to track your reading. Joyce Kish of Pittsburgh joined a Christian women’s book club and sent a list of its monthly selections going all the way back to 1999.

I also heard from readers, including many active and retired librarians, who shared their library love stories. Vic Hart of Salem, S.C., was, well … a “disruptive” student in high school study hall. Vic was thrilled—and miraculously reformed—when his despairing principal sentenced him permanently to the library, where he could read uninterrupted for an hour at a time.

Several of you had questions:

Where does the Bible fit into your one-book plan? God’s Word and strong coffee start my day, every day.

Do you count audio- and e-books or only hard-copy books? I count books in all forms. For example, last year I listened to the one-volume version of The Gulag Archipelago. Bonus: the narrator read with a slow cadence, so I listened at 1.2x speed—which still sounded normal and not chipmunky—and finished the 21-hour listen in 19 flat.

Do you feel you have to finish every book you start? No. As an author myself, I feel it’s the author’s job to keep me reading, not my job to slog on through.

What book(s) can you recommend for our book club? Too many, of course, but I’ll try it in a few genres.

Nonfiction: Bad Blood by Pulitzer-winning journalist John Carreyrou. This triumph of investigative reporting tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her sham Silicon Valley company, Theranos. Listened to the audiobook with my mouth hanging open.

Theology: Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul. An accessible unpacking of the life-changing doctrine of election.

Memoir: Radical Son by David Horowitz. The author traces how he went from 1960s campus radical and committed leftist to Reagan-era conservative.

History: The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. A groundbreaking and much-emulated interweaving of two distinct storylines.

Fiction: Shōgun by James Clavell. A sweeping tale of love, power, and warring samurai in feudal Japan.

Another favorite novel: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, another Pulitzer winner. I have a handsome bison shoulder mount named Augustus McCrae hanging over the outdoor fireplace. I call him Gus for short.


Lynn Vincent

Lynn is executive editor of WORLD Magazine and producer/host of the true crime podcast Lawless. She is the New York Times best-selling author or co-author of a dozen nonfiction books, including Same Kind of Different As Me and Indianapolis. Lynn lives in the mountains east of San Diego, Calif.

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