Empty Shelf Challenge

As 2013 draws to a close, I’ve been planning out my goals for 2014. I’m writing a more extensive post on this which will be up soon.

As you know, I’m a huge nerd and absolutely adore reading. The majority of my Christmas presents were books. While I definitely don’t have a problem reading, or getting books completed, I figured it would be fun to track the books I’m planning on reading in 2014. This idea is not original at all, Jon Acuff is the one that created the Empty Shelf Challenge.


Here’s the premise of the challenge:

– Find an empty shelf

– Fill it with all of the books that you plan on reading from now until December 31, 2014.

– Start reading!

I will be participating, and figured it might be fun to show you the books that I plan on reading in 2014. Below, (in no particular order) I’ve listed out a few books of the books that I’m most excited to read with a short summary of the book and why I specifically want to read it. After I’m finished reading the book, I plan on doing a full review!

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah



What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence.

Why I chose it:

Africa has a special place in my heart. My parents lived in West Africa for a year before I was born, and I currently have many friends living there. I think this will be an emotionally challenging read, but it is history, it is facts. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean that I should shy away from it.



2014 Christianity Today Book Award Winner. We want to save the world—and we have a dizzying array of worthy causes to pursue. But passionate enthusiasm can quickly give way to disillusionment, compassion fatigue or empty slacktivism. As we move from awareness to mobilization, we bump up against the complexities of global problems—and liking Facebook pages only goes so far. Veteran activist Tyler Wigg-Stevenson identifies the practical and spiritual pitfalls that threaten much of today’s cause-driven Christianity. He casts an alternate vision for doing good based on the liberating truth that only God can save the world. Wigg-Stevenson’s own pilgrimage from causes to calling shows how to ground an enduring, kingdom-oriented activism in the stillness of vocation rather than in the anxiety of the world’s brokenness. The world is not ours to save. And that’s okay.

Why I chose it:

I’ve never heard of this author before, but the premise of the book sounded interesting. The “Savior Complex” is one that I’m all too familiar with, and  I am interested to see how Wigg-Stevenson deals with the topic.

marginMargin by Richard Swenson


Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Today we use margin just to get by.This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose.Reevaluate your priorities, determine the value of rest and simplicity in your life, and see where your identity really comes from.

Why I chose it:

While I was serving as an RA at Liberty University, this book was recommended all the time. However, I never carved out time to read it. (Obviously reflecting the need to read it!) Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I figured that I would read it. There is always room for adjustment in my life, and this book comes highly recommended!



 What makes a great man great? Seven Men offers answers in the captivating stories of some of the greatest men who have ever lived. In this gallery of greatness, seven historical figures come to life as real people who experienced struggles and challenges that probably would have destroyed the resolve of most other men. What was their secret? How did George Washington resist the temptation to become the first king of America, and why did William Wilberforce give up the chance to be prime minister of England? What made Eric Liddell cast aside an almost certain Olympic gold medal? What enabled Jackie Robinson to surrender his right to fight back against racists, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer to jeopardize his freedom and safety to defy the Nazis? What gave John Paul II the ability to identify with the most helpless members of human society and even to forgive the man who tried to murder him? And why would Chuck Colson volunteer to go to prison when he didn’t have to?

Why I chose it:

Eri Metaxas is wonderful! I have read his biographies of William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and I highly recommend them. If you’re looking for a short read, these are not the books for you, but if you’re looking for a well-written biography, look no further. 7 men is essentially seven short biographies, and I’m excited to dig into it and begin learning more about great men of history!

Metaxas also has a lot of great discussions – you can find them on youtube!


Sermons on Women of the Bible by Charles Spurgeon


Selected from a lifetime’s work of over 3,500 sermons, this book features Spurgeon’s preaching on the women–be they pious, notorious, or infamous–who populate the Old and New Testaments. Included are Hagar, Sarah, Rebekah, Rahab, Delilah, Ruth, Hannah, the Queen of Sheba, Esther, Mary (the Mother of Jesus), Mary of Bethany, Mary and Martha, the Samaritan Woman, Lydia, and more.

Why I chose it:

Spurgeon is one of my favorite authors, and I jump at the chance to read anything by him. I’d excited to dig into some sermons and learn how to grow as a woman of the Lord.

Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography



Margaret Thatcher is the epic and revealing autobiography of Britain’s extraordinary former Prime Minister, the first woman in history to lead a major western democracy. 

Why I chose it:

The “Iron Lady” is one of recent histories greatest leaders, and I couldn’t be more excited to read about her, and learn more about her. Communism hits home to me, because Romania (my country of origin) was under Communist rule until 1989. Thatcher along with Reagan can be attributed to the decline and defeat of Communism.

Those are just a few of the books that I’m planning on reading in 2014.

Stay tuned for full book reviews!

What are you going to be reading this year?

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