August: To Be Read (TBR) List

A task I look forward to each month: putting together my reading list. As a book nerd, I keep a list on Goodreads of the books I’m looking forward to reading at some point in the future. To be a little more purposeful, I select titles off of that list at the beginning of each month, with an overall goal of reading about 100 pages per day. Usually, that comes out to about 10-12 books by the time the month is finished.

I also like to read a wide variety of books, so I usually select one title from each category or genre of books in my TBR pile. My categories include Biography, Children’s / Young Adult, Christian, Classic, Fiction, History / Historical Fiction, Leadership, New Releases, Re-Reads, Sports, Sports Biography, and Writing. My selections in each category for August include:

Biography

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Title: Who is Alex Trebek?

Author: Lisa Rogak, 2020

Medium: NetGalley

Length: 256 pages

Why: I requested this one on NetGalley as soon as I saw it, and after I was approved to preview the title, I learned that Alex Trebek also has an autobiography out at the same time as this book. I don’t know if this is considered an “authorized” biography or not. Although I don’t plan to also read Trebek’s book, I may have chosen it instead if I had known it was coming. Regardless, I look forward to reading this one. Trebek seems very interesting, but all that most people know of him is what they see on Jeopardy.

Children’s

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Title: Elijah of Buxton

Author: Christopher Paul Curtis, 2007

Medium: DMZ (Digital Media Zone)

Length: 341 pages

Why: I had never read any of Christopher Paul Curtis’s books before this year, and now this will be my fifth. I highly recommend his The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 as well as Bud, Not Buddy as they are among the best books I have read all year from any genre. His target audience is young adult, and his writing style is genuinely funny. Most of his books are about young people and the general awkwardness of growing up, fitting in, and finding your way in the midst of circumstances that may be out of your control.

Christian

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Title: Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed

Author: Sara Hagerty, 2017

Medium: Freading

Length: 240 pages

Why: A friend of mine recently posted this as his current book on Goodreads. I liked the cover, and the description intrigued me because the concept of the book invites readers to think about our motivations for doing the things we do in the age of social media and self-promotion. This is certainly counter-culture, so I’m in.

Classic

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Title: The Fellowship of the Ring

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien, 1954

Medium: paperback

Length: 535 pages

Why: I’ve never read any of Tolkien’s books, so I’ve got to see what I’ve been missing out on. I’ve also never watched the movies based on his books, so we’ll see what the hype is all about.

Fiction

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Title: Out of Time

Author: Alton Gansky, 2003

Medium: paperback

Length: 352 pages

Why: A friend of mine who is also an avid reader and a fan of books about time travel recommended this one to me. This particular friend has a 100% success rate in the books he has recommended to me previously, so I’m looking forward to a good read with this one.

History

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Title: The Age of Entitlement

Author: Christopher Caldwell, 2020

Medium: hardback

Length: 279 pages

Why: My boss recommended this one to me as an enlightening way to view the culture that we find ourselves in, along with all of the challenges we experience in the workplace as a result. It’s a book that explains how we got to where we are today in America, beginning with the 1960s.

Leadership

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Title: The Obstacle is the Way

Author: Ryan Holiday, 2014

Medium: hardback

Length: 200 pages

Why: I saw this one at a used bookstore, missing the dust jacket, yet the title on the binding still caught my eye. I am expecting a challenging book with outside-the-box thinking that stirs the reader to stop looking for the easy way out and start growing through the circumstances that challenge each of us on a regular basis.

New Release

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Title: The Garden

Author: Jon Gordon, 2020

Medium: hardback

Length: 160 pages

Why: Jon Gordon’s books are great. They’re usually short, very rich, and memorable stories that challenge readers to do something practical with what they’ve learned. I’ve heard several people that don’t consider themselves to be avid readers comment that they really enjoy Jon Gordon’s books. This one seems especially timely, with the subtitle, “A Spiritual Fable About Ways to Overcome Fear, Anxiety, and Stress.” Is there a better time to read such a book than in 2020?

Re-Read

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Title: For the Glory

Author: Duncan Hamilton, 2016

Medium: paperback

Length: 400 pages

Why: Remember the early 80s movie Chariots of Fire? This is the true story of the entire life of the man that film was based on: Eric Liddell. Every month, I try to re-read one of my all-time favorite books, and this is one of the most inspirational biographies I have ever read. Eric Liddell lived to serve others, and he made a difference with his life that is still impacting people today.

Sports

Bleachers: A Summer in Wrigley Field: Wheeler, Lonnie ...

Title: Bleachers: A Summer in Wrigley Field

Author: Lonnie Wheeler, 1988

Medium: paperback

Length: 238 pages

Why: I’m a sucker for books set in the 1980s, and this one fits the bill. The Cubs are my favorite baseball team, and this is a collection of stories about experiences at Wrigley Field during the summer of 1987. I can still hear the opening theme on WGN from that era: Jump by Van Halen. Even today, every time I hear that keyboard / synthesizer intro, I think it’s time for Cubs baseball.

Sports Biography

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Title: Francona: The Red Sox Years

Author: Terry Francona, 2013

Medium: hardback

Length: 343 pages

Why: Francona is my favorite manager currently active in Major League Baseball. I’ve never been a fan of the Red Sox, but what he was able to do there to coach such a diverse group of players to work together to accomplish something that had not been done in Boston in almost a century is legendary. I continue to follow his career in Cleveland today.

Writing

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Title: What Would Your Character Do?

Author: Eric Maisel, 2006

Medium: paperback

Length: 279 pages

Why: As is true of many readers, I aspire to write more, and I have much room to improve in this area. This book is about character development from a fiction standpoint, and it includes 30 scenarios to read as well as subsequent questions to answer that serve as writing prompts to continue the story.

Will I complete my reading list this month? It may not be likely, especially with school starting back. However, I do know that setting a goal with smaller daily milestones (like 100 pages) will lead to more books being finished by the end of the month than I otherwise could have enjoyed! I look forward to a great month of reading ahead.

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