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Ten tips to help you read more books this year

In my last post, I shared my five favourite books of 2020 and promised to give you some tips on how to increase the number of books you can read in 2021. Here are ten of them. Also, if you would like to read more of your Bible this year, a number of these tips will help you with this too!


My Five Favourite Books of 2020

It’s become something of a tradition each January for me to share my five favourite books of the previous year. Despite a busy year with a book deadline, I managed to read more books in 2020 than in other years. (Check back in a few weeks’ time for tips on how you can increase the number of books you read.) After much deliberation, here are my top five books.


2020 – A Year for Removing the Dregs

From t-shirts declaring I survived 2020 to sentiments on social media which express, in palpable relief, that the end is in sight, it’s clear that, for most people at least, this hasn’t been a year that we’d like to repeat. Why? Because a new virus appeared out of the blue and disrupted our (mostly) comfortable lives and our great plans. From the major devastating life changes caused by the loss of a loved one, health or employment, to the minor inconveniences of increased hand-sanitising, mask-wearing, and following a one-way system around the supermarket, all of us have been affected to some extent.

When I think of life pre-Covid, I can’t help but recall a certain verse in the prophecy of Jeremiah.


My Five Favourite Books of 2019

Last January, I posted about my five favourite books of 2018. I set myself a higher target of books to read last year, which made choosing only five quite difficult, but after some deliberation, here are my favourites of 2019!


Letting go of lesser things

A toddler has a penny clenched in his chubby little fist. Kneeling down to his level is a well-dressed gentleman, holding a cheque for a million pounds, made out in the child’s name. It’s clear to see the child is not interested, much happier with the small coin, oblivious to the great riches that are being offered to him. He has no intention of letting go of his little treasure for anything.

As adults, our treasures may be more valuable than a penny, but our struggles to let go are no easier. In fact, sometimes it is what we most value that is the very thing God is asking us to let go. Take Abraham, for example. In Genesis 22, God tells him to take his son Isaac, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him for a burnt offering. If you’re at all familiar with the story, you’ll know how precious Isaac was to Abraham. He was a long-awaited son, the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham, the one through whom God would make of Abraham a great nation. For Abraham to offer up his greatest treasure was going to be costly. It was going to hurt, more than we can imagine.


Whatsoever things are true

I have an overactive imagination. As an author, you’d think that would be a good thing. And it is – when it comes to writing books. But sometimes my imagination grows legs and gallops off across the hills to places that it was never intended to be. Like the time I was convinced that the middle-aged hotel cleaner on our Cyprus holiday when I was sixteen stole my favourite skirt. The disparity in our fashion sense and clothes size never registered with me! Or when I lay trembling in bed as a six-year-old, sure that the BFG was outside my bedroom window, ready to snatch me away in the dead of the night. I should point out that the story was new to me, and the school day unfortunately ended before I discovered that the ‘F’ in BFG actually stood for ‘friendly’!


My 5 Favourite Books in 2018

Last year I decided to use the Goodreads website to record all the books I read. There was quite a variety! From health-related books and biographies, to books about Christian living, as well as lots of fiction, it was fascinating to look back and see what I’d been reading in 2018.

This year, I’d like to regularly blog about my favourite books in various categories, so I’m kicking off January with my five favourite books in 2018.READ MORE

I know not, but God knows…

New Year celebrations are usually big, bold and bright. People dress up and gather together with family and friends to welcome the coming year. It’s meant to be an occasion to celebrate, but I do wonder if there’s anyone who, deep down, doesn’t have any misgivings or fears about what may be ahead for them or their loved ones. I know I do.

We’ve all seen what can happen, unexpectedly and out of the blue. A little chorus we used to sing as children in Sunday school begins ‘What know I of the coming year, or what ’twill bring to me? Whether its close will find me here, or in eternity…’READ MORE

What has God promised?

Promise. There’s something very special about the word. We use it often, right throughout our lives, in many situations. Little Peter could be promised a reward for behaving at Great-Aunt Edith’s house, Sally might whisper some secret to her best friend Tessa as long as Tessa promises not to tell anyone, and Jimmy will present a gorgeous diamond ring to Jenny as a promise that he’s going to marry her.

These promises, though, are nothing compared with God’s promises. Tessa might pass Sally’s secret on to Amy, and Jimmy might realise that Jenny isn’t the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with after all, but God will never, ever break a promise. He is totally trustworthy, so it’s impossible.READ MORE

Book review – Frances Ridley Havergal’s Opened Treasures

January 1 – ‘For ye have not passed this way heretofore.’ (Joshua 3:4) We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has… He knows all about it, and leads us according as we are able to endure… And He does not only know, with that sort of up-on-the-shelf knowledge which is often guilty of want of thought among ourselves, but He remembereth that we are dust.

Thus begins ‘Frances Ridley Havergal’s Opened Treasures – A Daily Devotional Reader’, compiled by William J. Pell. Despite its somewhat wordy title and out-of-date cover, this book really is rightly named. First published in 1962, and reprinted a number of times since, this little volume was given to me by friends when I was fifteen. I like to alternate daily reading books each year, but this one remains a firm favourite – so much so, that the binding is beginning to suffer from overuse!READ MORE