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48 Books I’m Planning to Read in 2013

Okay, so I couldn’t help myself… I didn’t stick with 24 books on my list like I did the last two years. Instead, since I ended up reading over 135 books and ebooks in 2012, I decided that I could double the number of books I planned specifically to read in 2013. This would challenge me to start and finish some books that have been sitting on my shelf for too long but would still give me space to add in extra books that I come across during the year and want to read right away.

I chose 12 books each in four different categories: 12 spiritually encouraging books, 12 business/productivity/leadership books, 12 fiction/biography books, and 12 home/family-related books. My plan is to read one from each category every month.

By the way, if you missed my post from a few days ago, be sure to check out my Top 20 Favorite Reads in 2012.

And because I know someone is going to ask, if you wondering about when I have time to read, you can check out these posts: Q&A: How Do You Find Time to Read?, Change Your Life and Challenge Your Mind By Making Time for Reading Good Books, and 7 More Ways to Find Time to Read.

Here’s what I mapped out for 2013:


20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now

You Can Raise a Well-Mannered Child

A Woman’s Place: A Novel

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears


Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

A Charlotte Mason Education

Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life

Idol Lies: Facing the Truth About Our Deepest Desires


Making Room for Life: Trading Chaotic Lifestyles for Connected Relationships

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart, 2nd edition

Love Has a Face: Mascara, a Machete and One Woman’s Miraculous Journey with Jesus in Sudan

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are


The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive

Families Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism, and Shame

Lady in Waiting: A Novel

When the Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box


Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action

Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples


The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently

Grace-Based Parenting

Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment … Can Last Forever

The Resolution for Women


Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders

The Faithful Parent: A Biblical Guide to Raising a Family

While We’re Far Apart

She’s Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us


Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

The Heart of Homeschooling: Teaching & Living What Really Matters

She Makes It Look Easy: A Novel

Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God


The Elements of Style (4th Edition)

Lessons at Blackberry Inn: Adventures with the Gentle Art of Learning

Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace

If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat


The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

The Jade Bracelet: A Novel

Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus


For Better or For Work: A Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs and Their Families

Children Are Wet Cement

On Every Side

Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith


Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off

When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy for Today

Candle in the Darkness (Refiner’s Fire, Book 1)

Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do

What books are you planning to read in 2013? If you’ve blogged about it, be sure to leave your link in the comments.

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  • Leah Finn says:

    How do you decide on the titles you have selected for the year? Also, do you buy most of these books full price, use paperback swap or used book stores, or are they given to you by publishers? Just curious.

  • Melissa says:

    That is a great list. I might use some of your choices!

    Do you buy all of your books in advance? I tried Paperback Swap, but I am often on the wait list forever.

    Here is my reading list for the year:

  • Sara says:

    I was just curious if you buy your books and if so how much do you spend or where do you find good deals. I see you have pictures of the books. I love to read but we wont buy books unless we know it will get a few reads out of it. So we go to the library, but you seem to have some really good ones and it just made me curious if you buy them or not. Also how do you choose your books to read?

  • Beth says:

    This list sure inspires me! I am curious if you plan to post your own “review” of the books on your blog after you read them (forgive me if you already do this and I’ve missed it!). We seem to have a lot of the same taste in book topics, but I sure am not the reader you are – perhaps when I’m getting more sleep when my kids are a bit older. 😉

  • Stacey says:

    That is a lot of books. Do you buy all the books or get them from the library? Wondering how it worked with having so many books picked out each month. Thanks.

  • I have read Candle in the Darkness. If I remember, it was pretty good.

    I don’t really make lists of books that I want to read. I sort of just read them as I come across them.

    I did get Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl (Beth Moore) and The Busy Mom’s Devotional before Christmas and am looking forward to those. Have one from BookSneeze to read and review. And want to read Jill Savage’s latest.

  • katie says:

    Wowza! I am sooooo impressed that you have all the books already! It’s like you’ve created your own college course! Well done. I read let it go last month and enjoyed it. I want to try Lynn Austin!

    • Crystal says:

      I read my first Lynn Austin last week (Until We Reach Home) and LOVED it. Can’t wait to read more of hers!

      • Cathy says:

        Ive read “while were far apart” and I loved it. Its a wonderful book.

      • Kacie says:

        Crystal, I LOVED “While We’re Far Apart” and I started “Until We Reach Home” last night, but it moved a little slow for me. Hope you like Far Apart!

        • Crystal says:

          It starts slow and I’m glad I made myself continue with it because I ended up loving it… now I can’t wait to read While We’re Far Apart!

          • Kacie says:

            Well then I think I’m going to keep going, seeing as it was a free kindle book (that I probably heard about from you anyway 🙂 ) and since I liked the author’s other work, and I generally like similar books as you :).

            One other book I’m reading right now that was free for Kindle for awhile is “Holy Parenting.” I’m not very far in, but it’s meeting me where I’m at and I love it.

            I think I’ll work up a short list of to-read books for the year, leaving lots of room for the bunny trails of books that pop up.

            • Crystal says:

              Oh how I know about those bunny trails of books! 😉

              Thanks for the recommendation of Holy Parenting. That name rings a bell… so I’m guessing I probably downloaded it, too! 🙂

  • Emily says:

    I finished my list last week…I have 41 books on the list and I am SO excited to tackle it this year!

  • Hi Crystal! Would you mind sharing how you are able to read so much? I have a 4yo, 2yo, and 7mo and I am lucky to get one book read in a month (along with my daily Bible reading!) I know we are all in different life stages and that matter but do you have suggestions or can you share where you squeeze in the time to read so much?

  • Kim says:

    My hubby and I took a Sunday School class when we were first married and did “The Five Love Languages”. I think that is a wonderful one for couples to read together. Chapman also has a “Five Love Languages for Children”, I have heard that it is a good one as well.

    • I read the 5 Love Languages back when my husband and I were still dating, after a major fight. It has seriously helped us quite a bit. Knowing our love languages before we got married has helped our marriage from the start.

      I want to read the one about children but my daughter is only 9 months old right now. I have time. 🙂

  • Penny T. says:

    I hope to read The China Study this year if I can find it used for a good price. I will definitely read Christmas Jars again in November as this is so inspiring for the Christmas season. I plan to start my own Christmas jar tomorrow and fill it throughout the year. As for the rest, I belong to 2 book clubs so if something interests me from those groups, I usually read them if I can find the book for a cheap price. I also have a backlog of books I have been picking up throughout the year for 50 cents at a local thrift store and will try to read some of those. I usually read about 24 books per year. I wish I could talk my husband into reading “For Better or Work”… we are 10+ years into his business and it’s a type of business that will continually be evolving and has definitely wreaked havoc on our family and personal life… one of the reviewers called it a rollercoaster and it definitely is!

    • I really like reading biographies. One of my faves is:
      Ruth, A Portrait: The story of Ruth Bell Graham
      by Patricial Cornwell

      It gives a glimpse of her as a youngster in China and her life before and while married to Billy Graham.

      I also liked Jackie Chan’s biography… because I’ve seen most of his movies.

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your list. They always inspire me to read more.

  • I just read Everything by Mary De Muth last month and loved it (and her!) I’m working on another of her books right now…..

  • Great list! I am going to check out some of those titles.

    I haven’t made an entire list yet for the year but I have several that I know are my list to start:

    The Hobbit, The $100 Start-up, The Power of Habit, A Charlotte Mason Companion, Gilead, and quite a few others! 🙂

    Here is what I read this past year.

  • Jennifer Loeffler says:

    Crystal, you inspire me, for sure! I wondered if you had any wisdom in how you stay on course with your goals when the unexpected happens (sickness, mom’s injury and you become the caretaker, an injury of your own). These are all things that have happened in the last year in my life. As much as I would like to stick to my goals, I don’t know how to handle the “life” that happens during the year as well.

    • Crystal says:

      Cut yourself some slack, give yourself grace, and lower your expectations… it sounds like you’ve had a LOT on your plate. I’d encourage you to just focus on whatever little bit of progress you’re able to make and not be discouraged that you’re not progressing like you’d hoped to be. Moving forward — even at a microscopic rate — is still moving forward!


  • You are so amazing! I love reading, but really have not read much during my adult life. After some inspiration from you, I began reading a bit more last year (utilizing all those free ebooks you post!). I have started this year with a small reading list, though I really hope to read many more than my “goal”. Thanks for your encouragement and inspiration to us all!

  • Kim says:

    Hi Crystal 🙂
    Just like your childrens books, how do you decide on which books you are going to read, because there are so many. Is it word of mouth, a sit etc….

  • God used “The Five Love Languages” to change my life… it helped me actually feel like God loved me for the first time. (Which I blogged about at if it helps anybody.) I was single and lonely and suddenly realized I wouldn’t find a husband until I could let God love me first… something about idols God doesn’t seem to like. 🙂 So He used that book to do the trick… Yay Jesus! (And yay husband a few years later!!) 🙂

    Also, you’ll love Platform. I just finished that one and can’t wait to get his ideas implemented! You already do a bunch of them but I’m sure it will be inspiring anyway!

    Thanks for posting your list!

    • Crystal says:

      That is so cool about the 5 Love Languages. Thanks so much for sharing!

      I get to hear Michael Hyatt speak at the BEECH Retreat in a few weeks, so I’m hoping to have finished his book before then. I’m so glad to hear you found it helpful!

  • Lindsay says:

    I just finished Cleaning House last night and I LOVED it!! The message was wonderful and I loved how she tied it back into the Bible and what we are ultimately called to as Christians. I just finished it last night!

  • Judy says:

    I think you’ll really enjoy the books by Mick Vujicic! I read Life Without Limits and was left in awe at what an incredible man he has become despite all of the challenges he’s had to face.

  • Shelly says:

    I made my first ever list of books for the year list. I just made a plan for 12-13 books for the year. Most of the books I am reading this year are Kindle books I have gotten for free. I was inspired by the amount of reading you got in this past year so I thought I would make a plan myself.

    Here is my book list

  • Maybe you’ve addressed this before and I missed it, but here’s my question:

    With so many books, how do you remember/implement/ponder the messages/lessons that are given in each? Fiction books can be read, enjoyed, and forgotten, but a lot of your book choices are business, family, or self-improvement based. Usually they have some sort of plan for achieving something that takes time to do or time to mull over. Do you read for just one or two quick “take aways” or are you trying to really implement everything that’s discussed in the book? I think if I read all those books, I would get quickly overwhelmed thinking about all the ways I’m behind, not good enough, or all the stuff in my life that needs “fixing.” How do you balance all that?

    • Crystal says:

      Many books affect me very deeply (as I alluded to in my Top 20 Books post) and those are often the ones that I take time to just slowly read through — 1/3 to 1/2 a chapter every day so I can mull over them and really let them sink in and take root. I typically read those types of books in the mornings along with my devotions and then take the time while I’m running to ponder/pray/consider. Those are often the books that take me 3-5 weeks (or more!) to finish because I don’t want to rush through them.

      Other books, such as fiction and very practical books, I can read through quickly because I’m reading them for enjoyment and/or to pick out some quick practical tips and ideas. Those are the ones I read at night before bed or that I’ll take with me to an appointment, etc. Because I don’t need the level of concentration that the other books require.

      I typically only have 1-2 “deep” books going at once. And then I’ll have 1-2 other light reads going. This provides a good balance and seems to work well for me..

      Thanks for a great question!

  • lindsay says:

    I am so glad One Thousand Gifts is on your list. It is one of my very favorite books, and I kept meaning to suggest it for you. Thanks for the list!

  • Erin says:

    I’m so excited to see Lynn Austin books on your list. You are going to love her books – Eve’s Daughters is still one of my all-time favorite books. I also love Until We Reach Home and A Woman’s Place. Her characters are so well developed and her writing really makes you feel like you are brought back to that time in history. You are in for a real treat!

  • Marie says:

    In 2012 thanks to you I made a list 3 pages long of books that I wanted to read. Just to read one book would be a start. Since getting married and being a mom I couldn’t remember the last time I read a book cover to cover! It’d been over 10 years!! I longed to read again but didn’t know how or when I’d find the time.
    So I picked one off the list and began my journey back to reading! I surprised myself tonight when I looked at my pages of books and realized I read 12 books this year!!!!! I’m so proud of myself! I don’t know that I can break my books down by month since I mostly rely on the library and sometimes the wait list is long. But thank you to you and your readers for all the great recommendations.

  • Jenn says:

    WOW very inspiring! I don’t think I have enjoyed a book in peace since becoming a mom. After seeing your list I may have to give a few a try and make it priority this year. I used to love reading and this will help me get a few minutes of down time every day.

  • Katherine says:

    Thanks for sharing, I love to read and these look great. I have read One Thousand Gifts and loved that very much, as well as Life Without Limits which is so inspirational as well. I think you will really enjoy them. I am getting ready to read the novel you have listed, She Makes it Look Easy. Thanks for all this helpful work you do and Happy Year!

  • Carol says:

    Circle Maker is amazing, also great for a small group.
    5 Love Languages will change your life.

  • Amber says:

    I am inspired to read more after finding this post and your website for the first time tonight. I wrote down quite a few and shopped Amazon after reading your list. A few books I read this year that really impacted me are:

    Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – by Eric Metaxas. You might need to devote 2-3 weeks to this book instead of 1 because it is 624 pages, but next to the Bible I have yet to find a book that inspires me more.

    Born Again by Chuck Colson & Life Sentence by Chuck Colson, who went to be with the Lord in 2012. I couldn’t put these two books down once I started them. A wonderful autobiography and testimony of what Christ can do.

    Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce & the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas. Another amazing and inspirational biography.

    I’m with you – I have to force myself to read “fluff” now after reading these meaty biographies and autobiographies.

  • Liz says:

    135 books in a year?!?
    Oh! How you make my bookworm heart go pitter patter!

    You’re my hero! 😉

  • Thank you for all the great recommendations and inspiration to get back into reading!

    Here is what I read in 2012 and am planning on for the start of 2013:

  • So glad to see Lynn Austin make it on your list! Her series God and Kings is one of my favorites!

  • Ac says:

    I’m also a voracious reader. I recently asked friends for book recommendations for 2013 in addition to books I already planned to read. Some I’ve read before but a lot of them I’d never heard of. It’s nice to mix up what we would normally read with recommendations from others. Here’s the list from my friends:

    Centennial – James A. Michener
    Out of My Mind – Sharon Draper
    The Book Thief – Zusak
    Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life – Rosenthal
    Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
    Kisses from Katie – Katie Davis
    Acquired Tates – Peter Mayle
    The Paris Wife – Paula McLain
    Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman
    Shadow of the Banyan – Ratner
    The End of Your Life Book Club – Schwarbe
    Bonhoeffer – Metaxas
    The Tiger’s Wife
    The Scarlet Letter
    A Severe Mercy
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

  • Sara says:

    A professor used “Getting to Yes” as the textbook for a negotiation skills class I took during my MA at SU. It was awesome – I still find myself using the principles I learned. Good choice!

  • Katie says:

    What an amazing list! I am inspired now to create my own.! I haven’t stepped into a library in way too long! I have a 6 month old and one of my goals this year is to read to him more and build up his library.

  • I have been following your blog for quite a while and find you to be a truly inspirational Christian, you seem very down to earth! What a great list of books for the year.

  • Mel says:

    You will really like The Circle Maker, I read the kindle version that was free over the weekend. Praying circles around your children.

    The 5 Love Languages is a great book. I look to it for reference some times.

    This weekend I also read Not a Fan, the free kindle version for teens

  • Laurie G says:

    Just a suggestion, but don’t forget to read the actual Charlotte Mason series that she herself wrote some time. I am not sure I have seen it on your lists, so you may have read it, but it is very good. It can be read online free and it is even in modern English.

  • Samantha says:

    Ohhh Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is a great Christian biography and The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas is a great classic about revenge and forgiveness.

  • Mrs. R. says:

    Wow–thank you so much for the fabulous Chrisitan parenting titles!

    I try to keep up on what’s available, so it was particularly delightful to learn about some I’ve never heard of—but are in my future. 🙂

    New Year’s blessings to all y’all!

  • Lori says:

    You are truly a woman after my own heart!!! I was trying to figure out different categories of books to read since I love to read as well, and your list will be so helpful and gives me even more great suggestions!!! I go through your lists and put the ones that interest me into my goodreads account to keep track of all of them. I love your blog – thank you so much!!!

  • Bethany says:

    Like you, I read way more books than I had planned on last year. I love how you have them broken down into categories.

    Here is my list for this year:

  • I see many of my favorites on your list! Great choices! I’ve been reading many of your business-related recommended books lately (such as Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership book). Thanks!

  • I just posted about the books I read in 2012 and will post my 2013 list on Friday.

    I have read One Thousand Gifts from your list, and it is excellent.

  • Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off is a great choice! Jim Cockrum and his coaching team helped us more than double our income/business this year! Such a wonderful person!

  • Jan says:

    I just started Onward- it seems really good. I never, ever pay for books. I get them from the library either the real book or on Kindle.

  • JLP says:

    hope you’re looking forward to February, because Idol Lies is awesome!

  • Amanda says:

    What a great list! You should do small book reviews on here. If love to hear your opinions. Also, I’ve read a couple of these like 1000 Gifts and the book by Nicole Unice and you’re in for a treat!

    • Crystal says:

      I usually do at least a few book reviews of my favorites each month and then I pin mini-reviews on Pinterest. I’m excited to read both of those!

  • Katie says:

    I LOVE every Lynn Austin book I’ve ever read! You will have to read all the books in the Refiner’s Fire series. It is so neat how the stories of the characters in all 3 books intertwine.

  • AmyK says:

    “Getting to Yes” is a great book – I read it in college as part of a mediation class. Enjoy!

    • Amanda says:

      I got Candle in the Darkness last year as a free Kindle download. I began it and then I had to get the other two in the series from the library! They were sooo good. Hard stuff to read at times, being civil war era fiction, but I can bet you will be picking up the other two!

  • LuAnn Braley says:

    Wow…most of my “books” will come from free Kindle downloads available … but I know where to come for ideas! Thanks! :O)

  • I also have The Circle Maker and Platform on my 2013 list. I have finished one book so far this year and am in the middle of my second. I love that my library lets me check out audio books for free online without leaving home!

  • Nicole Unice says:

    Hey, I am so excited that you are planning to read She’s Got Issues in 2013! I hope it will encourage you in the way that you encourage so many through your blog. Cheers!

  • sona says:

    Although not a book, over the past 2 years I have been reading “Imprimis.” From their website…Imprimis, which in Latin means “in the first place,” is Hillsdale College’s national speech digest. It publishes monthly presentations delivered at it’s many seminar and lecture programs. Speakers are from around the world. Begun in 1972 , it now reaches over 2.6 million readers monthly, the largest thing of its kind…… It comes at no cost to anyone who wishes to receive it, as part of Hillsdale’s commitment to “pursuing truth and defending liberty.” (Can be read online or sent to home)

    They also have 2 free classes online. History 101 and Constitution 101/201.

    Although not Christian, Hillsdale is a conservative liberal arts college.

  • Megan says:

    Crys – I listened to this one Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off and really liked it! Read with a pencil and paper and highliter – he really has good info. You already do so many things that he recommends I was certain you had already read it! Get on his mailing list now too! Jim has very relevant ideas! I would move that up in your plan as he will grow your business so much over the next year!

  • Megan says:

    Read Tina Fey Bossypants -do audio- the chapter on motherhood is tears down your face funny. At least I thought it was!!

  • Amy Meyers says:

    First time I’ve posted here, but I have enjoyed lurking at! I’ve read some of the books on your list, and love reading! Here’s a list I’m hoping to get through this year:
    It’s not as extensive as yours. I’ll have to re-read your articles on how you find time to read that much. Wow!

    I hope to read For the Children’s Sake on my list for this year. I also plan to use MFW next year. I wondered if you lean more towards Charlotte Mason philosophy or classical. 🙂 Happy reading to you!

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