My 2012 Reading Challenge Lists

One Sunday a couple of weeks ago, when we’d gone to the Vigil Mass on Saturday to avoid getting embroiled in a local marathon that shuts down all the streets around our church (don’t ask … Tom has been enraged before to the point of risking arrest for civil disobedience) …

Wait, what was I saying?

Oh. Right.

Anyway, we were sitting around until about 1 p.m. in our jammies talking about cabbages and kings and whether pigs have wings … and about reading and classics. I realized that I have a handful of certifiable classics which I really want to read but that I keep acting as if the Reading Fairy is going to drop extra time and a book on my lap when I’ll suddenly begin reading.

Bravely taking responsibility on myself, I made a list.

I love making lists. Don’t you? And crossing things off them.

I’m super excited to begin The Brothers Karamazov. SUPER! EXCITED!

Then those lists came up in conversation over at A Good Story is Hard to Find so I put together an actual blog page. Which I’m sharing here.

So here are my “must reads” … I may not get through all of them in 2012, but I will be trying to always be reading one of them despite other distractions. In no particular order.

(By the way, Scott is also making a list with a bit of a different twist. Check it out at his blog, Rivets and Trees.)

2012 Classics

  1. The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoyevsky
  2. Bleak House- Dickens
  3. Middlemarch – Eliot
  4. Belly of Paris (Emile Zola)
  5. Last Call – Tim Powers (not a true classic, I know … but still a “challenging” read which is what all these are for me)
  6. A Movable Feast – Hemingway
  7. The Four Quartets – T.S. Eliot
  8. Wuthering Heights

2012 Religion

  1. Introduction to the Devout Life – St. Francis de Sales
  2. The Way of Perfection – St. Teresa of Avila
  3. The Sabbath – Abraham Heschel
  4. Introduction to Christianity – Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)
  5. Joan of Arc – Mark Twain

2012 Rereading

  1. The Sand Pebbles
  2. Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury
  3. Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Lark Rise – Flora Thompson

2012 Nonfiction

  1. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bryson
  2. Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life – Margaret Kim Peterson
  3. On Pilgrimage – Jennifer Lash
  4. Twain’s Feast – Beahrs
  5. Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature

About Julie Davis
  • Stephen Taylor

    Bleak House is Dickens best. Get good annotated editions of the spiritual classics. I love your list. Reading is one of the greatest pleasures of life!

    • juliedavis

      Do you have any suggestions of a good “brand” of annotated editions? Or is that a source that would vary from book to book?

  • Diane

    LOVE The Brothers Karamazov and the rest of Dostoevsky for that matter. Completing Tolstoy so my current challenge is to finish War & Peace. Recommend the Pevear/Volokhonsky translations of the Russians. My daughter’s in the middle of Middlemarch (heh) and enjoying it.

    • juliedavis

      You are the third person to recommend that translation … luckily our library has it and I’ve requested it. I haven’t ever delved into the Russian authors before so am interested to see what this will be like.

  • hopeinbrazil

    I like how you’ve broken up your list into genres. I may try that. I’m also happy to see one of the comments on a good translation for Russian novelists. I’ve wanted a recommendation for that.

    • juliedavis

      I just picked it up from the library but haven’t begun. Flipping through it does look easy to read … meaning no awkward language stood out. And I like that it has a list of characters and their myriad nicknames (which evidently is second nature to Russians but mystifies Americans). In fact, I like the fact that the root from which most of the nicknames are derived is italicized (yes, that is because it is the emphasized syllable, but nonetheless that does seem to be where most of the nicknames come from).