FINAL-2012 Personal Reading Challenge

FINAL results on books I’ve read (or dropped) thus far. Originally written in December 2011.

One Sunday, 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.

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.

2012 Classics

  1. The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoyevsky (begun on Jan. 1 – dropped in a few weeks. Looking for either an audio version or a different translation as I just couldn’t connect with that one, though I read 150 pages. Began it again a month later. Dropped it again.) Turns out that our book club chose this for 2013 … so I will be reading it but will take it off my “personal” reading list since it is no longer a self-imposed book.
  2. Bleak House- Dickens … loved it! (review here,  review/discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find)
  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 … partway through and then had to take a break because I just hate Catherine and Heathcliff so very much. Will resume in 2013.

2012 Religion

  1. Introduction to the Devout Life – St. Francis de Sales … have begun this.
  2. The Way of Perfection – St. Teresa of Avila
  3. The Sabbath – Abraham Heschel (read this in the spring and, although Heschel’s writing could be high concept at times, found it riveting. The idea of living in sacred time, of time being our temple on earth is fascinating and one that I find very helpful in prayer.)
  4. Introduction to Christianity – Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI LOVED IT! Dense but accessible in tons of places. (excerpts and review at Goodreads)
  5. Joan of Arc – Mark Twain

2012 Rereading

  1. The Sand Pebbles
  2. Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury (read this for A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast and found it very thought provoking and more poetically written than I recalled.)
  3. Fire and Hemlock – Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Lark Rise – Flora Thompson

2012 Nonfiction

  1. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bryson (tried it a couple of times and realized that I didn’t actually care about the short history of nearly everything. Not Bryson’s fault. So it is off the list.)
  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 (A good although flawed look at how revisionist tactics and understanding literature do not mix. The flaws come more from the author’s vehemence and also some surprising gaps in authors covered. I mean to say, can one really discuss American literature without even mentioning Steinbeck?)

Book Reviews – Here and There
Book Review – Redeemed by Grace
Book Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
McCammon’s Acknowledgements
About Julie Davis
  • Jo

    I first read Eliot’s Four Quartets in a college poetry seminar, and have read it at least once annually ever since. It is just so full of potent imagery and sensory language, and beautifully considers the truths of human [im]mortality, and makes use of some ripe spiritual motifs. It is worth pouring over every line again and again. Like the best of poems, it has a new richness with each read. I have found it to be especially salient during times of transition and growth, or during the changing of the seasons. It is just really a timeless poem. Worth investing in commentaries if you are not intuitively a poetry person. And luckily for us, we can still listen to Eliot reading his masterpiece: 12-28-8-2

    • Jo

      Oops, I meant to post this link:

    • juliedavis

      I am going to have to invest in some sort of commentary and, actually, am going to take this off my list for next year. But, never fear, I will be looking into it again … I’m just trying to keep the list shorter (ha!) at this time.

  • Jenny Colvin

    Lists lists lists, how I love making lists! This is my favorite time of year. :)

    Brothers Karamazov – OH, I’ve read this, but was so confused by the names. It needs to come with some kind of flowchart with all the name variations listed for each character. Or they could have westernized it and just called each person by one name.

    • juliedavis

      I remember reading that on one of my previous attempts … in the intro to the book, where it talked about all the various nicknames that are easily connected by Russians, but leave the rest of us confused.