Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Quarterly Reading Update

          As you know, I started out the year with a book list with exactly twelve books on it. If you missed the original post, you can find it here. Here's the list I started out with:
    • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
    • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    • Uncommon Decency by Richard J. Mouw
    • The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton
    • Western Christians in Global Mission by Paul Borthwick
    • Out of the Saltshaker and into the World: Evangelism as a Way of Life by Rebecca Manley Pippert
    • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathon Swift
    • War of Art by Steven Pressfield
    • Seven: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
    • You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt
    • How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
    • The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbit
        It is a great list; a little heavy on the non-fiction, no doubt, but it had a perfect number to read one book from the list each month. The problem is that I add to my lists as the year goes on, so my list currently has seventeen items on it. Here's an update on what I've finished and what I've read in addition.

    From the List

         From my original "2013 To Read" list I was able to cross off three books: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Out of the Saltshaker, and The Search for Delicious. You can find excerpts from Pilgrim here and a review here. I reviewed Out of the Saltshaker in the March edition of What I'm Into. The Search for Delicious was a great children's read, and I would definitely recommend it, but it probably isn't a good airport/airplane read: I finished it on my first trip before I even got off the plane (on the way there, just to clarify).
         In addition to those three, I added Unseduced and Unshaken (find my brief review here) and East of Eden, both of which I finished. So I guess you could say I have finished five books from my list of seventeen.

    East of Eden

         East of Eden may be one of my favorite fiction reads of the year so farit's in a close tie with Gilead and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Steinbeck's thoughtful examination of the struggle against evil and the idea of free will was so good that I was copying entire sections into my journal. And if you're a Mumford & Sons fan, it's definitely a must-read if you want to understand Timshel! I would highly recommend this book, but not for the faint of heart. It has a lot of mature elements and quite a few disturbing sections, but the themes of redemption and human choice that shone through were well worth sticking it out. I read this book in eight days, so it's not a slow read! If you've thought about reading it, my vote is, "Go for it!"

    Apart from the list

    Apart from the "2013 to read" list, I've finished a grand total of fourteen books since January 1st. Those not already mentioned include :
    • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. ( * * * * : I had mixed feelings about this book. It was well written and had a great ending, but I felt as if I didn't quite get it. I'm going to have to re-read it.)
    • For Time and Eternity and Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman (* *: These were an interesting read, but weren't very well written. They fit nicely into my easy/"junk" fiction category. )
    • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (* * * * * : I went out and bought this book; it was that good. Laughing-out loud witty, whimsical and touching. I already loaned this out.)
    • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead ( * * * : This was great as far as YA fiction goes. I loved the time travel element and how she referenced A Wrinkle in Time.I had a little trouble getting used to the writing style, but I would pass this one on.)
    • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson ( * * * * * : I bought this one too; it was just too good not to be able to underline in it. Highly recommend.)
    • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (*  * *: This was a great read, though it does come with a crying warning! It's a "not-your-typical cancer book", and is also YA, though, so if that's not your particular piece of cake, you may not enjoy this.)
    • Beauty by Robin McKinley (* * * *: this YA read is a re-telling of the story of Beauty and the Beast; but not the Disney versionthe original French fairy-tale version. I thought it was well written especially for a YA fantasy book, and was a wonderfully faithful retelling of the spirit of the story. It fed my fantasy craving just perfectly. )
    • Love Walked In by Maria de los Santos (* * *: This is my "junk fiction" lately, and slightly more satisfying than the usual. I also read the sequel Belong to Me, which I enjoyed as well. Not incredibly profound, but I loved when Clare, a young girl in Love Walked In, discovers that each person is the main character in their own story, just as she is the main character in her story. I remember that moment from my childhood when I first realized that profound truth, and I'd never knew that anyone else understood. As far as I'm concerned, it was worth reading just for that part!)


         I'm currently in the middle of Cry, The Beloved Country (re-read), A Severe Mercy (another re-read), The Suburban Christian (I've been in the middle of this for a while. I may not finish it, it's sort of boring and really slow), Uncommon Decency (almost done with this one!) and Tale of Two Cities. I've got also got an armful of books out from the library too that I'm hoping to read soon: By the Pricking of my Thumbs (Agatha Christie), Macbeth and Merchant of Venice, The Once and Future King (T.H. White) and In This House of Brede (Rumer Godden). In addition, I found a beautiful copy of St. Augustine's Confessions at Half Price Books (I need to stop going there, seriously) and I'd like to start reading that sometime soon as well!

    What are you reading? Any recommendations? Anything I should add to my list?


    1. I have a good friend who's currently encouraging me (daily, I think!) to read East of Eden, but I've been resisting. But I loved Miss Pettigrew, and Gilead, and Brideshead. Clearly our tastes match up, I should probably just dive in and read East of Eden already! Plus, it's a thin one. :)

      I LOVE your reading list. So much good stuff!

      1. Thanks for reading and commenting!

        I loved East of Eden, and it really is not very long or hard to read. I think you should just go for it! :)

    2. I want to read Miss Pettigrew because I've heard so many great things about it. I couldn't get in to Gilead for some reason. Maybe I should give it another try. I need to read East of Eden. I love Steinbeck but for some reason haven't gotten to that one.

      Great reading list! Found you on MMD's link-up.

      1. Miss Pettigrew is terrific, I think you should definitely go for it!
        I totally understand why you would have a hard time reading Gilead, like the fact that there's basically no plot until half-way into the book. It did take me a while to read it, but once I got further in, I was glad I stuck it out.
        Read East of Eden! I'm basically just telling everyone that these days. ;)
        Thanks for reading and commenting!



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