Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reading in the New Year

I just read this post from The Catholic World Report, and ... dang. My "to-read" list for 2014 was already too long. Now I've added ten more books. (Only one nonfiction, and that memoir. At this point in my life I'm not excited about or interested in reading books like "What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense," even though it comes recommended so highly. I am a stay-at-home mom with quite young children; the people I see on a regular basis are fairly likeminded, and I feel that I have a basic ability to articulate why I believe what I do in such things. For now, that is enough.)

I sometimes think the most sobering realization of mortality, for me, is the fact that it's impossible to read ALL the books I want to--that I will likely die with a list as tall as I am (at least!) of books unread. I figure I won't care in the afterlife, but that makes it worse not better! Phooey. (I think any writer or artist can relate to this as well in terms of work left unfinished. It is why I love Tolkien's "Leaf by Niggle" so very much.)

Anyway, I've lately taken to using Goodreads quite a bit to keep track of such things. Before I used my Amazon wishlist, but it's not designed for that sort of thing in the same way. My "want to read" category on there is pretty long, and it isn't exhaustive by any means ... but here are the books that are most important to me to read in 2014.

Kristin Lavransdatter. This book has been "following" me for the past year or so. I'd never heard of it two years ago, and can't remember where it first came up. Probably on a blog. But since then it seems everyone has been reading it and recommending it. I intend to buy it because I've a feeling it's a book I'll want a real copy of ... plus the cover is really pretty.

The Power and the Glory. Keith loves Graham Greene. I often buy his books for Christmas and birthdays ... but I've yet to read any of them.

Our Graham Greene collection.

The Inn at the Edge of the World .... and everything else by Alice Thomas Ellis. Also it is my personal mission this year to make her more widely read, if only just in my own little circle. Call it a New Year's Resolution.

A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor. Yes yes yes. As soon as possible please. (While I'm at it I should reread her stories.)

I want to read Maria Montessori--probably The Absorbent Mind? If you have any recommendations for books by or about her please share!

After reading My Sisters the Saints I also want to read something by Edith Stein. And I want to add something else of a little more spiritual weight to the list. Any suggestions? I find myself in need of ... peace. Prayer. Order. Gentleness. So, if you've any suggestions along those lines I will gladly hear them.

Last but not least I am excited to read the many books being published by Catholic small presses this year, starting with Sand, Smoke, Current from Wiseblood Books, released just yesterday. It promises to be good!

And oh yes--Maddaddam, because I've read the first two books and it isn't a series you don't finish!


  1. the one by O'Connor sounds really good!

  2. I just had a similar conversation this afternoon (re: there being too many books to read them all!)--one person was talking about a book she had re-read several times, and another said, "wait!! Why would you do that?! There are so many books out there you haven't read, why would you read one that you already did?!" (For the record, I'm ok with re-reading. :-) )

  3. Your thoughts on there being too much to read and know before death reminds me of what I read about St. Thomas Aquinas in Chesterton's biography. From what I remember, towards the end of his life it seems he figuratively threw his hands in the air and ceased trying to wrap his head around everything-- and just prayed.

  4. Kristin Lavransdatter has been following me TOO. It's on my Amazon wishlist. I need to just get it and read it, but I already have so many other books (in my possession) I need to read.

    After reading My Sisters the Saints, I felt the exact same way about wanting to look into Edith Stein. I asked for, and received her "Essays on Woman" for Christmas. Haven't started it yet. If you get it, we could read together and discuss (?!).

    As to not finishing your reading list before you die, Tom and I basically had the exact same conversation last night. I was bummed that I would never read all the books I wanted to read before I died. Tom had totally accepted it.

  5. I might have to add the Margaret Atwood series to my list. I feel that way about all series that I read - whether I like them or not I have to know how they end!