It’s been over six months since I posted anything here; mostly because, well, life. But I have been busy reading.
This is pretty much what my last year in books looked like. 🙂
As a side note, taking this photo was, by far, the most frustrating experience I’ve had photographing books for my blog.
It took me three tries to get all the books in the stack right. Each time, it was only after I’d actually stacked the books, taken the picture, and nearly finished putting all the books away on my shelves, that I would suddenly realise I’d forgotten to include a book and back out all the books would have to come. 😦 In addition to that, there was always the matter of getting the balance right. See that wise old owl at the top of the stack? He’s only there so I could balance the darn thing. I can’t even count the amount of times the entire stack fell over. Fortunately, my stack was heavily cushioned and no books were damaged or hurt in the making of this photo. 🙂
In my last “official” What I’m Reading post, I mentioned I was going to be taking on the Goodreads’ Reading Challenge again. In 2015, I’d made it my goal to complete 36 books, but I found myself struggling at the end of the year. So I decided to be more realistic with my reading goals in 2016 and made it a goal to finish reading 30 books. I’m happy to say I reached my goal and even surpassed it! I read 33 books, which turns out to be the exactly same amount I read in 2015.
Here’s a complete list of the books I managed to complete, in the order they were read (generally speaking), with the latest reads appearing first.
- What We Talk about When We Talk about God by Rob Bell
- Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #3) by Dan Simmons
- The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #2) by Dan Simmons
- Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) by Dan Simmons
- Prayer: Letters to Malcolm by C.S. Lewis
- Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense by Francis Spufford
- The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3) by Philip Pullman
- The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) by Philip Pullman
- The Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman
- The Brothers Karamazov: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1 by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ralph E. Matlaw (Editor/Translator, Constance Garnett (Translator)
- The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter
- Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (Translator)
- Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- God Will Make a Way: What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do by Henry Cloud, John Townsend
- Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert
- Growing up and Other Vices by Sara Midda
- Twelve Step Fandango by Chris Haslam
- The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Richard Pevear , Larissa Volokhonsky
- Eggs, Beans And Crumpets (Ukridge #1.3) by P.G. Wodehouse
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Inner Life by Thomas à Kempis
- John for Everyone: Part One by N.T. Wright
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
- The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner
- The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner
- The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- The Wise Woman and Other Stories by George MacDonald
Here are a few more statistics. 🙂It’s interesting to compare 2016’s with 2015’s. They’re both surprisingly similar.
Again, these stats aren’t entirely accurate.
For example, I’m sure Notes from the Underground is far more popular than the statistics here show. I chose this edition because it was the closest I could find to a stand-alone Constance Garnett translation, which is the version I completed (I’m still in the middle of reading the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation). The least popular book I read is actually Sarah Midda’s Growing up and Other Vices followed closely by Chris Haslam’s Twelve Step Fandango (which I only read because my friend wanted to know my opinion of it and promised me he’d read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World if I read Twelve Step Fandango. I kept my end of the bargain, he didn’t. Heh.).
In addition, I didn’t completely read both translations of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. I read the entire Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation and read about 1/5 of the Norton Critical edition (translated by Constance Garnett and revised by Ralph E. Matlaw). The Norton Critical edition, includes about 140 pages of background and sources and critical essays, all of which I read, so I felt it was fine to count it as an additional book. The only drawback to including it in the list is that it added an extra 600-700 pages to my final page count for the year.
I also read both versions of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the 1890 Lippincott version and the 1891 revised and expanded version. So, technically, that would be two books, instead of one. But they were both included in the Norton Critical Edition and since I’d read a few other books that were terribly short, I figured I should just count it as one book to help even things out on the whole. 🙂
I’d say, overall, 2016 was a great year in reading. It included some of the best books I’ve ever read, as well as, some of the worst (*cough, James Dashner*); it also included the weirdest and most disturbing book I’ve ever read. Nearly every book was thought provoking in some way, which, to me, is the hallmark of a book worth reading.
I’d like to say, as I usually do, that I’ll be writing reviews for most or some of these books in the future, but, so far, that hasn’t seemed to have panned out. 😦 So I’ll refrain from saying anything this time, and que sera, sera. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂
I’ve signed up again for the 2017 Goodreads’ Reading Challenge. My goal is, again, to complete 30 books. I’m hoping to read a lot of tomes and magnum opuses, several large and weighty books, this year, so I’m not sure I’ll complete my goal. But I still think 30 books is a good and realistic-enough goal to shoot for.
How about you? Do you have any reading goals for 2017? If so, I’d love to hear about them. 🙂
About two months ago, a friend was going to have a month off. So he told me to give him a big reading project, which we could then discuss the next time we met. Fyodor Dostoevky’s The Brothers Karamazov had been sitting on my shelf and at the top of my priority reading list for years, but I’d been waiting till I could cut out a chunk of time to tackle it. This looked like the perfect opportunity. So I suggested The Brothers Karamazov (along with a disclaimer that, realistically, I probably wouldn’t be able to finish it in a month, but it was worth a start).
Two months later and, I haven’t finished, I’m about 2/5 into the book. But I’m not worried about taking my time. This isn’t a book I want to rush through.
One of the last books I read was Kurt Vonnegut’s SlaughterHouse-Five. In it, one of the characters says…
“Rosewater said an interesting thing to Billy one time about a book that wasn’t science fiction. He said that everything there was to know about life was in The Brothers Karamazov, by Feodor Dostoevsky. ‘But that isn’t enough any more,’ said Rosewater.”
Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five
Is everything there is to know about life really in this book? Maybe. Is it really not enough any more? I don’t know. 🙂
What I do know is, Dostoevsky was a master at understanding, expressing and exploring human nature and the human experience. And this–his last book–is him at his finest. Every chapter is in some way an exploration of, or insight into, some form of psychology, philosophy, or theology. And many chapters are brimming with food for thought.
In light of that, and because The Brothers Karamazov is such a long book, I thought it would be interesting to try something different. So I’m going to try to blog about my reading experience, as I read, instead of waiting until I’ve finished reading all 800 pages. After all, “A short pencil is better than a long memory.” I’m hoping this will be a good way to note and journal my thoughts, so that I won’t forget them. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll go about it, but I have a few ideas. 🙂