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What I’m Reading #10

After my last frustrating experience photographing a year’s worth of reading, I figure it’s probably a better idea to get back to doing my What I’m Reading posts more regularly. 🙂

Here’s a look at what I’ve read, so far, in 2017.DSC_8949rs

  1. The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis
  2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle
  4. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  5. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  6. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  7. The Double by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
  8. Nevsky Prospect, The Diary of a Madman, The Nose, The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol (four out of six of the St. Petersburg Tales), Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
  9. Oddkins by Dean R. Koontz
  10. The Martian by Andy Weir (Not pictured because I borrowed it from a friend)
  11. Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #4) by Dan Simmons (Not pictured; I listened to the audiobook)

I’m having a bit of a dilemma regarding Nikolai Gogol’s works; I’m not exactly sure how to count or list them, as his tales are collected/listed differently depending on the publisher. I think I’ll just wait until I’ve finished reading the other two St. Petersburg Tales and then count all of them as one book. In that case, so far, I’ve finished reading ten books this year (1/3 of the way through my reading goal for the year, yay! 🙂 ). All of them were great reads, though I’ve only managed to blog about one. Hopefully, I’ll eventually get around to blogging about a few more of them.

These are the books I’m currently reading.DSC_8974rs

How to be Decadent by George Mikes
I and Thou by Martin Buber, Ronald Gregor Smith (Translator)
Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
Notes from Underground (A Norton Critical Edition / 1st Edition) by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Michael R. Katz (Translator/Editor)
The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
St. Petersburg Tales (The Portrait, The Carriage) by Nikolai Gogol, Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator)
The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright

For the last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground. I’ll be meeting up with a friend this Sunday to discuss it, so I’ve been using that as impetus to really dig in and finish all the critical essays and background information included in my Norton Critical Edition. In addition to that, I’ve also been re-reading Notes from Underground for the second and third time simultaneously. (As you can see I’m somewhat obsessed. 🙂 ) I’m actually not exactly sure how you would count it, as I’m reading two different translations simultaneously (i.e. I finish a chapter in the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation, and then I read Michael R. Katz’s translation of the same chapter). I don’t think I could manage to pull off this kind of simultaneous reading with any other book, but Notes from Underground is short enough and such brilliant piece of work, I’m finding it’s actually a really interesting way to read it. 🙂

I’ve been slowly making my way through George Mikes’ How to be Decadent and Martin Buber’s I and Thou for about a year now. I actually started reading Buber’s I and Thou last May, but it was a tough read and hard to follow. I only got about 20 pages in before I put it down. I figured maybe it was problem with Ronald Smith’s translation and decided to wait till I could get my hands on a Walter Kaufmann translation instead. But, recently, I came across a few paragraphs from I and Thou that I really liked that turned out to be a section from the Ronald Smith translation just a few pages down from where I left off. So I figured maybe I’d just stopped before the good stuff, and decided to have another go at it. I’ll still likely still buy the Kaufmann translation, eventually, but I’m gonna give Ronald Smith another go and we’ll see how that turns out.

N. T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God is a tome I’ve been meaning to read for nearly a decade now. I finally bought a copy as a sort of Christmas present to myself last year and figured I’d make it my Lent reading project this year. Unfortunately, that plan got hijacked, by my Notes from Underground reading project. Still, I’ve been slowly chugging along at it. I’m only 50 pages in, so there’s no way I’m gonna finish it by Easter, but I’m determined to slowly make my way through it this year.

I haven’t started reading Dostoevsky’s The Gambler or the last two of Gogol’s Petersburg Tales, but they’re up next, after I’m finished with Notes from Underground.

Aside from those books, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I’m hoping to dig into some of the poetry of my two favourite poets T. S. Eliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

DSC_8978rs

I especially want to focus on T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, and possibly “Ash Wedsnesday”. But definitely Four Quartets, which I think is the best of T. S. Eliot’s best. I’ve been wanting to really dig into to it ever since I read it for the first time in November, 2015.

It’s such a deep and profound and beautiful and perfect collection of poetry, I think I could explore and meditate on it for a lifetime and still have more to discover and explore. I feel like it will take me years to even begin to scratch the surface of it’s depth, but I’m looking forward to making some progress towards that this next month. 🙂

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Books I Read in 2015 (What I’m Reading #8)

Last year, I decided to take on the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. My goal was to complete thirty-six books (three books a month). Here are the books I managed to complete.

2015 books read

  1. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  2. The Bad Beginning (An Unfortunate Series of Events, #1) by Lemony Snicket
  3. Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees by Yoshida Kenkō
  4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  5. Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot
  6. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
  7. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
  8. Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill
  9. The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
  10. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
  11. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  12. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  13. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  14. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  15. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  16. Mocking Jay (The Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins
  17. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins
  18. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins
  19. Calamity (Reckoners, #3) by Brandon Sanderson
  20. Firefight (Reckoners, #2) by Brandon Sanderson
  21. Mitosis (Reckoners, #1.5) by Brandon Sanderson
  22. Steelheart (Reckoners, #1) by Brandon Sanderson
  23. The Hope of Elantris (Elantris, #1.5) by Brandon Sanderson
  24. Elantris (Elantris, #1) by Brandon Sanderson
  25. The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4) by Brandon Sanderson
  26. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) by Brandon Sanderson
  27. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2) by Brandon Sanderson
  28. The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson
  29. Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)by Brandon Sanderson
  30. The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)by Brandon Sanderson
  31. Wool by Hugh Howey
  32. On Love by Alain de Botton
  33. Animal Farm by George Orwell

I’m hoping to get around to reviewing many of the books listed here and as I do I will add hyperlinks to each review.  In the meantime, here are a few more statistics. 🙂

2015 in review

As you can see, there are thirty-three books listed, but I wouldn’t really count Brandon Sanderson’s The Hope of Elantris (Elantris, #1.5) or Mitosis (Reckoners, #1.5) as a book each, because they’re both just short stories. I could probably get away with counting them both as one book. So I’ll do that and say I completed thirty-two books last year.

While I’m on the subject of these two short stories, as a very brief review, I would not really recommend either of them to anyone, even a Brandon Sanderson fan.  Actually, if you’re an obsessive fan, and like the Reckoners series, I’d say go ahead and read Mitosis, just don’t expect anything. But take my word for it and don’t read The Hope of Elantris. Just don’t. There are very few things that I actually wish I could unread and this short story is one of them. 😦 More on it later perhaps.

Going back to the Reading Challenge, towards the end of 2015, I found myself torn between reading the books I wanted or needed to read (i.e. denser or longer books) and trying to reach my goal of thirty-six books. In the end, I decided that reaching my goal of reading thirty-six books wasn’t as important as reading books that I needed or wanted to read, but coming to that conclusion was difficult. So this year, I’ve decided to make things a bit easier for myself and make it my goal to read thirty books (2.5 books a month) instead. Hopefully, this will allow for a happy balance between both the amount and quality of books I read this year.

What are your reading goals for 2016?  If you have any, I’d love to hear about it. 🙂

“If he be Mr. Hyde… I shall be Mr. Seek.”

jekyll hyde3

Today I finished reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’ve been fascinated by the basic premise and concept of this story for years, and was surprised to find that it wasn’t quite as detailed or black and white as I’d expected–there was plenty of grey. It’s left me with much to mull over.

A post (or posts) on this story will soon follow, but in the meantime I wanted to say: I would highly recommend that anyone interested in reading this story (but especially those who don’t really know the story concept, e.g., maybe the most you know is the phrase, “Jekyll and Hyde”; or perhaps you’re not exactly sure if it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or Count Dracula, or Frankenstein), just go and read it. Don’t read any commentary, synopsis, review–anything. Read the story first. Then go and read commentary to your heart’s content. You’ll probably need it too. 🙂

On the other hand, if you have little to no interest in reading it, perhaps some commentary would pique your interest. In that case, I would highly recommend that you go find something on the subject or stay tuned for my upcoming posts. 😉

Ps. Tom, I’m sorry. I reached the above conclusion only after finishing the whole story. I’m afraid I may have spoilt it a bit for you. 😦