Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 in Books

     At the beginning of the year, I vowed to read less. I can’t say I’m a reading glutton, as I’m not constantly with my face in a book. But I also tend to read far too much, simply because I’m a fast reader. In 2015 I read 180 books, so I decided to read less in 2016, and attempt to make at least 50% of my reading centered on the classics.

     Well….I read about 137 books. So I did read less, but even counting the cookbooks, coloring books, and novellas that contribute to that number, it was FAR more than I thought I read this year in my attempt to choose quality over quantity.  Also, though I did read many classic books (including finishing my goal of re-reading the entire Sherlock Holmes canon) my list didn’t quite make the cut of making 50%. Also, I did re-read my Bible. It’s been a couple years since I tried doing the whole thing in a year, and this time I actually finished a month early! I think in 2017 I’ll try reading it backward, Revelation to Genesis.

Some reading highlights of 2016 include:

  • C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy—I FINALLY read these after borrowing them from a friend. At times obscure and at other times with no trace of subtlety whatsoever, if you want a book to chew and think on in addition to enjoying, this series is just the ticket.

  • Diving into some early classics I’d been avoiding—A.K.A Greek drama which I’m currently in the middle of and have found depressing but much more enjoyable and understandable than I was expecting. (In other words, nothing to dread). I also made my way through Augustine’s Confessions, Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ, and Machiavelli’s The Prince. Sometimes a girl has to widen her horizons beyond the Victorian era, however much she balks.

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events— I got halfway through these last year during my first semester at college and finished them the next semester. I do have some mixed feelings about them, but overall they are some of the most thought-provoking “kids’ books” that I’ve ever come across. I may get Netflix for the sole purpose of watching their adaptation on there. (Who am I kidding? Unless one of my friends is totally willing to let me come over and binge watch the whole series, I’m definitely getting it)

  • Good YA fiction—I actually found some YA that I truly liked! The odd but strangely endearing My Lady Jane for one, and the Jackaby series for another.

  • Five Magic Spindles—Rooglewood’s collections keep getting better and better! This one was truly worth picking up, and there wasn’t a single story in it that I didn’t like. I’m really looking forward to their next collection, whichever fairy tale it might be.

  • Discovering Kindle freebies—Because I’m not much of a e-reader, I hadn’t really explored these options. But I do like reading shorter works and taking advantage of kindle’s free promotions, I discovered some new indie authors, especially those who write fairy tale retellings…which I obviously have a weakness for.

  • The Sherlock Holmes stories—as I mentioned, I reread these this year. I know I like these books, but for some reason I always forget just how much I really do love them. And how funny they can be.
     Some of my other personal favorites of the year were A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Dracula by Bram Stoker, A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Pendragon’s Heir by Suzannah Rowntree, and (with some disclaimers) A Passage to Shambhala by Jon Baird.

     My reading goals for 2017 do go a bit along the same lines as those in 2016: read less, don’t waste my time with mediocre books, read more classics, read more non-fiction. For Christmas I got a collection of classic adventure stories, which will probably contribute to a large portion of my literature menu for this year. I’m also planning on finishing the complete plays of Sophocles and reading Homer’s Odyssey. I’m incredibly excited about taking a British novels class this coming semester and while I’ve read most of the assigned books already (it focuses mainly on Victorian literature, which you all know is a major interest of mine!) I’ll be rereading several books I haven’t picked up in years (including my much-adored Emma and a chance to try out my now-much-better-French-skills on Charlotte Brontë’s Villette). Hopefully, if I can get my hands on them, I’d like to try more books by Rafael Sabatini and buy some novels from my favorite indie authors.

     I’ll have another post up before the new year on what I accomplished with my writing this year (and believe me, it’s a much shorter list!).

1 comment:

Livia Rachelle said...

I read the first of Lewis's space trilogy. A bit weird, and didn't inspire me to immediately order the others from the library. But then, Sci-Fi is not my thing.

I know a couple people who enjoyed The Series of Unfortunate Events. I think I need to move past the first, and try more in hopes I might "get" them.

And I would LOVE to pick up enough French to understand the parts in Villette that are in French because I feel that they would be lost in translation.

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