As always, I have several books going at once. From my post earlier this week, you know I am reading Deep Work by Cal Newport. My other nonfiction books are How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler, which I am reading with a group of home educating friends, Openness Unhindered by Rosaria Butterfield for Sunday School class, and Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon as my daily devotional this year (I try to read through Spurgeon at least every other year. His words of love and devotion to Christ never get old and are always comforting and challenging).
In fiction, I am slowly working through Deborah Crombie’s mystery series featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. I finished Necessary as Blood, the 13th book in the series last week and the other day I picked up the latest Isabel Dalhousie book, A Distant View of Everything, by Alexander McCall Smith. I thoroughly enjoy these books as I feel that Isabel and I would get along well. I have the same tendency to think about everything and anything although I’m not as good as getting myself embroiled in other people’s problems the way she does. I’m thankful for that.
What are you reading this week? I’d love to hear about the books you are loving right now.
This year, Goodreads did all of the hard work of compiling what I read. I’m glad I faithfully added titles and dates read, even if I didn’t always add a full review.
Goodread’s Year in Books for 2015
I had set a goal to read 100 books and went slightly over at 105. My average rating overall was 3.8, which means I was reading mostly good books with an occasional bomb.
17 nonfiction books (if I include Dante’s Divine Comedy and Shakespeare’s plays in with fiction).
The rest were fiction. Not quite as many non-fiction as I had hoped, but I find it easier to work through a novel quickly than a nonfiction book. Perhaps this year I will be able to read at least 25 nonfiction, which would be about 25%–not ideal, but a better percentage.
I have a couple of reading challenges I’m eyeing and a Bible reading plan I am starting, both of which I will discuss in my next post.
I hope all of you had good reading years, too. If you’re comfortable, please share how your reading year went in the comments. I’d love to hear your experiences with books this past year.
Several months ago, I discovered that I was reading articles from a new (to me) blog: Modern Mrs. Darcy (MMD). First of all, those of us who are Jane Austen fans can’t possibly resist the name, Modern Mrs. Darcy! Add to that, Anne, the owner of MMD, is an engaging writer who covers so many topics I’m interested in. From book reviews to articles about Myers-Briggs personality tests** to organizing life the Kondo way to introducing services like ePantry, there is always something of interest. Add to that, a weekly round up of favorite links and lists and lists of good books to read, and I was hooked.
While I read some blogs for moral or theological edification and others to help me organize or learn things I need to know for work, school, or my home, there are a few blogs I read just for the sheer fun of it. MMD is one of my fun blogs. I hope you all enjoy it, too.
Here are just a few articles to get you started:
Books worth binge reading
3 time management rules I wish I’d learned 10 years ago
My accidental capsule wardrobe
The perfect summer reading for every Myers-Briggs personality type
Grown-ups shouldn’t finish books they’re not enjoying
**I adore taking Myers-Briggs personality tests. Even though I rarely deviate from the expected result, I still can’t resist taking it again, just in case I’ve changed, and then reading all of the various personality quirks, perfect jobs, and people like me articles that go along with my personality type. It’s fun. Give it a try.
Chinon, France – with Château de Chinon on the hill
Emily Braden has been convinced to go on vacation with Harry, her charming but unreliable cousin. Harry is going to the town of Chinon in France to look for the lost treasure of Isabelle, one of the Plantagenet queens, and he arranges to meet Emily in Chinon. Unsurprisingly to Emily, Harry fails to show up on the agreed upon date. So begins another of Suzanna Kearsley’s wonderful romantic historical mysteries.
At first Emily thinks nothing of Harry’s absence, but as the days go by without hearing anything from him, Emily grows concerned that perhaps Harry’s failure to appear is more than just his usual forgetfulness. As she gets to know the other guests in the hotel in which she is staying, she becomes entangled in not only the mystery of Queen Isabelle’s lost treasure, but also the more recent mystery of another Isabelle, who supposedly hid a treasure before taking her own life in World War II.
The cast of characters include a charming Frenchman and his delightful child, two Canadian brothers, an American couple, and an old retainer with secrets of his own, all of whom draw Emily further into the mysteries of Chinon. Ms. Kearsley’s delightful descriptions of Chinon gave me the sense of being there, and I admit to spending an evening looking at photographs of the French town and reading more about this historical little gem of a city in the Loire Valley in France.
I was alternatively entranced and dismayed by the unfolding events and kept reading “just one more chapter” until the wee hours of the morning. The ending was eminently satisfying–the mystery of both of the Isabelles is resolved as is Harry’s disappearance. My only disappointment is that I would have liked a bit more detail about the two Isabelles and their times. However, all in all, it was a satisfying read for anyone who likes historical thrillers set in an exotic locale with a bit of romance thrown in, too.
“The house was still, weighty with the comfort of a thousand books.” –Laurie R. King, Dreaming Spies
There is a new online book club, The Literary Classics Online Book Club, which plans to read a classic work of literature every other month. The first month TLCOBC will post interesting facts and background information on their blog and social media sites while everyone reads (or listens to) the book. Then the second month, the club will host discussions about the book for anyone to participate in. The first book they have chosen to read is Hamlet by William Shakespeare, often considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. Andrew Kern from The Circe Institute has spoken and written about this play many times and is he is in the middle of a podcast series on Hamlet (the first of which you can find here). Before listening to the podcasts I have been meaning to re-read the play and this seems like the perfect opportunity. Besides, wouldn’t it be fun to read the play, listen to Andrew talk about it and then join in a discussion? Who’s game?
My reading life has improved in the last few years as far as number of books read, but this past year, I slacked off considerably in the number of non-fiction books I read, including theology and devotional books, which has always been a strong category for me. Also, I never finished Trollope’s Barsetshire Chronicles, which I had meant to do and while I did stray a bit outside of my normal “comfort zone” of mysteries and middlebrow novels, I would have liked to have read in other genres a bit more.
While I do not like to be too tied down by strict reading plans, I have decided to create a few goals for this year in hopes of expanding my horizons a bit as well as read more non-fiction.
1. Read at least two non-fiction books a month, especially devotional/theological books and biographies.
2. Repeat last year’s goal to read more newish fiction (as opposed to my usual classics and 19th/early 20th century books).
3. Finish Trollope’s Barsetshire Chronicles.
4. Try books in a new genre and/or a genre I generally avoid.
5. Read through the Bible this year; it has been three years since I’ve read through the whole of Scripture.
6. A fun thing to try would be this plan to read the complete works of Shakespeare through in a year. I don’t have time to do the whole thing in a year but perhaps over two-three years….
What are your reading goals for 2015? More fiction? More non-fiction? Just more reading generally?