So the spin number is #6, so I’m reading Hamlet.
I decided this most recent spin might be a good way to force me to read something off this list. I left all the Shakespeare on the list because I own all Shakespeare (and plays are quicker than novels). I think I could get some of the others on Serial reader and maybe from family members’ personal libraries. Most of the rest I’ve been meaning to get to more recently (usually to round off reading the author). War and Peace I’ve been meaning to restart. Doubt I’d finish if this got picked but it would perhaps propel me into reading it.
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
- Henry VI, Part 1
- Henry VI, Part 2
- Henry VI, Part 3
- Henry VIII
- King John
- Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
- Richard III
- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
- The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
- The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
- Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Thinking about this after Katie’s comment on this post. But I’m due for rereads, so I may have to revisit this post. I know my top two. Also, movie portrayals matter, I watched many of the movies before reading and have watched the films many times sense. I think with many of the characters, the book leaves some openness in interpreting the characters (not all of them), actually, to me the some of the most famous (Darcy, Knightley, and Brandon) are that way. Because they are older/more reserved maybe?
- Captain Wentworth. Decisive, military, passionate, I do have to wonder though, how well this would work in reality. I mean does a Marianne-type character work with admittedly something of the male-equivalent in intensity.
Henry Tilney funny, kind, honorable. This I know would work for me in reality.
Now for the others. I do think I’d pick Mr. Knightley next (or would I?), but I’d prefer John Knightley from the 2008 Emma. That smart-aleck and family loyal character is absolutely my style. I’m not sure what I think of Knightly, I’m not sure he’s as clearly defined, all the movie versions are sort of accurate in a way, but also not. He can seem a bit too, puppy-dog, like trailing after Emma which I don’t like. So maybe I would pick Bingley next although. Bingley and Edward Ferrars I kind of group together. I have difficulty respecting them, and I’m afraid I’d steam role right over them, but I’d pick them over the melancholy Brandon, or the boring (!) Darcy.
Bingley, precious and sweet but too easily led. But he doesn’t do anything wrong, and he does come back without prompting, I think, although with some hints maybe, or encouragement after seeing Lizzie. My understanding was Darcy said something to him after he came back, but like I said I’m due for a reread.
Edward Ferrars. Grow a spine dude. It’s not honorable to love another and stay engaged, sorry, that isn’t actual faithfulness. However, he is funny.
Edmund Bertram. Ah, Edmund, I loved you so much until I despised you so much. And yet, I still think I’d want him before Colonel Brandon. I mean if Edmund hadn’t fallen for Mary, or at least for that long and so hard. Early Edmund would be closer to the top.
Darcy. I belong to the Darcy is overrated club.
Colonel Brandon. I’m afraid the unfairly ancient and/or slimy casting of Colonel Brandon has forever tainted him to me. If Matthew McFadyen had played him (ala Arthur Clennam) as I think would have been ideal. I think he needed to be brought to life in such a way as too make him appealing. He’s too melancholy a person for me ideally.
As I’m a highly picky mood reader, I tend to reach for my favorites a lot, but as I also tend to tire/bored of things thanks to my obsessive repetitiveness, I try to space out my reads. I’ve handwritten lists, but this time I added another tab to my books excel file (for my TBR lists, one tab that is interlibrary loan, one for those at my library), to which I added all my favorite books using Goodreads as a guide, the dates I’d read them previously (if I had them) and the dates I could read them next, generally 4-5 years. I ended up with 30 books and authors I could read in 2020.
I have an Evernote workbook dedicated to fun. And I was working on seasonal files (food, activities, movies, books, etc.). I’d already had a general breakdown of books for the seasons, and I used my 2020 reread list to update this for this year (and will add to it each year, unless I get bored and find another system . . . which is also a habit of mine). As it currently stands here is my seasonal rereading possibilities list:
Lord Peter Wimsey
Aunt Jane’s Hero
Scott’s Poetry and Ivanhoe
Romeo and Juliet (February)
Friendship and Folly and all the ones I haven’t read
Anne of Green Gables series
Grandma’s Attic series (towards summer)
Spring-ish (not main ones) LM Montgomery
Gail Carson Levine
Little Women and sequels
To Have and to Hold
Magic for Marigold
Jane of Lantern Hill
A Tangled Web
Snicker of Magic
Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom
- Key to Extraordinary
Sarah’s Journey series
Annie Henry series
The Borrowers series
To Kill a Mockingbird
Katherine Patterson books
Much Ado About Nothing
- Blue Castle (end of summer/early fall)
Celtic mythology book
An Old Fashioned Girl
Thirteen Secrets trilogy
The Screwtape Letters
Christmas needs a little work, but I have plenty of time before that comes around again.
I started with the The 2020 Christian Reading Challenge (removing all the Christian theology gives a good challenge for anyone), cut out anything I didn’t want, expanded or changed the global section, and utilized a prompt or two from The Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. I’ve a few more on here, but they are a little too personal at the moment. I don’t tend to follow these too well, but we shall see. I’d like to mostly focus on the geographic ones, if I can do a continent or area in a month I will be good.
After I wrote these out, I was listening to this and this episode on the What Should I Read Next podcast which mention global reading and a strong sense of place (a term which I love and which I want from the novels I’m reading, I don’t want a book that could be set anywhere, I want the flavor of the place . . . or the book just belongs on a basic TBR). Both feature sources (and another podcast, this podcast, y’all, looks amazing) that I’m hoping will help me find something I can at least manage to read.
- A European classic
A book about a European country
An African classic
A book about an African country
A Middle-Eastern classic
A book about a Middle-Eastern country
A Far East Asian classic
A book about a Far East Asian Country
A South American classic
A book about a South American country
A Canadian classic
A book about Canada
An American classic (or maybe one a month or one every other)
a book about America
- A book on the sciences outside of my interest
A book published the decade you were born
A history book
A book aimed at women
A Book from a best of 2019 list
A book more than 200 years old
A book you think will make you a better person
A book on the current NYT bestseller list
A book that won an award
A book about food
A book about joy or happiness
A memoir or autobio
A book about art
A book about relationships or friendships
A book you own but have never read
A book aimed at men
A graphic novel
A book about marriage or singleness
A book on money or finance
A book about reading or writing
- I’m going to aim to do what I did last year, set my Goodread’s Challenge to be 100, but as I want this to be new-to-me books, I’m going to increase the challenge by one book every time I reread a book (and this makes it very easy to count my rerads).
- Read 100+ new-to-me books.
- Use my book journal (I need to keep this and pen near by current read).
- Continue to buy my best self-improvement/inspiring books (such as Atomic Habits, Steal Like an Artist) and reread them while using them like workbooks.
- Follow my rereads list and guides (more on this in another post).
- Find more favorite authors (I’ve got a whole list to try I culled mostly from everyone’s year end favorites).
- Ireland, Celts, Celtic Mythology because I want to.
- 40 nonfiction at least 10 self-improvement (GTD and other ones I keep returning plus from my list) and 20 more intense/scholarly (and of these 5-10 U.S. History).
- Papau’s books, Dad’s books. I’ve had one book of each on my shelf for like a year, and I know there are several more I want to read.
- Actually finish WAR AND PEACE !!!!!! I think I need to print a character guide or find an app or something, my notes I think were part of the hold up last year, I made it a chore.
- Maybe push for Lewis more since Hamlette is reading them this year?
- 12 Classics Clubs reads and reviews, since I’d apparently forgotten about this. Surely one Classic’s club read a month isn’t too hard? And Lewis is part of my list.
Per my Goodreads Year End Summary:
- I read 124 books (7 of these were rereads) which was approximately 32,117 pages
- The shortest book was Goody O’Grumpity by Carol Ryrie Brink at 32 pages
- The longest book was Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope at 576 pages
- My average book length was 259 pages
- My average rating was 3 stars
- The most read book I read was The Hunger Games, read by 6,036,145 people
- The least read book I read was Imaginarium: A Graphic Novel by Amanda Kastner, read by 3 people
Here are some other things I calculated. I didn’t keep my books in excel, I need to do that and Goodreads still hasn’t fixed the date part in their excel export list, so some of these (those that aren’t on their own shelves or rereads) are estimates.
- I read 15 Georgette Heyer novels
- I read 14 Mary Stewart novels
- I read 5 M.M. Kaye mysteries
- I read 7 Agatha Christie mysteries
- I reread 7 books
- I read approximately 50 more light fiction books
- I read approximately 16 popular/light non-fiction books
- I read well under 10 classics
- I read well under 10 serious nonfiction
I’m linking up here for Top Ten Tuesday.
Here are some of my favorite and/or the most meaningful books/authors. There are more than 10 books, but only 9 authors, sorry it doesn’t quite fit.
- All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot. I listened to this audiobook at work. This the third in a series. I didn’t like the stories as much as the first two, some dark ones (depression and suicide, Soviets)
- The Corinthian and The Grandy Sophy by Georgette Heyer. I read lots of Heyers but I’ve marked this two as the top. Not sure if the first would stay as high if I read it again?
- The Warden, Barchester Towers, and Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. I’m working my way through The Chronicles of Barchester which E.S. Grayson recommended on her blog. Witty, intriguing look into Victorian England. Still satirical but much less exaggerative than Dickens and not full of caricatures.
- Three Times Lucky, The Ghosts of Tupelo, The Odds of Getting Even, and The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage. Darling, witty, charming, whimsical middle grade series.
- The Moonspinners and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
- Death in Cyprus and Death in Zanzibar by M.M. Kaye. These four books I read close together and the first three in particular all sort of fit together (and not just because they are all set on islands in the Mediterranean that start with a “c” although that was some of it).
- J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. I’m not a biography person but this was a brilliant work about a brilliant man.
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. The title is probably intentionally obnoxiously click-bait-y to go with Sethi’s (hilarious in my opinion) sense of humor. I just loved the way he presented finances and financial advice. Sometimes you know, it just has to click with you. I bought his newest version and plan of rereading it and implementing as much as I can.
- My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I randomly picked this off of Catherine’s blog Based on the Book. It was rather different from my normal read but another unique biography and quite hilarious. It was also fascinating/hilarious to juxtapose its more normal, light of day feeling with the dark, romantic suspense feeling of Corfu in This Rough Magic.
I’m rather burned out and unmotivated. I barely read, watched a few Hallmarks (not really in the mood for many of these this year thankfully, but really read for old favorites for Christmas).
The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman. Uninspiring kids’ book.
The Queen’s Secret by Jessica Day George. A middle-grade book that as I was reading caused me to feel like I picked up a middle book . . . I had. I’m interested to a least skim the next whenever it comes out, but not really super inspired to read the first one though.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Middle-grade, okay, reminded me of the much more interesting How to Steal a Million.
Clueless. So, way raunchier than I was expecting (I guess I didn’t realize it was 90’s or think much further about that). I could have done without that. All the 90’s Valley Girl talk was hilarious though, at least I assume that is what some of it was anyway. Everyone’s accent sounded Northeastern though. The driving part is funny. Cher is funny. Cher’s friend’s boyfriend who is trying to be all ganster but has braces, that was a hilarious. The “Mr. Martin” and “Harriet” are adorbs. I generally find the modern version cuter, apparently since I loved Martin and Harriet in Emma Approved, better even than Knightley and Emma.
I wanted to like it, but between skipping because of the scratches on the dvd and my boredom, my trying to do a million things at the same time and finish the movie before family and guests got home from church (Sunday, what a great day to watch a movie like this . . .) and the changes in the plot and far too fast plot, I was disappointed. I will try it again, but yeah. Not near as much “Mr. Knightley” as there was in the book, plus making “Frank” gay completely changed the plot. In Emma, Mr. Knightley is jealous of Frank before anyone meet him, Emma is building him up as the perfect man, there is tons of flirtation, and he generally is the cause of Mr. Knightley realizing he loves Emma, going away to try to get over it, the ultimate avowal of love etc. Yeah, that falls terrible flat in the movie. The “Mr. Elton” guy has more of a point than the “Frank” while I think that Frank holds a slightly bigger role in the book. All that contributed to the flat, rushed ending.
I’m linking up for Top Ten Tuesday (well, a day late) here. I’d fallen out of interest with TTT for a bit. I also feel that when I post I just find some other posts to read, but I don’t always see common interests and/or feel like going through 100+ posts. So I think I’ll try each of the multiples of tens or something.
- Imaginarium by Amanda Kastner
- A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. Anderson
- The Eagle of the Ninth and The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff, for a start, I love all the titles of all the books I love of hers and think those titles are special, but I thought these could represent the more unique to the average person.
- The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. Seeming oxymoron anyone?
- A Snicker of Magic and The Key to Extraordinary (how apt) by Natalie Lloyd
- Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury and
- Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson. Something about dandelions, I don’t know, just seems mysterious and whimsical.
- Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
- Three Times Lucky, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, The Odds of Getting Even, The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I surpassed my 2019 goal in August, I believe. But I’d still like to work on my new-to-me reading until December. I haven’t had to resort to much re-reading (I add all my re-reading to my goal, so that I know how much I re-read and so it doesn’t count towards my 100+ new reads), but I might have to increase that since I feel like I’m losing motivation, we shall see. And then I’m going to make sure I have the colored-illustrated version of Narnia to read along with the audio versions on Audible.
All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot. I finished the third James Herriot collection on Audible. I love these, although this one featured a jarring suicide story and then followed with another one about depression. I could have done without those, I just wanted animal stories with pleasant or funny people stories. I like living in a safe bubble that only I puncture if and when I chose.
The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay. Ultimately shallow.
Barchester Towers and Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. Oh, I’m VERY happy with this series of Trollope. It’s very readable and quite funny. His characters are all complex and developed, though not in the traditional sense, more that you very much know they are human, even the women, something Dickens couldn’t or wouldn’t do. I’m not sure when I want to watch Dr. Thorne on Amazon, I think I want to make it through the series, just so my perception of later books isn’t affected even though though each of these books focuses on new sets of characters with mentions of old ones, I just don’t want anything affected. I also discovered that BBC has a radio drama of The Barsetshire Chronicles available on Audible (!!!).
The Unknown Ajax and Venetia by Georgette Heyer. I enjoyed the first well-enough even though the (rare) not-rake hero was a bit self-righteous towards the end. The first part was quite funny. Venetia, well, the worst type of Heyer rake AND the “older” heroine was more like the obnoxious younger ones in her defense of him. And oh, this one DRAGGED. I seriously thought of putting it down multiple times.
The Man in the Brown Suit, The Sittaford Mystery, They Came to Baghdad and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? by Agatha Christie. Apparently I enjoyed these well-enough since I gave them all three-stars. I think I have one Christie mystery left that I haven’t read.
A Fashionable History of Hats and Hairstyles by Helen Reynolds. Interesting book aimed at children for historical hats mostly. I wish I could find better adult resources, but the ones I got didn’t have illustrations, which is RATHER important for this subject!
Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright. It took me a month to finish this. I’m obviously not the intended audience, but I still feel like at a young age, I wouldn’t have liked this as well either. It focuses on the younger two of the family following clues around, I feel like it reaches a younger, narrow age range than the first three books even though its the last of the series.
So many bloggers I follow did this tag and had such interesting questions, I answered in the comments and then as I found more questions, I decided I’d might as well put all my answers here.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I feel like my favorites don’t necessarily have a “genre” always. I’m more drawn to authors, meaning, if I like an author, I will try all their works, but that doesn’t mean I will like any other author in the same genre. I do like many mystery authors though, but I wouldn’t say, I’d read any mystery book simply because it’s mysteries.
What was the best book you read for the first time last year?
I listened to the audiobook All Creatures Great and Small narrated by Christopher Timothy, best decision ever. I’m still not sold on audiobooks overall, but this is the type of book and narrator that brings out the work far better than merely reading it would. I’m currently on the 3rd of the series.
Do you remember when you first began to read? What drew you to it?
I apparently struggled to read, but my parents read aloud to us. I remember my dad reading the American girls books. Also, Mom used the 5 in A Row homeschooling curriculum which focuses on the Charlotte Mason method, using books to learn, so we had lots of lovely illustrated books.
How do you arrange your books? By color? By title? By author? By series? By something else altogether?
I keep my Barnes and Noble leather and Penguin clothbound editions separate and try to group them by color. Everything else has been divided between nonfiction and fiction, then fiction by author. But I’m going to be redoing my room plus have some newer paper backs and hardbacks that I might keep separate because they are pretty.
New books or used books?
New or like new, yet then I’m afraid to touch them, and might just end up reading a library version instead.
What tends to send you into a reading slump?
A lack of interest to try anything in my current library horde because I don’t know if I’ll like it or not. A determination to plow through a book I’m not enjoying but have disinclination to read. It’s better for me to put such a book down for a time and pick up another. Occasionally, an addiction to another form of entertainment. Usually that seems to come during the reading slump, but sometimes it’s before.
What tends to pull you out of a reading slump?
A easy read or an old favorite, this year thus far it’s been majorly Georgette Heyer, M.M. Kaye, and Mary Stewart
What’s the first book you can remember reading?
I, apparently, struggled to read. I can’t remember a first. I do remember getting the American girl books, and for some reason, I thought Kirsten was read to me, but I managed Felicity on my own? Or maybe I’m dreaming, those were advanced for someone who couldn’t really read.
First person or third person POV?
3rd all the way. First person only rarely.
What’s the longest series you’ve ever read? (It can be in terms of page numbers, amount of books in the series, or any other method of calculating.)
I’m pretty sure it’s Harry Potter, I feel I looked up word counts of books and that came up on top.
What book world would you least like to enter?
Well, the Hunger Games seems kind of cliche, but yeah, any dystopia (I loathe that genre overall).
Do you own any autographed-by-the-author books?
A book about regency times, it’s packed away and I can’t find it easily on Goodreads, so I don’t have the title.
What is your favorite place at which to buy books?
Currently, Barnes and Noble, ordering I mean, I usually buy giftcards at a huge discount (discount #1) and then wait for a discount from my membership card (discount #1).
Who is your favorite sibling duo/trio/etc in literature?
The Penderwicks are all I can think of from a quite scan of my Goodreads favorite books, I’m sure I have others though.
What’s one genre you used to avoid, but now love?
I’m not sure I really have this, classics is too broad, I didn’t read many classics as a teen, well, I didn’t read much as a teen as I struggled with it, but I don’t uniformly love all classics. And I can’t really think of any genre that I love that I hated. I’m more likely to be surprised by liking one book out of the genre. For example, I don’t tend to enjoy biographies because of the tone and the not so great historical accuracy (of perspectives, of comparison, of relative importance etc.), but I seriously enjoyed Tolkien’s bio, but that one book doesn’t convert me to the genre, but to the author.
Have you ever liked a movie adaptation better than the book? Which book? Why?
Eva mentioned this in one of her posts, I pretty sure everyone who has ever read the book and watched the movie prefer the movie for Alcott’s The Inheritance. I think sometimes I enjoy versions of Emma (movie or webseries) to book, because I can’t stand Emma herself, and the while not written in first person (I’m opposite to you on that, I can struggle with first person a lot) it is effectively written in her point of view, which is an obnoxious one.
Name one thing about your favorite genre that you absolutely can’t stand. Something you wish you could change.
That there aren’t enough well-written books in it? I always feel that I’m running out of authors I can respect whose books I can also enjoy.
When was the last time you shipped a non-canon book couple?
I don’t think I usually do, because 1) I generally read books where the author fits the characters together well 2) Most of the books I read don’t have true love triangles. Most rivals are either a bad guy or a boring guy, etc. 3) If I don’t like the way the book is going, I won’t finish it, and 4) I don’t really care to put couples who wouldn’t work in the actual story world together. I’m more likely to not like a couple or not like how one character ends up being bad, than actually having another couple in mind.
Jo and Laurie are the main couple I can think of, because it SHOULD be canon. I feel like there may be some smaller side characters couples I’d like together (like Luna and Dean), but nobody I’m really crying about.
How often do you write ‘rant reviews’? Or do you prefer to keep quiet if you didn’t like a book?
I’m better at criticism than elucidating why I like something, so yes to the ranting.
Thoughts on Charles Dickens? Love him, hate him, in-between him?
In-between. I loved much about his writing and conception, but the VERBOSITY, my stars, it’s hard to get through the books. Also, I do prefer a bit more character development, and his females are usually the worst in that department, they often lean toward only one characteristic. I haven’t read him in awhile though (because of all. the. words.).
Paperback covers: glossy or matte?
Matte, more elegant.
What was your favorite series as a child?
I had lots, but I’m going to go with Little House. I was definitely in a “Pioneer” phase, loved the books, sewed many sunbonnets from the sewing book, played “Pioneer,” played the Oregon Trail over and over.
What classic book do you feel most obligated to read?
Well, I have started War and Peace on Serial Reader ages ago, so I really want to finish it.
If you could run away with any fictional character, who would it be?
The first that popped into my mind was Martin from Faery Rebels trilogy and the Swift duology. I don’t know though, I think a Rosemary Sutcliff hero would be lovely, escaping would be the accurate term for that escapade though.
What is your true opinion of Agatha Christie?
She’s WAY overrated from an artistic standpoint. But I do like her books (not all) for an escapist read. I think I’m often disappointed though, or at least lately.
What’s the last book you read that made you see red?
I’ll TBR any book that makes me see red. The last I can think of was Prairie Fires an alleged biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d already read Pioneer Girl so found the information about Laura redundant. But that wasn’t the main issue, the tone was absolutely condescending and demeaning to everyone, Laura, the reader, etc. And I can’t stand when non-historians touch history, this is usually the result.
What book would you most like to see turned into an ACCURATE movie?
I’m always afraid of my favorites being touched, also, I don’t think movies can accurately bring out what I love if I love the good-writing. I think a good series of Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries would be awesome. Plenty of the wit is verbal in those, so not too much would be lost.
If you could recommend any book, what would it be?
Well the Faery Rebels (middle-grade blends the ancient celtic faeries, the origin of Tolkien’s elves, not Disney fairies in modern Britain) trilogy and the connected Swift Nomad duology by RJ Anderson, they do not get enough love. I was lent them by and acquaintance (only the first two are available in the US) and the bought them on Amazon.uk.