Monday, December 31, 2012

For the Record

I picked up an old habit this past year that I have had in former years, but have neglected in recent ones: keeping a list of all the books I have read. I find it not only to be a good record for future reference, but a picture of my personal interests and pursuits and a way of marking my thought life and the ideas that have shaped it.

I had considered publishing this list, not so others would critique me, but more as an inspiration of what can be pursued in a year a few pages at a time. We lead a very full and, some would say extremely, busy life. Yet, if books are a part of it, there is always time for reading. I often think I am not reading much, but the  record proves that I have read a few things.

Then Nancy published her list of books read in 2012 and challenged others to do the same, so here goes. I kept this list as a separate page in my commonplace book. The list does not include books I am still deeply in the middle of, books I have read portions of for research, books I have started and decided not to  finish, books I have read for church study groups, books I have read a second (or seventh) time, nor all the books I have read to my children or along with them for school. However, a few that I personally wanted to read for myself that were part of their curriculum are included. In the course of a year, there are books we read together as a family, books I read with one child or another, books I read with friends, books my  husband and I read together.

Starting next year, I plan to write a brief comment of evaluation or reaction to the book next to each title and author. The number of books read is irrelevant. Part of the value of keeping a list like this is to help decide where I need to read further, deeper, or more widely in the coming year. I hope this list provides you with  some of your own ideas for your own reading pursuits in 2013.

1. Future Men by Douglas Wilson
2. The Man Whose Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
3. The Tenth Muse by Judith Jones
4. Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter
5. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
6. Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community by Wendell Berry
7. Ourselves by Charlotte Mason
8. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
9. Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton
10. Are Christians Human? by Nigel Cameron
11. The Complete Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton
12. I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
13. Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcy
14. Divine Intervention by Mark Shaw
15. The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
16. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
17. The Man Within by Graham Greene
18. The Collected Short Stories of William Faukner
19. William Wordsworth, Selected Poems ed. Gill
20. Passage to India by E.M. Forster
21. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolfe
22. The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
23. The Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason
24. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
25. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
26. Autumn Across America by Edwin Way Teal
27. Adam Bede by George Eliot
28. Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee
29. Hannibal by Jacob Abbott
30. Faith in a Seed by David Henry Thoreau
31. The Burning of Rome by Alfred Church
32. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
33. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
34. Refractions by Makoto Fujimura
35. Beowulf by Sheamus Heaney
36. Cloak of Darkness by Helen McInnes
37. On Poetry and Poets by T. S. Eliot
38. The Lost Angel by Elizabeth Goudge
39. The Christmas Stove by Alta Halverson Seymour
40. The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop
41. Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
42. All Hallows' Eve by Charles Williams

For the joy of reading,



  1. I have read so many of these - too bad we don't live closer! Then we could discuss them over a cup of tea. I agree, it's the comments about many of the books that people want to read - myself included. I'll do better next year.

    From joy to joy,

    1. Nancy,

      I would like to write a comment on my list page not just for others, but even for myself as kind of a record of my thinking. There are books I read 30 years ago and hated that I now thoroughly enjoy, for example. I'm also glad I don't have as much time to read as I would like since it helps me be a little choose-y about what I do take time to read. The talk over tea is so appealing. Out of my own comfort zone and time constraints, I am determined to engage more friends in book conversations this year, whether formally or informally. I love hearing different perspectives on the same author's work.


  2. You will have the opportunity very soon! ;)