Monday, January 4, 2016

New Books, New Friends, and a New Year

In the long, long story in which we are characters, the turning of a new year is like the opening of a new chapter in the story of our lives.

Only a reader knows the thrill of excitement opening the cover and turning to the first page of an unread book brings. The book itself may be new or old, but it is new to us and we plunge in with a sense of adventure, new people to meet, new places to go, new ideas to occupy our minds. Each chapter is a link that keeps us holding on to the end; each ending renews our desire for yet another book. The ideas in those books nourish and sustain us, keep us alive.

Last week we posted the trail of books I explored in 2015. I look forward to another year of books ahead, but my list of books to read is short right now. As I read, authors will mention other authors and I will jot those names down for future investigation. The pursuits and questions raised in the books I read will prompt me to search for further books I might otherwise not have considered. Friends will mention books that they are enjoying and I will add those to my list. I find great security in the list growing longer as the year rolls by.

The world is full of books, teeming with them, and the books I read will be a constant source of energy whatever the coming year holds. Still, I want to read new books-- new to me, that is, knowing I will have experiences through those books I cannot imagine at the moment.

This brings me to my point: What books did you read last year that meant the most to you, delighted you, provoked or perplexed you, intrigued or impacted you? I would love to add some of those titles to my list for the coming year. Please share some of your top books with me, even if you think I've probably already read them. Maybe I have, but perhaps I will read them again. Books are like friends and the best ones are worth holding on to and revisiting. And it works the other way round as well. I have made new friends because of books and books have deepened many friendships I would never have known otherwise if not for our sharing our books with one another.

We never know what a new year will bring, but one thing is certain, discovering books and making new friends in them, through them, and because of them, is a pleasure I can't resist.

For the joy of reading,



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I have a host of library patrons always clamoring for new fantasy fiction.


  2. Oh, I like this idea. I look forward to reading recommendations, too.

    My list of finished books in 2015 was much shorter than previous years, but I noticed several we had in common, Liz. I, too, read Jayber Crow, Middlemarch, Peace Like a River, and CM's Volumes 4, 5 & 6 in 2015. Others I read included War & Peace (re-read - first time ~20 yrs ago), Daughter of Time, and Watership Down. They were all magnificent. In reviewing my Books Read in 2015 list, though, my favorites were:
    1) What's Wrong with the World? by G K Chesterton;
    2) Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott; and
    3) The Heir of Redclyffe by Charlotte Yonge

  3. The Hawk and the Dove series is good, at least the first three. They come highly recommended by Carole Joy Seid whom I have followed for over twenty years.
    This year I read A light We Cannot See which I enjoyed! A modern novel but excellent.
    Thank you Liz

  4. I just took a few minutes to scroll through my Books read in 2015 label on my blog and it was a trip down memory lane. Here are a few that jumped out at me that I unexpectedly enjoyed.

    Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed
    Around the Village Green by Dot May Dunn
    Boy by Roald Dahl
    On Writing by Stephen King
    The Other Side of the Dale by Gervase Phinn
    The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane
    The Enchanted Places and The Path Through the Trees both by Christopher Milne

    1. Thank you, Heather; there are a few here for me to check out for my own memory making.


  5. Even reading the lists here in the comments is fun! (I think those last two books Heather mentioned are by Christopher Robin! THE Christopher Robin. I didn't even know he'd written a book!)

    Anyway, my best books of last year were:
    The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge (which I know you've read and love)
    The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith
    A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Huffman Rockness
    The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis (a reread)
    half of the Betsy-Tacy books (again)
    Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton,
    and A Philosophy of Education by our dear Miss Mason

    1. Kimberlee, it is Christopher Robin. Although, I don't think he enjoyed his name as a moniker. I enjoyed his books and even his Open Garden which delves quite a bit more into his views on religion and stories which I would disagree with him, but he wrote some very interesting passages, nonetheless. So glad to have found your blog as well. So many like-minded readers, what a true blessing.

    2. Kimberlee,

      Yes! You See? You brought up a book I keep intending to read and still have not--the Lilias Trotter biography.