Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 reading goals

It's been really fun to see all of you other book bloggers posting about your goals for the upcoming year and the challenges in which you plan to participate!  I haven't posted book reading goals for a new year before, but I do have a few book-reading intentions, and perhaps if I post them here, I'll be more likely to work on them.  Here are 10 goals for 2014:

  1. Read something contemporary (as in, written in the last five years).  I don't tend to read much recent fiction, which is a bummer because some new stuff is just as good as my favorite old classics.
  2. Read something Victorian (not including the Victorian things on this list).  Perhaps George Eliot or Elizabeth Gaskell, or I could really branch out and try a book by Thomas Hardy or Charles Dickens.  Or I could even tackle my complete Sherlock Holmes!
  3. Read something by Shusaku Endo.  Consider the depth of each of his books, I'm not sure I could process more than one a year, but I'm determined to read everything of his that has been translated into English.  I've read Silence and Deep River, and may try Volcano this year.
  4. Read something by Marilynne Robinson.  I never have, but it's time to stop feeling as if I'm not good enough to attempt her books.
  5. Finish Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  This past summer, I got 478 pages in (out of 1463), but I stalled out once the fall semester started.  I'll probably bring this with me to England; it won't take up much space in my suitcase and will provide a lot of reading time!  
  6. Re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I've been wanting to for a while now, and my disappointment with the second Hobbit film solidified my resolve to revisit Tolkien's universe again.
  7. Read South Riding by Winifred Holtby.  By all accounts, I'll love Holtby, and this was recommended by many as the best to start with.
  8. Read Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope.  I read The Warden last year, and want to continue on with the series.
  9. Read Armadale or No Name for my annual Wilkie Collins October.
  10. Read Shirley, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, or Wuthering Heights for my annual winter break Bronte novel.
Other than these reading goals, my New Year's resolution is, unfortunately, a continuation of last year's: I want to finally learn how to bake bread!  Last year I tried baking bread once with my husband's teaching, but the yeast turned out to be dead, so the bread failed.  I got so intimidated that I haven't tried again since.  What are your New Year's resolutions?


  1. Good luck making bread! In my experience the first couple times may not be great, but once you've got the hang of it you've always got it, even when you think you've done something to ruin it. ;)

    Thanks for the mention of John Bossy's book in the other thread. Looks like a good contrast to the perspectives in some of the other Christian history books on my TBR.

    My resolutions include letting myself quit books that feel like a waste of time and learning to make sauerkraut. Happy New Year to you.

    1. I'm curious to know which other Christian books you've been reading. My husband the theologian might be able to make some more suggestions if he knew what interested you! :-)

      I have to confess I've never once thought about making sauerkraut from scratch! Very cool, I hope it goes well.

    2. Well, several years ago I used to read such nearly-prehistoric and biased authors as J H Wylie and d'Aubigne. In the last year or so my light "theological" reading has been mostly about women's roles in the church. This year I'm planning to read Justo L Gonzalez to fill in some of my history gaps. I would certainly love to hear any suggestions your husband might have.

    3. He asks, are you looking for more of the same? For my own part, I suggest St. Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love - I'm reading slowly through it and it's a wonderful and unexpected view of medieval women and the Church.

    4. Samantha, I don't have a computer at home right now, and when I wrote a rather lengthy response at my blog, on my phone, something went awry. Hence my late reply to your kind comments at my blog and yours.

      I'll definitely add Julian of Norwich to my list. Everything to do with women and religious history is of interest.

      To answer your husband's question: No, I'd be interested in something more contemporary. Maybe both broad and deep, since I have a decent (if one-sided) understanding of the Reformation period, but less so of others.

      Actually, I'm starting college next fall and am considering doing a religious studies minor, so anything that might give me a good taste of what to expect is of interest. Thanks to him for so kindly advising someone on the internet!

    5. Husband got all excited and highly recommends Robert Louis Wilken's The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. He says it is both broad and deep, and covers a lot of the intellectual ground that a survey course in either Christian history or historical theology would need to cover. I've been meaning to read it myself, actually - its first paragraph alone had a really big impact on both of our thinking when we encountered it three years ago.

    6. It sounds like the kind of thing I've been looking for. I'll look forward to getting it ASAP.