Bookends: January 2014

The first day of each month, I’m posting a summary of what I read the previous month and what I plan to read in the coming month. I would love if this could become a conversation in the comments about what’s on your reading list, too!

Another new year. This year, instead of making resolutions I’m trying to get more organized with my reading plans. My wish list for each month:

-2 classics from my Cavalcade of Classics list

-1 book from Sisters Book Club

-1 book about religion or spirituality

-1 bonus book (review copies, something recommended by a friend or I learned about on To the Best of Our Knowledge)

This might be a little ambitious, what with homeschooling and volunteering and everything else I do, but all New Year’s resolutions are a little ambitious, aren’t they? And I don’t think my plan is unreasonable, so I’m going to give it a try.

Here’s where January left me:

Grown-ups’ Books:

City of God by Augustine of Hippo (5th-century classic in which St. Augustine defends the Catholic church against claims that it was the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire and then gives hundreds of pages of proof for the validity of the Bible)

The Book of Jonah: A Novel by Joshua Max Feldman (review copy from Library Thing. A hot-shot lawyer becomes a reluctant prophet and finds he can’t continue living as he has been.)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Nick Carraway moves to New York for a summer and gets caught up in the fantasy life of his next-door neighbor.)

The Great Gatsby by Kathleen Parkinson (critical analysis of Fitzgerald’s classic)

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (book of short stories in which people keep screwing up despite their best intentions)

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (interlocking tales about a group of folks with ties to New York City)

Kids’ Books:

Mattimeo by Brian Jacques (Third book in the Redwall series. This one’s about Matthias’ son, Mattimeo, and his friends.)

The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jennifer Swann Downey (review copy from the author; a couple of SCA kids get pulled into a secret world of books, swordplay, and…ninja librarians)

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (an assistant pig-keeper chases a runaway pig and finds much more adventure than he’d ever dared hope he’d encounter)

Mariel of Redwall by Brian Jacques (My daughter keeps getting these audiobooks and I keep putting them on while we’re driving around Massachusetts even though they’re really not all that interesting to me anymore. This one is about sea rats and the origins of the Joseph Bell at Redwall Abbey.)

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander (Taran & co. set off to take the Black Cauldron from Arawn and destroy it; things don’t go according to plan, of course, but Taran learns a great deal along the way about honor and what it means to be a man.)

Currently Reading/To-Read for February

I’m currently reading The Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, which was one of the six books my spouse checked out for me from the library for Christmas. I’m only making my way through three of them this year, but that just helps give him a head-start on next year’s gift.

For classics this month, I plan to read The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (the latter as part of a LibraryThing read-along).

The Sisters Book Club selection for this month is The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. Click the link in the previous sentence to join us in reading this book in February.

Along with these, I plan to read The Gift of Faith: Tending the Spiritual Lives of Children by Jeanne Harrison Neiuwejaar.

For kids books, we’re listening to the audiobook of The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander (third in The Chronicles of Prydain) and I’m very slowly reading C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew to them. I’m enjoying reading this one again now that I’ve read the first two books of Lev Grossman’s  Magicians series (which I will not be reading to my children until they’re both through college). My son is eager to get to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I think he thinks it’s about something different than it is.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for February? If you blog your answer, please post a link in the comments (and/or link back to this post, if you’re so inclined).

12 Replies to “Bookends: January 2014”

  1. I do enjoy eclectic booklists! I enjoyed comparing our views of Gatsby in January, and would love to read Sea of Poppies, which has been sitting patiently on the Kindle for longer than I like to think of. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll get to it for a while yet, but I look forward to hearing what you think of it. Maybe you will inspire me to prioritise it… 🙂


    1. You know, it hadn’t occurred to me that the list was eclectic until you mentioned it, but is pretty all-over-the-place, isn’t it? Except the kids’ books; those are pretty much all fantasy right now.

      I’d hoped to get in a couple of hours of reading this afternoon and put a nice dent in Sea of Poppies (I’m ~160 pages in), but no such luck. I’m enjoying it, but I’ve not been able to immerse myself in it as much as I would like. Maybe some uninterrupted reading time I’ll get into it more.


  2. I’m planning to blog a review of this book, but I’m reading “Prince of Thorns” – audio version. Mark Lawrence has created THE best unhero since Thomas Covenant! I’m thoroughly impressed with this book, especially since it keeps surprising me.


    1. I’d not heard of Prince of Thorns before your comment. Interesting…the reviews on Goodreads are very divided.


      1. I’m sure that’s precisely because he is an unhero. And some of the plot twists are difficult to swallow. But I’m enjoying it all the same. I have to wonder if it’s the reader’s British accent that’s helping me. 😉


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