I Declare After All

...there is no enjoyment like reading...
Jane Austen

For a while among my blogging circle I seemed unique in that I had no desire or, seemingly, capacity to compose a list of books I would really like to have read by the time A.D. 2012 has lost itself among the backward annals of time. It seems that, unlike most of you, I don't possess the iron will required to really plough through a book I don't particularly like. I just flung down one this afternoon in a height of dudgeon, completely apathetic toward finishing it. Unlike most of you, I don't ever seem to get the chance to say, "I read The Thing of Such-and-Such by Mr. Whatever. I didn't really like it, but I finished it, and that's that." Additionally, I never really plan what I am going to read. When I feel it is 'time,' or when a book catches my fancy, I read it.

So the list I am about to compile is subject to change, and you should probably only call is a 'list' advisedly. "You can carve it in stone," said Barnaby. "I'll still deny it." But here, at least, is what I would like to read this year, not because this year or these books put together make anything particularly special, but because my temporal frame travels through time rather linearly and because this upcoming year seems, therefore, unavoidable, and because (most importantly) I want to read these books.

The Art of Medieval Hunting: the Hound and the Hawk - John Cummins (in progress)
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (in progress)
The Kirkbride Conversations - Harry Blamires
The Everlasting Man - G.K. Chesterton
Beowulf - Mr. Whatever (again!)
The Golden Warrior - Hope Muntz
Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
The Discarded Image: an Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature - C.S. Lewis
Moonblood - Anne Elisabeth Stengl (when it comes out in April)
When Christ and His Saints Slept - Sharon Kay Penman
The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis
The Darkness and the Dawn - Thomas B. Costain
The Conquering Family - Thomas B. Costain
The Improvement of the Mind - Isaac Watts
Sword Song - Rosemary Sutcliff

If I put in much more I will be overreaching myself. When Christ and His Saints Slept looks daunting enough; coupled with The Improvement of the Mind (whose font is minuscule) I feel positively drowned in verbiage. If you calculate in a peppering of rereads (some bizarre and irrational part of me wants to reread The Lord of the Rings), it may be a busy year.

Speaking of bizarre, I have not yet got used to seeing my name - my name - turn up in a "my favourite authors" list, sandwiched between C.S. Lewis and Charlotte Bronte. I tell you, it's a mad, mad world.

18 ripostes:

  1. I read The Discarded Image a few years ago. It's a very good book. Quite academic, but if you're willing to tackle that, there is a lot of wonderful insight into the medieval worldview. I enjoyed it greatly--of course, the Middle Ages is one of my "favorite" historical periods.


  2. My sister gave me The Discarded Image as a birthday present, so that I am doubly interested in reading it. As an aside, I will mention that I have read Lewis' An Experiment in Criticism, which is also quite academic, as well as numerous essays - though the essays tend to be of a practical-Christian bent. So! The Discarded Image. I eagerly look forward to reading it.

  3. And where, pray tell, do you anticipate getting a copy of "The Improvement of the Mind"?? Not from a round glass top table in close proximity to a Lazy-Boy, I hope! I will buy you a copy, my dear...but you will have to wait for my demise before getting that little gem of mine! (I had better hurry downstairs and see if it is still there! You all were here last night...) Love you!

  4. Nope! I got my own copy, never fear. I bought it some time ago. It's three times as large as your pretty little green book, but the font must be twice as small...

  5. Was it a library book that you cast aside or did you pay to be irritated? If the author is dead and beyond being hurt, are you willing to let us know whose book?

    Best wishes on fulfilling your plan! God bless you,


  6. Truth to tell it was Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster, who is a man I do not respect at all. But it was a small book with an interesting title, and I was very interested in his biography of his ancestor Marianne Thornton. It was not a library book so, as I own it, I must conclude that I bought it as I know it did not steal it. I may one day read the biography but I think all other works are off between Forster and me.

  7. I see, Jenny. As a young woman, I read A Passage to India, but can't remember it. I didn't want to see the movie. My feeling was that it would leave me unhappy.

    Happy New Year!

  8. And a most excellent three hundred sixty-four days to you as well!

  9. Ooh, Jenny, you must let me know what you think of David Copperfield! It's one of my very favorites.

    I have a stack of books up to my waist to read... "Eternity Falls" by Kirk Outerbridge, "Black" by Ted Dekker, "This Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti, "Sovereignty" by R. J. Rushdoony, "The Introvert Advantage" by I-don't-remember-who, and... well, I won't bore you with my entire list. But it's long. I'm going to have to read like a maniac this year.

    Happy new year! And that comic made me laugh out loud. =D

  10. I know, that comic is far too true. :P

    I have just finished reading our arrival at Miss Betsy Trotwood's (hurrah!) and I am thoroughly enjoying David Copperfield. I've watched the 1999 television production since I was ten years old (not constantly), so I am very familiar with the general plot and, as I love the production, I felt I would love the actual book as well. Thus David Copperfield has become my first large venture into Dickens' works.

  11. I have never heard of "The Golden Warrior"- what's it about? Or will you have to read it first? The BBC are currently doing a radio play of David Copperfield- it sounds like a ripping good yarn.

    My reading list this year consists of 15 books, too- Lorna Doone by R.D Blackmore, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Persuasion by Jane Austen, all the Narnia books (in one volume) by C.S Lewis, Cranford by Elizabeth Cleghorn, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, Possesion by A.S Byatt (apparently a corker), Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat (a biography) by Paula Gunn Allen, The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and The Battle of Little Bighorn by Nathaniel Philbrick , the 4th Just William by Richmal Crompton, The Long Patrol by Brian Jacques, Tale of Two Cities by Charlse Dickens, The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, Animal Farm by George Orwell , and the Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

    Good luck to you! I might need some too.

  12. Oh, I've got plenty of luck. Just come sit with me at a book-signing and you will too. People are always giving me luck.

    You appear to have a good varied list. I like to see that. I'm not as varied as I would like to be, but I am slowly working at that. As for The Golden Warrior, the smart little Goodreads summary says the following: "The story opens just after the coronation of Edward the Confessor, and takes us up to the Norman Invasion. Who was to succeed King Edward? From the welter of political cross-currents, rivalries, violence and intrigue set up by this question, the two dominating figures of the novel emerge - Earl Harold and Duke William of Normandy." I am trying to make sense of that tumultuous time, but I am far behind the rest of my family in this time-period and the best I have managed is a handful of Cumbrian Vikings and their bloody but victorious stand against the Conqueror in his day. There is a lot of history to catch up on...

  13. Jenny,
    Just finished (a little while since) Margaret Wade Labarge's biography of Louis IX, most Christian King of France; Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century; and Aubrey Hansen's Red Rain. I don't plan for books, a fault in me. Found a small book, French Chivalry, by Sidney Painter that I hope to use in broadening my understanding of the Middle Ages. The Discarded Image is wonderful, by the way! Currently I'm reading Brian Godawa's Noah Primeval, Book One (Chronicles of the Nephilim), and a small lovely authentic read: The Shadow Things.

    Poor Indi, blessed Indi. I'm a little more than half-way through.

  14. Ah, I do know a few of these. (I have some vague impression that I have heard of The Shadow Things before...) I believe my father owns (and probably has read) A Distant Mirror, but I would advise not quoting me on that. I do know that my husband is reading The Guns of August at present, a book so famously Tuchman's that I did not realize for quite some time that she had written it. I have heard of this new release Red Rain by Aubrey Hansen: a friend of mine, Megan, has a link to it on her blog. One seems to get about in this blogging world.

    Well, The Discarded Image appears to get nothing but praise from those who have read it. I look forward to cracking it open!

  15. A very intriguing list of books! I'm going to start reading 'David Copperfield' myself perhaps in a couple more weeks. Really looking forward to it, because I've never read it before.

    Oh, and I must say... the little illustration about finding the perfect reading position... it is quite hilarious. =)

  16. Thanks for the well. I will bring a bit of knowledge to this one. I'm going to do it. And who comes in like it.