"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

2013 Reading List: Update #2

You can read about my previous 2013 progress updates here and here.  These updates seem to be coming every three months, and I think I’ll make that a regular quarterly feature. 

As you can see since the last update I've completed seven short stories, another book of the Old Testament, T.S. Eliot most influential poem, and the Mark Helprin’s epic scale novel, A Soldier of the Great War.  The Helprin novel was a three month effort, but well worth it.  I’ll be posting a couple of blogs on the work.  I’ll definitely be posting on at least one of Poe’s stories and at least one of Hemingway’s. 

 I've now pushed into the Currently Being Read category ifferisms and Purgatorio.  I try to read one book a year on writing, and this year it will be ifferisms, a book on the use of the word “if” in writing aphorisms.  As you will see it is an incredibly fun read, and I’ll need something lighter for more relaxation.  Purgatorio has been on my re-read list for a long time, and I can’t wait to get to it.  Given the length and emotional commitment required for A Soldier of the Great War, I really made next to no progress on Rome and Jerusalem or Les Mis this past quarter.  I’ve also pushed up the remaining short stories I had planned.  I’ve decided to read “Rip Van Wrinkle” for the fourth of July.

I’m still planning on Twain’s Life on the Mississippi toward the end of the summer and Henry James’s Washington Square in the early fall.  I’ll also be completing the last few history books of the Old Testament.  I’ve added Shakespeare’s “MacBeth” to the list and a Steinbeck short novel (Cannery Row) that I may have read a very long time ago but have no memory of it.  I need to scout out some more short stories to add.

Here I am at midyear, and I’ve completed 12 short stories, two books of the Old Testament, a biography, and three novels, one novel being over double the typical length.  I’ve also made progress on the history book and Hugo’s triple the typical length novel.  That’s pretty much on track for my goals, if not even a little ahead. 

As I’ve said before, if there is a work I’ve read that I haven’t blogged on, or a work I plan to read that you really want my thoughts on, please let me know.  I’ll be glad to accommodate.


“A Star Trap,” a short story by Bram Stoker.
“Grandfather and Grandson,” a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer. 

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, a novel by G.K. Chesterton.
“Feathers,” a short story by Raymond Carver.

The Cossacks, a novel by Leo Tolstoy.
“In Another Country,” a short story by Earnest Hemingway.

First Book of Chronicles, a book of the Old Testament, KJV.
Catherine of Siena, a biography by Sigrid Undset.

“The Masque of Red Death,” a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.
“William Wilson,” a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

“A Descent into Maelstrom,” a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.
“The Lovely Lady,” a short story by D.H. Lawrence.

“Hills Like White Elephants,” a short story by Earnest Hemingway.
“The Killers,” a short story by Earnest Hemingway.

Second Book of Chronicles, a book of the Old Testament, KJV.
“The Fall of the House of Usher,” a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

“The Waste Land,” a long poem by T.S. Eliot.
A Soldier of the Great War, a novel by Mark Helprin.

“The Shawl,” a short story by Cynthia Ozick.

Currently Being Read:

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations, a non-fiction history by Martin Goodman.
Les Misérables, a novel by Victor Hugo.

Imagist Poetry: An Anthology, a collection of poetry edited by Bob Blaisdell.
ifferisms: An Anthology of Aphorisms That Begin With the Word if, a work of non-fiction by Dr. Mardy Grothe.

“Purgatorio,” 2nd part of the epic poem of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
The Book of Ezra, a book of the Old Testament, KJV.

“Rip Van Winkle,” a short story by Washington Irving.
“Pillar of Salt,” a short story by Shirley Jackson.

“The Body-Snatcher,” a short story by Robert Lewis Stevenson.
 “Chi Ti Dice La Patria?” a short story by Earnest Hemingway.


Upcoming Plans:

Life on the Mississippi, a memoir by Mark Twain.
Washington Square, a novel by Henry James.

The Book of Nehemiah, a book of the Old Testament, KJV.
The Book of Esther, a book of the Old Testament, KJV.

MacBeth, a play by William Shakespeare.
Cannery Row, a short novel by John Steinbeck.


  1. So glad you finished the Helprin and liked it! Sorry for busting up your reading order :) I am now reading ANOTHER Helprin, called In Sunlight and Shadow. Loving it! :) And I may continue on and read the rest of his novels. But I am really looking forward to your post on A Soldier.
    Singer, I liked but kind of drove me crazy with his non-ending endings, lol. I enjoyed the Flaubert very much. Another Steinbeck I always enjoy is East of Eden.
    I would appreciate your prayers as my daughter goes in for some surgery today. It is outpatient, but to me it is borderline whether is should be or not...and I am going to be "nurse." I am used to this role, but this particular post-surgical care is new to me, and I am nervous. Daily blood thinner injections and all.

    1. I haven't heard of that Helprin novel. I thought I knew of them all. I just looked it up, it's his latest that just came out last year. Here's what Helprin's wikipedia entry says about it:
      "His latest, In Sunlight and In Shadow, was released in 2012, and has been described as an extended love song to New York City." That sounds cool. You'll have to tell me what you think.

      I have read several of Steinbeck's short novels (read The Pearl if you get a chance) but none of his longer works. East of Eden is certainly one I want to read eventually but I had decided to read his most famous, The Grapes of Wrath, next year.

      Most definitely will pray for your daughter. Daily blood thinner injections sound serious.