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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Plans for 2014 Reads

OK, I’m picking up where I left off on my 2013 reads.  I never did get to Mark Twain’s, Life on the Mississippi and Henry James’s Washington Square.  As I said in my summary of my 2013 reads, these will take priority.

Beyond that there are several novels that I really want to take up.  I really want to read Ford Maddox Ford’s epic novel of WWI and its aftermath, Parade’s End.  BBC I believe put out a TV series adaptation and I heard it received great reviews.  But I have to read the novel first.  It’s actually a tetralogy (four novels linked in series) so if I don’t get to finish all this year (it’s over 900 pages altogether) I can find a convenient break and pick it up next year.

The other novels I really want to get to is Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (never read it and have wanted to for years) and I promised I would take up Stephen King’s The Shining.  I also never read Les Misarables, and at almost 1500 pages I know I can’t do it in one year.  So my thought was to divide it up into its parts.  Hugo sections the novel into five volumes, each volume about the length of an average novel.  So my thought was to do one volume each year for the next five years.  Volume 1 is titled, “Fantine.”

I will complete Dante and read the third cantica, Paradisio, and since I got so much out of reading two translations simultaneously of Purgatorio last year, I’ll do the same this year.

My poetry read is going to be Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose, selected and edited by W. H. Gardner. 

My read on writing will be Style: an Anti-Textbook by Richard A. Lanham.  Other non-fiction will be a book of personal essays by Brian Doyle, The Thorny Grace of It: And Other Essays for Imperfect Catholics, a biography of Julius Caesar, Life of a Colossus by Adrian Goldsworthy, and my theology read, Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton.  Brian Doyle has the most wonderful writing style that ranks with the best, and he’s got wit to boot.  That’s going to be a fun read.  I debated with myself on a bio of Bach over Caesar, but I’ve had the Goldsworthy book longer on the waiting list.  And I just need to read more Chesterton. 

I’ll continue reading through the bible.  I’m up to Tobit, Judith, Esther, the two books of the Macabees, and depending how long that takes, Job as well.  That’s certainly a much more interesting read than the histories I was bogged down with last year.  On the New Testament I’ll be reading Paul’s epistle, Romans.

Then there are the short stories, and the only criteria there is that I make progress getting through Hemingway’s collection.  My objective remains 24 total stories for the year.  I did promise Jan I would do O. Henry’s, “The Ransom of Red Chief.” 

That’s quite a bit, but there might still might be room for a brisk novel or two.  I’ll assess as I go along.  I’ll also have to read at least one Shakespeare play.  Not sure which one yet.

I haven’t completed posting on last year’s reads.  I promised to post on Dante’s Purgatorio and I will.  And Alice Munro’s short story, “Fiction” was interesting enough for me to outline a post.  And I should have one post going through Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. 

As I’ve said before, if there is any work I read that someone wants to see my thoughts on it, please tell me.  I will accommodate if I can.  And that offer stands for anything I read last year and will read this year.  And if there is anything I listed that grabs your attention, perhaps we can read it at the same time and discuss it as we go along.  Just give me a heads up.



  1. Wow I am always stunned at the volume you read. I am reading two books by Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations and The Minds Eye. He is a doctor, the books are case studies about neurological rarities. Also I have Helprin's Sunlight and Shadow on order. And I am trying to do more Bible reading, and also just started attempting the daily office, even if it's just once a day. Still, your lists are so big and far reaching. The Chesterton sounds really interesting. Is he a difficult read?

    1. I don't think Chesterton is difficult. I posted on his novel The Man Who Was Thursday last year (you can find the label on the right) and it was a ball of fun. You can find Orthodoxy on the internet. If you like it you can get it for you new Kindle also for free or get all of Chesterton for a very low cost:

      By the way, you do realize Amazon has most classics either for free or very cheap for Kindles?

  2. What Kelly said!! And speaking of Oliver Sacks, people usually remember him best from his book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" - that was a fascinating read.

    Besides the 4 Evangelists, the books of the bible that I've read the most are Tobit and Sirach. Love them both.

    1. I've never heard of Oliver Sacks. I'll check him out Jan.

    2. Oh that's Oliver Sacks, the doctor from Awakenings.

  3. Don't be stunned. It's really not that much. I have a couple of friends who we share what we read and one had read 69 novels and the other 66 last year. That's full novels, not the short stories I inculded. And the one who had 66 was disappointed she didn't read as much as she usually does. There's only 52 weeks in a year, so they are reading more than a full novel per week. I have no idea how they do it.