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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Reads, Update #1

Well, the first quarter of the year has passed and the first update on how my reading is going is here.  I have to say it’s going great.  I’m ahead of all my reading goals.  You can read my reading plans for 2014 here Of course it helps that I was on vacation for over a week.

To date I’ve read seven short stories (better than the two per month goal), three full books (a memoir, a novel, and an exchange of letters), and two books of the Old Testament.  That’s about on goal, but I’m so well into the currently reading list that a number of those books are near complete.  Unplanned addition was a book (84, Charing Cross Road) of letter exchanges over the post WWII years by a New York City writer Helene Hanff and the friends she made at a London bookstore.  It was recommended by a friend and I thought it would make a great little read while on vacation. 

My Lenten reads are both over three-quarters read: Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ and a recent addition that was unmentioned, Happy Catholic by Julie Davis.  Yes, the Thomas à Kempis’ is as dry as forewarned, and so I decided to add a pick-me-up for Lent and went with a book from one of my favorite bloggers, Julie Davis at Happy Catholic.   

Another unplanned addition was a recently published book (Prue Shaw’s Reading Dante) on Dante’s Divine Comedy that got such good reviews I was enticed to pick it up.  I’m two thirds into it.  I’m well into the Hopkin’s poetry and only about 15% into Goldworthy’s Julius Caesar.   But those books will be stretched out to last the year.  I started Les Misérables, and in a flash I’m fifty pages in; it’s good reading!  For this year I’m only planning to read the first volume of Hugo’s epic work, titled Fantine, but if it goes this fast I may add to that.   

Here’s the status and near term plans. 


“The Doom of the Griffiths,” a short story by Elizabeth Gaskell.
The Book of Tobit, a book of the Old Testament.
“Rappaccini’s Daughter,” a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Life on the Mississippi, a memoir by Mark Twain.
The Book of Judith, a book of the Old Testament.
“The Ransom of Red Chief,” a short story by O. Henry.
Washington Square, a novel by Henry James.
84, Charing Cross Road, a collection of correspondence by Helene Hanff.
“Fifty Grand,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
“A Simple Enquiry,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
“The Pitcher,” a short story by Andre Debus.
“After Twenty Years,” a short story by O. Henry.

Currently Reading: 

Gerard Manly Hopkins: Poems and Prose, Selected and Edited by W. H. Gardner.
Julius Caesar: Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy.
Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity, a non-fiction work of literary criticism by Prue, Shaw.
The Imitation of Christ, a non-fiction devotional by Thomas à Kempis.
Happy Catholic, a non-fiction devotional by Julie Davis.
Fantine, the 1st Volume of Les Misérables, a novel by Victor Hugo.

Upcoming Plans: 

 “Paul’s Case,” a short story by Willa Cather.
“Wee Willie Winkie,” a short story by Rudyard Kipling.
"Sredni Vashtar,” a short story by Saki (H.H. Munro).
“The Wood-Sprite,” a short story by Vladimir Nabokov.
“Russian Spoken Here,” a short story by Vladimir Nabokov.
The Book of Esther, a book of the Old Testament.
Some Do Not…, the 1st novel of the Parade’s End Trilogy by Ford Madox Ford.


  1. This is impressive. Really impressive. I suspect you finish a book a day. Or do you read these books simultaneously? How do you remember where one reading stopped and another started - i.e. different plots on different stories?

    God bless.

    1. Thank you. Some of those are short stories, and the three books I finished weren't that long. So not that impressive. But I do prefer to read multiple works in parallel. When I get tired of one I switch over to another. I don't know why but my brain refreshes when I switch subjects. Probably something I was forced to do in college with multiple subjects at the same semester.

  2. Manny! I'm glad that GOD (Good Old Dad) doesn't LOVE US (usual sinners) by the amount of books that we read cause long story short, HE would certainly ove you a lot more than HE loves little old me now. (lol)

    God Bless

    1. Oh, I don't suppose Good Old Dad cares how many books one reads. But I do hope he has a library up there. ;)

  3. Just wanted to drop by and say that I always enjoyed your posts on Litnet, and am glad you're still writing on this blog. I'll be sure to follow your posts from here on out :)

    1. Thank you, whoever you are. I'm glad you did. If you don't have a Google account, you can just select Anonymous (as you did) and sign you name inside the comment box. Hope you come back and tell me who you are. :)

  4. I love stodgy, old, intellectual blogs. Hip and trendy things have never been for me, which is not to disparage anyone's writing. We all like different things. I did have to laugh at your comment on THE IMITATION OF CHRIST. I find the book alive and vital. I've been reading it daily since I was a teenager. Next to the Bible, it is the book I read most. I am a theology major, but I, too, love literature, art, and music. I make prints from woodcuts and play classical violin. But God and theology occupy most of my time.

    1. Well, thank you for stopping by. I hope you do again. You should have left your name, at least inside the comment box.