I’ve read two novels this past quarter. Actually one novel and a volume of a tome-length novel that is about as long as most novels. The tome length novel is Hugo’s Les Misérables, and I read the first volume, “Fantine.” In order to not commit a whole year to Les Misérables I’m just going to read one volume at a time; each volume amounts to about a novel’s length. The other novel I read was also part of a longer work, Some Do Not…, which is the first novel in the tetralogy, Parades End by Ford Madox Ford. Again I’m breaking up the series so I don’t commit an extended amount of time to one work. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I sometimes get bored reading one author for an extended period of time. When I worked on my Master’s Thesis, I think I spent something like two years on almost exclusively D. H. Lawrence, either by him or on his work, and to this day because of that saturation I have a hard time picking up a Lawrence work, even though if there’s any author I’m capable of explaining, it’s him.
Between the non-fiction and the novels, I completed five books, plus I’m beyond half way on Stephen King’s The Shining. That’s better than the one per month I aim for. However, that did pinch into my time for short stories. I aim for two per month, but I only read four. I provided analysis of Cather’s “Paul’s Case” and I intend to do the same for Paul Horgan’s magnificent story, “The Peachstone.” If you can find the story (unfortunately it’s not on the internet) read it, it’s worth it, and then you can also comment on my analysis and criticize me!
To round out my reads for the quarter, I read two more books from the Old Testament, The Book of Esther and First Book of Maccabees. Both were easy reads as far as Old Testament works go.
I’m still making my way through Hopkins poetry—definitely enjoying it—and pecking away at Goldsworthy’s biography of Julius Caesar. I did start my annual read on writing—every year I read one book on the craft of writing— Richard A. Lanham’s very unconventional, Style: an Anti-Textbook. And I’m more than half way through Brian Doyle’s, The Thorny Grace of It: And Other Essays for Imperfect Catholics. Brian Dolye’s book is a collection of his personal essays on Catholic life, faith, and culture, and it’s really enjoyable. I posted one of his essays here.
I have made a couple of changes to my plans for this year, as you’ll see in my Upcoming Plans list below. I was trading some emails with a friend from Germany, Barbara, (we had once both been active at Literature Network, a literature internet forum) where I realized my reading of German literature was paltry. I have never read anything by Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, who is the equivalent of Shakespeare in Germany. So I added his novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, which is something I’ve wanted to read for a long time. In addition, another fellow Literature Network member came across my blog and she linked me up to her literature blog, Frigate to Utopia, where she calls herself Lit-Lass. She happens to be quite knowledgeable, and of course a fan, of Jane Austen, and in our discussion she recommended I read Mansfield Park, since this year will be the 200th anniversary of its publication. I was easily persuaded, having no will power when it comes to reading. Well after counting up the months and the planned reads I realized something had to give. I’m saddened to say, I will have to put off Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment once again. So after I finish King’s The Shining, I plan to spend the rest of the summer with Dante’s Paradiso, and the fall will be devoted to The Sorrows of Young Werther and Mansfield Park, though I’m undecided which to read first.
As to short stories, I’ve got another Hemingway and another Kipling in cue, but then I wish to read a few from Vladimir Nabakov and Saki, and then we’ll see. I’ll have to press on with the Old Testament and read the Second Book of Maccabees. Oh, and I did promise I would re-read Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Where will I find the time?
Oh, and to make matters worse, we're having our kitchen, living, and dining rooms remodeled, starting Monday. All three at the same time! I thought it best to just get it all done at once. Things are packed in boxes and the boxes are in our bedrooms. The house is in turmoil. They estimate it will take at least a month to be completed. So I'm not sure how this will effect my reading and blogging schedule. But all one can do is persevere.
Read in Previous Quarter:
“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.
Read This Past Quarter:
Happy Catholic, a non-fiction devotional by Julie Davis.
The Imitation of Christ, a non-fiction devotional by Thomas à Kempis.
“Paul’s Case,” a short story by Willa Cather.
Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity, a non-fiction work of literary criticism by Prue Shaw.
The Book of Esther, a book of the Old Testament.
“Wee Willie Winkie,” a short story by Rudyard Kipling.
Fantine, the 1st Volume of Les Misérables, a novel by Victor Hugo.
“The Peach Stone,” a short story by Paul Horgan.
Some Do Not…, the 1st novel of the Parade’s End Tetralogy by Ford Madox Ford.
First Book of Maccabees, a book of the Old Testament.
“Ten Indians, a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
Gerard Manly Hopkins: Poems and Prose, Selected and Edited by W. H. Gardner.
Julius Caesar: Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy.
Style: an Anti-Textbook, a non-fiction book on writing by Richard A. Lanham.
The Thorny Grace of It: And Other Essays for Imperfect Catholics, a collection of personal essays by Brian Doyle.
The Shining, a novel by Stephan King.
“The Drums of the Fore and Aft,” a short story by Rudyard Kipling.
“A Canary For One,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway.
"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.
Second Book of Maccabees, a book of the Old Testament.
Paradisio, the 3rd Cantica of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy.
Mansfield Park, a novel by Jane Austen.
The Sorrows of Young Werther, a novel by Johan Wolfgang von Goethe.