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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2014 Reads, Update #3

The third quarter was a tough quarter to do a lot of reading.  It seems I actually read less during the summer, which I think is not what happens with most people, but this summer was even more complicated.  We had the kitchen, dining and living rooms remodeling, and that did take up time.  It made living at home difficult, which made reading difficult.  (I haven’t forgotten that I promised to post pictures of the remodeled rooms.  It came out very nice, and I’ll post soon.)   Plus, the Baltimore Orioles, my favorite baseball team of which I’ve been a fan since I was eight years old, had a magnificent season, and I was on the computer following almost every game.  They had a great ending to the season where they pulled away from their division rivals and won by double digits.  Now they’ve won their division playoff and will be playing for the American League Championship.  If they win that, they’ll be going to the World Series.  So they could be playing for the whole month of October still.  I’m praying that they do!  It’s been 31 years since the Orioles won the World Series, which is a considerable part of my adult life.  So all summer long, reading has taken a lower priority in my past time.

So what have I accomplished?  Well, I read six short stories, which is about par for three months.  I read one book of the Old Testament (Second Maccabees), and I completed three full length books—a novel, a non-fiction work, and a book of personal essays—which would be about average as well except that two of them I was already half way when the quarter started.  I have started Dante’s Paradiso.  I’m only through canto ten, which is just less than a third.  But when you count the commentary, it’s over a couple of hundred pages of reading.  Just like last year’s read of Purgatorio, it’s slow reading, though good reading.  It’s poetry in translation, and I occasionally try my hand on the Italian, and then there are about two pages of commentary to every page of poetry. 

To my credit I did get beyond half way on this year’s read on writing, Lanham’s Style: An Anti Textbook.  I’ve posted twice on it.  The novel read was Stephan King’s The Shining, which I had promised to post my thoughts, and I haven’t.  I hope I can remember enough of it.  The book of personal essays was Brian Doyle’s The Thorny Grace of It, and I have posted on it, but I have thoughts for one more post.  The non-fiction work was an unplanned read, a book of sociology on why and how faith has diminished in western civilization.  I don’t plan on posting on it, but let me just say it’s an important work.  Mary Eberstat’s thesis has more to do with the breakdown of the family rather than any conventional theory that’s out there now.  Of course I was still reading Hopkins’ poetry, and putting out a few posts on some poems.  I did put out a really detailed analysis of which I’m proud of in two separate posts on his great poem “The Windhover.”  I did not read at all this quarter my historical read for this year, Goldsworthy’s biography, Julius Caesar: Life of a Colossus.  I remain about a quarter into the book.  I keep starting and then stopping the Kipling short story.  Not that it’s bad or anything like that, but I keep getting distracted.  It’s on the longer side for a short story.

So what’s left for my final quarter?  I have to finish Dante’s Paradiso, Lanham’s Style: An Anti Textbook, the Hopkins poetry, and the Goldsworthy biography.  If I’m going to read 24 short stories for the year, I need seven more.  I went looking and I’ve listed seven that have caught my eye, including a Sherlock Holmes and a Father Brown detective stories.  I am definitely going to read Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  I have to get one play read this year.  I do want to read Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther.  It’s a lot, but not impossible.  We’ll see how far I get.  What’s left over will go into next year. 

Read in Previous Quarters:

“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.
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.

Read This Past Quarter:

“The Wood-Sprite,” a short story by Vladimir Nabokov.
The Shining, a novel by Stephan King.
How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization, a non-fiction work of sociology by Mary Eberstadt.
Second Book of Maccabees, a book of the Old Testament.
The Thorny Grace of It: And Other Essays for Imperfect Catholics, a collection of personal essays by Brian Doyle.
“Russian Spoken Here,” a short story by Vladimir Nabokov.
“Greenleaf,” a short story by Flannery O’Connor.
"Sredni Vashtar,” a short story by Saki (H.H. Munro).
“The Gift of Cochise,” a short story by Louis L’Amour.
“A Canary for One,” a short story by Ernest Hemingway.

Currently Reading:

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.
Paradisio, the 3rd Cantica of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, a Verse Translation by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander.
 “The Drums of the Fore and Aft,” a short story by Rudyard Kipling.
"A Letter to the Romans, " an epistle by Paul in the New Testament, KLB and NAB Translations.
"First Letter to the Corinthians," an epistle by Paul in the New Testament, KLB and NAB Translations.

Upcoming Plans:

Mansfield Park, a novel by Jane Austen.
The Sorrows of Young Werther, a novel by Johan Wolfgang von Goethe.
The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare.
“The Letter to the Romans,” an epistle by St. Paul.
“The First Letter to the Corinthians,” an epistle by St. Paul.
“The Gentleman from Cracow,” a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer.
“ Colorado,” a short story by Ann Beattie.
“Jacob’s Ladder,” a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“The Walk with Elizanne,” a short story by John Updike.

“A Scandal in Bohemia, a Sherlock Holmes short story by Arthur Conan Doyle.
“The Queer Feet,” a Father Brown short story by G. K. Chesterton.

UPDATE: Oops, forgot to include my read through the Bible.  Last quarter is always devoted to New Testament and I'm up to Paul's Epistles.  I wasn't sure if I should read them in chronological order (as historians best date them) or pick and choose on whim or as ordered in the New Testament.  I decided on the latter, so I'm reading the first two.  For New Testament I read both KJB and NAB translations, with commentary from NAB/Catholic theologians.

You can read my initial 2014 reading plans heremy first quarter update hereand my second quarter update here.   Do I seem like too much of a project manager?  J


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