I am ashamed to confess that after I graduated from college almost four years ago, I virtually stopped reading regularly. Yes. I might claim to be a “lover of literature,” but it turns out I was a pretty bad lover. I graduated from college just in time to see the sudden rise of netflix, hulu, and amazon prime, and soon enough my husband and I were sucked into the vacuum that is binge watching (Downton Abbey? Sherlock? Mad Men?). Don’t get me wrong, during all this time my husband was also re-reading all of his favorite Tolkien books among others, while I was maybe only reading what I needed to in order to complete my freelance assignments.
And then I became a mother. Motherhood is an absolute blessing, but if I didn’t have anything outside of home-life to read up on such as lesson plans or gardening, then the only things I found myself reading on a regular basis were board books and then soon children’s books. The occasional completed novel found itself here and there, but leisure reading always, always fell by the wayside – as do so many things.Then at some point a few months ago I rediscovered my love of reading and I intend to keep up the momentum.
I have enjoyed reading other’s yearly booklists and the occasional “What I’m Reading” post, so I’ve decided to compile my own for the sake of order and keeping myself accountable. When I put it together I had a few goals in mind…reading what we already own and finishing what lay unfinished.
We own a ton of books, too many to house. Just last week my husband brought up maybe 5 or 6 boxes of books into the attic that have just been sitting around the third bedroom collecting dust. Eventually we will turn our little storage room into a library, but that won’t happen for a while. While combing through the books deciding which to shelve and which to store, I realized how many great books we have that I have never read or even books that I started and never finished. So most of my reading list will come straight from our own library with the exception of a few books.
Though I am not a naturally organized person, I always work best when there is a goal in sight. Plus, if I have something new to look forward to, I won’t fall into old habits and stop reading. I formatted the list by month to have some sort of loose time frame, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I plan on strictly sticking to it. I’ll allow myself the freedom to move things around or add or replace books as the time comes.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I started this book in December, and it was such a delightful read during Advent and the Holiday season. While I have always loved the movie, I had never read the book. Alcott wrote the novel modeled on the old family diaries, and that’s exactly what it felt like. All the characters are so lovable, yet so human. While the book may have been a little too sentimental for me, I do realize that it’s meant to be a children’s book, and I so wish that I had read it when I was a girl!
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
My husband read this book earlier last year and loved it, and I had also heard a friend sing its praises. I read it alongside Little Women during the Advent/Christmas season, and I absolutely loved it. This was my first Cather book, and I look forward to reading more of her. The novel takes place in the mid-19th century and follows the missionary life of a young priest who becomes the bishop of the mission diocese in newly acquired New Mexico and beyond. Cather’s writing was captivating in both her descriptions of the desert landscape and in the personal reflections of the missionary priests.
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
This was a book that was not previously owned, and I gifted it to my husband for Christmas. I just finished this book a few days ago, and it totally blew me away. It is certainly a new favorite. This was also my first Wendell Berry, and I am in love with how he writes. Though the story might be simple, there is such effortless truth, wisdom, and beauty in the book. It’s written in first person, told by the character, Hannah Coulter; and takes place in Berry’s familiar and small rural community in Kentucky. Coulter begins her story from childhood, through World War II, the death of her first husband, and her life with her second husband. This book has caused me to get weepy more than once, and it has moved me to reflect more on the importance of family, community, and the homestead life. I highly, highly recommend it.
The Privilege of Being a Woman by Alice von Hildenbrand
Nonfiction, reread. After the recent events in January, I decided to reread this gem. We are bombarded with so many conflicting ideas of what it means to be a woman, and Hildenbrand goes through these and sheds light on our unique calling and virtue as women. It’s a short read, and not at all daunting.
The Last Gentlemen by Walker Percy
My husband loves Walker Percy, and Percy spent the last several decades of his life in our hometown, so I’m eager to continue to read more of him.
33 Days to Merciful Love by Father Michael Gaitley
This was another book that was recently purchased. My bible study is following Fr. Michael’s video series on Mercy, so I thought this would be a good supplement to that, as well as a great Lenten read.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Though I own all of Austen’s novels, I have only ever read Pride and Prejudice! A friend of mine recently finished this one and loved it, so I’ll be happy to give a read.
The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton
Nonfiction, reread. I read this in college for a Theology course, and while I enjoyed it then, I couldn’t dedicate enough attention to it. I often find myself thinking about parts of the book, so that’s a good enough sign that it deserves a reread! From what I remember, it was an enjoyable and rather enlightening read.
A Place on Earth by Wendell Berry
Because I was loving Hannah Coulter so much, I really wanted my husband to read Berry alongside me, so I picked this book up at the library for him. He seems to enjoy it just as much, so I plan on reading it later so we can discuss it together.
The New Faithful by Colleen Carroll Campbell
Nonfiction. This is a book that I started but never finished years ago. I have read Campbell’s memoir, My Sisters the Saints, which I absolutely loved. The New Faithful is not a memoir or biography but more of a study of why more young people are embracing Orthodoxy. I’d like to re-read it because the book was written over ten years ago, and I’m interested in reading it in light of today.
Lord Peter by Dorothy Sayers
I have never read Dorothy Sayers before, and I’ve never really read much of her genre of detective fiction so I’m excited to explore it!
The Second Coming by Walker Percy
This book follows the same main character as in The Last Gentlemen.
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
I do not own this book, but it is a Fountains of Carrots book club read, so of course I’m interested. 🙂 From what I’ve heard, it is one of the few novels Montgomery has written for adults.
The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton
Another Chesterton. This is one of his most well-known novels and a must-read from what I’ve heard.
My Antonia by Willa Cather
I don’t currently own this book either, but I loved Death Comes for the Archbishop so much, and I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this novel.
Lilith by George MacDonald
George MacDonald is such a delight. I have read a handful of his fairy tales and novels but never Lilith.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Finish. Hah hah. There is no way that I plan on finishing this book from start to finish. I will just pick up where I left off a year and a half ago – which I hope is somewhere in the middle.
For now I’m going to leave this month blank, and add on when the time comes.
If you have any recommendations leave them, please! I love hearing what other people have enjoyed.