2017 was a good year of reading for me. It might sound silly (and I talked about this in my rambling post last year about my reading list), but after college where I was reading multiple books of theology and literature a week, I had fallen away from the art of enjoying literature. Last year was the year I finally began to reclaim my love of reading.
At the beginning of summer, some friends of mine and I started a book club and it has been wonderful! We meet about every month and a half at each other’s houses with food and wine, and whoever hosts gets to pick the book for the month. It has been such a great experience to read (or reread) books of another’s choosing, as well as to have the opportunity to discuss them with friends.
I didn’t exactly follow my reading list from last year. It was probably overplanned and too detailed for me (I work best with a set but loose outline). Not to mention, I became interested in other books along with our book club’s pick. So here is what I actually did end up reading:
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
This was my first Wendell Berry novel, and I now consider it as one of my most favorite books. It is heartwrenchingly beautiful. It follows the life of the main character, Hannah, who lives in a small rural town in Kentucky. Highly, highly recommend it.
The Last Gentlemen by Walker Percy
My favorite Percy book that I’ve read so far.
The Second Coming by Walker Percy
The satisfying follow up book to The Last Gentlemen.
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
nonfiction. Written by an American expat living in Paris, this book was an entertaining look at the differences between American and French parenting. The French aren’t perfect by any means, but I found their refined approach to food and manners really valuable.
No Drama Discipline by Daniel Siegel
I never had the chance to finish the book, but I should probably read it again in the future. Very enlightening and practical read.
33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Michael Gaitley
I absolutely loved this. This is essentially a consecration to Divine Mercy in the school of St. Therese.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
This was our first book club selection and my first Austen read other than Pride and Prejudice! I had probably read Pride and Prejudice two or three times but never anything else, but now I prefer Sense and Sensibility over it. Such delightful characters and Colonel Brandon 4eva.
Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
This was our second book club pick and my third read through of this merry, adventurous book. A classic and fun, summer read.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Another book club selection. Technically I had previously read this in high school, but this read through was like reading it with new eyes. I definitely did not appreciate it as I should have when I was a young teen. Such a haunting and heartbreaking (yet frustrating) story.
Beren and Lúthien by J.R.R Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
This compilation was released last year and is the last book of J.R.R’s writings that Christopher Tolkien will publish. It contains several versions in prose and poetry of the story of Beren and Lúthien. I loved it, but if you have never read The Silmarillion you may feel a little lost at first. I would definitely recommend at least reading the chapter on Beren and Lúthien in The Silmarillion first.
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollerla
This was a book club read and the novel that I selected. I probably loved this book the most out of the group (everyone else seemed to have some qualms about it) but I adored it. I think in many ways this book has some wonderful insights on love, relationships, and culture without taking itself too seriously.
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
This was another book club selection and reread for me. My first exposure to this book was when Ross read it aloud to me when we first started dating. My second and third reading it, I was still a starry eyed girlfriend. However, this was my first time reading it as a married woman, and I believe it impacted me the most this time – particularly the last section regarding Davy’s death. If you have never read A Severe Mercy, I highly highly recommend it. Easily a favorite book of mine (if it isn’t obvious).
And this is what I hope to read in 2018, with room for growth (with any other books plus book club picks) :
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigurd Undset
I started reading this trilogy in December, and I am still in the midst of it. It takes place in fourteenth century Norway and follows the life of the character, Kristin. The story is captivating, the characters complex. Undset received a Nobel Peace prize for it in the 1920’s. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Oh. My. Goodness. Just read it.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This is our first book club selection of this year!
Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
Need more Percy in my life.
My Antonia by Willa Cather
I absolutely loved her Death Comes for the Archbishop, so I’m looking forward to this.
The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
When We Were Eve by Colleen Campbell
This was recently release, and I’ve heard wonderful things about it.
Brave New Family (collection of G.K. Chesterton’s writing relating to the family)
Theology and Spiritual Reading:
33 Days to Merciful Love by Michael Gaitley (reread)
I’ll be renewing my consecration this lent.
Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict
I love love love Papa Ben/Ratzinger’s writings, but I have not actually read his Jesus of Nazareth books yet.
Apostolate of Holy Motherhood by Mark Miravelle
This has been on my list for awhile but I have never gotten to it yet.
I also need more poetry in my life, so I plan on revisiting these poets throughout the year.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Rainer Maria Rilke
Do you have any new favorites or suggestions? Let me know! 🙂