Hello there! How can it be that I haven’t updated the blog in over two years!? Yikes! It has been a very full two years, let me tell you! Many life updates would be in order after such a long break, but for today, I will stick to an update of the bookish kind.
Last week, I had the great pleasure of chatting with my podcast clients (and friends) on The Literary Life podcast about my own literary life. I was a bit nervous and scattered, and I didn’t love editing my own episode (ha!). But it was great fun to talk with Angelina, Cindy and Thomas in real time, instead of just responding to them in my head while listening to their book chat. We talked about my literary education, mostly, the ups and downs of my life in books, and I threw out a few titles and authors I am enjoying now. If you want to listen in to our conversation, you can do that at theliterary.life/172.
One of the topics we discussed was how I approach reading goals and decide what to read next. If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I have participated in a lot of challenges in the past. In the past couple of years, though, I have found it harder and harder to stick to following a set reading list. There are just so many books out there that I want to read, and every time I read one thing, it leads to a rabbit trail book that I didn’t even know about before. Of course, listening to book podcasts also helps expand my TBR list exponentially, as does looking ahead at my older child’s homeschool reading lists for the next several years!
That being said, I do like having some direction in my reading goals for the year, which at least helps me have some ideas to run with when I finish one book and am trying to decide what to read next. This year I feel particularly interested in digging deeper into a few specific genres/topic areas, so the Scholé Sisters’ 5×5 Challenge is most helpful in that pursuit. However, I think my list might end up looking more like a 3×10 by the time I’m done with it! I have so many different interests that I just can’t narrow it down to 5 categories right now. But filling out a full 5×10 would just be too much to do along with all the other non-challenge reading I also do! So here are some of the books and categories I have set goals to read during 2023. (Books marked by an asterisk(*) are ones I’ve already finished, and ones with a ^ are those I am currently reading.)
Time and Life Management
This category is one I’m actually doing really well with filling up. I started the year reading a title that is currently very popular on the topic of time management, and that led me to want to get some other perspectives on the subject of time and related topics in living well in the time we are given.
Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman*
Ploductivity by Doug Wilson*
Wintering by Katherine May*
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg*
Grit by Angela Duckworth^
I love classic literature, as you well know if you’ve been around here for any time at all. But I do like to try and find worthwhile newer books when I can, though I find it incredibly hard to do being a sensitive reader and not very tolerant of poor writing. The books I have finished already passed the sensitivity test and were, in my opinion, at least, worth the time to read. (I will note that The Thirteenth Tale just barely qualified on the content level. It does have some rather grizzly and dark subject matter. I switched back and forth between reading on my Kindle and listening to the audio, and I may have skimmed over some of the unfavorable parts just because they came after I was already too invested in the storyline to stop.) The last two titles that I haven’t read will hopefully be at least as good as the others on the list! Books for this category need to have been written since at least the 1950s if not much more recently.
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden*
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield*
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patty Callahan*
Virgil Wander by Leif Enter
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
It’s a Mystery to Me
Although I read a fair amount of detective fiction, I haven’t branched out much from my small handful of favorite authors in the genre, partly because of that content sensitivity issue, and partly because mystery novels are a little bit of a comfort genre for me. So I like to stick to familiar territory. But I know there are some more great writers of the golden age of detective novels that I haven’t read yet, as well as some slightly more contemporary authors who have written good stories, too. This little list is an effort to expand my horizons a little and read more of favorite authors in the genre all at the same time.
Black Plumes by Margery Allingham*
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth
A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
I Have an Inkling
I have long been wanting to read more written by and about C. S. Lewis, as well as other members of the Inklings. This category is going to be a sort of catch-all for those books that fit the bill as either by or about these literary greats. It is an ever changing list, but for now, these are the titles that I currently have as goals to complete this year.
Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis^
Bandersnatch by Diana Glyer
The Reading Life by C. S. Lewis
The Narnian by Alan Jacobs
Sir Gawain and The Green Knight by J. R. R. Tolkien
Education and Philosophy
These areas are two I don’t read enough of as a homeschooling mom, but I want to get better about educating myself in them. The titles on this list have also been changing throughout the first half of the year, but at the time of writing these are the books on education and philosophy that I want to get through in 2023.
Poetics by Aristotle^
The Convivial Homeschool by Mystie Winckler
Revitalized by Anne White
Range by David Epstein
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
Home and Health
This is another category for me to educate myself better, a kind of professional development for homemakers, if you will. Since there are so many varying options for me to add to this list, the titles are ever in development in this category as well.
The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer, M. D.*
Walking by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Mark Fenton*
Continuing the Good Life by Helen Nearing^
A Year Without the Grocery Store by Karen Morris
Something by Dana K. White
Go Back in Time
Some of the first non-fiction that captured my imagination was narrative non-fiction history and biography. I always liked history in school, but I don’t feel like I really learned much in the typical textbook driven curriculum of school. There is so much I want to know about, so many interesting people and events and time periods that I want to learn about. Some of the books I want to read are memoir, some biography, some history…but they all give me a chance to go back in time and gain a little more historical perspective. This list could go on and on, but these are the main titles that I am going to prioritize this year.
As Long as Life by Mary Canaga Rowland, M. D.*
Eusebius: The Church History trans. by Paul L. Maier^
The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
The Elizabethan World Picture by E. M. Tilyard
Radiant: 50 Remarkable Women in Church History by Richard Hannula
This category is pretty self-explanatory. I am always wanting to learn and grow in my spiritual walk. Being in a more biblically rich and grounded church these days is definitely helping, but I also want to expand in my personal religious and devotional reading. A few of these titles I have had on audio for a while now, and I really want to take advantage of that accessibility and absorb the truths held in those books.
The Necessity of Prayer by E. M. Bounds^
You are Not Your Own by Alan Noble
All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon
Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray
You Who? by Rachel Jankovic
Phew! I think I will stop there. That’s eight categories, in case you weren’t keeping track. I do have a couple more category ideas, too, but I haven’t even started a single book in either of them, unlike the above lists in which I am currently reading at least one title even if I haven’t yet finished any. I will try to report back at the end of the year and let you know how I did following these reading tracks or if I went off the rails and followed a bunch of rabbit trails instead! 🙂 If you got this far, thanks for reading! I hope to be back with more posts soon, but if not, I’ll see ya ’round someday!