Sunday, January 25, 2015

The To-Read Pile for 2015

"But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself."
-C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

Every January I make new resolutions about what I'm going to read in the forthcoming calendar year.  I've been doing this for at least seven or eight years (so we're talking as far back as sixth or seventh grade... yikes), and generally not meeting the standards I set for myself every year or even remembering wehich books I'd intended to read (cough...), but since the advent of my Goodreads account in 2012 or whatever it was, I've gotten a lot better at keeping track of the books I go through. Last year I set myself a goal of reading 50 books throughout 2014, but I only managed 36... this year I'm conveniently ignoring last year's record and setting another goal of 50 books.  Heh.  But this year I'm adding a little twist... the 50 can consist of any books I choose, provided I read all the books currently on my (and my sister's) shelves that I haven't yet read.

There turned out to be twelve titles spread between two bedrooms whose pages I had not yet covered. (...That sounded punnier in my head.)  This doesn't sound like very much, but believe me, after years of reading and rereading every single book we had in the house that was within my reach, having twelve books in my (and my sister's) possession that I still haven't read yet is kind of mind-boggling.

Also, to be completely and totally honest, there are more than twelve books in our house that I haven't read.  My parents have lots that I haven't ventured into yet, and even my sister has a couple more that I wasn't interested in.  (I knowwwww I should read Ivanhoe at some point.  But except for Anthony Andrews' face, which was pleasing to look upon, the movie bored me, and the book is really long and I just don't feel like getting into it right now.)  So these twelve books are just the ones that I actually, y'know, have inclination for.  (And they DO include all the unread books on my own shelves. Just for the record.)

Anyways. So.  On to the books and their stories.    The stories of how I got them, that is-- I'm not including novel summaries in this post.  You can go look 'em up under your own steam later if you want to.

We begin with The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a snazzy little number I picked up at a library booksale for 50 cents. Or maybe it was 25. I don't remember.  It was a pittance, anyway, and the book is a classic and I figured I'd better get around to reading the rest of it after actually enjoying the excerpts I had to read for 11th-grade World Lit, so I bought it.  It's fat and pink and looks scholarly on my shelf, despite the somewhat cartoonish cover.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte was another inexpensive find at a local used-book store.  Jane Eyre is one of my top favorite books ever ever ever, so it's about time I got around to reading more by the same author.  I've actually gotten about ten chapters into Villette (about a year ago), which is no large feat because there are about sixty-eleventy-hundred chapters all told, but what I did read was enjoyable, so I'm looking forward to picking this up again.

The Small Rain and A Severed Wasp (sequel to the former) by Madeleine L'Engle were FREE.  FREE GRATIS AND FER NOTHIN'.  My aunt was cleaning out her basement and doing some major downsizing on her bookshelves, and when I was at her house last August she marched me into the rumpus room, sat me down in front of the shelves, handed me a Coffee Bean Direct tote bag (that's the company she works for-- and hey, look, I gave them a shout-out! There ya go, Aunt Meg! It's a thank-you to them for giving you so much free tea which you then pass on to your loving and grateful niece!) and told me to take whatever I wanted, because she needed all the books OUT, and naturally I obliged because I am an obliging and helpful sort of person, hence my newfound possession of two novels I knew very little of, besides the fact that they were written by Madeleine L'Engle, whose Meet the Austins I enjoyed immensely and whose A Wrinkle In Time was kinda weird but really well-written.

I am the queen of the run-on parenthetical sentence.

I had the privilege of winning The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes in Hamlette's giveaway last summer, and though I read the greater portion of this extremely captivating book while at the beach during said summer, I still haven't finished it.  I tend to get caught up too easily with library books which have a ticking deadline, and the patient already-owned books on my own personal shelf get shoved to the wayside in the process.  Sorry, Exploits.  I'm coming back, I promise.  

I saw the movie of Lorna Doone two years ago (and reviewed it!) and Anne-girl has read the book and enjoyed it (I swiped this one from her shelf, speaking of which) but I still haven't gotten around to doing so.  It's not going to be quite exactly my cup of tea, I think (Anne and her Wilber are not quite sure what exactly my cup of tea IS)-- for I am told there's a part where John Ridd rips a tree up by the roots or cracks it in half or something just for the heck of it, and that kind of superfluous he-man-ism doesn't really make for enthralling reading in my book.  (Ha. Haha. See what I did there.)  BUT I'm willing to give it a try.  We shall see.

Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil G. Brinton has the distinction of being the very first sequel to Jane Austen's work-- it ties together Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park at least, and perhaps the other novels too.  I can't remember now-- I got about a third of the way through this a couple of years ago when I bought it, but it went by way of Exploits and lost its popularity to a library usurper.  Now I'm determined to pick it up again.  (This was another find at a used-book store.)

Oh, look, and I got The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan at a used-book store too. Don't pretend you don't see a trend.  This one was published in like 1917 or something and I got it for a dollar, so I felt it was a good bargain and I like reading plays, so it should be fun.

P.G. Wodehouse is, has been and will continue to be one of my favorite authors of all time.  I don't actually know anything about The Little Nugget, but if it's half as good as the Jeeves books or the Blandings Castle books or The Plot That Thickened or any of his other stand-alones, I shall be quite satisfied.  This one is Anne-girl's, by the by.

More Letters from Pemberley is a sequel to Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins, and I haven't yet gotten my hands on the original, but I intend to do so, and then I'll read the sequel.  (Can you guess where I picked up this little purple volume? Can you? Can you?)

Alison's Adventures by Lucy C. Lillie is so very old and out-of-print that it isn't even listed on Goodreads. (GASP.)  So naturally when I saw it at a-- all together now!-- USED-BOOK STORE, I simply had to buy it.  Look how pretty and cute and published-in-1918 it is.  Now THAT's my cup of tea.  (Spoiler alert, Anne and Wilber.)

The Man in the Iron Mask is a sequel to The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, and I still haven't even finished The Count of Monte Cristo, let alone The Three Musketeers, and between you and me I would rather eat a Three Musketeers bar than actually read the book, but that's neither here nor there.  I don't actually know if this one will get read this year. Probably not.  But I stuck it in there to fill out the even dozen, and hey, it also looks scholarly on my shelf.  (Place a wild guess as to where I acquired this one.)

Sooooo, there are some of my reading goals for this year.  What are yours?


jessica prescott said...

Good luck! I know, I have NO time to read during the semester (I'm a college student), so I have to do all my reading on Christmas and summer breaks and I never finish all the books I was hoping to read. I want to try Hamlet and Measure for Measure (Shakespeare) this summer. There's also a World War II novel, Leave If You Can, that I'm hoping to get to.

Hannah said...

I, I clicked on "Badly done Emma" by mistake. Please forgive me! I've clicked on "Excessively Diverting" to atone!

All of your book covers are lovely and that rug that they're on is also very lovely :) Let's see... I haven't read The Brothers Karamazov but I've read Crime and Punishment by the same author and I loved that. I haven't read those Madeleine L'Engle books but I've read A Wrinkle in Time and I loved that. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favourite books ever too but I didn't like Villette very much. Lucy Snowe isn't as likeable as Jane and the book is very anti-Catholicism and that annoyed me. I'm not even Catholic. But I'd still like to give the book another try at some point.

I've had some very bad experiences with Jane Austen fanfiction but Old Friends and New Fancies actually sounds quite interesting.

Your reading goals are great. My aim is to read at least 60 books this year. I managed just over 50 last year. I've managed to read 3 books this far into 2015. Oh, and I want to read at least 5 or 6 non-fiction books this year. Other than that, I don't think I have any other aims. I keep my aims fairly low so I'm less likely to fail. I'm kind of a wimp like that.

Miss Dashwood said...

Thanks, Jessica Prescott! Ooh, Hamlet and Measure for Measure sound good. I still haven't read Hamlet all the way through and have never tried Measure for Measure. The Taming of the Shrew is on my to-read list before summer, though, since I'm going to see the play with my grandparents in July.

Haha, no worries! (If you click a reaction button accidentally you can always just click it again to undo, for future reference.) The "rug" is actually my bedspread, haha-- the rug in my bedroom is not conducive to photography as it's a weird dull beige with brown flecks. Quite ugly. :P I must say I didn't like Lucy Snowe very much from what I've read of Villette either, but hopefully the story will get better.

Old Friends and New Fancies was written in the 1920's, I think, and it started the genre of JA sequels, so I'm hoping it will be better than some of its modern counterparts.

I want to read some more nonfiction this year as well. Right now I'm about halfway through The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport-- highly recommended!

Miss Melody Muffin said...

I also have several books between my sisters and I that I haven't read yet. I've been meaning to read them... but last year didn't go quite as planned. I should try it again this year. LOL- like you, it feels bizarre to have books in the house that I HAVEN'T read.

Ivanhoe the book is WAY better than the movie. It's one of my top 20 favorite books. (And with as many favorite books as I have- that's quite an achievement.) Personally, while I thought AA did a decent job in his role in the movie, I was pretty disappointed in the screenwriting. I felt the movie didn't come close to capturing the spirit of the epic book.

I haven't read any Dostoyevsky yet. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

I have Villette downloaded onto my Kindle but haven't read it yet. (Ah, yes, Jane Eyre is a fantastic book!)

Oooh, Exploits is one book I hadn't heard of before! *puts it on list to look up*

I usually stay away from Austen sequels, but Old Friends and New Fancies looks interesting.

Gilbert and Sullivan!!! Their plays are SUCH fun. My favorite at the moment is Pinafore, but Mikado might be superseding it.

I have The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers downloaded onto my Kindle, waiting for me. I'm eager to read both, especially since reading the Count of Monte Cristo and really liking it. (Note: I read the Victorian translation- I've since found out that there is another translation that is... R-rated.)

Anne-girl said...

tree BRANCH. He rips a tree BRANCH off a tree and it's at a moment of high adrenaline near the end of which you know of.

There may be other feats of strength that are even less believable *cough shed scene cough cough* but it's still a great book and you will love it

Melody said...

Mom tends to collect old books like that one, haha. :) Some of them can be quite cheesy, though, just warning ya. (Remember the one I had in that photo shoot? OH MY WORD SOME OF THE LOVE SCENES. They were hysterical though. :P No matter how silly they are I prefer them to the version of the romance aspect nowadays, cough.)

Marissa Baker said...

Looks like a great list. This makes me want to re-read Lorna Doone -- I loved it, but it's been quite a few years and I think I've forgotten quite a bit.

I don't usually set specific reading goals for a year, but I started the Classics Club challenge last year, so I'll have to plan on about 10 of this year's books coming from my Classics list. I also want to start reading some of the fantasy books that people keep recommending when they learn that's what I write, like the "Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan.

Anonymous said...

INCREDIBLY JEALOUS ABOUT YOUR GILBERT AND SULLIVAN BOOK. My siblings and I are *obsessed* with G&S, and own quite a few of the DVDs of the operas. Speaking of, are they plays or operas? I didn't know G&S wrote plays.... HMMMMM.


Sophie said...

Oooh, reading lists are fascinating... I recognised quite a few of these, too. :D

I enjoyed Ivanhoe, actually. I can't vouch for how similar the film is to the book, not having seen it. But I'd like to see it. Because, um, Antony Andrews.

I want to read Vilette sometime, too. And Lorna Doone. I haven't seen the film or heard about any tree-ripping antics, though, so I'll just be taking it as it comes. :)

Oooh, out-of-print finds! I found one of by very favourite series (The Marlows, by Antonia Forest) through that. ... But like Melody said, they can be-- um, cheesy. :P

And the flowery cloth in the background is very pretty.

Natalie Monk said...

Yours looks like a fun reading list!

My 2015 reading challenge is to read as many books as necessary to make up my full name acronymically. Last year I committed to read 50 books, but alas, due to my oversight of accidentally shelving a title as "read" instead of "to be read" on Goodreads, I only read 49. :s

Lorna Doone and Sherlock Holmes are on my TBR list for this year. As well as Little Women and Northanger Abbey. I also want to re-read the Lady of the Lake (LOVE!) by Sir Walter Scott if I have time.

Awdur said...

Well, you just gave me quite a few to add to this year's list! When was Old Friends and New Fancies published?
My reading plans for 2015 are to reread Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Mysterious Benedict Society. I'd like to read some of the other Bronte books since I've only read Jane Eyre, and Elizabeth Gaskell's various works as I've read none. I love the cover of your Villette!
Aren't used book stores awesome? The things you can find!

Kelpie said...

The Man in the Iron Mask is very interesting! I hope you enjoy it! I should probably nose around my house for unread books to complete my Goodreads goal as well!

Awdur said...

Oh, I see. You said 1920s earlier. I guess I should have read the other comments first. :p

Livia Rachelle said...

I read Lorna Doone last year. We have owned it for years, but yeah. It is . . . interesting. I think I would probably like the movie better (I need a movie list for 2015).

I have not read any Fyodor Dostoyevsky (or Tolstoy for that manner . . . long Russian novels have not appealed to me; I need to be brave). My sister read the unabridged version and then the abridged version several times. She also enjoyed Crime and Punishment.

After I finished reading all the Jeeves and Wooster saga I need to read some of Wodehouse's other books.

payton marie said...

Oooh, Villette is very good! Not better than Jane Eyre (OBVIOUSLY) but still an enjoyable read. Looks like you have some splendid 2015 choices! Haha, your To-Be-Read list is MUCH more realistic than mine. My written list exceeds more than one page... :P

Hannah said...

Thanks! I'm going to look into that book on the Romanovs :)

yankeegospelgirl said...

Why is it that I'm the only person I know who likes The Three Musketeers? My mother is exactly like you. Says she got bored stiff with the lengthy descriptions of interiors. I was able to just breeze over those to get to the good parts, but de gustibus non est disputandem.

I am going to prod you forward in The Count of Monte Cristo though. It's really quite exciting! And if you get far enough, there's this amazing character of a paralyzed guy who communicates only by blinking his eyes. But he notices everything, and he has a very important message! The scenes between him and his daughter were my favorite.

My mother told me she made it through The Brothers Karamazov when she was younger but couldn't bring herself to finish it on a re-read. And she has a doctorate in English! That's scared me off of it for the time being.

I have as a short-term goal to read most of the novels in a Catholic dystopian fiction series, but I'm afraid it wouldn't fit the oeuvre of this period blog!

Net, the Movie Blogger said...

Wow! What a wonderful collection!

Happy readng to you! It's always wonderful to see real, honest to goodness, books... I'm still holding onto them, too, versus the kindle style!

Btw, your blog is so lovely - I just followed you!

God bless, Net
It's a Wonderful Movie - Your Ticket to Family Movies on TV

Homeschool Mom said...

A wonderful and impressive list. I wish I could read this much in a year's time. I wish this generation of young people would read this caliber of literature as a matter of habit. Thank you for a lovely, encouraging post.

Julie Klassen said...

Hi Amelia, I stumbled across your blog and enjoyed my visit very much. I love period dramas, too! And Villette is on my reading list this year as well. All the best!

Abigail Davis said...

Hi Miss Dashwood,

Just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for an award on my blog, Here is the link: