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2012 Reading Journals


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#21 Andrew

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:26 PM


Moderators: any chance of sticking this thread at the top of the 'Literature' section, a la the Film Journals?

Done.


Thanks!

#22 Christian

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:48 AM

Robinson, Home (after dinner read aloud)

Darrel, I'm curious to know what you thought of Home. Was it your first time through the book? The best place for a response would be the dedicated thread, if you feel like sharing.

#23 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:39 PM

For ratings/reviews, see me on Goodreads.

January

North Toward Home, Willie Morris
Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life, Douglas Wilson
Blue Nights, Joan Didion
Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford

February

What is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission, Kevin DeYong & Greg Gilbert
What is Spiritual Warfare, Stanley Gale

March

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will, Kevin DeYoung
Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl
Don't Call It a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day, ed. Kevin DeYoung
Radigan, Louis L'Amour
King's Cross, Tim Keller

April

The Pastor: A Memoir, Eugene Peterson
Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Tullian Tchividjian
The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, Alan Jacobs
Crazy Love, Francis Chan

May

The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
The Stranger, Albert Camus
A Praying Life, Paul Miller
I Want My Hat Back, Jon Klassen
Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, Doug Hill
Evangellyfish, Douglas Wilson

June

Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace (Whew! Started this in February!)
Prayer and the Knowledge of God: What the Whole Bible Teaches, Graeme Goldsworthy
Wild at Heart, John Eldredge
If God Already Knows Why Pray?, Douglas Kelly
Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition, James K.A. Smith

July

The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West, Blaine Harden
Black and Tan, Douglas Wilson

August

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
Fidelity, Douglas Wilson
Giving Up Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture, Brian Cosby
Train Dreams, Denis Johnson
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
Life Itself: A Memoir, Roger Ebert
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

September

The Mist, Stephen King
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
The Man Who Was Thursday, G.K. Chesterton
Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teenagers, Paul David Tripp
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Wells Tower
Lush Life, Richard Price

October

The Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan
Republocrat, Carl Trueman
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, Steve Martin
Nine Horses, Billy Collins
The Good Life, Trip Lee
Thank You, Fog: Last Poems, W.H. Auden
Create: Stop Making Excuses and Start Making Stuff, Stephen Altrogge
Every Ghost Story is a Love Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, D.T. Max
Confessing Christ, Calvin Knox Cummings
Sula, Toni Morrison (audiobook)
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton
How Children Succeed, Paul Tough
Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, Meria Semple

November

"But Don't All Religions Lead to God?", Michael Green
Norwood, Charles Portis
This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
Mortality, Christopher Hitchens
Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church, James K. A. Smith
True Grit, Charles Portis

December

The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers
The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller
Tintin: The Shooting Star, Herge
Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson
My Ideal Bookshelf, Thessaly La Force and Jane Mount
The Dog of the South, Charles Portis

Edited by Gavin Breeden, 30 December 2012 - 06:55 PM.


#24 Jason Panella

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:09 AM

I've really enjoyed following what you're reading on Goodreads, Gavin.

#25 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:00 PM

I've really enjoyed following what you're reading on Goodreads, Gavin.


Thanks, Jason. I've enjoyed collecting several "to-read" items from your reading over there. I find myself getting more into genre stuff like Westerns and Detective Noir and the recent noir story collection you read looks good.

#26 CherylR

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 12:44 PM

Interesting idea. Posted Image

So far since January 2012:
Alexie, Sherman: Indian Killer
Adams, Douglas: The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Bender, Aimee: Willful Creatures; The Particular Sadness of Wedding Cake
Black, Robin: If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This Stories
Booker, Christopher: The Seven Basic Plots
Brockmeier, Christopher: The Brief History of the Dead; The Illumination
Cain, Susan: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Chappell, Fred: I Am One of You Forever
Chase, Richard: Jack Tales Folk Tales from the Southern Appalachians
Cheever, Susan: Louisa May Alcott
Chernow, Ron: Washington A Life; Alexander Hamilton
Erdrich, Louise: Love Medicine; Tracks
Gardner, John: The Art of Fiction; The Sunlight Dialogues
Gottschall, Johnathan: The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
Holmes, David L.: The Faiths of the Founding Fathers
Kafka: The Metamorphasis
Kennedy, Thomas: The Book of Angels; Unreal City Stories
Kincaid, Nanci: Pretending the Bed is a Raft
Larson, Eric: In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Le Guin, Ursula: The Language of the Night Essays on Science Fiction and Fantasy
Marquez, Gabriel: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Morris, Keith Lee: Call It What You Want
Oschner, Gina: The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight
Robinson, Marilynne: Gilead
Rose, Frank: The Art of Immersion How the Digital Generation is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories
Rhys, Jean: The Wide Sargasso Sea
Sanders, Scott Russell: Wilderness Plots: Tales about the Settlement of the American Land
Strayed, Cheryl: Wild From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Strout, Elizabeth: Olive Kitteridge
Walburt, Kate: Our Kind

Edited by CherylR, 24 July 2012 - 01:03 PM.


#27 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 09:21 AM

Chappell, Fred: I Am One of You Forever


I read this in college and loved it. I still vividly remember some of the images it evoked. It's been a while though so I'm not sure what I would think of it if I read it today. What did you think?

#28 CherylR

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:26 AM


Chappell, Fred: I Am One of You Forever


I read this in college and loved it. I still vividly remember some of the images it evoked. It's been a while though so I'm not sure what I would think of it if I read it today. What did you think?


I liked it. I like the cadence of the language, and the way the writer uses that cadence and concrete details to create the strong images. I read it for my critical paper, looking at the way fact and tall tale are interwoven into a story, as though all aspects were true. My favorite story is The Beard--the story where Uncle Gurton and his legendary beard come to visit. No one knows how long it is, because he keeps it hidden behind his bib overalls. The narrator and his father are determined to find out how long it is---and they do--sort of. Posted Image

Edited by CherylR, 11 September 2012 - 07:28 AM.


#29 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:45 PM

So I'm very glad I decided to keep track of my reading this year. It has been motivational to see how much progress I could make in a year, and it has also helped direct my reading a little more. Ever since leaving graduate school, my reading has been somewhat ... well, directionless.

Also:
1) It has convinced me how woefully lacking my reading really is. There are too many books that I've very much wanted to add to this list, but haven't been able to yet. As the fall and winter begins, I'm going to delight in including a few of them. My reading progress is also painfully slow. I have collected mutlipe bookshelves (with must read classics) that I have yet to even touch.
2) It has convinced me that my reading is painfully slanted to the modern day. In 2012, except for regular Scripture reading, I've read NOTHING from the 1800s, the 1700s, the 1600s or anywhere before that. It looks even worse when I realized that, out of 53 books so far this year, I've only read eight that were written before 1950. This does not exhibit the reading habits that I want to cultivate. Reading works written only in the present is not the reading habit of an educated person.
3) Looking the list over, I also really need to start adding both more poetry, more theology and more history to my regular reading.

I should have been tracking my reading like this years ago. It helps to actually pay attention.

#30 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:40 AM

I should have been tracking my reading like this years ago. It helps to actually pay attention.


I totally agree. This is the first year I challenged myself to read a certain number of books and also the first year I've kept track of my reading. And seeing my list there in black and white is forcing me to come to similar conclusions about changes I need to make next year. More x, less y, etc.

I've also benefited from setting a goal to read a certain number of books. On the downside, sometimes I push myself to finish a book quickly so I can check it off the list, but on the upside, I've read more books this year (and enjoyed more books this year) than any year previous. I need the goal or I won't get it done. I'm the kind of reader that reads half a book and puts it back on the shelf (my shelves looks like graveyards with little bookmarks and scraps of paper sticking out the top of most of the books). A reading plan has given me some structure to help me avoid that this year.

Another thing that helped me was reading Alan Jacobs' The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction (which I'd highly recommend to everyone) because it's helped me know when to walk away from a book and when to keep going with one (spoiler alert, if the book isn't giving you pleasure in some way, drop it, there are only so many books one can read in a lifetime). But Jacobs gives some very helpful points about the pursuit of pleasure in reading. He doesn't intend for us to read only popular stuff simply because it gives us pleasure (but don't feel guilty about reading popular works), but he tries to teach us how to find pleasure in literature and how to let that guide our reading, to be led by an intentional Whim rather than a mere whim.

Edited by Gavin Breeden, 10 October 2012 - 10:32 AM.


#31 Jason Panella

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:55 AM

Good observations, Jeremy and Gavin.

This is also the first year where I challenged myself to meet a certain goal and keep track, and I'm glad I've done so. It's also showing me that, yes, I do read an incredibly eclectic mix of things. (I guess this means I'm educated!)

As for your comments on Jacobs's book (which I have in my "to read soon" queue), Gavin, I'm also glad I've been reading more pulpy works and not feeling bad about it. Again, as you mention, reading junk is bad, but some of the "junk" is way better than the Sam Tanenhauses of the world will ever realize.

#32 Gavin Breeden

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:30 AM

Good observations, Jeremy and Gavin.

This is also the first year where I challenged myself to meet a certain goal and keep track, and I'm glad I've done so. It's also showing me that, yes, I do read an incredibly eclectic mix of things. (I guess this means I'm educated!)

As for your comments on Jacobs's book (which I have in my "to read soon" queue), Gavin, I'm also glad I've been reading more pulpy works and not feeling bad about it. Again, as you mention, reading junk is bad, but some of the "junk" is way better than the Sam Tanenhauses of the world will ever realize.


I hope I haven't misstated things (I went back and tried to soften the language a bit), Jacobs doesn't think reading popular junk is bad at all (earlier this year he wrote a great defense of Stephen King for The Atlantic), but he DOES kindly suggest that we don't limit ourselves to only a diet of popular junk. Moreover, Jacobs is absolutely opposed to developing "literary canons" a la Howard Bloom and he takes a few swipes at Bloom in the book. Anyway, I completely agree with what you wrote, Jason, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't misrepresented Jacobs' point. I've actually felt more inclined towards reading from the "genre" shelves of horror, mystery, western, etc., since reading Jacobs' book. I used to feel kinda guilty reading popular works, thinking I should be reading "The Brothers Karamazov" right now, what's wrong with me?, but Jacobs has liberated me from that sort of "read only from the canon" mindset.

By the way, I'm not blasting King by calling him popular junk (maybe "junk" is too harsh a word to use here). I really appreciate Stephen King and many other popular writers and I wish they received more recognition by the literary establishment for their work. Certainly, there's a difference between Under the Dome and Gilead, but I think that anyone who limits themselves to only "popular" stuff or to only "literary" stuff is perhaps not as well-rounded a reader as they could be. Which is definitely what I'm striving to be.

What's really interesting to me right now in the world of books is that we're starting to see this hard line between literary and popular/genre start to dissolve. As fiction writer and critic Lev Grossman noted back in May:


I think this is a point that novelists have been picking up on, of late. Blue-chip literary writers — finding that after years of deprivation under the modernist regime their stores of plot devices are sadly depleted — have been frantically borrowing from genre fiction, which is where plot has been safely stockpiled for all these decades... Cormac McCarthy now writes about serial killers and post-apocalyptic worlds. Michael Chabon writes about alternate realities and hard-boiled detectives. Philip Roth writes alternate history. Kazuo Ishiguro writes about clones. Colson Whitehead writes about zombies. Kate Atkinson writes mysteries. Jennifer Egan writes science fiction, as does Haruki Murakami (and as did David Foster Wallace). And on and on. (The borrowing happens the other way, too: writers like Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Catherynne Valente, John Green, Susanna Clarke, Richard Price and China Miéville, to name a very few, are gleefully importing literary techniques into genre novels, to marvelous effect.)... These days, I find, literary novelists are much more interested in plot and much less interested in plausibility, or in realism, than literary critics are.



Perhaps we need a thread to discuss this phenomena (if there's not one already). Anyway, it's certainly an exciting time to be a reader.

#33 Jason Panella

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:55 AM

I hope I haven't misstated things (I went back and tried to soften the language a bit), Jacobs doesn't think reading popular junk is bad at all (earlier this year he wrote a great defense of Stephen King for The Atlantic), but he DOES kindly suggest that we don't limit ourselves to only a diet of popular junk. Moreover, Jacobs is absolutely opposed to developing "literary canons" a la Howard Bloom and he takes a few swipes at Bloom in the book. Anyway, I completely agree with what you wrote, Jason, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't misrepresented Jacobs' point. I've actually felt more inclined towards reading from the "genre" shelves of horror, mystery, western, etc., since reading Jacobs' book. I used to feel kinda guilty reading popular works, thinking I should be reading "The Brothers Karamazov" right now, what's wrong with me?, but Jacobs has liberated me from that sort of "read only from the canon" mindset.


Oh, no, you didn't misrepresent him, and I agree with you (and him). I was basically just agreeing with you in my usual, opaque way.

#34 CherylR

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:43 AM

As of late:
Home by Marilynne Robinson
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
The Lady of Arlington: The Life of Mrs. Robert E. Lee by John Perry
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie
Juliet in August by Dianne Warren

The Yellow Birds ranks up there with Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. I originally borrowed it from the library, but have since ordered a copy of my own so I can highlight it and stick it full of post-it flags. :) Usually, I don't read war stories, but I'm glad I've read both O'Brien's & Powers' books.

'tis nice to be done w/ school (except for graduating residency) and be able to read what I want. Posted Image The biggest drawback--I won't be able to justify buying approx. 14 books every semester. I may go into withdrawal. Posted Image

Edited by CherylR, 15 November 2012 - 07:57 AM.


#35 Christian

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 02:10 PM


This is beyond self-indulgent, but here is my list from 2011. Please be gentle. 2011 releases in bold. For what its worth, none were read in December, as I spent that month picking up OT hours and watching Breaking Bad.

John Williams: Stoner

You probably aren't monitoring A&F today and won't respond quickly enough to affect my choice, but The Millions has pointed out that this ebook is available today only for $1.99. I think I'll buy it based on reputation alone, but I confess that until that Millions tweet, I don't think I'd ever heard of Stoner.