Monday, December 31, 2012

61 books (in 2012) and counting

So as I sit here in my pjs on the couch, watching Goonies (The Avengers is next!) with a chilled glass of Moscato and a vanilla rum cupcake (baked by my roomie. Thanks Pam!) on the coffee table(will that count as mixing my liquors?), I have no problem with the fact that I'm spending New Year's Eve alone (with the exception of my roommate's dog, Trustee, who is totally panicked and hyperventilating because of the fireworks neighbors are shooting off). In fact, going out was the last thing I wanted to do tonight. My one (admittedly lame) goal for the night, aside from relaxing, was to waterproof a pair of boots. Mission accomplished! LOL

Anyhoo, one of the only resolutions I made this year and kept completely with was to record all the books I read in 2012. Inspired by a friend's blog at the end of 2011, I realized that I had no idea how many books I'd read that year, so in order to know for sure how many I read in 2012, I grabbed one of my many empty journals and started a list. I had no particular goal for the number of books I wanted to read, but there were several I had received for Christmas that I wanted to tackle ("Death Comes to Pemberly," "The History of the World in 100 Objects," "Hedy's Folly) and did, as well as a a few I wanted to reread ("The Screwtape Letters" and "War & Peace," specifically).

All told, I read and completed 61 books in 2012. There are two I started and haven't yet finished: "Crossing the Borders of Time" (a true story about the daughter of a Holocaust survivor trying to search out what happened to her mother's first love after the two were separated by war) which I started only on Saturday night; the second is St. Augustine's "Confessions" which I'm taking slowly on purpose. St. Augustine isn't a Doctor of the Church for nothing. There's a lot of depth there. :)

Overall, the list just makes it onto the fourteenth page of the journal. Some of the entries include commentaries on the books (an Agatha Christie novel I'd never read, "Destination Unknown" which I noted it seemed "very cinematic," was fabulous, as was "Les Miserables," which I hadn't read before, "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and "The Guernsey Literary Guild and Potato Peel Pie Society."). Others notated I would immediately be relegating them to the donation bag.

Don't worry, I wont be naming them all. :) But the list represents fiction and non-fiction (mostly history), spiritual reading ( two by Fulton Sheen in addition to C.S. Lewis and St. Augustine), comic biography ("Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" by Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie on "Little House on the Prairie"), a poetry anthology, one children's book, science ("The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"), some chick-lit, a true crime novel and a couple of thrillers passed along to me by my dad.

In addition to rereading "War and Peace" (which took me nearly two months) I also reread "The Hobbit," the Hunger Games trilogy (in advance of the movie) and "Pride and Prejudice," which I've read once a year since I was 12.

As for 2013, I will keep on with St. Augustine. I also want to read Thomas Merton's "Seeds of Contemplation" and a history of St. Peter's Basilica that I picked up at a used bookstore while on vacation in North Carolina in October. I'd like to reread "Brideshead Revisited" (the last time I read that one was in high school somewhere around sophomore year, inspired by the fact that Bravo was showing reruns of the 1981 miniseries staring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews which I would come home and watch after school) as well as "Persuasion." It's actually my second favorite of Austen's novels and I haven't read it in quite a while.

There are a more than a few books I haven't bought/checked out/borrowed yet, namely the newest novels by Charles Finch and Kate Morton. There are somewhere between five and 10 books I've snapped pictures of on my cell so I can remember them for later, including one called "Shakespeare's Tremors and Orwell's Cough," a book written by a doctor about the various maladies suffered by famous authors, and "The Lawgiver" a semi-comic novel written mostly in epistolary form by Herman Wouk, author of "Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance." My boss also just loaned me "Gone Girl," which I've been meaning to read, both because the premise intrigues me and also because my best friend listened to the audio book on her morning and afternoon commutes and wants someone to discuss it with. I also want to read "Call the Midwife," which I recently picked up at Target. I've seen the first set of the BBC miniseries based off of it and it completely sucked me in.

Actually, there is a third book I haven't finished and I now realize I failed to record as part of the aforementioned list. In October, I started reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church as part of the Year of Faith, via emails sent out daily to a listserve who signed up to read it. I've actually fallen behind with that (the unread emails that are sent out every day, dividing it into manageable chunks, stare at me whenever I check my email) and it's my goal to catch up.

Then there's the bin of unread books waiting patiently for me under my bed... But for now, it's time for wine and a cupcake. Happy New Year!

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