Last year, I had a baby… and finished all the books on my 2020 list! (With the caveat that my husband and I took up Cardinal Sarah’s The Day is Now Far Spent as our shared Sunday readaloud book, so I get a pass since we’re reading it slowly together).
All in all, I read 119 books (36.5k pages)—which doesn’t count readings of e.g. Guess How Much I Love You (which is really two books, since we’re on our second copy after the baby gnawed holes in the first).
The oldest books I read were St. John Chrysostom’s On Wealth and Poverty, Dostoyevsky’s Demons, Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park, and My Antonia.
As for this year, the eleven books I’m prioritizing are:
- (√) The Friendship of Christ by Robert Hugh Benson
- (√) On the Prayer of Jesus by Ignatius Brianchaninov
- (√) Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments by John Darlington
- (√) Shapeshifters: A Journey Through the Changing Human Body by Gavin Francis
- Peace and Penance in Late Medieval Italy by Katherine Ludwig Jansen
- (√) Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel: The Gun That Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It by Julia Keller
- (√) Tom Stoppard: A Life by Hermione Lee
- (√) Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We’ve Left Behind by Grace Olmstead
- (√)The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World by Virginia Postrel
- (√) Gunpowder & Glory: The Explosive Life of Frank Brock OBE by Harry Smee and Henry Macrory
- (√) Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian by Sarah C. Williams
I love the fact that you read Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park, and My Antonia. These are three of my all-time favorite books, and they certainly represent (in my view) the finest work of three great women authors. In each book, the heroine struggled mightily and for very different reasons, but each heroine (Jane, Fanny, and Antonia) were young girls and then women of enormous strength.
Thank you! Mansfield was our most recent readaloud book, and Alexi read me the final chapter (which wraps a lot up very quickly!) right before the end of the year.
[…] is something I haven’t done before, even though it seems like such an obviously good idea. Leah Libresco recently posted her planned reads for 2021, which is what provided the inspiration for me. […]
Hi Leah! You read a lot of book. Do you ever do second readings? What do you think of How to read a book by Adler?
I definitely do rereadings, though fewer than I did before I had a baby. I haven’t read that work by Adler, though.
Leah, one of the ideas of Adler is that you must read a book at least three times. They are three ways of reading a book. Two of those readings are for understanding the book structure and content. These two “ways” can be done, or the expert reader can do both at the same time. The third way is for criticizing the book. But you seem to read through a book once and done. Is that the way you read? Or are you super active in the very first reading?
I think subsequent readings certainly deepen my experience of a book (particularly when some years pass between readings and I’ve become a somewhat different person in the meantime). Some books I’ll return to, and others may just be one reading. And I don’t always know at the time what I’ll come back to in another season.
What’s your approach?
[…] wrapped up 2021 with 10/11 of the books on my reading list finished. (I had ambitions of at least starting to read Peace and Penance in Late Medieval Italy on December […]