This title makes it sound like there are only two dozen books left in the world for me to conquer. Not exactly! But if you’re a book lover like I am, you probably own a few books you haven’t yet read. In scanning my shelves last December, I discovered I had more unread books in my bookcases than I’d realized. So I came up with a plan.
I’ve challenged myself to read twenty-five books this year from my collection of hand-me-downs, gift certificate purchases, and used bookstore finds. My goal is to tackle two a month. I’ve read my first two already — The Seven Storey Mountain (which somehow is missing from the picture above), and 101 Dalmatians.
The Seven Storey Mountain is an autobiography of a dissatisfied man who found God and eventually his true calling in a Trappist monastery. I’ve had my copy for at least fifteen years. I have no idea when or where I picked up a copy of 101 Dalmatians, though I suspect I decided to read it because it was written by Dodie Smith, the author of I Capture the Castle, a book I adore.
There’s a lot of non-fiction in the collection, including a number of memoirs: Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, The Journal of a Novel by John Steinbeck, Kathleen Norris’s The Cloister Walk and Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, to name a few.
There’s a good dose of kidlit because that’s what I do: Louise Erdrich’s Birchbark House series, Pam Munoz Ryan’s Paint the Wind (oh, how I love her Riding Freedom), Bridget Zinn’s Poison, and Sheila O’Connor’s latest (a gift our editor, Stacey, sent me), Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth.
There’s grown up fiction, old and new — from Zora Neale Hurston, Wilkie Collins, and Carson McCullers to Tracy Chevalier and Winston Groom.
Of course I’ll round out the rest of my year with library books, advance reader copies, and other new finds, but it feels especially satisfying to finally be reading the books I’ve always meant to pick up and for some reason haven’t before. I’ve got enough unread books around I hope to keep the practice going in the future. We’ll see where it leads!
What books are you planning to tackle in 2019? Here’s to lots of good reading ahead!
Faith E. Hough says
I love this! I devote every summer to reading books from my own shelves, avoiding the siren call of the library shelves. 🙂 I’ve always been a little surprised at how GOOD the books I own already are, and I’m always amazed it took me so long to get to them.
The Cloister Walk is on my list for this summer, too!
Caroline Rose says
And I love that you have a reading system for clearing your shelves already in place. Let’s talk about The Cloister Walk when the time comes (it’s another I’ve had — I’m not kidding — for 15 years).
I read Daughter of the Forest almost 20 years ago and I consider it and the other two books in the trilogy to be one of my favorite fantasy series!! I hope you enjoy it. I’ve read a lot of other books by Juliet Marillier but the Sevenwaters Trilogy is by far my favorite.
Caroline Starr Rose says
Thanks for telling me! I loved fantasy as a girl but don’t consider myself a fantasy fan as an adult. BUT I’m open and I’ve heard Daughter of the Forest was wonderful. I remember when I requested it at my Louisiana bookstore (meaning I purchased it a good 10 years ago now!) the woman behind the counter knew it wasn’t “my” kind of book and wanted to be sure I hadn’t meant another!
Looking forward to finally reading.
Laura Reu says
This is my goal for the year too, especially as I’ve run out of shelf space! I’ve had The Seven Storey Mountain on my shelf a while too. Time to get cracking… Happy reading! Looking forward to seeing what we unearth.
Tell me what you think!
Joanne R. Fritz says
Finally, after many decades of owning PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in hardcover (I think it was a birthday gift when I was 14!) I sat down this past autumn and read Jane Austen’s masterpiece. And, of course, I was delighted. Immediately afterward I read SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, also a birthday gift from years ago, and just as delightful.
Why did I never read these two books all those years? Carried from the home I grew up in to my apartment, to our first house together and then our second (and current) home, I guess I finally realized life is too short and I needed to catch up on things I’d been putting off forever.
Great topic for a blog post, Caroline! And the only one of your stack of books I’ve read is William Least Heat-Moon’s lovely book, BLUE HIGHWAYS. But it was in the 80s, so I remember very little of it.
Can I confess the only Jane Austen I’ve ever read is Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion? And I think I have a copy of Pride and Prejudice somewhere. On the list for next year!
Joanne R. Fritz says
Oh, Caroline, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who put off reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE until now — and I’m a lot older than you. 🙂
I believe I read PERSUASION in high school. I remember none of it, though!
That sounds like a great plan. I didn’t realize 101 Dalmatians was written by Dodie Smith! I wonder if that would be an enjoyable read aloud for my kids?
I think it would be a really fun read aloud. There are a few dated parts (Missis Pongo — not Perdita, she’s actually a third dog!) isn’t exactly a role model for strong girls, though she is a sweet character nonetheless. The dog skins scenario I found a bit more intense than the Disney version (the idea of the skins — of course nothing happens). Please let me know if you do!
Linda Stoll says
Caroline, what a brilliant idea to focus on all those volumes already stacked here and there.
So many books. So little time …
Thank you! I’m really looking forward to this reading year.