Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Reading Challenges Revisited

Last year I set for myself two reading challenges; one was Victorian Literature and the other was Elizabeth Goudge. I managed to read eight in each category; not the twelve I had intended, but probably, no definitely, more than I would have read if I hadn't made the challenges.

Here's the lists of the ones I read.


1. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-Robert Louis Stevenson
2. The Way of All Flesh-Samuel Butler
3. The Woman in White-Wilkie Collins
4. The Soul of Man-Oscar Wilde
5. Lady Audley's Secret-M.E. Braddon
6. The Story of the Amulet-E. Nesbit
7. At the Back of the North Wind-George MacDonald
8. Lady Windermere's Fan-Oscar Wilde


1. The Castle on the HIll
2. The Dean's Watch
3. Pilgrim's Inn
4. The Scent of Water
5. Linnets and Valerians
6. The Lost Angel
7. Gentian Hill
8. A City of Bells

My favorite Victorian read was Lady Audley's Secret. There's also a movie that sticks pretty close to the book and was enjoyable. I also liked Lady Windermere's Fan. As usual, Wilde is funny with everyone planning and plotting to have things their own way while getting tripped up in all the twists and turns of their actions.

My favorite Goudge book is so hard to say as I loved all of them. I'm continuing the challenge into this year as I'm planning on reading ALL her works as well as owning them all before I'm finished with the challenge. I guess if I had to pick, it would be a tie between A City of Bells and The Dean's Watch. She can't be read quickly. You don't just read her words but savor them as you would the memory of a dinner party with close family or friends. You know that good feeling of love and camaraderie you have during and after such an event. Add in a mystical wonderment to that feeling and you have the essence of a Goudge novel.

There are a few more Victorian novels I plan on reading this year that didn't get read in 2013. They are: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade. I was going to add The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope, but he's getting his own separate challenge.

So the two main challenges for 2014 are Elizabeth Goudge and Anthony Trollope. I read 86 books last year. Each new year I usually try and beat the number of the previous year, but I'm not doing that this year. I think I've been reading too much in place of other creative projects I want to be doing. It's just easier. All I have to do is pick up a book and plop down on the couch. Beginning and completing a project is much harder but much more satisfying when it's finished.

So...I'll hopefully be reading two books a month for my challenges, one for my bookgroup, one spiritual/creative, and any other ones I can squeeze in that are new fiction from the library or something from my own stacks. One year I need to have a challenge to read what I already have in my own library!

How do you read? Do you set challenges or just fly by the seat of your pants/skirt?


M.K. said...

I JUST read an article on FB this morning that was rather eye-opening. It made me realize that I am not a goal-setter. In fact, I thoroughly dislike the idea of setting goals that will hang over my head and worry me. I do better by forming systems of living (routines) that get me to destinations that I want. I don't think of them as goals. I think of them as the places I reach when I live in my systems. We're all different :) I know you're a list-maker and goal-setter. It's good to know what works for you.

Reading? Well, I have such a list!! I'm smack in the middle of Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy. It's very good. I almost finished a L'Engle book. I almost finished another book after that one. I get distracted by the next book and can't wait to begin it! Sigh. I have certainly not read anything close to what you read this year. My list improves a good bit when I count what I'm reading with Julia for homeschooling -- Odyssey, Iliad, Herodotus. All good stuff. I love "The Dean's Watch" and "Green Dolphin Street" and must read more Goudge. Trollope is a constant temptation. Oh, and I bought 3 Angela Thirkell books for Christmas, and they must be read soon too!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I'm a fly-by reader--I read what the spirit moves me to read. However, I love the idea of having reading goals or focusing on one author (and EG is one I'd like to focus on)--sometimes I feel a bit undisciplined in my reading, and I don't finish enough of what I start.

I'm actually reading a great book right now about NFL football of all things. It's called Low Collision Crossers, by an author who spent a year with the NY Jets. I don't know much about football, but this is really a book about people and personalities and psychology and I find it fascinating.


wayside wanderer said...

Whoa, that is a LOT of books. And some rather difficult ones, as well. I was wondering if you owned all those Goudge books. I think I only have 3 of her books.

GretchenJoanna said...

I am amazed at all those books!
I'm with M.K., definitely not a goal-oriented person. I am a moody reader. I have bought so many books that I thought I wanted to read, and then I find I'm not that interested after all...until a few months or years down the road, I might feel like delving into that particular book.
Also, I am not slow to give up on a book these days, if I don't think it is worth my time. Life is short, and shorter every day, and I'd rather reread something I know to be worth it, than to waste my time with an inferior title.
Elizabeth Goudge books are not easy to find, and they are pricey. But I can see the value of collecting them; she is a soul-nourisher to be sure.

Pom Pom said...

Delicious book lists! I just ordered some more Goudge from alibris. Good prices!

Gumbo Lily said...

I am a moody reader. There are times I gobble books up and other times I never take a bite. I have the excuse that I have handiwork that I also like to do and so I must choose one or the other.

I love EG and haven't read one of her books in some long time. I should, right after Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. I like this book!

Vintage Reading said...

Nice lists! I would recommend Cranford. Gaskell was that rare thing, a Victorian with a sense of humour!

Vintage Reading said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Richards said...

My favorite Elizabeth Goudge book is her autobiography The Joy of the Snow. It reads a lot like her novels. I thought she had such an interesting upbringing. I've read Child of the Sea and Green Dolphin Street. I should find some of the others to read! :)

debbie bailey said...

M.K., I've been hearing about Angela Thirkell but haven't read any of her writing. I'll have to change that!

Cathy said...

So where do you find all these novels to read? I love to visit old bookstores and finding old treasured books. I always check library sales as they are removing E.Goudge books off the shelves, which is unfortunate.
I love your reading list, it inspires!

L said...

Ahhh I found it. I had left a comment on your first Elizabeth Goudge challenge. I must ask, did you complete this challenge? :)

debbie bailey said...

Dear L,
I'm still working through the list! I'll finish it next year, hopefully.