My Challenges (timed)

See my list here
Completed 8 of 9

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Completed 2 of 3

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Completed 2 of 4

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Completed 71 of 81

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Completed 9 of 10

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Completed 34 of 50

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Completed 1 of 2

See my list here
Completed 1 of 2

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Completed 1 of 5

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Completed 3 of 5

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Completed 5 of 100

My Challenges (perpetual)

See my list of stories read here

See my list of stories read here

See my list of books read here

See my list of books read here


See my list of books read here

See my list of books read here

See my list of books read here


New York Times Book Review: 6/40
New Yorker: 0/36
New York Review of Books: 0/20
Vogue: 1/16
Email: 841/1373

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Books Read in 2009

The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis -- review

Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox, 1750-1832 by Stella Tillyard -- review

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne -- review

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer -- review

Atonement by Ian McEwan -- review

Bella Tuscany: the Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes -- review

A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul -- review

The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them by Roxanne Coady and Joy Johannessen -- review

Boswell's Presumptuous Task: The Making of the Life of Dr. Johnson by Adam Sisman -- review

The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah -- review

The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier -- review

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller -- review

Catholicism for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio Jr. and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti -- review

Catholicism Today: A Survey of Catholic Belief and Practice by Matthew Kohmescher -- review

The Catholic Woman: Difficult Choices in a Modern World by Jeanne Pieper -- review

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman -- review

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell -- review

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism by Muhammad Yunus -- review

The Cubs and Other Stories by Mario Vargas Llosa -- review

Daughter of China: A True Story of Love and Betrayal by Meihong Xu and Larry Engelmann -- review

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller -- review

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert -- review

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography by Marion Meade -- review

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton -- review

Everyday Life in Imperial Japan by Charles J. Dunn -- review

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer -- review

The Fall of the House of Usher and other stories by Edgar Allen Poe -- review

A Fez of the Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat by Jeremy Seal -- review

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley -- review

Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World by Roger E. Axtell -- review

Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination by Pope John Paul II -- review

A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor - review

The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis -- review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling -- review

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald -- review

Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey by Alison Wearing -- review

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle -- review

Howards End by E. M. Forster -- review

Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope by Shirin Ebadi -- review

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte -- review

Josephine: A Life of the Empress by Carolly Erickson -- review

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell -- review

King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild -- review

The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupèry -- review

Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford -- review

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

Middlemarch by George Eliot -- review

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Morality Play by Barry Unsworth -- review

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie -- review

Nana by Emile Zola -- review

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith -- review

No Greater Love by Mother Theresa -- review

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson -- review

On Being Catholic by Thomas Howard -- review

Outline of English Architecture by A. H. Gardner -- review

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik -- review

Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein -- review

Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III by Flora Fraser -- review

The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis -- review

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester -- review

Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile's Pilgrimage to the Mother Country by Joe Queenan -- review

The Rosary: A Journey to the Beloved by Gary Jansen -- review

Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration by Antonia Fraser -- review

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis -- review

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen -- review

The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- review

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre -- review

A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- review

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald -- review

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells -- review

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger -- review

Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle -- review

The Truth of Catholicism: Inside the Essential Teachings and Controversies of the Church Today by George Weigel -- review

The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennett -- review

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer -- review

Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown by Maureen Waller -- review

What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life by Thomas Groome -- review

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris -- review

The World According to Garp by John Irving -- review

Friday, December 3, 2010

She's alive!

Yes, folks, I am indeed still out there, even though I haven't posted anything for over a year. I have no idea if I still have any readers, but just in case, I thought I'd let you know where I've been and what's going on.

It's nothing traumatic or even terribly interesting. I simply burned out on books and everything to do with them, including blogging. I probably went for 6 months straight months without picking up a single book and, even after that, I've read only rarely. That's the way it usually is with me. I start a project or hobby, go at it full force for a while, and then WHAM!, lose all interest. Most hobbies I never pick up again and I was afraid that was going to happen this time, which broke my heart because I've loved to read my whole life. But I also knew I couldn't make myself get back into it. I had to wait and see if the desire naturally came back and trust that it would. And it has, although very low key. I may have read a dozen books all year, which is a huge drop from where I was. And only this week did I feel any desire to jump back into blogging, so here I am.

Which leads to the natural question (at least for me): what is the plan from here?

1. First and foremost, no more committing to reading ANYTHING in advance. That was one of my major mistakes before, especially with the long-term reading challenges. I'd make up my list at the beginning, and a few months later I couldn't stand the sight of the books I'd picked and I dreaded thinking that I had to read them. From now on, if I feel like reading, I'll read. Otherwise, I'll do something else (like play FarmVille, to which I am now addicted). Which leads to...

2. Not limiting this blog to just books. I'm not going to share all sorts of personal stuff here; that's fine for others if they're comfortable with that, but I'm not. But I'll never blog if all I write about is reading, because this only contributes to making it feel like an obligation. To that end, I'm planning on changing the blog name (again), whenever I figure out what to call it.

That's the extent of my plan so far, which is good because the whole point is to be more spontaneous, so if other things occur to me, I'll go with them. Maybe I'll post cute pics of my beagles, maybe link to things that strike my fancy, who knows? Maybe nobody but me ever reads anything on here. That's okay, too. Thinking of my blog as something written for others fed into the obligation feeling and I've decided to think of it more like a diary that I don't mind others reading.