I find it interesting to go back to last year's post and look over the books I read during 2011. Sherlock Holmes; Mutiny on the Bounty; Beowulf; Rosemary Sutcliff. I read my first Tale of Goldstone Wood. Robert Louis Stevenson introduced himself to me via The Master of Ballantrae. I reveled in Howl's Moving Castle and waded through The Count of Monte Cristo, and read The Christian Mind and The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. I dabbled in G.K. Chesterton and Eiluned Lewis' Dew on the Grass. I researched for the Sea Fever books. And all in all, not counting re-reads, Goodreads informs me that I read 39 books in 2011.
I read more this year, and though not all were particularly lengthy, I loved a good number of them. The very first book I finished in January was Rosemary Sutcliff's Simon, and later in the year I also read The Shield Ring (gah, so sad!) and The Lantern Bearers (gah, so sad!). I only have two unread Sutcliff novels on my shelf now, those being The Shining Company, which I hear is even more sad, and The Mark of the Horse Lord. Her books tend to wring me of all possible emotions and leave me rather limp, so I'm proud of myself having managed three in a year. Pardon me while I pat myself on the back.
I took a semi-self-directed course (figure that out) in the history of science during last school year, so I read several books for that, with more or less success: I enjoyed Eureka Man, but The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was a struggle indeed. And then of course there were Custance's Noah's Three Sons and Genesis and Early Man, both highly recommended. I also read At the Evening Hour, a little devotional by E.D. Warfield, which would be highly recommended if it weren't practically impossible to find; and Bunyan's All Loves Excelling, among others.
I continued falling in love with R. L. Stevenson's novels, devouring Treasure Island, Kidnapped (now an adored favorite), and its sequel David Balfour. I read that last at the beach, and I think it will always remind me of sunshine and ocean and lounge chairs on a balcony. I got a lot of reading done that week, actually... Good times. The Black Arrow waits on my shelf - at least it did, but I think Jenny made off with it - because after all, I couldn't read all of Stevenson in one year.
Fans of Margaret Mitchell will be happy to hear that I finally read Gone with the Wind; I think maybe the only reason I did was because the title is so gorgeous, and perhaps because I wanted to compare it to the movie. Or the movie to it. Or something. I read Peter Pan about the same time: an odd book, but I loved the bitter-sweetness of the ending. I Capture the Castle, recommended by our very own Mirriam, was very different from my usual fare; it made me think, and puzzled me a bit. It might have been the time period; I'm not used to that setting.
I read a number of books that I had been meaning to get to for a while: Alexander Hamilton, Cooper's The Deerslayer, Blamires' New Town, Forester's Mr. Midshipman Hornblower. I read several that I hadn't been planning to read, and had never heard of before: A.A. Milne's The Red House Mystery, and McKillip's The Riddle-Master of Hed, and A Hanging Offense. I read Anne Elisabeth Stengl's two novels that released this year, Moonblood and Starflower (hurrah!). I managed Les Miserables in full, unabridged glory (exactly one page longer than last year's The Count of Monte Cristo. Were the novels as long in the original French...?) and sobbed over A Tale of Two Cities. And I absolutely gobbled up Sayers' The Mind of the Maker - which everyone should read, no exceptions.
This year's literature course has been entirely Shakespeare, so I've read more of his plays this year, I think, than all the previous years combined. Which isn't exactly saying much. I read As You Like It, Cymbeline, and Antony and Cleopatra without much enthusiasm; quibbled with Richard III ("HE'SPLANTAGENETHE'SEVILCURSEHIMCURSEHIM!"), Julius Caesar (who almost deserved what he got), and King Lear (ohmywordsodepressing!); but thoroughly enjoyed The Tempest, Much Ado about Nothing, and Twelfth Night.
Reading was, unfortunately, terribly slow in November and has not been much better this month, although I am making fairly rapid progress through Bleak House. Goodreads (a most knowledgeable place) informs me that I've read over fifty books this year, but I think that's a bit unfair, seeing as at least nine of those are Shakespeare plays. Still, it wasn't a bad year. I found new favorites in Kidnapped, The Mind of the Maker, and A Tale of Two Cities. I ventured into Custance, braved my sorrow over Uncas and read another Leatherstocking Tale, and finally worked up the gumption to read Alexander Hamilton. I read a number of varied and disconnected histories, ranging in subject from Rome to the English Civil War to the French and Indian War. I soldiered through Les Miserables. And despite my complaints and mocking, I really have enjoyed this foray into the world of Shakespeare.
Actually, I think "varied" is a pretty good adjective to describe this year's reading list. Varied, and fast-paced; it was not as regular as 2011. Probably next year I will keep to a more staid regimen, lest I give myself indigestion. Too many books in a short span of time is almost as bad as too few!
what have you read this year?