December 10, 2012

Ink from Other Pens

Of course the year is not quite over yet (shopping and Christmas have to come first!), and before the New Year I hope to finish Bleak House; but it's near enough for me to scribble up a "yearly reads" post for 2012.

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?


  1. I've gotten in 46 book, so far, this year, and I'm planning on getting in at least two more in these last few weeks. They are both rather short books, so that won't be a problem, and maybe I can find a couple more short ones and reach 50!
    I am saving listing the books I've read, though, until New Year's Eve- quite appropriate.

  2. I'm planning on doing a post next week on my top ten favorite reads of the year. My total list for this year goes over 100—but don't give me too much credit, since I tend to be a speed-reader (which has its good points and bad), and there aren't nearly as many 'meaty' books on my list as on yours! A lot of novellas, short story collections and lighter material in general. My one big, thick, classic read of the year (not the only thick novel I plowed my way through, but the most worthwhile) was Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now.

    I've read the Stevenson, Cooper and Dickens books you mentioned, but I've yet to seriously buckle down and read Shakespeare! Maybe this year...

  3. You beat me to this, Abigail! :D I bave been thinking when to spring my post on this very subject and now I shall have to reference you. ;) Hahaha. Lovely books, all. A great many of them I have read, which makes me happy.

  4. Now every time someone says "Hahaha" I think of that man you mentioned from Bleak House.

  5. Good job on all those Shakespeare! I am not such a fan of his, but admire you for taking on his longish plays.
    I've had a major drop in books this year. Last I reached 70 some. This year I have read MAYBE 30. I've been so busy, writing, editing and publishing, that reading has taken it's place on the back burner. One good book I did read in this year was Prophet by Frank Peretti. Not a classic, but full of gems.
    Stepping Heavenward, always a book on the tip of my tongue to recommend.
    May have to check out some of the books you mentioned!


  6. Rhoswen - New Year's Eve sounds like a good time to write up this post. I just couldn't wait! I do hope to finish "Bleak House," and perhaps Gene Stratton-Porter's "Laddie," before January, though.

    Elisabeth Grace - (Do you go by Elisabeth Grace or just Elisabeth? I think your full name is lovely, by the bye.) I'm looking forward to that post! I always love seeing what other people have been reading.

    I'm really having fun with this course in Shakespeare. Of course I have no expectation of coming out on the other side as an expert, but seeing more of his work and studying a little more closely the aspects of his plays has been most enjoyable. I especially recommend "The Tempest" out of the above-mentioned list. Or "Much Ado About Nothing," for humor.

    Rachel - It is a fact universally acknowledged that you ought to have a Goodreads account, so I can keep up with the books you read. Books, books, books...!

    Jenny - Richard III was a scoundrel and a blackguard and should have been shot! - Ha ha ha ha!

    Becca - Shakespeare takes a bit of wrangling in order to interpret, but his skill with language was unarguably amazing! I've read several books by Peretti in the past (which is better than having read them in the future), and I read "Stepping Heavenward" years ago, too. I remember enjoying the latter, but unfortunately it has faded to the back of my memory. That's what happens with books if I don't write reviews after I finish...

  7. I have a feeling that I have read far more books this years, (especially on my trip)than are listed on my goodreads account. ( I forget to list them.) I read (in no particular order) The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, Only the River runs Free, Fear the Hunted (a book a friend of mine recently published.) On the Banks of Plum Creek, and a bunch of James Herriot to name a few.

    How was The Black Arrow? I've been intrigued since the dread shirley english books used a snipped from that for a example in a writing exercise. (We hates them precious!) And My interest has also been piqued in "The Master of Ballantrae" ever since I saw a trailer of Errol Flynn in it.

  8. You know, I've never read "Doctor Dolittle." I only vaguely recall having watched the Rex Harrison film years ago. I heard somewhere that they had a great deal of trouble with some scenes, because the parrot learned how to scream, "CUT!" and befuddled everyone.

    I haven't read "The Black Arrow" yet, but I've heard good things about it. "The Master of Ballantrae" is very strange, and gloomy, and I have absolutely no idea why I enjoyed it at all. It must just be Stevenson's writing style!

  9. Well, I do have a Goodreads account now.. :)

  10. Oh, yes, I did know that. It's just that you don't have a photo up, and the Impersonal Silhouette is difficult to remember. Nyeck nyeck nyeck, as they say in the vernacular.

  11. Thank you! :) I go by Elisabeth in everyday life. I used my middle name on my books because there was already another published writer named Elisabeth Foley.

    I enjoyed The Black Arrow, incidentally. (And Richard III is in it!) And Laddie was one of my favorite reads of last year.

  12. I featured your book.

  13. A late comment-er I see again :p. Oh well, 'late is better than never' *has* been my motto the last few days, so I just comment and say, Abigail, that I love your 2012 reading collection. Wow, you've read a lot this year... What a varied and in-depth variety you've delved in this year...

    I LOVE 'A Tale of Two Cities'; I think it is my favourite Dickens book (that is too say, I've not read any of his other books--yet!). Have you watched the movie adaption with actor Chris Sarandon as Sydney Carton/Charles Darney? It is very good and close to the book, and it touched me so much.

    You've inspired me a lot this year to delve into some new classics, Abigail :). I should like to make a post like this one sometime soon.

  14. Elisabeth - Oh, I wasn't aware that Richard III was in "The Black Arrow." Now I'm even more interested in reading it! And though I'm not very far into it, I'm enjoying "Laddie." It's a nice one to read alongside the much darker and heavier "Bleak House."

    Jack - Why, thank you! I hope you enjoy the books when you get a chance to read them.

    Joy - "A Tale of Two Cities" is a gorgeous book, made perhaps even more gorgeous by my having read an old, falling-apart edition of it. I haven't seen any adaptations of it; that is, I may have, but too many years ago for me to remember. I'll make a note to get that one, if possible. Thanks!

  15. I think I read around 25-ish books this year (that I can recall, I re-read quite a few books that I never wrote down). I had about eleven first-reads this year which were as follows; David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, North and South, and A Nest for Celeste (all HIGHLY recommended), as well as Among the Shadows (short stories), the last two books in the Mistmantle Chronicles, Oliver Twist (I wept rivers in that book), Daddy-Long-Legs (thank you for making me aware of that charming creation!) and last but not least The Scarlet letter, which I'm almost done with.
    Some of my re-reads were; An Old-fashioned Girl, Jane of Lantern Hill, The Wind in the Willows, two Sherlock Holmes novels, and I, Jaun de Pareja.

    What did you think of Bleak House (which I know and love) and The Red House Mystery (which I've never read)?


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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