Update on Picks for 2017

I thought I would pop in with an update on some of the books I selected from my shelves for 2017.  Of the twelve books pictured in the stack, I’ve read five of the books so far, and I’m working on The Wild Places now.  As we’re at the midpoint in the year, I think I’ve made decent progress- usually by now I’m sidetracked with some new books or recommendations.  I still have a number of classics to tackle, and there are a few books I want to read over the next month that are not on the list (and have yet to be acquired), but I’m planning on picking them up soon. I am easily distracted with new books or newly discovered books.  😀


Completed Books – March, 2017

March ended up being a good reading month – I am now 26% complete towards my goal of 50 books.  😀   I finished Mansfield Park, which I thought was a charming book.  The School of Night brought back memories of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  I also enjoyed A Moveable Feast, especially after reading The Paris Wife and Hemingway’s Girl. I think in honor of spring, I might try to read a few nature books next month, along some poetry since April is National Poetry Month.

  1. Picnic, Lightning
  2. Power Foods for the Brain
  3. Of Bees and Mist
  4. House of Light
  5. Upstream
  6. Bio-Young
  7. The Little Book of Hygge
  8. Mansfield Park
  9. Yours Truly
  10. 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous
  11. The School of Night
  12. Always
  13. A Moveable Feast

Happy Reading!

Reading List – Classics

I’ve seen a few popular lists of classics that everyone should read and I started thinking about all of the classics that I have yet to read. While I think I read a variety of books, I clearly have my work cut out for me when it comes to the classics. 😔 I’ve read a number of them throughout school and on my own, but as I started combing through lists, I realized that I have a number of books to add to my reading list!

I’ve created a list of classics that I still need to read. I’m going to attempt to update this list a few times a year (hopefully with a few completed books!)

  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickelby by Charles Dickens
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
  • The Portait of a Lady by Henry James
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Candide by Voltaire
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau

A Few Picks for 2017

As I think about some of my reading goals for 2017, I am planning to target 50 books again. I’ve been close the last few years (47 books in 2016, 45 in 2015, 44 in 2014, and 53 in 2013).   As I mention in my last post, I hope to dive into more classics this year, which I anticipate will slow my reading progress a bit.  I’ve pulled a few books below from my shelves that I hope to read in 2017.  No guarantees, as I’m sure I’ll be side-tracked with new acquisitions and books.  🙂


The Classics

I was inspired to get back into reading more classics from a post by The Misanthropologist.  When I look back at my completed books over the past couple of years, there have a been a few classics, but I’ve definitely been drawn to more fiction, non-fiction and poetry.  And let’s be real here – while I enjoy the classics, I need to be honest with myself and recognize that I need to be more mindful and focused when reading a classic compared to other books.  While I feel like I’ve read a number of the more “popular” classics like Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Great Expectations, I have a list of classics on my “plan to read” list that I honestly wonder if I’ll ever end up reading!  I’ve also considered re-reading some of the classics that were required in school, as I feel like I would have a different perspective and really enjoy reading them now.

As I look at my shelves, many of the classics that I still need to read are pretty intimidating in terms of size (e.g. Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Les Miserables, Vanity Fair, Moby Dick).  After taking a look at my shelves and list of books I want to read and/or acquire, I think a few classics that I would like (and would be realistic) to tackle this year includes Mansfield Park, The Age of Innocence, Dombey and Son, and perhaps East of Eden and Little Men. We’re only a couple of weeks into the new year and I’m already wondering how I am going to finish everything I hope to read in 2017!  😔




A Year in Review – 2016

Before I dive into thinking about books I would like to read in 2017, I thought I would provide some thoughts and highlights from 2016.  Overall, not a bad year for reading, although I made up for lost time in the last quarter of the year!  I usually have a goal of 50 books and I completed 47 books this year. I had a mix of some non-fiction lifestyle and health-related books, poetry and fiction. I’m a little embarrassed to say that that I didn’t read many classics – just The Secret Garden.  For fiction books, I read five of the six books in the Wilderness series by Sara Donati. I also enjoyed reading a number of books about authors, including Fallen Beauty, Call Me Zelda, Hemingway’s Girl and The House of Hawthorne.  I also enjoyed reading more about Hemingway and his first wife in The Paris Wife.

Favorites for 2016 included:

Stayed tuned for some thoughts on goals for 2017.  Happy reading!

Completed Books – October, 2016

Happy Hallows-Eve!  I’ve made some good reading progress over the last month. Highlights include The Perfume Collector, which I really enjoyed, along with The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins.  I was excited that this book was all new poems.  I plan to continue to work through some of my poetry collection between now through the end of the year. I would also like think about a classic or two that I would like to tackle over the winter months. My friend and I are thinking about Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (gulp – big book!).

  1. The Good Karma Diet
  2. Big Magic
  3. The Happy Vegan
  4. Questions about Angels: Poems
  5. Success Through Stillness
  6. Into the Wilderness
  7. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World
  8. Bird by Bird
  9. Dawn on a Distant Shore
  10. Happy Cooking
  11. Timeless Beauty
  12. Kale and Coffee
  13. The Oz Family Kitchen
  14. Pablo Neruda: Book of Questions
  15. Fallen Beauty
  16. The Uninvited Guests
  17. SuperFoods Health Style
  18. It’s All Easy
  19. Call Me Zelda
  20. Living the Farm Sanctuary Life
  21. The Silver Witch
  22. Pretty Happy
  23. Hemingway’s Girl
  24. The House of Hawthorne
  25. Lake in the Clouds
  26. The Kind Diet
  27. Delights and Shadows
  28. The Paris Wife
  29. The Blue Zones Solution
  30. The Museum of Extraordinary Things
  31. Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume
  32. The Swerve
  33. The Joy of Less
  34. Good Poems
  35. The Perfume Collector
  36. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
  37. The Rain in Portugal
  38. Casanova in Bolzano

David Copperfield

I’m happy to say that I finally finished David Copperfield. It took me a while between a busy couple of months at work and also trying to multitask and read a couple of a books at the same time. I really enjoyed this book — I think my favorite Dickens book is still Great Expectations, but once I immersed myself in David Copperfield, I couldn’t put it down. The book is written from the perspective of David and follows him through his journeys in life, including various trials, challenges and successes.  There is a great cast of characters with interesting backgrounds, some you fall in love with and some you love to hate.

I’ve read different reviews and perspectives on the book, where some suggest that this book includes many autobiographical references and parallels to his life, with the “DC” of David Copperfield being Dickens’ initials. Dickens has referred to David Copperfield as a “favorite child” of his written works. Others make the argument that while it was written in the first person and there are some parallels to experiences and individuals in his life, the book portrays a blend of fiction and truth.  If you’ve read the book, what do you think?

Book Q & A

I was talking to a friend recently about books – favorites, classics, books I still need to read, and thought I would post some Book Q & A.

Who are your favorite “classic” authors?
Charles Dickens, Jane Austen

What book(s) are you embarrassed to say that you have yet to read?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  It seems like everyone else I know read this at some point in school.  I have it on my list of books to read and look forward to reading it!

What book(s) did you read, only to find it fell short of your expectations?
I will preface this by saying that I know I might be in the minority here… I had high hopes for The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  Someone I know raved about the book and reads it every year.  While I am glad I read it, it just wasn’t my cup of tea…

What classics are still on your reading list?
I have quite a few classics sitting on my shelves that I plan to read at some point.  I’ve listed a few below.  You’ll see a trend here – all of the books have quite the number of pages!
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Speaking of pages, what are some “doorstop” books (600+ pages) you have read and enjoyed?
The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George
Helen of Troy by Margaret George
The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – currently reading this one!

What are some of your favorite books?
I apologize in advance, but rather than retyping a list, here is a link to a few of my favorites.  I still have a number of additional favorites, but this is a good start…

Any books you would like to read again?
I really want to read Jane Eyre again.  I first read it in high school as required reading for a class. I don’t know that I really appreciated it then, or enjoyed it as much as I would reading it now.

What book(s) are on your shelf that you have been putting off reading?
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet, but it continues to sit on my shelf.  Not sure it is the length of the book or what… Anyone who has read this?  If so, what did you think?

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – I’ve heard great reviews about this one, so I really need to make the time to read this book.

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber.  I think I am seeing a theme here… All three books are 900+ pages. I would love to hear feedback if anyone has read the books listed above and/or have other recommendations!