In 2017 our book club was falling apart and we had to change the way we did things to make it easier to read and discuss. We started that year by picking all our books and scheduling our monthly meetings all at once at one glorious dinner and we have not looked back. It is now our tradition every January that we meet to review the year of reading and plan the next year. We had that meeting a few weeks ago and I am ready to reveal it along with some broader reading goals I have for the year.
Our book club list:
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February – The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry
We always read a Wendell Berry, every year. I read this last year, but not with my book club so when I reported to them that I realized that this book is the best place to start for someone new to Wendell Berry, they were intrigued. We will see if they agree.
March – Home by Marilyn Robinson
If you read my reading review of 2018, you know that I did not love Gilead, but I was the only one so I will try again with the next book in the trilogy. I am sure I will be trying again with the last book in the series next year. This book, like Gilead, does not have chapters so I am a little irritated before I even crack it.
This series can be read in any order, but this is the order we will take them:
April – Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton
What is it about a man who has initials instead of a name? I am expecting to love this one. In 2017 we read A Man Called Thursday and that was a great discussion so we have wanted to add Chesterton back to the list. I imagine that we will always have a Chesterton or a Lewis on our list.
May – Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
We chose this one because it is set in Italy and we need to get back there ASAP. This book shows up at the bottom of the Amazon page when you buy Enchanted April, so we will see if that is a good reason to buy a book or not.
June – Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
We try to read a Russian every year, even though I lose track of why exactly. After we waded through some Flannery O’Connor last year we realized how conducive short stories are to a night of discussion. If there is a month that falls apart though it is July. You never really know who will be in town and who won’t. I hope we get to talk about this one.
August – All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a much acclaimed Pulitzer winner and while that is not enough to convince us to spend hours with it, two of us have already started this book and we liked it. I only got about halfway through it last summer, but I could tell, it was made for discussion. There is something about it beyond being set at the same time in history that reminds me of The Book Thief. I am excited to see where that thought takes me.
September – The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
There is one in our membership who loves creepy things. This year she is making us all go see Sweeny Todd performed at a pie shop. So when Andrew Klavan read the first line of this book on his podcast and called it one of the best psychological horror books ever, I knew we needed to talk about adding it to the list. I don’t have a great stomach for horror so as long as this is psychological and not gore I will be fine, but I’m not promising myself I have to finish this one.
October – The Crucible By Arthur Miller
We are branching into some plays this year by going to see Sweeny Todd and The Crucible. We are reading this one, this month because we are also going to see it performed in the woods by firelight. This might make us the coolest book club on the planet.
November – The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan
We like to read a memoir every year but usually only one so we want it to be a good one. I listen to Andrew Klavan’s podcast 4 days a week. I love his take on the news because he is concerned with culture and narrative and not merely what happened today. He connects things and questions things and he is so hilariously funny while he does it. So I am excited to read how he came to faith in Christ from a Jewish background and was able to work in Hollywood without sacrificing his allegiance to The Truth.
Identity Theft Edited by Melissa Kruger
This is a book that my church is reading one chapter at a time this spring and I plan to join in this exercise whenever I can. This book is interesting to me because it is a collection of many authors.
Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
I think my homeschool reading mammas will probably read this together this summer. We wanted to read it after we finished The Memory of Old Jack last summer, but there just was not time and once the school year started, there was for sure no time to linger by the pool and read underlined quotes to each other.
Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
I have a blogging buddy, you should go and read her blog at OhHisGoodness.com. I am hoping we can find time to read this slowly one chapter at a time. I want to read more writers writing about writing.
My personal reading goals:
I am going to keep a notebook of my reading this year, a book journal if you will. It might slow me down a little but I need one place to write down what I am learning because the underlining and marginal notes are a great start, but I am losing track.
I am going to finish two books I love and have been putting off finishing on purpose. I just don’t want them to be over so I go back and reread instead of moving ahead. But they need to progress into the completed category and I need to write some things about them. Then I will go back and reread them. But you can never read a book for the first time again and that makes me sad.
Pinocchio By Carlo Collodi
You should read this book, everyone should, and I thought that before Dr. Jordan Peterson started saying it. I actually heard about this book from Andrew Kern of The Circe Institute. It is so weird and so wonderful and that is what makes it one of the best read alouds ever.
The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner
I just can’t seem to make it past the part of this book where he meets Jesus in the sketches of the masters and wonders if he will be surprised upon meeting Christ to find that He looks just like those sketches. I heard about this book on one of my favorite book podcasts with the Adams family over at Center for Lit.
I am going to read some books that scare me too:
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while but it takes a commitment. So my plan is to listen to a canto a day for 100 days and read along and reread as needed. I am waiting to reread Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry until I have read this. I heard in a lecture that there are some striking similarities.
The Mind Of The Maker by Dorothy Sayers
Dorothy Sayers strikes me as an early version of Andrew Klavan. She is brilliant and funny and breaks all the rules while being faithful. I want to know about her and how her mind works.
The Rule of St. Benedict by St Benedict
I tried to read this a year ago and I think I lent the book to someone who has not returned it. So if you are reading this and you have my book, call me. No penalty will be assessed.
More George MacDonald
I love The Princess and the Goblin so much. It changed me and gave me answers to questions I had been holding for too long. There is another book that finishes that story and I hope to get through it and more short stories or sermons by him.
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As for the number of books I want to read I usually just try to read one more than I read last year so that would make my goal 26 for this year.
Now it is your turn, What are your reading goals for 2019?