Book Lists

2018 Prospective Readings

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I’m currently in Malta, Europe, with some time to think and write about my reading life for 2018. I have yet to write my annual post in which I list the year reads, and highlight my favorites. There’s still some days before 2017 ends, and most likely I’d be able to finish two of my current books, Why Read the Classics?, by Italo Calvino, and The House of the Seven Gables, by Hawthorne. Why Read the Classics? starts with Calvino’s essay by the same name, and continues with other essays on classics such as The Odyssey, Tirant Le Blanc, Orlando el Furioso, and many more. Calvino has a delightful style, very well informed, and at the same time, it feels like a reader talking to another fellow reader. He is never obscure nor condescending. It makes me want to read Xenophon, Pliny the Eldest, and every author he talks about.

Like C.S. Lewis, there’s no practical nor utilitarian reason to read the classics in Calvino’s eyes. Ultimately, we read them just because it’s a pleasure, it’s better to read them than not!

In his essay about Nizami Ganjavi, the Persian poet, he gives us a mesmerizing presentation of the difference between the Orient and the Occident and their literary traditions. He does it through talking to us about the content and structure of his poem, The Seven Brides. His whole book is so worth it. It not only talks about literature, but literature cuts across life, history, and philosophy. And, if you are wondering, the book is not dense but substantial and delightful. It’s actually deterred me of my other read, the Classics Spin book. At the Classics Club, they sometimes host a spin edition, where they ask you to pick 20 from your classics, and in a week they publish a number. Number 7 was The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and I committed to read it before the year ends. I am 60 some pages into it, and I’m very intrigued by the old lady, Hepzibah Pyncheon. But this is a paper copy, and Calvino’s book is a kindle read that I can do in the night with the built in light, so it won my attention.

About Hawthorne’s book, I can tell that this is Hawthorne extraordinaire. He is pompous but tender, wordy and humorous, an astute observer of the society of the times. We shouldn’t forget that this book was published in 1851. It’s a male American version of Jane Austen, or maybe Dickens’s counterpart? I’m not knowledgeable, my only experience is a reader’s opinion. I do like Hawthorne, but I can see how his traits as a writer are polarizing.

Back on track, these last four or five years, my readings have only gotten better, and I believe it’s because I’m now surrounded by great readers from which I pick up recommendations, and I also plan and device lists and do challenges that fit my reading preferences but which challenge me as well. I also read with my dear friend Kim, and I’m part of a book club. All this provides me an excellent guide.

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My 2018 list, first draft:

  • Re-read Don Quijote
  • Re-read Meditations on Don Quijote, by Ortega y Gasset
  • Monsignor Quixote, by Graham Greene
  • Re-read Rayuela (Hopscotch), by Cortázar
  • Re-read Guzman de Alfarache, Mateo Aleman
  • Re-read La montaña mágica
  • Re-read The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer
  • Re-read Dandelion Wine
  • Re-read La colmena, Cela
  • Re-read Sinuhé el egipcio, Mika Waltari
  • Re-read Alice in Wonderland
  • Re-read Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus, by Wittgenstein
  • East of Eden, Canary Row, more Steinbeck. Book club in the summer will be for this title.
  • The Unconsoled, by Ishiguro (this would be a summer book club I’ll host at the blog)
  • The House of Mirth, maybe Summer, Edith Warton
  • The Sound of the Fury (one book at least by Faulkner, even if not this one)
  • I Capture the Castle (though I’m not sure if I’d be a fan of it)
  • War and Peace, Tolstoy
  • Laurus, Eugene Vodolazkin
  • The Master and Margarita (many Russian books for sure!)
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Virginia Wolf, (I read her A Room of One’s Own)
  • Henry James,
  • Zola (I don’t know which one from these three, if you have a favorite, please tell)
  • Graham Greene
  • El camino del cisne, Swan’s Way, Proust
  • El Ulises, Joyce, yes, I’m going to try it
  • More Benito Pérez Galdós
  • La vida exagerada de Martín Romaña, Alfredo Bryce Echenique
  • Cuentos fantásticos, Kafka
  • Howards End, E. M. Forster
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxybooks2.png

I have not mentioned the books I read with my friend Kim, (which I publish in an independent post), nor the book club reads I do locally with a group of friends. I still have the ever growing Classics Club list, and hopefully I’ll also participate in the next edition of Back to the Classics.

I’ll keep adding as you suggest me titles, and as other books come across my path. Please, feel free to give me some ideas or direction.

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25 thoughts on “2018 Prospective Readings”

  1. Good luck with your 2018 books reading but if you want classics with a reasonable size and which you can read them in one setting i hope you visit pushkin press and Archipelago press they translate really great litsrature and also let us nit forget NYRB

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  2. Silvia, what a fantastic list and your photos of Malta are just LOVELY. I remembered the other day that you were overseas. I hope your trip is lovely and I’m planning on joining the Classics club again this coming year too. 🙂 I was happy about your assurance that Why Read the Classics? wasn’t a heavy tome, so I might give it a try! Sounds intriguing. I started House of Seven Gables a while ago and I too was interested in Hepzibah. I love to reread favorites too. I’m so interested in your list, there’s a lot on there I’d love to read too. I’m not knowledgeable at all about Russian authors and you always inspire me that way. Anyway, you’ve given me some things to consider. 🙂 Amy

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      1. The lady that is picking our classics club pick for January is looking at picking a Russian classic. I wonder what she’s going to pick! I’ve still yet to make it all the way through The Brothers Karamazov. I am determined to finish it though. Since I’ve already finished our December book club pick (A Christmas Carol) maybe I ought to try to get more of The Brothers Karamazov read!

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  3. Miss you Silvia and our chats! 🙂 But am loving reading some of your blog posts! Sooo I think we can actually read some of these together as I actually wanted to read a few of these on your list 🙂 ha! The ones you have that I’d like to read: Dandelion Wine (I LOVED Fahrenheit 451 and want to read more Bradbury); The Cost of Discipleship; and something from Virginia Wolfe. 🙂 I still need to read Silence and will try to get my hands on a copy now that I’ve finished Fahrenheit 451. The few I know so far that I want to read for 2018 are To Kill a Mockingbird; CS Lewis’ Space Trilogy (each book is less than 200 pages so it should be doable with one book per month); and The Book Thief. I’m still debating if I should try Les Miserables this year or not…maybe need to devote 8 months for it! 🙂 It’s 1400 pages long…yikes! But it’s on my list for a while. Praying you all have a wonderful Christmas Silvia and a good time away!

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    1. I should have passed you Silence before I left. I am reading it with you, or after! You will love To Kill… I have read the last of the trilogy, so I may be up to read it with you. (I have them, if you want to borrow.) The Book Thief is a book I like too. I have lots of long books, but one book at a time!
      Les Misserables is a book I want to read too, but not 2018. 🙂

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      1. I found a copy of the Space Trilogy at Katy Budget so I have it ready. 🙂 And I think I can get a library copy of Silence so that’ll work. Is there a Wendell Berry book you haven’t read that you might want to? I also want to read The Mysterious Benedict Society…more of a YA novel but supposed to be exciting for all ages. 🙂 Then maybe pick a biography too?

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      2. I have Les Miserables on my to-read list too and was thinking I’d like to attempt to read it this coming year. I also would like to read The Book Thief. To Kill a Mockingbird is good and one that I’d like to read again at some point.

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    2. Amy, I don’t know what translation for Les Mis, but I am going to research it and give you an answer. (Researching translations is a favorite hobby of mine. I’ll come back soon with the answer.)

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      1. I have only read two novels by Wendell Berry, but I have not read his famous Jayber Crow, so maybe that one? And you know what?, I’d love to read a good biography. Tell me what you think could be a good one, Kim.

        Karen, I wish you lived close to Kim and I! But keep us posted with your choices and your book club development. I’m glad you finally found some keen readers.

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  4. OOOO…..I always look forward to this time of year when reading challenges come out for the new year and everyone starts talking about what they are thinking about reading. (I’m doing a happy dance about now. LOL) I also love reading all the current year reading challenge wrap-up posts. I mentioned on one of your other posts that I was considering the Classics Club and that I had begun compiling a list of classics to read. Well….I’m already past the 50 book minimum mark. Several on your 2018 list are on my classics list: Don Quixote, War and Peace, and I think I have I Capture the Castle on there too. But if not, it’s getting added. I LOVE Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as well. I read it as a read-aloud a few years ago to my daughters and then re-read it again this year on my own. It’s still one of my favorite books I’ve read-aloud.

    I can’t wait to read your 2017 wrap-up post. I hope to be able to get mine written some time this week. I need to try to write up a review or two as well for Little Women and A Christmas Carol. But I may not get around to that. I’ve really been trying to write more reviews for the books I’ve been reading. It’s going to continue to be a goal for this coming year. 😉

    I’ve definitely decided to do the Back to Classics Challenge this year – just don’t know if I’ll do it formally or informally. Modern Mrs. Darcy’s challenge comes up this week so I can’t wait to see what that one will be!

    Guess what? I finally found a couple of ladies in my local area who are joining me in reading classics together! We had our first book club meeting in November and we read Little Women. We are informally reading A Christmas Carol for Dec. which I’ve already finished (meaning as of yet, we don’t plan to have a formal book club meeting for it). Then we’re picking up in January with monthly book picks and discussions. I’m so excited! We are each taking a turn picking the books.

    Sorry to be rambling on….I feel like I haven’t chatted with you in a good while! Are you thinking of doing another classics book discussion soon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did I already read your wrap-up post? Goodness gracious….maybe I did! I didn’t get much sleep last night so I’ll blame my forgetfulness on that. Ha! I’ll go back to see if I read it and either read it for the first time or re-read it. 😉 And hmmm….I don’t know why you aren’t getting my posts. I’ll check into it.

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      1. It’s showing that you are still subscribed. I haven’t done a blog post in a little while. When I get my next post up, I’ll let you know and you can let me know if you received a notification for it. 🙂

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      2. I remember I read your Classics Book Club wrap-up post and commented. Ha! How in the world did I forget that??!!! I’ll blame it on lack of sleep! LOL

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  5. You read Why Read the Classics!? I remember us talking about it, but I never got around to it. Now I must read it! 😉 Too bad I already spend my Christmas book budget on Sherlock Holmes and Russian novels. Malta looks great. I’d love to see more of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t get it by mail, Karen. When I choose follow, I am sent to follow by the wordpress reader. (I’ll check if I can subscribe to your blog by email, as I like to get emails of your new posts.)

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  6. Wow, what a great year of reading! We have a couple books in common for 2018 – Laurus and The Master and Margarita. I’m going Russian this year with rereads of Crime and Punishment and Anna K as well. And some Solzhenitsyn. My list is much shorter than yours! I’m always amazed at how much you read.

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    1. Frankly I don’t know if I will read my entire list, half or a third. I left it there for a year or many to come. I don’t know what time the Lord will give me to employ in reading, lol. I love lists. (Where is yours?, Katie)

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