Friday, December 29, 2006

Resolved to Read. . . or. . . 2006: the Year of the Book

As the year winds down, I look back and reflect on my resolutions from the beginning of this year. I can't believe all that has changed -- how I have grown in my relationship with my Creator, my husband, friends, new and old. Of course, I have been blessed with wonderful memories to reflect upon, but in this post I'd like to reflect on the reading I've done.

You see, this year, I actually kept a New Year's Resolution all year long. I read 100 new books. That is, books I'd never read before. It wasn't that hard, really, because I love to read so much; it was more of an excercise in being intentional in my reading choices and sometimes sacrificing other little pleasures (at the start of 2006, that would have been Sodoku, at the end, it is blogging) when I was tempted to lay down my book. I tried to read a variety, and I only chose to read things that I knew I could (would?) finish. That means no dabbling in reading parts of interesting historical or theological books. Only titles I could read cover to cover. I made lists, each month. And now it's the end of the year. . . and I'm done.

I have made some of my favorites into links, so if you are interested, you can check them out, too. I thought it would be tedious to read reviews for each one, so I've spared you that! I also gave some awards to the best of the bunch. I am sure most of you will read this list and say "What? You've never read THAT before?" But, no. I haven't. These books are all new to me. There are probably another dozen or so that I reread this year, but they don't count. Here is my list (in no particular order):

1.Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (I'll be honest, I listened to this one on Audio Book -- 36 hours!!) This is the winner of the
"Best New Fiction Award"
2. Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper winner of the "Inspired Me the Most Award"
3. 1776 by David McCullough winner of "Best Non-Fiction Award" ~Pictured: we see the famous Fort Ticonderoga that I read about in 1776~
4. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
5. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
6. The Hound of Baskerville by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
7. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (not a fan, so much)
8. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
10. Dancing Through Fire by Kathryn Lasky
11. The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delany
12. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne Winner of the "Make me Laugh Out Loud Humor Award"
13. Be Still my Soul by Elisabeth Elliot
14. Two Hearts Praying as One by Dennis Rainey
15. Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
16. The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townely
17. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (recommended to me by Mary Coffman)
18. The Power of Reading by Stephen D. Krashen
19. Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
20. Redwall by Brian Jacques
21. Mossflower by " "
22. Mattimeo by " "
23. Mariel of Redwall by " "
24. Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright Winner of the Gretchen Neisler Award for Excellence in Children's Literature
25. Return to Gone-Away Lake by " "
26. Thimble Summer by " "
27. Instead of Three Wishes by Megan Whalen Turner
28. Boys and Girls Forever by Alison Lurie (big disapointment!)
29. God's Guidence, Finding God's Will for Your Life by Elisabeth Elliot
30. Jess by Mary Casanova
31. Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo Winner of the "Most Recommended to Others Award"
32. Small Steps by Louis Sachar
33. The Witches by Roald Dahl Gretchen Neisler Excellence in Children's Literature Honor Book
34. End of the Spear by Steve Saint
35.Created to Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl Winner of the "Surprise, I liked it!" Award (recommended to me by my friend Christen)
36. The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot
37. The Stolen Sapphire by Sarah Masters Buckley
38. Secrets in the Hills by Kathleen Ernst
39. Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins
40. Peril at Kings Creek by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
41. Homeschooling for Excellence by David Colfax
42. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall tied for "Best New Children's Book Award"
43. Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles tied for "Best New Children's Book Award"
44. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
45. Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper
46. Manhunt, the 12 Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
47. Secure in the Everlasting Arms Winner of the "New Favorite from a Favorite Author Award"
48. Among the Free by Margaret Peterson Haddix
49. Minuk, Ashes in the Pathway by Kirpatrick Hill
50. Bone, Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith (the only graphic novel I'm counting, there were several others, but they weren't this long)
51. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2 thumbs down)
52. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens Winner of the "Best Classic Award" read my review from an earlier blog
53. Caddy Ever After by Hillary McKay
54. Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry
55. Pirates! by Celia Rees
56. Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper
57. A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot
58. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
59. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller
60. A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
61. An Echo of Darkness by " "
62. As Sure as the Dawn by " "
63. In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham
64. Understanding Muslim Teachings and Traditions by Phil Parshall
65. Sold! by Patricia McCormick
66. In My Father's Houseby Corrie Ten Boom
67. Tramp for the Lord by " " (I get such waves of summer memories when I just think about these books!!)
68. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
69. The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith Winner of the "Most Contriversial Award" . . . but I LOVED it.
70. The Little Woman by Gladys Aylward
71. Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson
72. Parables of the Cross by Lillias Trotter
73. Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper
74 - 84. Lemony Snicket #2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 Read about my Evening of Unfortunate Events
85. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne Winner of the "You Got Me with that Ending!" Award
86. Parables of the Christian Life by Lillias Trotter
87. Discipline, the Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot winner of the "Sure to Step on Your Toes Award" :)
88. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
89. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
90. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susannah Clarke
91. Dorie, the Girl Nobody Loved by Doris Van Stone (recommended to me by G-Knee)
92. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
93. The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
94. The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Frank E Basilweiler by E.L. Koningsburg
95. Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller
96. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
97. Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
98. Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
99. Mimosa by Amy Charmichael
100. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

22 comments:

Setrn said...

Some of those look SO good! I may have to head to amazon.com and read some reviews!

megan said...

gret - it looks like you have been very busy reading. i need to make more time for reading. i'm lucky to get through my reader's digest before the next issue gets here!!

Anonymous said...

Gretchen - thank you so much for this list! I came to your blog via G-Knee's (the great meeting place for bloggers, it seems), and now I am so inspired to expand my own reading. Thank you! I will definitely be printing this out and saving it for future reference. :)

Anonymous said...

Gretchen! That is amazing! 100 books!

I got The Penderwicks for Christmas so I'm about 100 pages into that right now. My goal is to finish it before break is over. :) I'm really enjoying it. Reminds me of the kind of book I would have read as a kid.

Have you moved to Louisville yet? Sorry I haven't had much time to keep up with blogs these days. Hope you guys had a good Christmas and have a Happy New Year! :)

GloryandGrace said...

Okay, so I was looking through your list and found myself thinking, "Oh, I need to comment about that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and ask her about that one!" Then I realized that would make for a seriously long comment...so I'll just leave this thrilled that we share some of the same interests in reading (and some of those I'm going to have to borrow--ONLY if you don't distract me from reading for school, heehee)!!

I finished the first Emily book, and am now moving onto the next :) I set my Christmas break goal for the three Emily books and then two others I think, so we'll see if I get them read before January 29th!

Gretchen said...

San, AUGH! Don't buy them from Amazon! Order them from Julie at the bookstore, or for goodness sake, borrow or take them from me. I know someone who is organizing and packing and getting rid of lots of books right now. . . :)

Meg, I don't think I've ever read an entire issue of Reader's digest. :) And you can choose some easier books like REALLY good children's books. Still great literature, but shorter and cleaner. :) I can recommend some that your boys will probably LOVE someday!

Jill, thanks for the comment -- yeah G-Knee is the blog capital! Wow, printing out my list? I'm so flattered! Keep in mind, not every book was THAT great! But mostly they were!

Kell, Welcome back! I've missed your Children's book insights! Sigh. . . . Penderwicks! It reminds me of the kind of book I WANTED to read when I was a kid. That's how I feel about Elizabeth Enright, too. Try her Gone-Away Lake this summer. Have we already talked about this? :)

Grace, come over for some tea and let's talk books! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting! I sooo wish that I had the reading bug like you do. I like to read, but not like THAT! That is an amazing list. Thanks for sharing. Happy 2007! ; )

Steph said...

Hey
I missed talking with you last night (seems like I kept running to my children for one reason or another) It was good to be at church though - we haven't done New Year's there in awhile and I realized I really enjoyed it!
I've got two books going right now - Sheila Walsh (book on faith) and a christian fiction. Life savers - especially when the tv is turned to basketball or Krypto the Superdog! :)

Anonymous said...

Gret - (knowing that is a personal fav. name, I'll now call you that...) :) I love it! You are so inspiring. Hopefully, one of my goals is to read just 12 books of a spiritual nature this year...as that's all I'm sure I'll have time for...I'm LOVING your list...you are such a cool girl!!!

GloryandGrace said...

Who wrote Secure in the Everlasting Arms? It's on the tip of my tongue, but I just can't think of who it is...

Anonymous said...

Gret,
That list puts me to shame. It is one of my resolutions to read more, including the books I received as Christmas presents, "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn and "Humility, True Greatness" by CJ Mahaney. I hope to blog about them when I am done!

Gretchen said...

PM -- Thanks for commenting. Not everyone has the luxury of quiet evenings and an un-demanding husband to allow for extra reading time. Not to mention for-going other things I might ought to be doing! :)

Steph -- Need to borrow any books? I wasn't sure if you were still into Christian fiction (personally not my very fave), but have you read Francine Rivers? I guess everybody but me knows about her. . . :)

G-Knee -- 12 books is GREAT!

Grace -- Elisabeth Elliot, of course! My all-time fave!

Nettie -- Humility, True Greatness is on my '07 list as well. :)

megan said...

i told caleb today that this might be your last wednesday night downstairs, because you were moving. of course he wanted to know why. i told him josh was going to school. he had an easy solution ... "well josh can just come to my school!" he said. he wasn't very excited about the idea of you and josh leaving! i'm sure you will find a new ministry to be involved in though and i'm sure God has something perfect planned.

GloryandGrace said...

Yeah, don't know why I didn't think of Elisabeth Elliot...silly girl I am.

Oh man, I hope you enjoyed the Mark of the Lion series as much as I did. The third one was alright, but I was hooked on the first two the whole time was reading them--COULD not put them down!

Well, I had a GREAT lunch yesterday, how about you???

Gretchen said...

Meg -- You should have heard Caleb pray for me. First, John Martin started when it was Caleb's turn (I guess he just thought Caleb wouldn't have wanted to pray or something!) and Caleb goes "HEY! It's MY TURN" really loud in the middle of the prayer! HA HA!!! So I thought he knew where we were going. But I realize a lot escapes you when you're five! :)

Grace -- I did enjoy lunch. I hope I didn't sick you out because I had been sick. I feel SO much better now! It's nice to know we have a nice neighbor downstairs because he helped Josh move everything in!! And I did like the Mark of the Lion series a LOT more than I thought I would. I'm not usually a big fan of Christian fiction (as horrible as that sounds!) Actually, though, the 3rd one was my favorite of all!

Anonymous said...

I finished The Penderwicks yesterday and loved it! :)

Kevin moved to DC today.

Happy moving to you guys. :) I hope to see you some time when Kevin gets back down there!!!

Steph said...

Hey Gret!
I heard about the great epidemic at church. We were sick here the week before so I can only HOPE that we already had this strain. As someone who is terribly phobic of puking, this situation has definitely left me shaky this week!
I am GLAD you are feeling better! I hope your mom is too. Mom has a sore tummy but otherwise seems to be on the mend.

Gretchen said...

Kelley -- I knew you would love it! I've gotta read that one again. . .

Steph -- yes, you somehow luckily missed out. I am not really anti-vomit (though I don't enjoy it, to be sure) but it was not so enjoyable to ride to Louisville in a van full of possessions while puking! 8 times!! :) There -- that's my big sob story. Josh didn't get it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gretchen,

I was just looking over your list. I am still amazed. :)

Can you tell me about a couple books? 1. Blue Like Jazz. Someone asked me if I'd read that before and I didn't really know anything about it. 2. Corraline. It was recommended to me with caution. I have it, but haven't read it yet. That would be my basic plight in life. Have lots of books, don't have time to read them! :)

I've been working on When I Don't Desire God by Piper-great book! Did I tell you that already?

Gretchen said...

Kelley -- interesting you asked me about these 2 books. You WOULD have heard of them, and be curious!
1. Blue Like Jazz almost won my "most controversial" award but I thought less people had actually heard of it. My friend Misty recommended it to me, and it had really impacted her thinking and changed her life in a lot of ways. I think the greatest merit of the book is the part about loving your neighbor. He gets really real about how we tend to withhold love from people we are displeased with and how unbiblical that is. Saying that, I will say that I wasn't the HUGEST fan of the book because I didn't really like the negative way the guy wrote. I am sure he's a great person, but I don't think he thinks like I do.
2. Coraline -- this was recommended to me by a friend from the bookstore who is a literature professor at the community college in town. I wanted to try some famous contemporary authors, but I am reticent to read adult works, sometimes because of all the trash they hold! Coraline is a children's book, though it is pretty dark and I can't imagine liking it when I was a kid. This girl travels through a passageway in her house and finds the mirror image of her own home and parents, except they really dote on her and give her everything she wants. But they are creepy, too. She eventually becomes trapped by them and starts to see them for who they really are. FREAKY! It is sort of like an old "faerie" story where the magical people are kind of weird and scary. I kind of liked it, though.
There's your long answer! :)

megan said...

thanks for the books! caleb said they were for me and when he gets older he can have them. you are so thoughtful.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gretchen,

Thanks for the info! :) Maybe I'll check out Coraline this summer. Sounds creepy.