2014 Books & Challenges

Getting next year’s reading mapped out has been fun in itself – mainly because I’ve read so few books this year.  It hasn’t been a matter of less time or different priorities, just neglect.   That really has to change.  Approaching graduation, I want to keep the studying momentum that has been my frenemy for the past four years and transfer it to my own reading/studying in the future.


  • Lord Jim – by all accounts, Joseph Conrad’s best long novel. High time to read it!
  • The Magician’s Nephew (Spanish trans.) – for a beginner’s attempt at multilingual reading.  I know most of this book practically by heart, so this shouldn’t be too hard.

Lesser priority:

  • Empty my “to-finish” list – include Bleak House.  Decide whether to finish or not finish each book.
  • Steampunk/Sci-Fi Reading List – any book(s)
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Complete Hornblower series – Hotspur and everything chronologically afterwards
  • The Little White Horse
  • Out of the Silent Planet (C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy)
  • Fairy tales collections – Andersen, Grimm, Russian fairytales, etc.



This is just the motivation I need to resume studying history!  Being a slow reader, I’m going for the Student level (1-3 books).  The first book is a must, the second a goal, and the other books are maybes:

  1. Eyewitness to History (Carey) – a collection of primary sources from many eras of history. 
  2. The Collapse of the Third Republic (Shirer) – how France fell to Germany in WWII. 
  3. *A People’s History of the United States (Zinn) – famous US history textbook
  4. *A Patriot’s History of the United States (Schweikart and Allen) – alternative perspective to Zinn’s history.  

*I have taken many history courses and come to various conclusions about U.S. history in particular.  I’m eager to see how these books approach the same topics in contrasting ways, but hopefully one of them is focused on the facts and gray areas, not political bias/agenda.


For this, I would love to read For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hemingway) and The Autumn of the Patriarch (English trans.; Gabriel García Márquez).  These are both authors I’ve recently wanted to read, so it’s a win-win situation!

Personal challenge: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Series, in chronological order.

I have probably said it a millionty-one times, but Sherlock Holmes is my favorite character of all time. I’ve actually never done a comprehensive re-reading, nor read the series in chronological order (a big deal to me)!  It has to be done.  I will be blogging about this challenge on Tumblr, and perhaps occasionally here – more info to come…

Eugene Onegin Read-Along

Tanglewood’s first book event!  I’m so excited to read one of my favorites with you guys.  🙂

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  1. o Avatar

    The Collapse of the Third Republic sounds like something I need to check out. With reading a lot of Zola at present I'm reading lots about the Second Empire, but when I get to The Debacle stage, I'll be interested to read something like that.I shall check it out 🙂


  2. cleopatra Avatar

    I'm so glad to have found your blog! I really like some of your challenge choices. I see you're on Goodreads too. My Dead Writer's Society group is reading The Great Gatsby in January and they also have Lewis' Space Trilogy scheduled for Sept/Oct/Nov as part of a C.S. Lewis Project, if you are interested. Eyewitness to History looks interesting so I will have to check it out. And I'm impressed that you are attempting a book in Spanish. I've been trying to get myself ready to read a book in French but, so far, I have not been successful.In spite of trying to cut down on books for the coming year, I think I will join your Eugene Onegin read-along. I actually just finished the book so hopefully everything will stay fresh in my mind for a month. Thanks so much for setting up the read along. I can't wait to discuss it! 🙂


  3. Fanda Kutubuku Avatar
    Fanda Kutubuku

    Thanks for joining, Marian. And your choices are challenging indeed! Eyewitness to History is particularly interesting, can't wait for your review. Good luck with the challenge then!


  4. Ruth Avatar

    I just found your blog through Cleopatra, and I am really excited b/c of your interest in the classics. My list for Fanda's history challenge is not as aspiring as yours is. I often see references to Zinn's History of the US, but have yet to look into it. I do have a copy of A Patriot's History of the US and have used it as a history resource. It's definitely not your typical college text. Enjoy!


  5. Tarissa Avatar

    *blissful sigh* I'm glad to see you'll be reading Sherlock Holmes this year too. I'm going to attempt reading some of the stories that I still have never gotten yet. Should be exciting!


  6. Tarissa Avatar

    Oh, and brava for reading The Magician's Nephew in Spanish. How exhilarating!!!!


  7. Lemon Tree Avatar
    Lemon Tree

    May I cheer for Sherlock Holmes? Yes, he's also my first and favourite character in classics and detective stories. I think I'm going to join you for Eugene Onegin Read-Along. My list for Fanda's challenge is not so grand nor so historically important. I think I'm going to peruse Shakespeare's and Marlowe's biography and try to make decent reviews about them. Have fun on your reading this year.


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