Books Read (Classic Literature)

A selection of classics I’ve read through the years, organized first by author, then by date read (most recently read books at the bottom of each listing).

Alcott, Louisa May

  • Little Women
  • Little Men

Alighieri, Dante

Austen, Jane

  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Emma
  • Mansfield Park
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Persuasion
  • Love and Freindship [sic]

Barrie, J. M. 

Baum, L. Frank

Benson, Robert Hugh

Bierce, Ambrose

  • “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

Boyle, Frederick

Bronte; Charlotte, Emily, and Anne

  • Jane Eyre
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Villette
  • Shirley
  • Agnes Grey
  • The Professor

Brown, Charles Brockden

Browning, Robert

Burnett, Frances Hodgson

  • The Secret Garden
  • A Little Princess (abridged)

Capote, Truman

Carroll, Lewis

Chekov, Anton

Chesterton, G. K.

Christie, Agatha

  • Miss Marple
    • The Thirteen Problems
    • The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
    • A Caribbean Mystery
    • Nemesis
    • 4.50 from Paddington, or What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!
    • The Body in the Library
    • A Murder is Announced
    • They Do It with Mirrors, or Murder With Mirrors
    • A Pocket Full of Rye
    • At Bertram’s Hotel
    • The Moving Finger
    • The Murder at the Vicarage
    • Sleeping Murder
  • Tommy and Tuppence
    • N or M?
    • By the Pricking of My Thumbs
    • The Secret Adversary
    • Postern of Fate
    • Partners in Crime
  • Hercule Poirot
    • The Murder of Roger Acroyd
    • Death on the Nile
    • Curtain
    • Thirteen At Dinner, or Lord Edgware Dies
    • The ABC Murders, or Alphabet Murders
    • The Murder on the Links
    • Elephants Can Remember
    • Cards on the Table
    • Murder on the Orient Express, or Murder in the Calais Coach
    • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas,or Murder for Christmas, or Holiday for Murder
    • Hercule Poirot’s Casebook (short stories)

•    Poirot Investigates
•    Dead Man’s Mirror
•    The Regatta Mystery
•    The Labors of Hercules
•    Three Blind Mice
•    The Under Dog
•    Double Sin

    • Third Girl
    • Poirot Loses a Client, or Dumb Witness
    • Evil Under the Sun
    • The Hollow, or Murder After Hours
    • Funerals Are Fatal, or After the Funeral
    • Crooked House
    • Hickory Dickory Dock, or Hickory Dickory Death
    • Peril at End House
    • Mrs. McGinty’s Dead
    • The Mystery of the Blue Train
    • The Patriotic Murders, or One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, or An Overdose of Death
    • There is a Tide, or Taken At the Flood
    • Dead Man’s Folly
    • Murder in Three Acts, or Three Act Tragedy
    • Death in the Air, or Death in the Clouds
    • The Big Four
  • The Witness for the Prosecution
  • And Then There Were None, or Ten Little Indians
  • The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Mysteries
  • Ordeal by Innocence
  • The Pale Horse
  • The Mysterious Mr Quin

Collins, Wilkie

  • The Woman in White – skim read

Collodi, Carlo

  • Pinocchio

Conrad, Joseph

Cooper, James Fenimore

Corbeau, Adrien Le

Crane, Stephen

  • The Red Badge of Courage

Dickens, Charles

  • Great Expectations
  • Oliver Twist
  • Nicholas Nickleby
  • Martin Chuzzlewit
  • The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Our Mutual Friend
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • “Hunted Down”

Dickinson, Emily

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan

  • Sherlock Holmes
    • A Study in Scarlet
    • The Sign of Four
    • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    • The Return of Sherlock Holmes
    • His Last Bow
    • The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
    • Two Parodies by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

•    The Field Bazaar
•    How Watson Learned the Trick

  • The Complete Brigadier Gerard
  • The Refugees
  • The White Company
  • Sir Nigel
  • Professor Challenger
    • The Lost World
    • When the World Screamed
    • The Disintegration Machine
    • The Poison Belt

Dumas, Alexandre

  • The Tale of the Nutcracker

Du Maurier, Daphne

  • Rebecca

Eliot, George

  • Silas Marner

Endo, Shusaku

Faulkner, William

Fitzgerald, F. Scott

Forester, C. S.

  • Horatio Hornblower
    • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
    • Lieutenant Hornblower

Forster, E. M.

Gaskell, Elizabeth

  • North & South

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins

  • “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von

Golding, William

Grossmith, George

  • The Diary of a Nobody

Haggard, H. Rider

Hardy, Thomas

  • Far From the Madding Crowd

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

Hemingway, Ernest

  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (Read all of them except “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Fifty Grand,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”)

Henty, G. A.

  • In Freedom’s Cause
  • In the Reign of Terror
  • Under Drake’s Flag
  • Winning His Spurs

Hoffmann, E. T. A.


  • The Odyssey

Ibsen, Henrik

  • An Enemy of the People

Irving, Washington

Ishiguro, Kazuo

Jerome, Jerome K.


Kafka, Franz

Kierkegaard, Søren 

Kipling, Rudyard

Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund

  • Memories of the Future

Lindsay, Joan

Lee, Harper

Leroux, Gaston

  • The Phantom of the Opera

Lewis, C.S.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

London, Jack

Machiavelli, Niccolo

Márai, Sándor

Marryat, Captain Frederick

  • Percival Keene

Melville, Herman

Miller, Arthur

Montgomery, Lucy Maud

  • Anne Shirley
    • Anne of Green Gables
    • Anne of Avonlea
    • Anne of the Island
    • Anne of Windy Poplars, or Anne of Windy Willows*
    • Anne’s House of Dreams
    • Anne of Ingleside
    • Rainbow Valley
    • Rilla of Ingleside*

*Am 98% sure I read these.  It was so many years ago, I don’t much remember. 

More, Sir Thomas

Nordoff, Charles; and Hall, James Norman

  • The Bounty Trilogy

O’Connor, Flannery

Orczy, Baroness Emmuska

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • El Dorado

Orwell, George

  • “Shooting an Elephant”
  • 1984

Poe, Edgar Allan

Pólya, George

Pushkin, Alexander

Rand, Ayn

Robida, Albert

Salten, Felix

  • Bambi: A Life in the Woods

Scott, Sir Walter

  • Ivanhoe

Shakespeare, William

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth

Shaw, George Bernard

  • Too True to be Good

Shelley, Mary and Percy

  • Frankenstein

Shiga, Naoya

  • The Paper Door and Other Stories

Stevenson, Robert Louis

Stoker, Bram

Sun Tzu

Tolkien, J. R. R.

Tranströmer, Tomas

Turgenev, Ivan

Twain, Mark

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court


Verne, Jules

Wallace, Lew

  • Ben-Hur

Wallis, Velma

  • Two Old Women

Wells, H. G.

  • The Time Machine
  • Short Stories
    • The Flowering of the Strange Orchid
    • In the Avu Observatory

Wilde, Oscar

Wodehouse, P. G.

Woolf, Virginia

Wordsworth, William

Yonge, Charlotte Mary

  • The Heir of Redclyffe

Zamyatin, Yevgeny

Zola, Émile

12 Rules for Life – Part 2 of 3

A solzhenitsin
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn by Evstafiev
[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“No one could stand up for communism after The Gulag Archipelago – not even the communists themselves.” (12 Rules for Life, p. 310)

I would like to think that’s true.  Unfortunately, admiration for Joseph Stalin is, by all appearances, far from dead.  The mass murderer has been rebranded as a WWII hero first and dictator second. While not all Russians subscribe to that narrative, there are some who are nostalgic for the USSR.

I once briefly dated someone who felt that way.  It wasn’t apparent on first impressions, but, as we got to know each other better, I learned he was an ardent Stalinist, fully heroizing Stalin and believing all the bad to be exaggerations, lies, or American propaganda, or (barring all that) nothing any worse than what U.S. presidents had done.  Though born in a former Soviet republic, he was not really old enough to remember life in the Soviet Union, yet to him it seemed to be a Golden Age he’d missed out on.

There is really no arguing with someone so dogmatic about their beliefs.  In a certain sense, I can empathize.  I have very strongly anti-communist views, and they are shaped by my family’s background just as, I am sure, his beliefs were cemented by his background.

Chaos, Order, and Communism

There is one place in 12 Rules for Life where Peterson refers to the atrocities of the 20th century as being central to his motivation for formulating his philosophy.  He wanted to know why and how such things could happen.  Throughout the book, he calls out Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Maoist China as examples of what can go wrong when, in his viewpoint, you don’t successfully walk the fine line between Chaos and Order.

What are Chaos and Order?  From the Overture (aka introduction):

Order is where the people around you act according to well-understood social norms, and remain predictable and cooperative.  It’s the world of social structure, explored territory, and familiarity . . .

Chaos, by contrast is where – or when – something unexpected happens . . .  It’s Creation and Destruction, the source of new things and the destination of the dead (as nature, as opposed to culture, is simultaneously birth and demise). (p. xxviii)

He adds that Order is symbolically masculine and Chaos is symbolically feminine.

If this sounds at all familiar, it’s no coincidence.  True to his fame, Peterson draws largely upon mythology and Easter and Western religions in this book, including Yin and Yang.  It would be an understatement to say that Peterson uses these narratives as mere analogies.  More on that later…

It’s hard to argue against what seems to be self-evident: the world (both civilizations and uncultivated nature) is essentially binary or polar, in everything from hot vs. cold, north vs. south, and theft vs. charity.  Which is not to say there is no room for nuance or gradients.  It’s just that we live in a world where contrast is the framework upon which everything else hangs.  While, through a Christian lens, I see the moral contrast as being instead Good vs. Evil (and without a gender, symbolic or otherwise), Peterson’s case for Chaos vs. Order – neither one innately immoral unless taken to excess – is a compelling stance.

He always goes back to the Cold War as an example of when Things Fall Apart.  Some may find this repetitive, but I have to say this really hit home with me.  My dad fled a communist country when he was a teenager.  My closest college mentor was a Soviet dissident, and in his case, he escaped a sentence to hard labor.

One of the worst things anyone ever said in my presence was “I’m interested in communism,” with the same nonchalance that you might say “I might want to take up golf.”  It’s a nonchalance that doesn’t understand the broken families, trauma, and unspeakable hardships brought on by that ideology.  I’ll take my former friend’s dogma over nonchalance any day; a casual treatment of the subject is doubly offensive.  (To be fair to the speaker, they didn’t know my personal backstory.  I could have said something, but the context of the conversation was too frivolous to even go there.)

Peterson, at least, gets it, and he takes it seriously.

The Bible References – A Christian Perspective

The biggest complaint I see about this book is the “Bible talk.”  And yes, there are a LOT of biblical references in 12 Rules.

Peterson starts out in the first chapters by retelling the Genesis story of Creation, including Cain and Abel and Original Sin, and later on in the book talks about Jesus’s life and death as well.  You’ll often see mentions of God, or what might be more accurate, “god” with a capital “G.”

To go by his writing, Peterson does not seem to be a Christian.  He has identified as Christian in the recent past (2017), but truthfully, that label doesn’t mesh with the way he talks about God in this book.  At times I found it actually offensive, nothing like the “preachiness” other readers may be expecting as they flip through the pages.

He doesn’t seem to take the Bible as holistic truth, as a Christian does, but rather as a book of universal truths, formulated by humans.  He retells Bible stories in a way I had heard of but had never read before – in the most symbolic and broad sense.  God is symbolic, Adam and Eve are symbolic, etc.  Once in a while, some of his commentary made me look at a passage in a different light, for the better.  Most of the time, though, I was either upset with his handling of the Scripture or just about laughing over it.  Watching him try to condense and stuff the Bible into his philosophy was like watching someone stumble around in shoes two sizes too small.

For a Christian, this is a very serious problem with the book.  In order to sort out the gems from the duds, you have to read it critically, because Peterson, if nothing else, is a persuasive and authoritative writer.  If you are a Christian who holds him in very high esteem, you’re going to be disappointed by what is not even theology, but a general repurposing of the Bible for his philosophy.  It’s as if Hollywood made a movie about your family member and changed their whole personality.  It’s not ok.

I struggle with whether to purchase books like this.  Due to its scope and some really good parts, it is one I wish to re-read, but I’m not sure I’d like to display it on my bookshelf when much of it is so problematic.

The Book He Should Have Written

After finishing the book, I stand by my first impression.  Peterson should have written a memoir, or a novel.

The personal anecdotes are not many, but each one was fascinating, from his run-ins with his friend Chris to his daughter’s struggle with childhood arthritis.  I also enjoyed the scenarios from his clinical practice and hearing about advice he had given various patients, and the thought processes that go into being a psychologist.

Peterson certainly has an appreciation for literature.  I loved the references to The Brothers Karamazov, Notes from Underground, and Disney’s Little Mermaid.  It made me want to go back and read those books and find things I’d missed.

In the next part, I’ll share the best and worst quotes.  There’s quite a few, and mostly good ones.

What I’m Reading (and More): March edition

Hi readers – hope everyone is doing well!  I’ve been incredibly busy the last several weeks at work, which seems to be the new normal.  To be honest, I haven’t been reading much, but I have watched some interesting films lately which I wanted to share.


The Acts of the Apostles
Rereading Acts, one thing which stands out to me is Peter’s character arc.  He starts out as emotional and at times cowardly in the Gospels, then grows in faith and courage till he faces his fears in Acts.  It’s really moving to see him develop in this way; it’s the progress every Christian wants to make.

No-No Boy, by John Okada
This 1957 novel is about a “no-no boy”: a Japanese-American man who, under pressure from his mother, refused to fight in WWII against the Japanese and was subsequently imprisoned.  I actually live near a temporary camp where Japanese-Americans were held, and as disturbing as it is, I feel it’s important to read about this piece of local history.  It’s the only remotely contemporary novel about this topic that I’m aware of, and interestingly, it was Okada’s only book.  So far it’s very interesting, but a slow read for me (hard to get through the cussing and domestic violence…getting major Brothers Karamazov vibes).


They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

A small local theater was playing Peter Jackson’s new documentary, a colorized edit of WWI footage narrated by veterans.  I thought it was a great film, both emotionally evocative and also highly educational.  If you get a chance to see it in theater or on DVD, I’d highly recommend it!

Leave No Trace (2018)

This is one I saw on DVD with my mom and brother.  Leave No Trace is an indie film about a father and his daughter who live off-the-grid in the woods, until they are found and forced to leave.  Their love for each other is put to the test when a social worker tries to get them to rejoin society.

This is a very slow-paced film and stylistically very “indie,” from the woodsy shots to the folk music.  I think it could have been 30 minutes shorter, and I wasn’t sure if the ending was actually realistic (plus it was really depressing).  That said, overall it was a fascinating film and an important conversation piece, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest where we have a homelessness crisis.

A Sister’s Call (2018)
This is a documentary about a sister who spent years looking for her homeless brother, Call, and finally found him.  The film covers topics such as schizophrenia and sexual abuse, so be warned, it is pretty dark.  I found it hard to watch but it was certainly thought provoking.


I just finished listening to “TL;DR,” an episode of IRL (“In Real Life,” a Mozilla podcast) that Mozilla (who else?!) recommended to me. The host and the interviewees talk about how people today have trouble reading books because we are so used to digital mediums and the brevity of headlines.  It was a rather cursory treatment of the topic – and felt a bit like an extended ad for Mozilla’s “Pocket” app – but it is a topic that interests me.

I know I read differently now than I did as a kid, and ironically I have a much lower attention span as a 20-something than as a ten-year-old.  I would be curious to know if it’s reversible damage, or if my brain is now permanently wired this way…

What I’m Reading: Alice, Castles, and a Book Journal…

Alice and kitten

If it’s seemed quiet this past week, I’ve actually been reading (hee).  I always find this time of year to be trying, for whatever reason, and so I’ve been indulging myself with two re-reads and a new book that is becoming close to my heart…

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass – I’ve finally begun reading this sweet little hardcover that my parents got me for Christmas.  It includes both books and Tenniel’s illustrations (my favorite).  This may be the topic for my next podcast episode.  I love Alice, and it’s just occurred to me what a great protagonist she is, and why.  More on that to come…

Crusader Castles – After making it my unofficial mission to become a complete Lawrence nerd, I had to read his research paper about Crusader castle architecture.  It’s really quite interesting, and even though I don’t understand all of it, I can see the scientific side of him through his diagrams and careful eye for details.  Obviously that played into his ability to organize his campaigns so successfully.  His later margin notes, however, are the biggest gems – I keep laughing aloud in the middle of the night; it’s a little embarrassing…

Ben-Hur – I am so excited to announce I am bringing back the book journal!  Basically, my “book journals” feature long books explored in a series of in-depth, cumulative reviews.  Previously, I journalled about Seven Pillars of Wisdom and The Brothers Karamazov.  I can’t wait to start writing about Ben-Hur, so stay tuned for those posts coming up in the following weeks.

A month of writing

For those who still read this blog – a little update!

Though I have so many ideas for posts, both reading and book reviews have been put on hold this month.  For the fourth year in a row, I’ve joined Nanowrimo, which is an annual challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in November.  The really exciting part is I’m actually on track to win this year (winning = reaching 50k words).  This will be a personal first.  🙂  I’ve never got so far before, and this kind of dedication, to something of my own, is really unusual for me.  Hopefully I might even finish early, before the 30th!

That said – once Nanowrimo is over, I’ll be back blogging again.  I am so excited to talk about my reading challenges from this year, as well as new books and new TBRs that have come my way.  Some upcoming posts might cover:

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Recap of the Reading London Challenge
  • Recap of the Mount TBR Challenge
  • A brief glance at other reads from this year (which I haven’t reviewed in full)
  • New challenges for next year, perhaps?

In 2017, I would love to bring back the book journal series, where I take a lengthy book and blog about it in little chunks.  Past book journals are The Brothers Karamazov and Seven Pillars of Wisdom.  There’s a poll in the left sidebar with some options.  Please vote away (and thank you to those two who already have!)…