Top Ten Books for Fall

After a long, hot, dry, allergy-stricken, wildfire smoke-infused summer, we are finally getting rain again, and I love it.  Today I actually wore my thick cable-knit sweater, and my raincoat has seen a couple of outings, too.

Fall means pumpkin-flavored treats, but (as importantly) it also brings cozy moments reading a book while listening to the rain or sitting by the fire.  These are the top ten books I hope to read this fall – that is, if I can make it to ten!

1.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
Maybe no other book screams “autumn” like this one.  It’s a re-read; I haven’t read it since childhood.  The movie is one of my all-time favorites!

2.  Cloaked – Rachel Kovaciny
I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy of a new book by Hamlette, who blogs at The Edge of the Precipice.  So far I’m heartily enjoying it!

 

3.  Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia – Michael Korda
This is a long biography which I must finish by the end of the year and return to the coworker who is kindly lending it to me.  So far I am finding some interesting tidbits in it, though I am not super impressed with Korda as a biographer.

4.  The Sound and the Fury, or Light in August – William Faulkner
These are two Faulkners I picked up at the thrift store, and I’ve heard good things about both of them.  Any suggestion as to which I should read first?

5.  Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
I must read this book.  I must, I must.

Hugues Merle - The Scarlet Letter - Walters 37172

 
6.  The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ditto.  Am I the only one who strongly associates this book with fall?  I guess it’s because it takes place in New England, and New England is gorgeous in autumn.  🙂

7.  Crusader Castles – T. E. Lawrence
An upcoming commemoration of a certain person’s birth might justify the purchase of this rare book by T. E. Lawrence… *innocent cough*

8. – 10.  If I somehow manage to complete the above, we can talk about 8 – 10!

Russian Literature Challenge 2017

Ok – I saw this challenge, hosted by Keely, and decided it was irresistible.  In 2014 I participated in o’s Russian Literature challenge, which was awesome, so I’m more than ready for another Russian lit focus!

I’ll be aiming for a large Level 2 “Chekhov”; these six books:

  1. Forever Flowing – Vasily Grossman.  I heard about Grossman from one of my favorite book bloggers, SRK, and this sounds like a really good novel.
  2. The Letter Killers Club – Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.  I loved this author’s writing style in Memories of the Future.  This book is about a club of story tellers who are committed to writing nothing down.  
  3. Cancer Ward – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  This book has been sitting on my shelf for a while, a Powell’s splurge.  The Soviet era interests me, for academic and personal reasons, and I’m eager to read more by Solzhenitsyn, since he is one of the most famous Soviet authors.
  4. Five Plays – Anton Chekhov.  One by the man himself!  I haven’t read any of these plays, just heard good things about them.
  5. Eugene Onegin – Alexander Pushkin.  Onegin is one of my greatest favorite novels of all time (seriously).  I’ve read four English translations in the last several years; my personal goal is to read as many translations as I can find!
  6. We – Yevgeny Zamyatin.  My “read” list is woefully lacking most dystopian classics.  This one sounds very interesting, apparently a precursor to 1984.  

 Yes, I know…no Dostoyevsky.  He’ll probably sabotage my list, though; he has a way of cutting in front of the line…

2017 Mount TBR Challenge

This year, I had fun tackling books that had been on my TBR mountain for a while, so I want to do it again in 2017.  Again, it’ll be Pike’s Peak (12 books) for me, which really is a challenge.  This is my list as of today, subject to change if I happen to acquire more books this month…

  1. Till We Have FacesC. S. Lewis 
  2. The Children of Hurin – J. R. R. Tolkien    (My siblings bought me this book when it was practically fresh off the printing press in 2008, and I’m sorry to say I’ve been procrastinating mightily.  No more!)
  3. The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro  ✓ (did not finish)
  4. The Begum’s Millions – Jules Verne 
  5. Nostromo – Joseph Conrad
  6. Felix Mendelssohn: A Life in Letters
  7. The Twentieth Century – Albert Robida
  8. Cancer Ward – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  9. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley 
  10. Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
  11. Recollections of Japan – Hendrik Doeff
  12. Highlands and Hollows – Dallas Lore Sharp
  13. Star Trek: Federation – Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
  14. Optional/alternative:  The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas (Yes, regardless of whether it wins or loses the book journal poll.  What am I getting myself into??!) 

 I’m not sanguine about completing this list, but I’d be thrilled if it happens!  These books are all sitting conspicuously in the left corner of my top shelf – home of the “haven’t read but own” books.

    The Chronological Sherlock Holmes Challenge

    12/29/16 edit: Full schedule here.

    Two years ago, I started on a rereading of the Sherlock Holmes series, with the intent of reading the stories in the approximate order that they occur in Holmes’s lifetime.  I didn’t get very far, but I never abandoned the concept.  It’s been about ten years since I first read the complete Sherlock Holmes, and he is my favorite fictional character.  It’s time to get serious about this overdue challenge!

    So – I’m revamping it in under the wordy title of “The Chronological Sherlock Holmes Challenge,” 2017-2018 edition.  This is a 16-month mission to read all 56 short stories and the four novels.  Of course, the series could be easily read in half a year, but I want to take my time, blog about each tale, and leave room for other reading, too.  If anyone wants to join, I’d love to share the discussion!

    The idea is:

    • Read the stories in the order found on this Sherlock Holmes Timeline…with one exception.  I really can’t agree on having any stories come between “The Final Problem” and “The Empty House,” despite whatever date Watson wrote that comes between them.  Instead, I’ll read “Wisteria Lodge” and “Three Gables” after “The Empty House.”
    • The pace will be one short story per week, and then three weeks per novel when a novel is encountered.  Though novels and short stories may overlap, I will read consecutively: as soon as a novel is listed on the timeline, I’ll complete the whole novel before moving on to the next short. This is a fairly relaxed schedule, and it fits neatly into 16 months.
    • If you wish to join in but use a different schedule, feel free!  Once you start reading this series, it’s very, very hard to set aside…

    And now, to wait (impatiently) till January.  😉

    More buttons, because I can’t get enough of Sidney Paget’s illustrations: