There have been seasons in my life when I haven’t been able to read as much as I would’ve liked. There have also been seasons in my life when I’ve decided that I didn’t have time to read. That it was a frivolous activity and the seriousness of whatever was going on at the time deemed it inappropriate. In recent years, I’ve felt this acutely and even going into this year, I really wondered at reading lists I’ve made. Should I be spending my time on something like reading when there will most likely be much bigger things going on that will demand my attention?
I came to the conclusion, however, that when the question is whether or not I should read for any reason, the answer is always YES. YES, I should read.
YES YES YES.
When life is difficult and the struggles are coming fast and furious, reading not only allows me a means of escape, but often it can put my troubles in perspective. I can listen to Debussy on a homemade radio in the middle of the night in a pre-World War II, German orphanage. I can sit in a shell outside of Seattle and imagine the overwhelm of knowing I’m going to the Olympics. And I can just take a break from heavy things in general and cheer for a “mature” governess finally having a good time.
I have learned that reading is a sort of lifeline for me, and I am allowing myself this guilty pleasure even, and especially, when life is hard.
I know I wrote a reading recap for 2019 and listed some ideas for 2020 a few weeks ago, but at the time, the Back to the Classics Challenge, my favorite of the reading challenges, wasn’t posted and I also wasn’t sure it would even be back. Fortunately, a few days after the new year began, she announced it would be returning for 2020 which made me more glad than is probably reasonable. 🙂
Around the same time I posted that recap, another challenge was announced from The Literary Life Podcast and I love this one as well, so today I’m sharing what books I hope to read for each of these lists.
Back to the Classics Challenge 2020
- 19th century classic: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- 20th century classic: The Moviegoer by Walker Percy (this was mentioned in Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel)
- classic by a woman author: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
- classic in translation: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (this has been on my TBR pile for years)
- classic by a person of color: Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston (I read Their Eyes Were Watching God in college and thought it might be interesting to read the autobiography of the woman behind it for this category)
- a genre classic: Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
- classic with a person’s name in the title: Emma by Jane Austen
- classic with a place in the title: Bramton Wick by Elizabeth Fair
- classic with nature in the title: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (this would be my first Hemingway ever…I’m a little intimidated)
- classic about a family: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
- abandoned classic: The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
- classic adaptation: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Literary Life Podcast 20 for 2020 Reading Challenge
- a Shakespeare play: The Comedy of Errors (this is the shortest Shakespeare play and we love the Lambs’ version…I’m easing myself in)
- a classic detective novel: Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
- a classic children’s book: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- a contemporary novel: The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
- a historical fiction novel: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
- an ancient Greek play: Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
- a collection of short stories: The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
- a biography or memoir: One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty
- a devotional work: Scale How Meditations by Charlotte Mason
- a book about books: The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
- a “guilty pleasure” book: I honestly feel like, at this stage in my life, this is pretty much any work of fiction written after 1970 🙂
- a non-western book: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
- an intimidating book you have avoided: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (pretty much all Hemingway could fall under this category)
- a satire: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- a book of essays: Wilderness Essays by John Muir
- a book by a person of color: Hottentot Venus by Barbara Chase-Riboud
- a classic book by a female author: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- a complete volume of poetry by a single author: Elizabeth Barret Browning: Selected Poems
- an “out of your comfort zone” book: Devoted: Great Men and Their Godly Moms by Tim Challies
- re-read a book you read in high school: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
What are you reading this year?