Reading, ‘Riting, and Resolutions: I Simply Remember My Favorites Books (2008)

I’ve already listed my favorite children’s/YA novels of 2008, but I read so much more— classics, classics, mystery, theology, fluff—113 books to be exact, which doesn’t seem like much until you start figuring that about ten of those were over 500 pages long.

In January, I wrote an enormous reading resolution. The list included a bajillion classics, “at least five Newberys,” and the King James Bible.

I never thought I’d get through so much of that list as I did—which just shows to go you (as my grandpa likes to say) that setting goals really is a healthy habit. If I hadn’t set mine, 2008’s reading accomplishments would definitely not have included War and Peace and Moby Dick and Paradise Lost and Brothers Karamazov and Bleak House and … you get the picture.

So here’s my checklist (for the sake of posterity). Successes marked in bold.

KJ Bible: 52 of 64 books.
Iliad, by Homer
Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
Paradise Lost, by John Milton
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Great Gatsby, by John Fitzgerald
The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara
Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

Rob Roy, by Sir Walter Scott
Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott
The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy Sayers
Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K. Chesterton
Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
House of Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Brave New World, by Adolph Huxley
Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
84 Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff
Antony and Cleopatra

Merchant of Venice
Comedy of Errors
Two Gentlemen of Verona
All’s Well That Ends Well

At least five old Newberys

Inspired by Sarah M.’s year-end review, I’ve categorized some of my favorites.

Best New Discovery of 2008
Frank Cottrell Boyce

Favorite Classic
Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Favorite Mystery
Busman's Honeymoon, by Dorothy Sayers

Greatest Reading Accomplishment
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

Favorite Reread
I just realized that I didn’t reread The Blue Castle this year. This. Is. Serious.

Biggest Failure to Complete
Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes

Five Books I Wish I Never Laid Eyes On
Melusine, by Lynn Reid Banks
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
1984, by George Orwell
Nick and Norah's Infinate Playlist, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer

Books I Didn’t Think I’d Like But Ended Up Amazing
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara

And then, because I’m sure as heck not making another monster list this year:

Five Books I Wish I Had Read and Plan on Reading in 2009
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy Sayers
Manalive, by G. K. Chesterton
Mystery and Manners, by Flannery O'Connor
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Plus finish the King James Bible:
2&3 John, Jude, Revelation
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1 Chronicles



Sherry said...


My husband just finished reading 1984 and the feelings are pretty much the same. I loved BK last year. What'd you think of Bleak House? Should I keep that on my too read list?

Sherry said...

Okay, I always do that...I should say "read,too" list from now one.

Noel De Vries said...

Has he read Brave New World? That dystopian novel was worth it.

I listened to Bleak House, which really helped. It's typical Dickens ... long, complicated, and delightful.

Sherry said...

Oh good, I heart Dickens.

Sarah M. said...

Wow! That's an impressive list - especially War and Peace, I'm VERY impressed.

Heres to 2009's reading! I'll be checking back regularly to see what you're reading/reviewing.

Sarah M. said...

PS I have heard of the Lord Peter mysteries, but haven't read them. I'll be sure to check them out. Thanks for the tip!

Camille said...

I agree completely about The Killer Angels! How fun to see someone mention Dorothy Sayers. I read my first Sayers this year, The Nine Tailors.

Noel De Vries said...

Sarah: I know, I figured I might as well get War and Peace out of the way sooner than later, but by the last chapter, I was sad to see it end. Re: Lord Peter. Read Strong Poison without delay!! And if you haven't seen the BBC Lord Peter/Harriet Vane trilogy, you are in for a real, real treat. (!!!!)

Thanks for stopping by, Camille. Nine Tailors was my first Sayers, too, and some people say it's her greatest, but I heart Harriet Vane, and so the four books that include her are my favorite.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sherry said...

The Saturday Review at Semicolon this Saturday is dedicated to book lists. You’re invited to share a link to yours on Saturday.

Do read Les Miserables. It's my favorite book of all time.

DebD said...

I just had to LOL at your list titled:

Five Books I Wish I Never Laid Eyes On

Great list and thanks for the recap... off to check some of your favs.

(the DeVries in MD).

hopeinbrazil said...

Great list. I loved the humor you injected into it.

Noel De Vries said...

Thanks for stopping by, Deb and Hope. Glad I added a smile to your day, even if I had to read some awful books to do it. :)

Sherry: don't worry. After Nicholas Nickleby, I'm off to Lee's Miserables, as they say in The Killer Angels. :)

brilynne said...

This is one of the most impressive AND interesting year end lists I've seen this year. (Found you through Semicolon.)

Thank you for loving Lord Peter and wishing you'd never set eyes on that Twilight book. There is hope for this world.

Noel De Vries said...

Thanks for saying hello, Brilynne. Glad to meet a fellow LP devotee.

"That Twilight Book." I like it. TTB. Has a nice ring. :)

Yes ... there is always hope.