Saturday, January 12, 2013

8 Great Books

Last year, the blog posted a record 162 times, more posts than in the previous three years combined. It was a lot of fun, a lot of work, and the conversations shared with you, faithful readers, along the way made the year on the blog immensely rewarding.

Alas, it is January 12 of 2013 and this is the first post of the new year. If you suspect that I am not aiming to make 162 again this year, you would be right. I am very excited (and challenged) by the reason, and wanted, briefly, to share it with you.

The goal: eight great books in 2013.

Reflecting over some year-end downtime and inspired by my friend's 2012 goal - 50 Books and 50 Hikes - I've set out on a goal of my own that will both 1) pose a formidable challenge and 2) prove more satisfying than the drivel that constituted the bulk of my reading in 2012. Don't get me wrong, I read a lot of good books (1), but also way too many articles. A lot of Facebook notes. So many quasi-news stories. So much and so little. Fragmented. Commercialized. Incomplete. Abrupt. Toward the end of the fall semester, I had developed a sizable hunger for the kinds of books that have always proven difficult for me to read because of the commitments they require. I wanted to read great books. And books whose vocational benefits are not obvious.

Great books take time, and eight great ones will probably take a year (for me). Thus my decreased presence on the blog, Facebook, and other online places - though the blog will still post at least once a week (homilies) and, I hope, occasionally more, with the benefit of the substance of these books.

So that's what's up. Like I said, I hope to post updates, and I hope you enjoy following my progress. Keep me honest, and wish me luck!

The list:

The Age of Anxiety (Auden)
The Brothers Karamazov (Dostoevsky)
Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky)
The Idiot (Dostoevsky)
Middlemarch (Eliot)
The Bible (Reading God's Story, Guthrie)
Les Miserables (Hugo)
The Way We Live Now (Trollope)

(1) Highlights would include the Garrison Keillor Great Poems Anthologies, Nudge, Silence and Honey Cakes, and Rabbit, Run.

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