Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Coffee: Looking Back

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Yesterday and today were spent in rest and recuperation....The last week of school before break was a marathon! With nine days left in 2013, I am optimistically hoping to finish at least one more book. So this isn't really my year-end round up, just a brief reflection on my reading and writing in the past year, and a few thoughts about the year to come.

Bookish Conversations

Over the past year I've really enjoyed the bookish conversations I've had, whether they are conversations in the comments of this blog or others (I've struck up some wonderful conversations with some very smart readers), or in my classroom. I love talking to students about what they are reading, and I finally read a John Green novel (Looking for Alaska). Now I really need to read Divergent, since that is the most in demand book in our school right now. 

The Classics

The Great Gatsby is always great, every time I read it (and this is the seventh time, at least).

My Classics Club list has kept me aware of how deliberate I need to be in order to reach my goals. I've only read eight of the books on my list, but I am pretty sure I will do better next year. It requires some planning and effort to chip away at the list (I have 85 books on my list, which I plan to read over the course of five years). Here are the eight I finished in 2013:
All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
The Crossing, Cormac McCarthy
Cities of the Plain, Cormac McCarthy
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Dreamtigers, Jorge Luis Borges
Go Tell It On the Mountain, James Baldwin

Now Reading

I'm wrapping up The Fire Next Time (James Baldwin) and reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (my Classics Club Spin book).

Looking Forward

I definitely want to make more progress on my Classics Club list in the next year. In the immediate future I expect to be reading a lot of American literature for a class I will be teaching next year. Some of it is background research, and some is to select books I might want the students to read. My daughter sent my a collection of stories by Ralph Ellison called Flying Home and Other Stories; I've also got James Baldwin's Nobody Knows My Name, and The Street by Ann Petry (first published in 1946, The Street is also on my Classics Club list). And James Baldwin's Another Country is on my Classics Club list; I'd like to follow up Go Tell It On the Mountain with Another Country, which I've heard is superb. I also have King: A Comics Biography by Ho Che Anderson, which I will probably read over break.
I hunted down a copy of Sally Hemings, a novel by sculptor and writer Barbara Chase-Riboud, and I also recently acquired Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (non-fiction).

I think I have quite an interesting list of books to start my year off.....

How was your year in books? Do you have anything new on your list to finish the year or to start the new year?


Iliana said...

It's always so fun to read end of year posts. I just started a new book today so I'm hoping to finish at least one by the new year.

Good for you for making progress in your Classics challenge!

Lisa said...

I'm feeling like I have to really concentrate on knocking a bunch off my Classics Club list this year, too. I've really fallen behind which is disappointing because they are all books I want to read.

bibliophiliac said...

@Iliana-i finished one more book before the year's end: Our Love Could Light the World by Anne Leigh Parrish...

bibliophiliac said...

@Lisa-working on my Classics Club list is going to be a big reading goal for me in 2014.