“I have lived in books, for books, by and with books; in recent years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to live from books. And it was through books that I first realized there were other worlds beyond my own; first imagined what it might be like to be another person; first encountered that deeply intimate bond made when a writer’s voice gets inside a reader’s head.”
– Julian Barnes
I don’t read many ’current’ books. Most of my book choices are the result of time consuming vetting, meticulous research, and hours of pondering, contemplation and mulling over choices.
Well, maybe I don’t put quite that much effort into my book selecting. Still, in the last two to three years, books I’ve read that were recently published make up a pretty short list:
Steve Jobs (2011) by Walter Isaacson
The Art of Fielding (2011) by Chad Harbach
Washington: A Legacy of Leadership (2011) by Paul S. Vickery
The Casual Vacancy (2012) by J.K. Rowling
The Dog Stars (2012) by Peter Heller
Most of my reading consists of books at least 5-10 years old, frequently 20-30, and often even 50-100 years old or more.
Perhaps it’s the test of time, the books that are still on people’s minds 10, 20, 30 years later that attract my attention.
Once I found the joy of reading, late in life I might add (see previous post on my 2014 reading), it became an indispensable part of growing, learning, understanding.
Benedict Cumberbatch said in a video for children, to advance the importance of books, “Reading is one of the joys of life, and once you begin, you can’t stop, and you’ve got so many stories to look forward to.”
Thus, as I look to 2015 in planning my reading, here are the books that are in my pile (or on my ‘to purchase’ list) to read:
My Non-Fiction list:
The Presidents Club (2012) by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
1776 (2005) by David McCullough
Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr’s Epic Challenge to the Church (2013) by Edward Gilbreath
Bonhoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (2010) by Eric Metaxas
Evenings with Cary Grant (1991) by Nancy Nelson
Mere Christianity (1952) by C.S. Lewis
Cinderella Man (2005) by Michael C. DeLisa
Steven Spielberg (1997) by John Baxter
Kenneth Strickfaden: Dr. Frankenstein’s Electrician (2005) by Harry Goldman
The Film Club (2007) by David Gilmour
And here is my list of Fiction reading for 2015:
The Princess Bride (1973) by William Goldman
Calico Joe (2012) by John Grisham
Twelfth Night (1602) by Shakespeare
The Moviegoer (1961) by Walker Percy
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee
The Lady in the Lake (1943) by Raymond Chandler
American Gods (2001) by Neil Gaiman
Eye of the Needle (1978) by Ken Follett
The Green Mile (The Complete Serial Novel) (1996) by Stephen King
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) by Ian Fleming
Ender’s Game (1985) by Orson Scott Card
As you can see from my lists, especially the fiction, I’m a big fan of books made into movies.
There are a few books that were on my 2014 list that I never got to: The Princess Bride and David McCullough’s 1776.
Others include a few worth a second (or third) reading: To Kill a Mockingbird, Mere Christianity, and The Moviegoer.
Every year around March, with the approach of Opening Day for baseball season, I read something appropriate; this year my choice is John Grisham’s Calico Joe. Grisham’s books The Rainmaker and The Testament are favorites and I’m hoping Calico Joe doesn’t disappoint.
Also listed are a couple of books I discovered on blogs I follow. The review on Adopting James for The Presidents Club intrigued me, and Bob on Books made me eager to read Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr’s Epic Challenge to the Church.
The Bob on Books blog also inspired me to pick up a copy of American Gods. My Daughter, a big Fantasy fan, also gave American Gods a Two Thumbs Up. My daughter’s favorite Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, is also included.
So, in a way, my reading is spread over a good variety of topics. Good biographies are always of great interest to me. A variety of interesting fiction is essential. Consequently I expect 2015 to be a pretty good year for reading.
“Oh! it is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn’t. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read.”
– Oscar Wilde
The list will change over the year, as usual. The important thing for me, and I would hope for anyone who reads, is to be open to learn something, to grow a little, to deepen my understanding of myself and others. I’ve always felt that guys in general (myself included) can often have too narrow a focus, be a little too, for lack of a better word, superficial. Often we don’t dig deep enough to truly understand ourselves.
I’m so thankful for the gift of books – a vast reservoir of wisdom, knowledge, experience, and not to forget – simple delight.
“Please stop patronizing those who are reading a book – The Da Vinci Code, maybe- because they are enjoying it. For a start, none of us know what kind of an effort this represents for the individual reader. It could be his or her first full-length adult novel; it might be the book that finally reveals the purpose and joy of reading to someone who has hitherto been mystified by the attraction books exert on others.”
– Nick Hornby