Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Reads

It's an end-of-year tradition for me to comb back through my reading journal and see how many books I've read during the year.  In my line of work I flip through and sample lots and lots of books during the year, but for this exercise in anal retentiveness, I only count those that I read cover-to-cover.  In that grand blogging tradition of spilling one's guts to one's reading public (or is it the grand blogging tradition of thinking people actually care to hear personal details of one's life??), I offer my list here for your consideration:
  1. Christopher MacDougal, Born to Run
  2. Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies
  3. Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  4. Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game (Kindle)
  5. Alexander McCall Smith, The Forgotten Affairs of Youth (re-read)
  6. Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam
  7. Mary Doria Russell, The Children of God  (Kindle, re-read)
  8. Yann Martel, Beatrice and Virgil
  9. Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates  (re-read)
  10.  Michael Green, Engaging Philosophy
  11. T.H. White, The Once and Future King
  12. Harry Lee Poe and Jimmy Davis, God and Cosmos
  13. Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing
  14. Jim Nolt, Why Does the Universe Exist?  (Kindle)
  15. P.D. James, The Private Patient  (CD)
  16. Leif Enger, Peace Like a River (CD, re-read)
  17. Spencer Wells, The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey
  18. Alexander McCall Smith, The Right Attitude to Rain (re-read)
  19. Jason Rosenhouse, Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line
  20. Alister McGrath, Surprised by Meaning: Science, Faith, and How We Make Sense of Things
  21. Alexander McCall Smith, The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds
The list is never as long as I think it should be.  If I added up all the hours represented there in reading, would it be as many hours as I spent watching TV?  Given that this was an Olympic and European Cup summer, I'm guessing not.

Then, I have a few reading rules of thumb (which are constantly up for re-vision) that I try to allow to guide my reading habits.  Let's see how I did on these:
  1. Read at least as much fiction as non-fiction.  Looks like 10 to 11.  Close enough.
  2. At least 1/4 of books should be re-reads.  4 out of 21.  Close enough.
  3. Read at least as much by authors who are dead as by the living.  T.H. White and Plato seem to be the only corpses here (though P.D. James is 92 according to Wikipedia!).  Pretty pathetic.
  4. Re-read several from my two lists of life books, which (currently) are:
The Holy Bible
The Iliad, Homer
The Republic, Plato
Confessions, Augustine
Don Quixote, Cervantes
King Lear, Shakespeare
Rasselas, Samuel Johnson
The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevski
The Death of Ivan Ilych, Tolstoy
Heart of Darkness, Conrad 
Post-1900 Fiction:
  • The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald 
  • Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis
  • Things Fall Apart, Achebe 
  • The Chosen, Potok
  •  Silence, Endo
  • 100 Years of Solitude, Marquez
  •  Name of the Rose, Eco
  • The Brothers K, Duncan 
  • The Sparrow and Children of God, Russell
  • Gilead, Robinson

On this rule of thumb I failed miserably.  The only one from both lists that I got in this year was Russell's Children of God (which is fantastic, by the way).  Though it is entirely possible that The Once and Future King makes its way onto the Post-1900 Fiction list (but who would have to leave??).  Pathetic!

And then finally, rule of thumb #5 is to read (or re-read) from my theological conversation partners, which currently are:  Dallas Willard, Leslie Newbigin, Stanley Hauerwas, and NT Wright.  How'd I do here?  A big goose egg.  Really, very pathetic!!

2013 New Year's Resolution #1:  Be a better reader!


David P said...

I think you of all people need not worry about being a "better reader". I browsed the titles you listed in your blog. Aside from those of the more obvious ones (Narnia and the Bible), I'm happy to report we share some favorite titles (Things Fall Apart and Enders Game). Have you read anymore of Orson Scott Card?

Sam Ochstein said...

I'm impressed by your reading, Jim. I've been meaning to write a similar post noting books that really impacted my thinking in 2012. I assure you my reading is not as impressive as yours! By the way, I like the new look of your blog. Keep reading and writing!