My Books

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Books I Read in 2014

My wonderful sister-in-law challenged me to record the books I read last year. So I dutifully found a shelf... of sorts... All my shelves were stuffed full, actually. I finally used a wooden ladder that I have hanging over my bed, to access a niche in which I read sometimes. Whenever the front door slammed, a book or two from my 'shelf' fell on the bed. Rather awkward when sleeping and someone left in a hurry. But it worked alright. I just pulled them off and looked over my list, and thought I would share the books I read in 2014, and a few thoughts on them. It excludes the short stories, comics, fairy tales, articles, ect. and the random ones I forgot to stick on my 'shelf.' But for the most part, here is what I read last year; 

A Fantasy of Dr. Ox, Julse Verne – Loved it. So unique!

The Mortification of Sin, John Owen – Wonderful. It was one of the better books in its genre I have ever read, actually. And (dare I confess it) while John Owen always quite confuses me, this one didn’t. It was easier to read and understand then the others I have tried of his.

The Book of the Dun Cow, Walter Wangerin Jr. –Enjoyable. It was a fantasy book, Christian based I believe. It had a few issues, as do most fantasy books, but for the most part it was quite enjoyable, and thought provoking in good ways.

Charles Dickens; the Last of the Great Men, G. K. Chesterton – A good book. With good thoughts, as always from Mr. Chesterton. A quote from it; “The optimist is a better reformer than the pessimist; and the man who believes life to be excellent is the man who alters it most.”

The Secret Ways, Alistair MacLean - Mr. MacLean is a writer of spy stories, I enjoy his works. This one was a bit more violent than some of his, but the story was good, and I learned some history I knew nothing about.

“Gareth and Lynette,” Alfred Tennyson – Definitely my favorite of the Idylls of the King. I found most of the others a bit depressing and not necessarily uplifting. But this one? Marvelous. My little black dog is named after this Lynette as she reminded me of the personality, and the description of the character; 
"Hawk-eyes; and lightly was her slender nose
Tip-tilted like the petal of a flower;" 

The Annotated Mona Lisa – Read it for a test I took on “Art in the Western World.” Very informative, and surprisingly interesting. Though, being an art book, I kept a blank index card handy to cover immodest photos as I read it.

Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare – Much more interesting than I expected it to be. I liked it.

Henry the IV, Part 2, Shakespeare – A bridge between Part 1 and Henry the V (which I have read before and read half of last year before getting distracted). It seemed like a bridge, but had some good parts in it too. 

Christianity and Liberalism, J Gresham Machen – Very good. Of Course.

Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love, St. Agustine – I liked it… but I honestly don’t remember much about it at this point except the fact I liked it.

Three Gringos in Venezuela and Central America, Richard Harding Davis – A travel diary of sorts from one of my favorite old time authors. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodges Burnett – I hadn’t read it since I was quite young. I hadn’t realized just how much odd mysticism it had either until I reread it. But I liked her prose, there were some passages that were very beautifully written.

The God Who is There, Francis Schaeffer – One of the many quotes I pulled from this book; “If it is true that evil is evil, that God hates it to the point of the cross and that there is a moral law fixed in what God is in himself, then Christians should be the first in the field against what is wrong – including man’s inhumanity to man.”

Manalive, G. K. Chesterton – Probably my favorite Chesterton that I have read up to this date. It is a very different sort of a book, you have to finish it if you start it, or you will never understand his point. A quote from one of the heroines; “Oh what’s the good of talking about men,” cried Mary impatiently; “why, one might as well be a lady novelist or some horrid thing. There aren’t any men. There are no such people. There is a man; whoever he is he’s quite different.”

CLEP Study Guide American History 1 – Obviously for a test I took. The writer was surprisingly good at making it interesting, and in an odd way it gave me hope for the future of our country; shady things and political deals and overbearing presidents have been happening since America started, and yet we are still here.

Lilith, George MacDonald -…I don’t think I can cover my thoughts on this book with a few sentences. Check out my blog post in the archives on it if you really want to know.

All Things for Good, Thomas Watson – An excellent, excellent book. Highly recommended from me to you.

And then there were the series I read this year;
The Guild of Specialist, by Joshua Mowll; - Interesting little books, young adult adventure novel type of things about two children in the 1920s. Relatively clean, and I enjoyed them enough to read all three.
Operation Red Jericho
Operation Typhoon Shore
Operation Storm City

The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson… twice. I read them twice last year. – I had read the first three already, but the last book, Warden and the Wolf King, came out. So I had to read the others to bring myself up to date. And then, I was taking the series to a friend to borrow, and it was a long drive, and I was sitting there… I read them all again. And do not consider it a true waste of time, I do recommend trying them if you enjoy fantasy works. There are issues in the books that most fantasy novels have (visions/telepathy and some other oddities) and I wish very much it wasn’t in there. I would put them perhaps at a suggested age range of fourteen to adult or so. But they are definitely Christian works, and if you have any interest, you should try them. Really.  

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

North! Or Be Eaten – A quote; “I don’t know what old Gnag has planned for you, but you just trust the Maker and… And do like your father would have you do. Do like me and yer ma would have you do. Don’t just follow your heart. Your heart will betray you.”

Monster of the Hollows

The Warden and the Wolf King – A favorite quote (one of many I pulled from this particular volume); "Sometimes in the middle of the night, the sun can seem like it was only ever a dream. We need something to remind us that it still exists, even if we can't see it. We need something beautiful hanging in the dark sky to remind us there is such a thing as daylight. Sometimes, Queen Sara" -Armulyn strummed his whistle harp- "music is the moon."

Rangers Apprentice Series, John Flanagan; - I read all but three of them in the series sandwiched in between the other random stuff I was reading. I enjoyed them. Really very clean for modern young adult books, and all the characters make pretty solidly noble decisions throughout the ones I read. Good reads for when you are feeling brainless and want something you know will be entertaining and clean.
The Sorcerer of the North
Erak’s Ransom
The Battle for Skandia
Seige of Macindaw
Ruins of Gorlan
The Kings of Clomel
The Burning Bridge
The Icebound Land
Halt's Peril
The Emperor of Nihon-ja

Narnia Series, by C.S. Lewis; - Apparently this has been a year of enjoying fantasy novels. Although strictly speaking I didn't read them, for the most part I listened to the unabridged versions while I did chores about the house. Always some of my favorite works. 
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magicians Nephew
The Last Battle – A quote; “And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Lord of the Rings Series, and The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien; - So… we pulled the Hobbit out during our mushroom eating and feasting on Bilbo’s Birthday in September, and I made the mistake of cracking the cover open. So yes, I read them all again. 
The Hobbit - A quote; "Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, but not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable palpitating and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway." 

The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

Those are the books I read that were not written by me. In between them all, I was reading over mine, editing various ones, and writing others. The two overhauled majorly (the Parabaloni and The Slingshot Effect) I revisited again, and again, and again… Editing is a long and grueling process that involves reading your book from beginning to end many times, and rereading some chapters about fifty times before you are satisfied they are decent. I enjoy it for the most part, as I like rereading books. But after the fifth time even I really want to move on to something else. Here are the ones I edited last year;

Consider the Raven Series;
The Way of the Ravens
The Raven and the Wolf

Parabaloni Series;
The Parabaloni (at least 7 times)
The Slingshot Effect (probably about 5 times)
As the Eagle Flies
Adelie Angst
Evil Roots

And then my writing; Dreaded King has taken up all of November, and December, and it looks as though it will take up January too. The first book, of about 80,000 words, has been written and overhauled a couple of times. The second book is nearing the end (at 68,000 words now) of being written. And then the editing begins… But I have thoroughly enjoyed these two books. I hope you will enjoy them too once I get them in a shape to share! 

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