Sunday, March 04, 2012


My bedside is always overwhelmingly stacked with books. The funny thing is I do about 90% of my reading on my phone. I guess I just start too many books at once and they all pile up. I need to invest in some bookshelves eventually. Or get rid of all the books I don't want. I used to think books were inherently good to collect, but no longer. Classics, my absolute favorites, and church books are all I want anymore (and good kids books when we get to that stage). Some of them aren't worth the space to me, and some are just better read digitally.

I want to use the daily photos as a way to prompt other, fuller posts. I didn't yesterday, since we were with family, but I have read so many incredible. Books lately that I have to share them. I really got back into reading for fun the Christmas before last (2010), when my hardest semester of college was behind me. Since then I've read as much as I can, and it has been so nice!

These are the books I have read in the last 14 months:

The Maltese Falcon, Candide, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Great Divorce, Home, The Book of Mormon, Dracula, Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, The Hobbit, The Song of the Lark, and now I'm about 1/7 through Les Miserables (which is a lot for such a beast of a book). I feel like I need to write a little review for each one, but maybe a little line or two will suffice.

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett: A fun little mystery. A book I probably wouldn't read again - the mystery wouldn't be there - but definitely worth reading once.

Candide by Voltaire: A clever little satire. Again, I enjoyed it (I read it in a day) and would recommend it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: I was intrigued by the description of this book, and I couldn't wait to read it. I liked it a lot, but I was surprised at how vile Dorian was. Such a great concept for a book, and it definitely made me think.

The Count of Monte by Alexander Dumas: Okay, I can't say enough about this book. I read it about ten years ago, so I knew I already loved it, but I had forgotten enough of the story to make it interesting again. It's so different from the movie, and I'm hoping someone will come along and make another movie that is accurate. He's not as kind-hearted in the book and is just full of vengeance. Love it.

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis: C.S. Lewis' look at the afterlife. Very thought-provoking, and enjoyable... But it's Lewis, so what else would it be?

At Home by Bill Bryson: This is one that I would certainly read again, which is strange since it's the only non-fiction book I read (excluding the Book of Mormon). It's an in-depth look at the home - why we live the way we do, how people used to do it, and a remarkable amount of funny stories and facts. I realized that anthropology, history, and sociology are among my favorite things to read about and learn about. I couldn't put this book down and I can't wait to read more of Bryson's stuff.

The Book of Mormon: Obviously a fabulous one. It's true, and i love it, and it should be read by one and all. I only mention it here, because I read the edition that has no verses, and seems like a novel (only spiritually uplifting and truer than any novel). I would highly recommend reading it that way. I read it in a month, and really couldn't put it down.

Dracula by Bram Stoker: I never would have wanted to read this, but it's on the list of 100 greatest books of all time, so I had to. (My family has a sort of competition going, and it's already been going for years, to see who can read the 100 Greatest Books first. We realize it will take years, and I have a long way to go, so I'm trying to get ahead. I love having this list to draw from. There are so many books I never would have touched.) I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. It is nothing like modern vampire stuff (which I haven't read, but I think I know). It was scary, intense, beautifully written, but has a pretty abrupt ending. I won't probably read it again, but I recommend it. Just don't keep reading after your husband goes to sleep, because you'll be too scared to turn off the light! (Kimball read it and loved it, too).

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Another that surprised me. I think I actually would read this again. It shed light on parenthood (even godhood) and goodness, and responsibility. I underlined a ton, and couldn't put it down. I read it in one day. A little scary, too, but so good.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: This one came highly recommended (President Monson reads it every year), so Kimball and I read it together. We read at the same pace, so we would just sit together and read a chapter each night leading up to Christmas. I love it, and I think we may do it again next Christmas.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: This one probably shouldn't be on the list. I didn't actually finish it, because it really wasn't my cup of tea. The writing is good, but I found the story lacking. Maybe I'll finish it one day, but I just couldn't get through it this time.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: in anticipation for the movie coming out in December (thank you Peter Jackson!) we decided to read this one together, too. We got through it in a couple weeks, read a chapter together here and there. I love reading with Kimball! I'd read the hobbit when I was little, but I'd forgotten much of it. It's just a classic. Tolkien is amazing. (Lord of the Rings is next for us! We've read the first chapter already. Kimball's coming to love it as much as I do!)

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather: This was a birthday gift from my mother-in-law. It's about a 19th-century Swedish immigrant who studies opera, and it goes from her childhood into the peak of her career in New York. I loved love loved this book. I don't know if everyone would, though. I felt like I could relate with the character in so many ways, and that I'd been through much of the same emotional struggles and had had similar thoughts. It was a really great book, and anyone who's been "the singer" of the neighborhood, or who's studied voice would really appreciate it.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: I'm still in the midst of this book, and I cannot put it down. I have always loved the musical and the film adaptations of Les Mis, but anyone who's read it know that nothing compares to this book. It is truly remarkable. I'm sure I'll finish it this month. It's super long, but so great, I can't stop reading it!

I want to try to read a new book each month this year, so I'll take suggestions, but most if not all will likely come from 100 Greatest Books list.

And there you have it: my bedside.

1 comment:

  1. I am trying to read a book a month this year too (so far so good!) but you have inspired me now to write up little book reports on each one. That way I will be writing more while I am at it. We should read the same book one month and have a long distance book club about it.