Book Memories (2014)

2014 has been a wonderful year for books. Many hours of entertainment, enrichment, and enlightenment have been woven into the pattern of my life this year through the books I’ve read. I love seeing what other people read, and especially getting ideas for books that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise, so I thought I’d share what I’ve read this year, whilst fighting against the temptation to feel smug. Sure, I’ve read more than some people read. But I’ve read less than other people read. And a lot of people have read much deeper, more challenging books than I have.

I have some rules for my tally keeping. I only count books that I’ve completed, so books that I’ve given up on or haven’t finished yet won’t show here, nor will books that I dip in and out of (usually poetry). On the other hand, if I began a book last year, but finished it this year, it goes on this year’s list. Lastly, books that I’ve read as part of my study don’t get listed. (I’m sure there’s a really good reason for that, but I haven’t figured out what it is.)

So, here goes. Asterisks indicate re-reads. Links are to where I’ve reviewed the book on this blog.

Non-Fiction

The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Autobiography of Flannery O’Connor (Jonathan Rogers)

The Problem of Pain (C. S. Lewis) *

The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less (Barry Schwartz)

Not By Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith (Jon Bloom)

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (Eugene Peterson)

Enjoy Your Prayer Life (Mike Reeves)

Excellent, but so short it hardly deserves to be called a book!

Literature: A Student’s Guide (Louise Markos)

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World (Tsh Oxenreider)

A theme that fascinates me, but I found the book disappointing.

Miracles (C. S. Lewis)

The Prodigal God (Tim Keller)

Highly recommended.

A Preface to Paradise Lost (C. S. Lewis)

Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully (John Piper)

Highly recommended.

Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up (Ian and Larissa Murphy)

Sketches of Home (Suzanne Clark)

Christ our Life (Mike Reeves)

Highly recommended.

A Poetry Handbook (Mary Oliver)

Highly recommended.

Fiction

The Father’s Tale (Michael O’Brien)

Highly recommended, with some reservations as noted in my original post.

Peace Like a River (Leif Enger)

The Dean’s Watch (Elizabeth Goudge)

Highly recommended.

A City of Bells (Elizabeth Goudge)

Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh)

The Napoleon of Notting Hill (G. K. Chesterton)

Out of the Silent Planet (C. S. Lewis) *

Highly recommended.

Perelandra (C. S. Lewis) *

Highly recommended.

That Hideous Strength (C. S. Lewis) *

Highly recommended.

Glittering Images (Susan Howatch)

Not recommended due to an explicit scene. And neither the writing style, plot, or theme are good enough to make me say it would still be a worthwhile read despite the scene in question.

Gilead (Marilynne Robinson) *

Highly recommended.

Home (Marilynne Robinson)

Lila (Marilynne Robinson)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) *

Plenilune (Jennifer Freitag)

The Warden (Anthony Trollope)

Prince Caspian (C. S. Lewis) *

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (C. S. Lewis) *

The Bird in the Tree (Elizabeth Goudge)

Highly recommended.

Pilgrim’s Inn (Elizabeth Goudge)

***

As I said, it’s been a good year, and these were almost all good books, many of them very good indeed. I’ve picked out some of the best by labelling them as “highly recommended”, but there were others that I found excellent even if I haven’t given them that label. (All the Lewis books were excellent, of course!) I do hope that you might find some new friends waiting for you in this list. Read with discernment, of course. I don’t recommend every aspect of every book here. Lastly, if you have any book suggestions for me, do return the favour and leave a comment telling me what they are! Who knows what delightful or thought-provoking or moving or helpful books might await you and me in 2015? Happy reading!

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4 thoughts on “Book Memories (2014)

  1. i’ve been so happy to see elizabeth goudge on your lists! i’ve only read ‘pilgrim’s inn’…i found a vintage copy in our bookcase, probably gleaned from some yard sale, and have read and re-read it dozens of times. i’ve been afraid to read the rest of the trilogy, actually, lest it spoil just how much i adore that book and the characters in it…but i’ve been keeping my eyes wide open for other goudge books. i think i’ll copy a few of your titles to add to my library list, if that’s ok!

    • Oh, indeed, please do! If you want to read another Goudge book outside of the Eliot trilogy, I’d highly recommend The Dean’s Watch.

      I’m glad you liked Pilgrim’s Inn so much, and I understand what you mean about not wanting to spoil something you love so much. I think you might feel that way with the final book, The Heart of the Family (after all, if there’s been a happy ending in Pilgrim’s Inn, new problems have to be introduced….), but perhaps not with the first one, The Bird in the Tree. It was maybe my favourite in the trilogy, even thought it doesn’t have a fully happy ending, being (obviously) about David and Nadine’s decision to end their relationship (which was a good thing, of course!). Against all the notions our culture has about romantic love trumping everything, no matter the cost to anyone else, it paints a refreshingly different picture. It also has a lot of Lucilla, who I love! And I think you’d see from it how much Nadine has matured, even by the beginning of Pilgrim’s Inn, from what she was like in The Bird in the Tree.

      That being said, I understand if you’d rather not read it and would rather try a different Goudge book instead! 🙂

  2. as far as recommendations go, i feel that you have probably read anything i could suggest already…but a recently-discovered treasure in my bookcase is the english translation of ‘the little prince’ that my sister-in-law gave me for my bridal shower. it’s technically a children’s book…but it is one written for grown-ups. it’s beautiful, delicate, poignant, and profound. and it has a fox. =]

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