Top Ten Tuesday: 10 books I resolve to finish this year

2016-01-05 22.38.24I’ve already written about my literary resolutions, but then I saw that the Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) for this week was all about resolutions. At first, I was disappointed, and then I realized I didn’t make a resolution about specific books I am hoping to read/finish this year. So here they are:

  1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (I’ve read much of this and loved it, but didn’t finish it, and then didn’t want to go back to it because I’ll have to start it in the beginning.)
  2. Home by Toni Morrison
  3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Working through it right now!)
  4. Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  5. Characters and Viewpoints by Orson Scott Card
  6. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (I know, I feel ashamed that I haven’t read this, especially since I just completed a college Shakespeare class.)
  7. 1984 by George Orwell
  8. The Casual Vacancy (I’ve heard it wasn’t very good, but the author of Harry Potter wrote it, so I feel as if I should read it anyway…and I already own it, so why not!)
  9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  10. On Writing by Stephen King



2016 Literary Resolutions

Picture from

It’s a new year, and I’m already a day late sharing my resolutions. Hopefully, this “day-late-stuff” is not how the year will continue. Either way, here goes:

  1. Read the Word of God everyday.
    My mom ordered me Table Talk for Christmas, so I’m excited to start using that for devotions. Unfortunately, it’s going to my school mailbox, so I have to wait a week before I can start it. I’ll be sharing how I like it in the future.
  2. Complete POPSUGAR’s 2016 Reading Challenge.
    I finally decided for this to be my main reading challenge I’ll focus on. It includes 39 books, and it should help me read a variety of genres and I’ll be able to use it to focus on mostly newer books…or at least that is my plan. I have already created a page on this blog to keep track of which categories I’ve filled, etc.
  3. Participate in the BYOB Reading Challenge hosted by Literary Distractions.
    This one I’ll be doing somewhat in the background, mostly to help me remember to read the books that I already own. I own approximately 220 books, but haven’t read 85. I don’t have a specific number I’m shooting for, at least not yet, but I do want to be making a conscious effort to read the books I already own. I’ll be posting more info about this soon.
  4. Read one classic a month.
    While I want to become more knowledgeable and aware of the new books surrounding me, I want to make time for classics. My first one completed will hopefully be Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I technically began it a few days ago in 2015, but no matter, 30 pages of a Russian novel doesn’t make that much of a difference.
  5. Write at least one blog post a week.
    If I’m finishing this many books and reviewing them, this should be a piece of cake. Even if it’s not, I do want to try to be most consistent with my blog posts.
  6. Write 20 minutes a day.
    I’ve talked about this challenge before, but I haven’t been consistent with it in a while, especially with the holidays and winter break. I want to begin it anew, and see how I do (just thinking about it has me writing in unintentional rhyme!).

There are other resolutions I have of course, but these six are my literary resolutions of 2016!

Happy new year!

Review: The Dinner

Genre: Literary Fiction

The Dinner by Herman Koch was a little slow in the beginning, but by the middle I was flipping pages as first as I could to see what would really happen and what was really going on.

Another plus for the novel is that it is entirely structured around one meal—even having sections of the book for the appetizer, the main course, dessert, etc. Interestingly, not only the dinner’s main course, but also main course of the novel was located in that portion. This part was literary genius.

Koch’s portrayal of family and ethics was chilling, and partly due to his portrayal is why I didn’t enjoy The Dinner. Koch’s novel seems to show that consequences can be avoided, and it provided a terrible example of what family can and should be.

The novel also fell flat on a few other levels. It was a little slow in the beginning and sometimes provided too much detail about the food. Also, as the novel progressed, the narrator grew less likeable and so when the novel finally concluded, I was surprised, chilled, but also just frustrated at the end result.

The writing is good and the plot fairly suspenseful, but the ethics of the characters left me unsatisfied.

FTC disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Reading challenges: To do, or not to do

Mid-2015 I stumbled upon a 2015 reading challenge, and I wanted to participate but felt it was too late. Then, just last week, I saw Book Riot’s reading challenge, which immediately reminded me to scope out the various challenges and see if there was one I wanted to participate in.

And now  I feel so overwhelmed.

There are so many to choose from. Book Riot, Popsugar, Challies, BYOB, 12 Classics, Anne of Green Gables, etc, etc.

During my search, I even found an article that said why not to participate in a reading challenge.

So, where am I at now? Well, I’m still deciding.

I really like Popsugar’s just because it’ll help me cover a diverse number of recently-published fiction and nonfiction.

I also like Challies’ because it’ll ensure that I’m also reading Christian books–theology, commentaries, Christian-living, fiction, etc.

I also like the BYOB challenge because it’ll remind me to read the books I own but haven’t read.

And lastly, I like the 12 Months of Classics challenge and the Back to the Classics challenge because they’ll ensure that I’m reading classics, too.

But there’s no chance I could do all of these–and although I could overlap, I don’t want to be so confused, trying to conquer all of them.

So, which one or two will I pick?

I haven’t decided yet, although I might stick with Popsugar’s reading challenge, and then maybe also try to just do the “Light” section of Challies’ challenge. And then maybe I’ll tack on the BYOB challenge, simply because I need to be reading the books I already own.

It still seems a lot to me, but I’ll think on it a bit more and let you all know what I decide once the new year is here!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under my tree this year

This topic comes from The Broke and the Bookish‘s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday. Here goes:

  1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    After finishing—and loving—Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, I really want to read Crime and Punishment. It’s also my professor’s favorite book, so I have to read it!
  2. Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Ed.

    Adding this to the list is so nerdy. But the editor in me really does want this book, or at least the online subscription.
  3. Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts

    I read The Hardest Peace by Tippetts earlier this year, and it was so amazing and convicting and saddening. Though I haven’t read this book yet, I’m sure it will be phenomenal.
  4. Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul

    This isn’t a new book, but I stumbled upon the description recently, and it seems very compelling and helpful. Also, I think it would help kick-start my devotions for the coming new year.
  5. Openness Unhindered by Rosaria Butterfield

    This book is truly a gem. I’ve already skimmed through much of this book, but it was a library copy, and I know I’ll want my own copy. Butterfield’s writing is clear and beautiful, and her topic is of utmost relevance.
  6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

    I have only read the first chapter of this book, but I could tell immediately that the writing is top-notch. The novel has been on the New York Times bestseller list for some time, and it won the fiction Pulitzer Prize. I want to read this book, so why not stick it under the tree!
  7. 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories 

    Because why not!? Also, having wrote primarily short stories over the past six months, it would be extremely helpful, and of course pleasurable, to read the best.
  8. Tartuffe by Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere

    This play of Moliere’s has been a favorite of mine for some time, but, alas, I sold my anthology textbook back and lost this wonderful, humorous play. The translation by Wilbur is essential.
  9. On Writing by Stephen King

    Because King is a brilliant writer, and books about writing are fun. Is there really any other reason needed?
  10. Characters and Viewpoints by Orson Scott Card

    Again, books about writing and fictional elements are great. This book has been recommended to me by several different writers. Also, Card’s Ender’s Game was great—the book, not the movie.

Review: The Painter’s Daughter

Genre: Christian Fiction

I stayed up all night reading The Painter’s Daughter, Julie Klassen’s most recent masterpiece.

Klassen is famous for her Christian regency romance novels, and Klassen does not disappoint in The Painter’s Daughter.

Although marriage of convenience romances have been written before, Klassen provides a unique one in this story. It’s heartwarming and compelling to see love bloom between Sophie and Stephen.

But it’s not all rosy. And until the very end, I kept wondering, who will Sophie pick? Stephen or Wesley?

This novel portrays family relationships, the difficulties, deceit, and hurt that happens even within families. But it also shows how families can be redeemed and that there is hope for good relations with family members.

I’ve been a fan of Klassen for a couple years now, but prior to this novel, my favorite had always been The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. But, it now has to compete with Klassen’s most recent, The Painter’s Daughter.

FTC disclaimer: I received an ebook review copy of The Painter’s Daughter in exchange for an unbiased review.

Review: Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy

Dinty W. Moore amuses and instructs in the book Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy.

The wit, humor, and sarcasm of Moore makes this small book a success.

I read most of it in an airplane ride, and it made me laugh and smile while I would have been otherwise bored and sulking.

This small book includes twenty questions from famous writers and twenty responsive essays by Dinty Moore. The topics include a little bit of everything—even a cannibal cameo from the famous essayist Montaigne.

Although many are more traditional essays, the book also includes essays that push against the normal form of an essay. There’s an essay written on napkins, an essay that uses Google Maps, and an essay composed entirely of Facebook posts.

If you’re a writer, Moore’s book includes helpful advice, and just down-right funny things you can relate to.

Moore can take something like the em dash, and  in a humorous essay actually show how it’s useful and how it’s harmful. Nothing is a dry matter for Moore.

And even if you’re not a writer, I’d imagine it would still be an interesting book.

A couple of my favorite essays in the book are:

  • “Dash It All”
  • “Have You Learned Your Lesson, Amigo?”
  • “Why I Trained My Dog to Post”
  • “Clogged and Stupid and Weary”

I did enjoy this book; however, there were numerous times when Moore’s humor was too crass and inappropriate for my taste. Read with care.

FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.