Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Ten Books I Plan To Read This Year

I am changing a couple of my reading habits this year. I am going to keep a reading journal for the first year ever. Every year I say I am, this year I am. I always regret that I can't remember what I read in a given year. I want to keep a record of that. Books are important to me, this is a way of marking that importance in some way.
I am also stopping my holds at the library until I have read the books in my house that I want to read. This is huge for me, as my holds list is usually maxed out. But I fall victim to putting off reading the books I own because the library books are on a deadline. This creates a never-ending cycle of having some really good books languish in my book basket by my bed, while pop fiction books get read and returned again and again. This year I am trying to read books that will make me a better writer by reading great writers. And so, the list:

1. All of Anne Tyler's works starting with the book she considers her best, Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant. (yes, that's more than ten but did you really want me to just list ten of her titles?? didn't think so) I see her referenced as inspirational to a lot of writers, so I figured I'd work my way through her body of work. Incidentally, I find it extremely comforting that she didn't feel she'd hit her stride as a writer til her 9th book. Gives me great hope that maybe... just maybe... I will feel like I've produced something good in another 7 books. :)

2. Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides, Beach Music, and South of Broad. I read Prince of Tides in 1988 and haven't read the other two. It's time, especially considering I am going to get to meet him at this in just a few weeks!

3. Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts. I plan to read that this month and then begin logging my own 1000 gifts. (Read most of it in the fall but want to read it slowly and take it all in this time... it's one of those kinds of books.) This book will be a whole post unto itself in the near future. Perhaps the dear Ann will visit with us here and talk about this amazing book.

4. The Truth That Tells A Lie by John Dufresne

5. The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

6. Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass

7. Deep and Wide by Susan May Warren

8. The Hero's Journey by Michael Hauge (this is actually a dvd but I am including it)

(#4-8 are all writing books)

9. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. This was available at Books Alive that I went to back in November. I picked it up because it talks about Hemingway in Paris. I can't wait to dive into it. I got an advanced copy but it comes out in February. I love Hemingway and I still count A Farewell To Arms as one of my all-time faves.

10. TBD-- leaving a spot for that one that sneaks in and demands to be attended to.

I know I will read a lot more than ten books this year. These are just the ones at the top of my list right now. What about you? What's on your top ten list of books to read this year?
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Arlene @At Home with the Grimms said...

I kept a book journal last year and I enjoyed looking back over the books I had read and picking the top reads to post on an end of the year blog post. Right now I am re reading some books I have in my collection. At the moment I am reading Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. I have ordered some paperbacks from Paperback swap so I plan to be busy reading in my spare time. Looking forward to reading your new book Marybeth.

Zibilee said...

I have been keeping a book journal for the last 4 years or so, but there was some time in year 2 that is blank. I love being able to see just what I've been reading and what my ratings for it were. I also love Pat Conroy and think you will really enjoy his books. In my opinion, his older work is a bit better than his newer stuff, but you will have to be the judge of that!!

Sheila said...

Hmm....I just stocked up at Barnes & Noble and am dying to dive right in. I just read The Rose Labyrinth and was a bit disappointed to see that they use Christian fundamentalists as their villians! It was a good thriller though and kept me riveted to the very end. Next up, Following God with all Your Heart and then the Chronicles of Naria series. I have never read them completely through! After that, any one of the numerous books I have stacked in my bedroom! :) I like the book journal idea and plan to start one of my own. I also need to make a spreadsheet for the books I own so I don't start buying duplicates!

Alycia Morales said...

I had never thought to keep a reading journal. I would have to add a sort of critique section to mine, I suppose...what I liked/didn't like about the book. I think I'll join you in keeping one this year!

I am reading Anne Lamott's "Bird By Bird" at this moment. And "Operating Instructions."

Right now I have a stack of 25 books on my desk and several more I'd like to get my hands on...

These include:
Reading Like a Writer (Francine Prose)
Inventing the Truth - The Art and Craft of Memoir (William Zinsser)
White Like Snow (Robert Engelhardt - my pastor from NY - can't wait to read it!)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
Thin Places (Mary DeMuth - can't wait to get to this one, either!)

I guess I'd better get to reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marybeth, if it helps you can check out where u can keep track of the books you've read, are currently reading, or intend to read. It also allows u to give your ratings, write your comments. And I guess you could make it private if you wish to keep the record for yourself. Also, you'd be able to read reviews written by others. I like it.

Anonymous said...

You never cease to amaze and delight me with your posts.. thanks for sharin' your list of books.

Happy New Year!

California Carns' Family

Anonymous said...

I don't have a list of what I will read but here is what I read this year and loved.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, just a fun read

, Once Upon a Town (nonfiction and an amazing story about a town that met every train passing through and used their rations, their food and their talent to greet each soldier heading off to war)

The Remarkable Life of Henrietta Lacks, non fiction...look that one up, what a story

Manhunt....which is a primary source, well there is probably some literary license in there, about the hunt for John Wilkes Booth after he assasinated Lincoln...sorry, I am such a non fiction girl, though I did LOVE
Daddy Long Legs. have you ever read it? You could read it in a day and what a cute, fun stories. Meant for young girls but I loved it.
Happy reading.

Christine said...

I started a book journal last year but didn't keep up with it. I'd like to try again! On my list are a couple by C.S. Lewis, The Brothers Karamazov, Francis Chan's 2 books- Crazy Love and Forgotten God- and some novels as well. I haven't heard of some of the ones you've mentioned- I'll have to check those out!

Nichole said...

Good morning! Right now I am completing your Bible Study "For the Write Reason". I am feeling God's call for the second half of my life. I am reading Beth Moore's "Get out of that Pit" and Jane Taylor McDonnell's "Living to tell the Tale". My reading plans for this year include books to help me learn to write, as I am a Pediatric Nurse with no background in writing. I made C's in English!! I can't be all work and no play, so I will include a few books to lighten my mood and provide an escape for awhile. Thanks for reading! Nichole

Flamingo said...

lol...I do the same thing with library books. sad thing is that i oftne buy new ones before i read my current ones or start a new one before the old one is finished:)

i met ann at a conference this fall. she is quite amazing. very humble which is what i admire most about her.

Melissa Milbourn said...

If I would have written this post it would have been titled, "Ten Books I plan to Read in Ten Years." ha.

Anonymous said...

Marybeth, last year I set up a free account with and love it. You have a shelf where you can list those books you are reading, those you want to read and those you have read. After you finish a book you check it off with the date completed and can write a short review if you want. When friends ask me what I recommend I immediately refer them to my shelfari page. I also set it up to have a bookshelf on my blog so people can see what I am currently that. Check it out, it is a great way for me to see what I have read and keep a running list of my bucket list of those I want to read.

Blessings to you, Caroline

Rachel Olsen said...

My reading list for Janaury is up on my blog. Problem is it's already growing!

Christy Sullivan said...

I never really thought about doing making account of the books that you read throughout the year, but I really think that would be a great idea. I think I am going to do this. Thanks for the idea.