On My Reading List: Fiction

Evil Kitty prowls our front bookshelf

I'm  one month in to my attempt to be more intentional in my reading this year. Here's what I finished in January:

Fiction: Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) ♥♥♥♥♥
How to describe this Russian epic novel? I loved how it dealt with great themes of fidelity (and of course, infidelity), love and jealousy, family, and faith while at the same time giving a picture of mid-19th century Russian life of the peasants and aristocray. Anna, an unsympathetic character who reaps terrible consequences of her sin, is contrasted by the steady, but self-doubting, Levin. At various points these two choose opposite paths, and yet some of their heart issues are identical. Both ultimately come to the same basic question about the purpose of life. Without giving too much away, I'll just say I found the ending satisfying. 

Biography: Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret (Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor♥♥♥♥♥

Excellent! Gives a summary of Hudson Taylor's inner life of faith along with a recap of major life events. Read this and be challenged by the life of this humble man who was fully submitted to following God.

Non-fiction: Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell)    ♥♥♥♥ - Light, fun read in the vein of Freakonomics. Interesting ways of thinking about success. But here's a spoiler: Hard work is one of the common denominators of all the stories.

For February I'm working on:
Devotional: Power through Prayer (E. M. Bounds)

Biography: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers (Maria Augusta Trapp) - our next co-op book selection

Fiction: Kinfolk (Pearl S. Buck)

Recently I published the non-fiction titles I'm choosing from. (Of course, this list isn't static, and I'll be adding to it periodically.)

Compiling a fiction list has been more difficult. I hate finishing a book only to regret the time I just spent reading it, something that happens all too easily when I read more randomly. Choosing quality fiction, books that will be worth the time invested in them, is not always simple. Even as I've been writing this list I've weaned not a few off my original choices. Most likely, some of these may not make the cut once I either begin them or investigate further. But here's my list as it stands right now:


Austen, Jane: Maybe Northanger Abbey (re-read). Austen is my favorite comfort-read, and this one is full of humor!
Bronte, Charlotte: Villette
Dickens, Charles: Bleak House
Eliot, George: Silas Marner; Middlemarch
Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Karenina - completed
Turgenev, Ivan: Fathers and Sons
Undset, Sigrid: Kristin Labransdatter

Ordinary Fiction

Buck, Pearl: Pavilion of Women: A Novel of Life in the Women's Quarters. I read lots of Pearl Buck as a young girl, and in the last year I've begun reading her works once again.

Buck: Pearl: Kinfolk
Stevenson, D. E.: Mrs. Tim of the Regiment. (D. E. Stevenson is just plain fun. If you like mid 20th century British novels, make sure to check out Miss Buncle's Book and the next several in the series.)
Zevin, Gabrielle: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Hickam, Homer: Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator
Backman, Fredrik: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

Mysteries and Thrillers

Chesterton, G. K.: The Innocence of Father Brown
Christie, Agatha: Murder on the Orient Express - long time since I've read this one!
Hammett, Dashiell: The Maltese Falcon
Pamuk, Orhan: My Name is Red
Khan, Vaseem: The Unexpected INheritanc of Inspector Chopra

Historical Fiction

Dennys, Joyce: Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942
Dunnett, Dorothy: The Game of Kings (Maybe.)

Well, that's it for now. Have you read anything good lately? I'm very happy to take any suggestions for either fiction or non-fiction reading!


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