Friday, January 18, 2019

Back to the Classics Challenge 2019

Karen at Books and Chocolate is hosting this challenge again. The rules and sign-up are here. Participants are eligible for an Amazon gift card. Deadline is March 1, 2019. Below is my list of possible reads:

1. 19th Century Classic: Silas Marner by George Eliot
2. 20th Century Classic: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (1940)
3. Classic by a Woman Author: Gaskell's Mary Barton, Uncle Tom's Cabin or Brat Farrar by Tey
4. Classic in Translation: Introduction to a Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (1609, French)
5. Classic Comic Novel: Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
6. Classic Tragic Novel: Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
7. Very Long Classic (500 pages+): Bleak House by Dickens
8. Classic Novella (-250 pages): 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne or Epic of Gilgamesh
9. Classic From the Americas: ?
10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia): On the Beach or Pied Piper by Nevil Shute, Beau Geste by P.C. Wren, or Green Dolphin Street by Goudge
11. Classic From a Place You've Lived: O Guarani by José Alencar (Brazil)
12. Classic Play: Romeo and Juliet, or Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare

I'm shooting for at least 9 of these classics this year. I have at least 4 of these in audio versions and I look forward to listening to them.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Three Short Book Reviews

Due to Christmas festivities, I didn't have time to write detailed reviews of these December reads, so here are the condensed versions:

Farmer Boy: Another wonderful entry in the series. This is the story of Almanzo Wilder who would later marry Laura Ingalls. I imagine these stories were memories he shared with Laura as she wrote the novels. Most of the memories have to do with farm chores and the delicious food he ate.

Almanzo's father is quite different from Laura's "Pa." He is a prosperous farmer and his family lacks for nothing. But that doesn't mean his children are spoiled. Although he would be considered too strict by today's standards, I really appreciated it that he let Almanzo "suffer" his way through some sticky situations. Intermixed with all the firmness is a lot of love and wise counsel. It was a pleasure to "watch" this young boy grow up!

Merchant of Venice: This is one of the most accessible Shakespeare plays I've read because I could actually remember who was who. It has some of the most famous lines in all of literature and a happy ending too. After reading this, I greatly enjoyed watching the 1996 film version on YouTube. The actor who played Shylock did a wonderful job of expressing the nuances of his character.

Finding Father Christmas: I am so used to Christian fiction being substandard that I was actually stunned that Finding Father Christmas was well-written, had likable characters, and introduced subjects of faith without preachiness. It also dealt with a difficult subject in a discreet way. (The second novella, Engaging Father Christmas continued with good writing and characterization, but was a lot sappier.)


Friday, January 4, 2019

15 Christian Books I Plan to Read in 2019

For the past two years I've participated in the Intentional Christian Reading Challenge at Goodreads. It has been a great way to attack my TBR list, especially of books that have been on my Kindle for way too long. And it has helped me to include a lot more non-fiction in my literary diet. But by trying to fit titles into pre-arranged categories, I haven't always been able to prioritize the best books. So this year I'm just making a list of the 15 books I know I should read because they are solid and nourishing and NOT just because they are stuff I want to clean off my e-reader. Here are the titles I hope to savor in 2019:

*The Pursuit of God by Tozer's Pursuit of Man by Tozer

*What's Wrong with the World by G.K. Chesterton
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
The Reason for God by Tim Keller
The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
**The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Allegory of Love by C.S. Lewis
*Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray
The Christian Mind by Blamires
**Affliction by Edith Schaeffer
The Life-Giving Home by Sally Clarkson
The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
The Radical Wesley by Howard Synder
A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law (1686-1781)

One asterisk means it was free for Kindle at the time of this writing; two asterisks mean it's free for Kindle Unlimited users.

In addition I'll be doing Carol's "Christian Greats" challenge. (with some overlap from above)

1)  A Book on Early Church History (up to about 500 A.D) - still to be decided, 2)  A Book About a Prominent Christian - Radical Wesley, 3) A Christian Allegory - Princess and the Goblin by Gge McDonald, 4) A Book on Apologetics - The Reason for God by Keller, 5)  A Philosophical Book - What's Wrong with the World by Chesterton,  6)  A Missionary Biography - still to be decided,  7)  A Seasonal Book - to be decided, 8)  A Novel with a Christian Theme - The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge.  9) A Good Detective or Mystery Novel - Bret Farrar by Tey, or Father Brown by G.K., 10)  A Substitute - The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

Do you have any Christian classics you want to read or re-read this year?