Kathy's (kac522) 2019 Reading Projects
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My 2019 Reading Projects
Welcome to my Reading Projects for 2019.
This year I’m taking a different approach to my reading, so I've decided to think of my reading as on-going "projects" rather than "challenges", inspired by LTer Liz (lyzard) and her many, many wonderful reading projects.
I want to make some progress on as many of my own reading projects (reading favorite authors, reading series, reading off the TBR) as I can. These will be the focus of my reading in 2019; perhaps not the widest-ranging in scope, but I think will make for a very enjoyable year of reading.
I’ll also be following some of the CATs (CalendarCat, RandomCat, SeriesCat, TBRCat) and the American and British Author Challenges, but make no promises and tell no lies.
Once again I’ll join ROOTS to rack up those TBRs. I’m also going to keep track of my non-fiction reading via the Dewey system, just to be sure I’m attempting to spread my non-fiction reading across subjects.
And naturally, I’ll have a “catch-all” category for those books that don’t fit anywhere else—from the “New Books” shelf at the library; book bullets; gifts; titles read for my RL book club; just because, etc. (you get the picture).
I’ll be keeping a chronological "book by book" list in the 75ers group here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/301404#
I also have a "decade by decade" thread in the Read It, Track It! Group here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/303114#
Thanks for stopping by. My projects begin below, in alphabetical order by author last name.
Project Austen: Jane Austen, Belknap Annotated Editions
I own 5 of these gorgeous annotated editions; I’m only missing Emma. I read two in 2013—Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. I hope to read the following two editions in 2019:
1. Sense and Sensibility, annotated and edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks
2. Northanger Abbey, annotated and edited by Susan J. Wolfson
Project Brookner: Anita Brookner’s novels
I first read Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac in 1996 for a book club, and soon after started reading her novels in order. Somehow this project fell by the wayside some years ago, so this year seems a good time to finish off this project. These are the novels that I have yet to read, and which I hope to borrow from the library to finish this project in 2019:
✔ 1. Undue Influence, 1999
2. Leaving Home, 2005
3. Strangers, 2009
There is also a 2011 ebook only, At the Hairdresser’s, which is Brookner’s last work. It doesn’t seem to be available from my library, so I am unsure if I’ll purchase it. Have to see how I feel after these final works.
Project Dame Agatha: Agatha Christie Mysteries
In the last few years, I’ve dipped in and out of Dame Agatha, in no particular order (sorry, Liz!). I’ve decided to knuckle down and start reading the major books and short story collections I haven’t read yet, in publication order. I hope to do 6 of these in 2019, one every other month or so, assuming I can find the more obscure titles at my public library.
✔ 1921 The Secret Adversary
1924 The Man in the Brown Suit
1925 The Secret of Chimneys
1926 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
1927 The Big Four
1928 The Mystery of the Blue Train
Project Dickens: Charles Dickens' novels
I love Dickens. I’ve been slowly making my way through the major novels over several decades, with only a few left to go. I would like to read at least 2 of my 3 remaining books in 2019.
1. Barnaby Rudge (1841)
2. Dombey and Son (1848)
3. The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870)
Project Eliot: George Eliot's major works
Another favorite author, but I still have three major works to read, and several that I want to re-read. I hope to read 2 of these potential books in 2019.
1. Scenes from Clerical Life (1857)
2. Romola (1863)
3. Felix Holt, the Radical (1866)
4. Daniel Deronda (1876)—a re-read
Project Miss Read (Dora Jessie Saint): Reading Fairacre in 2019
Several years ago I discovered the delights of Miss Read and the Fairacre series. This past summer at the Newberry Library used book fair, I found a large collection of Fairacre and Thrush Green titles, and snatched them all up. I want to continue with the Fairacre series in 2019, and these are up next:
1. Caxley Chronicles (contains The Market Square and The Howards of Caxley)
✔ 2. Village Christmas and Christmas Mouse
3. Fairacre Roundabout (contains Farther Afield and Village Affairs)
Project Stevenson: Reading D. E. Stevenson
Recently finished and LOVED the Mrs. Tim series, so I am embarking on the Miss Buncle series. Between my own shelves and my public library, I have all 4 books. Down the road I hope to read more D. E. Stevenson, although her other titles are hard to come by in my public libraries. In 2019, I hope to read:
1. Miss Buncle’s Book (1934)
2. Miss Buncle Married (1936)
3. The Two Mrs Abbotts (1943)
4. The Four Graces (1946)
Project Taylor: Reading Elizabeth Taylor
Like Miss Read and D.E. Stevenson above, I learned about Elizabeth Taylor on LT. I own most of her books, but have a long way to go to read them all. The following are the next up for 2019:
1. Palladian (1946)
2. A View of the Harbour (1947)
3. A Wreath of Roses (1949)
4. A Game of Hide and Seek (1951)
Project Trollope: Anthony Trollope's novels
I’ve discovered Trollope very late in life, and may never be able to finish all his 50+ books. I have read the two major series (Barchester and Pallisers), and miscellaneous novels here and there. Now I am back to fill in the gaps (in order!). Here are the works up next, as I traipse through Trollope in 2019:
1. The Three Clerks (1858)
2. The Bertrams (1859)
3. Castle Richmond (1860)
I will probably also re-read The Kellys and the O’Kellys with lyzard’s Trollope project.
Project Virago: Reading Virago from my TBR
When I first started on LT in 2009, I stumbled upon the Virago Group, (https://www.librarything.com/groups/viragomodernclassics) and since that time I’ve slowly been collecting Virago editions as I find them at used book shops. I love the dark green covers! I have some 20 or 30 now, and hope to read a few of these in 2019 during the Virago Monthly reads, which will focus on the 1940s. I won’t tie myself down to individual books, but hope to read as least 4 in 2019:
Project Monthly Reading: Reading the CATs and Author Challenges
I’m not making any commitments, but if a CAT or Challenge strikes my fancy in a month, I’ll record it here:
Reading Through Time: WWI--Good-bye To All That, Robert Graves
AAC: The Chosen, Chaim Potok
SeriesCAT--series in translation--The Shape of Water, Andrea Camillieri
1001 books list & RandomCAT--your name in print--The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien
CalendarCAT--January author birthday--A Rogue's Life, Wilkie Collins
CalendarCat--Valentine's Day--Belinda, Maria Edgeworth
Reading thru Time: Downtown--So Big, Edna Ferber
Project Dewey: Reading Non-fiction
In an effort to see where my non-fiction reading takes me, I’ll record non-fiction titles here under the appropriate Dewey series:
900s--940.48--Good-Bye To All That, Graves
Project ROOTS: Counting My TBRs in 2019
I'll be keeping count of every TBR I read that’s been added to my shelves before January 1, 2019 with the ROOTS Group. This will include any titles that are included in the challenges above.
And, of course, EVERYTHING ELSE, which will probably end up being my largest category!!
I am dropping a star here and look forward to following along with your various projects.
>11 kac522: I love Virago too! I have quite a few so will love to see which ones you are reading. If I see one of those green covers in an op shop, I grab it!
I love all your categories, so am dropping a star as well, so I can follow along.
Oh, so many favourite names here! I'll be watching out for your Trollope reading.
>14 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for dropping by! I hope I'm a bit more "inspired" with these projects than I was with Challenges in 2018. Most of these books are on my TBR, too, so that is a big plus.
>15 JayneCM: Welcome! Have you checked out the Virago Monthly Reads Thread for 2019: https://www.librarything.com/topic/299242 The theme this year is the 1940s. And there's a link to a spreadsheet with books that fit the themes. I have about 6 that should fit, so hope to get some of those read this year.
>16 MissWatson: I am so sorry it took so long for me to discover Trollope. He was one of my mother's favorite authors, and I never read any of his books until after she died, when I chose a few from her many, many books she left. Now I'm so sorry that I never was able to talk about them with her.
Liz (lyzard) plans to do a group read of The Kellys and the O'Kellys in January or February. It is one of Trollope's first novels, and set in Ireland. I'll post a link here, and hope that you can join us. Liz does such an awesome job of guiding through these kinds of works.
>17 rabbitprincess: Hi RP, thanks for stopping! I have great hopes for this year actually making a dent in the TBRs and things I really want to read.
>18 kac522: No! I will have to check that out - 1940s is my favourite era!
>20 JayneCM: Great! The more the merrier! Note that the group has expanded to include Persephone authors, too.
And most important--you don't have to read a Virago/Persephone edition. The author just needs to have at least one work published by Virago or Persephone to qualify as a Virago/Persephone "author". For this monthly reading, though, it should be published in the 1940s, or be about the 1940s.
>21 kac522: Looking forward to joining in!
And I realised I have more VMCs than I thought as I was just looking at my green cover ones.
>25 VivienneR: Thanks! I can barely wait to get started--is it New Year's yet?
I will be following your reading especially the Agatha Christie books. I have read nearly Christie’s books But Before this year it had been at least 25 years since I picked one up. This year I decided to listen to them as audiobooks I managed to get through 35 including the last three on your list. I hope to get to your first three this year.
>27 Zozette: I find audiobooks a great way to "re-read"--what a fun project for you! Any surprises for you this time around?
Interesting! There are some authors on your list that I haven't read and probably should. I did start last year reading Trollope. P. D. James had a character, I think in The Black Tower, whose favorite novel was The Last Chronicle of Barset, so I got it off Project Gutenberg and read it and liked it very much too. So I have read several others since then, but haven't got all the way through either of the major series yet (reading in the wrong order of course, but I don't especially mind spoilers.) And I would probably like Eliot too, and I should try Dickens and Agatha Christie again (didn't like them when I was much younger, but I might now).
>29 amaranthe: In Trollope's series, it's not so much spoilers, as it is the development of the characters. That being said, the Barsetshire books generally can be read alone, except the first two, which are related: The Warden (very short) and Barchester Towers. My favorite is Doctor Thorne. On the other hand, the Pallisers probably should be read in order to appreciate the development of the main characters (Plantagenet and Lady Glencora Palliser) over many years.
As for Eliot, Middlemarch is outstanding, but a huge commitment. Try Silas Marner to get a taste.
Opinions vary widely on the "best" Dickens, but certainly David Copperfield is a very accessible starting place. My two favorites to date are Bleak House and Little Dorrit, but these are his longest. I had a hard time making it through A Tale of Two Cities, but it is often cited as one of his most beloved novels by many people.
Christie is easy to get back to--you can polish off one of hers in a long evening. And Then There Were None is a masterpiece, certainly one of her best.
I am very much liking the project set-up. I am working my way through Georgette Heyer's romances in order, it's a good way to read a novelist. I', too, have plans to finish Dickens one day, probably in the far distant future.
>31 Helenliz: Thanks for stopping by--Heyer is actually on my list of projects as well! In the end I decided to put that on hold for this year so that I had a manageable list of things I could accomplish. I am just frustrated with myself, setting all kinds of challenges and goals, and not completing any of them. Also on my to-do list (for another year): the works of Willa Cather, Elizabeth Gaskell, Edith Wharton--of these I've read some, but want to read all the major works. As well as some series that I'd like to try (Inspector Montalbano, Aubrey/Maturin, Irish Country Doctor, etc., etc.)
>30 kac522: I am with you on Dickens - Bleak House is absolutely my favourite. Eliot, I would have to say The Mill on the Floss.
I have NEVER read Christie, so am planning to rectify that this year!
>29 amaranthe: >30 kac522: >33 JayneCM:
I would also have to say that Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities are my favorite Dickens. I just now quickly tried to count how many I've read.... about 8 of Dickens and I love Eliot--with Silas Marner being my favorite followed closely by The Mill on the Floss, Adam Bede and Daniel Deronda. I don't know why, but for some reason I quit reading Middlemarch...will have to give it a go again. As for Christie, I've tried twice and so far am not a fan.
Love your project reading plans and thank you for reminding my that I still need to get back to D.E. Stevenson's Miss Buncle books! Good luck with your project reading!
>35 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori! And I have been following your threads and have been so impressed with your reading accomplishments AND meeting your walking across Canada goal--totally, totally awesome and very inspiring. Maybe this will be the year I walk across my neighborhood!
I've decided to "call it a year." Here are my 2018 final reading stats and thoughts:
Total books read: 60
Female authors: 31
Male authors: 29
Most memorable reads:
O Pioneers, Willa Cather
Mrs Tim books, D. E. Stevenson
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
A Month In the Country, J. L. Carr
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank
The Newcomers, Helen Thorpe
Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pushing Time Away, Peter Singer
Surprisingly good read: 41 Stories, O. Henry--I was only going to read "The Gift of the Magi" from this collection, but sat down to read a few more as an afterthought. A bit inconsistent in quality, but always clever and entertaining.
Well worth the re-read: audiobook of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens
Well worth the group read of lesser known works with lyzard (thank you, Liz):
Camilla and The Wanderer, Fanny Burney
The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House, Emily Eden
I love your categories. I really want to re-read Miss Read sometime, but I don't think it will be this year.
>43 christina_reads: Thanks! I especially enjoyed the P&P Belknap (edited by Spacks), so I'm looking forward to S&S. They do take a bit longer to read, but well worth it!
<41 Looks like 2018 was a good reading year for you. I want to read the Cather trilogy this year and I think that All The Light We Can Not See is perhaps the best book I have ever read. I also re-read 6 Wilder books last year, but have about 4-5 associated books to read this year.
>45 tess_schoolmarm: If you like Wilder, you will love the Pioneer Girl book. It's huge--a coffee table book. It is the original manuscript (with TONS of annotations on the outside columns) that the books were based upon. Wilder had written her story in her 60s, for her daughter, who was also a writer. Her daughter tried to get the manuscript published, but didn't have any success, until an editor suggested that Wilder re-write the story from a child's perspective (rather than as an adult looking back telling her story). The rest, as they say, is history!
The notes are exhaustive (sometimes overly exhaustive), and they show the real events (like blizzards, real people, the family's movements from historical documentation and census records) in comparison to the original manuscript and the books. Most of the time, Wilder was very accurate in her remembrances of childhood events; sometimes she changed the order for dramatic effect. There are also the same passages quoted, from the manuscript and the books, to show how Wilder changed the wording from the perspective of an adult, to the re-written perspective of a child. It's an interesting look into the "writer's craft".
>46 kac522: I don't think I have that one, because none of mine are that large.........but I'm going to go find it now!
>46 kac522: Lucky for me our library has Pioneer Girl! I think I have borrowed it three times in the last year.
First book of 2019 completed:
1. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
Year Published: 1921
Acquired: Library ebook
My Project: Dame Agatha
This 1921 mystery introduces Tommy & Tuppence. It takes us from the Lusitania to the post-war revolutionary world, which I found intriguing. The ending was not a complete surprise for me (for once! I almost figured it out!), but I liked all the twists and turns and the characters zipping around London. And I really enjoyed the banter between T & T; it added some chemistry to the piece. A fun read.
>51 kac522: I love that Christie novel! Agree about the chemistry between Tommy and Tuppence.
Love your projects set-up! I have a couple of categories that are like that this year - something different for me that I will likely expand.
>53 LisaMorr: I hope it works. Last year, filling up the challenges just seemed a chore. I hope this set-up gives me more incentive.
2. Village Christmas and Christmas Mouse, Miss Read
Year Published: 1966 and 1973
Acquired: Library book
My Project: Miss Read
These are two separate stories/novellas. The first one was typical Miss Read: a baby is born on Christmas day, and two sisters of different temperaments sort of even each other out. But I did not particularly like the second one (Christmas Mouse), in which a Mrs. Berry seems to get away with being rather judgmental and almost harsh to a wayward boy. There was no tempering to her blunt opinions in the story, and I wonder if it truly reflects the attitudes of Miss Read. If so, I was disappointed, especially for a Christmas story.
3. Good-Bye to All That, Robert Graves
Year Published: 1929
Acquired: Paperback Root since 2016
My Project: CATs and Challenges (Reading through Time--WWI); My Dewey (900s); 2019 Roots
Graves wrote this autobiography at age 34, before he left England (pretty much) for good. I didn't like the first third of the book about his torturous school years, but the war years kept my iņterest. Graves' detailed recall of the events during WWI make this a valuable document of trench war. However there was a lot of military jargon/slang that was lost on me, and there is a lot of unexplained jumping around from topic to topic. The last part of the book was less compelling, with some name-dropping. The little bits about visiting an elderly Thomas Hardy were amusing.
Just found this list of Literary Centennials:
and find that George Eliot was born 22 November 1819; thus giving another nudge to concentrate on my Eliot Project (>6 kac522: ), and almost 11 months to complete it before the bicentennial.
Undue Influence, Anita Brookner (>3 kac522: )
4. The Chosen, Chaim Potok
Year Published: 1967
Acquired: Paperback Root since 2018
My Project: CATs and Challenges: January AAC; 2019 Roots
The Chosen portrays religious Jewish boys and their fathers in 1940s Brooklyn. One family is Hasidic; the other family is religious, but open to ideas and literature from the secular world. I loved how the boys were portrayed as they learn about each other and work to resolve their conflicts. I thought the Jewish history sections were well done, without being preachy. The theme of eyes and sight flows through the book. I especially enjoyed (nerd that I am) the chapter where Reuven works hard to prepare a specific Talmud passage, and all the commentary, and his teacher's response to it. That was the book's highlight for me--Mazel Tov, Reuven!
Knowing a few Orthodox families, this was very much in line with what I have experienced. I am only sorry it took me so long to finally read it. I have My Name is Asher Lev on the shelf, and I know I will get to it eventually.
5. The Shape of Water, Andrea Camilleri
Year Published: 1994
Acquired: Paperback Root since 2016
My Project: SeriesCAT for January--series in Translation; 2019 Roots
Meh. I'm probably in a tiny minority that didn't enjoy this book. Yes, it's well-written, and probably well-translated, but I got lost quickly. I just wasn't that interested in the characters, who seemed stereotypes to me, except perhaps for the poor couple with the sick baby. I've been to Milano multiple times, but never to Sicily. This just seemed to emphasize all the creepy parts of Italian life, when there are so many wonderful aspects. At least I finally learned the difference between the Carabinieri and the Polizia. This will probably be my first and last Camilleri.
6. Undue Influence, Anita Brookner
Year Published: 1999
Acquired: Hardcover from Chicago Public Library
My Project: Project Brookner
I love Anita Brookner, but I can only take her in small doses. It is intense reading, like Henry James, and I can only manage 30-40 pages at a time. We are always inside someone's head, as they go back and forth, analyzing and re-analyzing. In this book, twenty (or thirty?)-something Claire Pitt tells us up front that her memory and assessments may not necessarily be entirely correct or accurate. So we know we have an unreliable narrator from about page 2. Nothing much happens in a Brookner novel (this book is no exception), and many consider them depressing, but they don't depress me so much as sometimes overwhelm.
I think this review says it best--from the page of reviews on LT, attributed to Mark Thwaite:
An almost pathological writer, Brookner returns again and again to her notion of the inability of women to think of marriage as something that will rescue them--and yet they are pulled toward the ideal (one they easily deconstruct) of a romantic savior. A particular, melancholic despondence saturates her work, and disappointment dominates, despite the humor, erudition, and classical elegance of her prose. Brookner is a modern, bitter writer. Few novelists have the ability to create such complete characters and then dissect their motives so clearly.
I'll be thinking about Claire and how sometimes she was like me, and sometimes not like me, but I know this book won't stay with me. I have two more books to complete the reading of all of Brookner's novels; I'll be taking a long break before the next one.
>61 kac522: I use 2 chapters of that book when we study Vietnam---love it! (On the Rainy River and the one about Linda...can't remember the chapter title!)
>62 tess_schoolmarm: I read the first 6 stories last night, including "On the Rainy River." All are so compelling and authentic. I'm reading it for the January RandomCAT because there's a character with my name, Kathleen.
>59 kac522: - Good comments on the Camilleri book. I know there is a lot of love out there for the Inspector Montalbano books, me included. I tend to view them as fun escapism reads and yes, the characters are stereotypes or 'caricatures'. It is refreshing to read an opposing review, and you have raised some really good points!
>64 lkernagh: I really wanted to like Montalbano, Lori, especially after reading reviews like yours of the series. It just didn't happen for me. But Chaim Potok took me by surprise and I'll be reading the rest of his books in time. I was expecting to love Camilleri and hate Potok. Win some, lose some!
>68 tess_schoolmarm: I did! I haven't knuckled down to right a review, but among other things, I thought that the writing was excellent, without it feeling forced or like we had to notice it. Not sure I explained that correctly, but some writers are great, but you are acutely aware that they've worked hard to choose each word. This felt effortless.
And I appreciated the way he tied the characters together from story to story, sometimes repeating the same stories, but in a different way--so much like life, when we tell the same story over and over, but in different ways to different listeners. In fact, I think the book was as much about story-telling as it was about war, which is what made it so great. Guess my review is ready now!
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