Mary Reads

I have always been a reader, and in 2018 year I got a Kindle and discovered Audible so I am reading (and listening) more than ever. Several friends have inspired me to begin also keeping track of my reading as part of my blog. While this page won’t be updated as much as the main blog, I thought it would be good to add it to keep a log of what I’ve read. Any maybe it will be neat for you to get to know me a bit better this way through what I like to read! In the past I have been a member of a book club called Well Read Mom so selections for that group are marked WRM. I believe that listening to books counts as reading too, but I mark audio books with the narrator to keep track of reading pages versus listening.  Anyway,  I’ll just make a section for each year and add to it as I read things. I’m still figuring out how to make this page work so be patient and leave a comment on the blog if you wish! 🙂

Read/Listened to in 2023

January: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (audible) nothing like a little Agatha Christie to pull me out of a post-holiday reading slump!

January: Mountain Time (audio) by Ivan Doig

February: City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell. It was really beautiful.

February: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (audio)

February: Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie (audio)

March: 4:50 to Paddington by Agatha Christie

March: Ecclesiastes

March: Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry (audio…but I didn’t love this book)

March: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

March: The BFG by Roald Dahl (Family Read)

March: The Fourth Cup by Scott Hahn (3 books with 4 in the title…that wasn’t planned!)

April: The Maid by Nita Prose

April: Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry (audio, with the kids. I loved Henry’s horse books when I was little but had never read this one. It was really good!)

April: Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig (audio…it was great)

April: The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah (audio. I am astonished at what a good job this author does capturing the feel of Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot. I’m so glad to have more Poirot mysteries to read!)

April: The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah (audio)

May: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (audio)

May: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah (audio) I really enjoyed this new series featuring Poirot. I’ve now listened to all 4. I hope there will be more.

May: My Antonia by Willa Cather (audio…I had started this much earlier this year and never finished! It think it’s the 5th time I’ve read/listened. Such a good book!)

May: Acts of the Apostles

May: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman Pretty good read.

May: This House of Sky by Ivan Doig (audio…If you want some beautiful, clean prose, read Ivan Doig. I’m never disappointed)

May: Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

May: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s been 25 years since I first read it. I think I just didn’t appreciate the good writing in high school and it was good to revisit it.

May: Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

May: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (audio) This was a beautiful book.

May: I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith (dramatic audio…I don’t know if I want to read the unabridged version…)

June: Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie

June: News of the World by Paulette Jiles

June: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines

July: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (audio) I have always liked Hemingway. I really enjoy the spare language. It was nice to reread this. I first read it in high school.

July: Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie

July: The Hollow by Agatha Christie

July: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (audio) I had started this in June…my digital library loan ended before I finished the last hour! So I had to wait a month to hear the end!

July: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (audio)

August: One Two Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie

August: Carry On, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse (audio)

August: Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie

August: The Betrothed (audio) by Alessandro Manzoni. It was great but it took me a long time to get through it. I think I started it in March and listened on and off, mostly off, until July/August when I finally got momentum to finish.

September: The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann. Not my usual fare but this was just fascinating. An amazing story of survival, and yet I am so glad we live in our times!

September: Plainsong by Kent Haruf…Eh…another modern novel that is reasonably well written but is spoiled by sordid and unnecessary descriptions of ugliness and immorality thus failing to uplift. I loved a lot of the characters though. Will not read the sequels.

September: The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie (audio)

September: Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. This book was sweet but also grave.

October: A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell (audio) Wow, what a life. Highly recommend this book.

October: Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie

October: short stories by Agatha Christie: The Dream and The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim

November: Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie

November: The Private Life of Spies and the Exquisite Art of Getting Even by Alexander McCall Smith. (audio) I only listened to the first half, The Private Life of Spies. I had a hard time staying engaged with this book in general as it was a series of unconnected short stories on the same theme of being a spy and revenge and meh, not really my cup of tea, especially after A Woman of No Importance which was a more serious take on a similar topic and which made this work seem trivial and lacking in gravity and respect for the sacrifices, humanity and brutality of real life spies.

November: At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon (audio). Ok, it took me a while to get into something so warm and cozy and…unreal! despite its realism! But I finally did get into and I really liked it! And then with just an hour left my loan expired and I had to wait months to finish it! It was a really nice comforting read just like everyone says. I am listening to the sequel now for my last read of the year.

December: The Christmas Doll by Elvira Woodruff (audible) It was ok! It was melodramatic. It was a bit purple. It was pretending to be Dickens. I don’t feel like I wasted my time exactly!

December: A Classic Tales Christmas by various authors narrated by B. J. Harrison for audible. This was a GREAT collection of Christmas stories. I enjoyed every single one. Some of the highlights included some new to me Dickens: The Goblins and the Gravedigger, the Life of Our Lord for Children, and A Cricket on the Hearth. O Henry’s The Gift of the Magi and The Last Leaf, and The Ice Palace by F. Scott Fitzgerald. My favorite was the beautiful Where Love Is, God Is by Leo Tolstoy and the Poems Markheim and Christmas at Sea by Robert Louis Stevenson. There was also A Christmas Carol by Dickens which didn’t disappoint, I have now listened to 3 narrations of this work which have all been excellent, which I think says just as much about the classic nature of this story as the narrators.

December: The Confessions by St. Augustine, which I listened to on a free podcast called Catholic Classics from Ascension Press. This has been a really good way to get through a difficult work and the commentary has been very helpful for understanding the work and my own spiritual growth. I recommend this podcast if you have wanted to read and understand a work like The Confessions and have struggled with it. I had even taken an undergraduate college course on St. Augustine and the podcast greatly increased my ability to benefit from his writing.

If I finish A Light In the Window by Jan Karon this month, I will have 53 books in 2023, more than one a week. That is a good amount of reading I think. Good Job, Mary!

Read/Listened to in 2022

January: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (audible)

January: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (audible read by Dan Stevens, it was GREAT! He is so good at voices!)

January: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (audible)

January: The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie (audible) (are you detecting a trend?)

February: Home by Marilynne Robinson (audible) I cannot express how much I disliked this book. All the characters were odious. The narrator sounded like she was about to fall asleep any minute. I listened to it on 1.5 speed to get through it quicker. I do not understand the fuss.

February: Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (short stories on audible)

February: Persuasion by Jane Austen (audible, I listened to the Juliet Stevenson version. It was good. I had never read this one before. I started it many times over the past 2 years and finally thought i would just listen to it because I did find it rather slow. But I think I will read it now to get more from it. )

February: All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot (audible)

March: Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (This was an amazing book. I could NOT put it down and finished it in 3-4 days. I had read All The Light We Cannot See several years ago, this one did not disappoint!)

March: The Lord God Made Them All by James Herriot (audible)

March: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George It is not my usual fare but I read it alongside my daughter, and it was pretty fun.

March: Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Clare Hunter. I read this one on my Kindle. It took a long time. I had started in December. Many sections were boring. A few chapters were enthralling. The writing is poetic but verging on purple. So. Much. Alliteration. Too much! Some of it reads as very academic and some of it is a memoir so it is hard to pin down exactly what kind of a book it is. It is almost like a series of articles very artfully strung together. It was interesting over all. I really HATED that it had no pictures. This was a huge mistake by the publisher, especially given than many of the works described don’t seem like they should be encumbered by royalty or licensing issues (remember I have an MA in art history and have written extensively illustrated papers so I know a little about this).  I would have gladly paid twice as much for this same book with illustrations. A list of websites at the back of the book doesn’t cut it, and constantly interrupting my reading to look up things was unsatisfying. Meh. If you like needlework and history you should read this book. But be prepared to work through it.

March: The Shell Collector: Stories by Anthony Doerr (Short stories. I didn’t really love any of the characters except the fisher-girl Dorotea. and the running girl Naima. Most of the stories were kind of sad or tense or fraught but they were beautifully written, really, just beautifully written. I didn’t mind them being sad or maybe a little mystical, or belief-suspending because the language was so wonderful. But they did build and hold tension through the whole story so that made them hard to stop reading, even though they were disturbing to my heart.)

March: Jesus of Nazareth from the Baptism in the River Jordan to the Transfiguration by Pope Benedict XVI (audible)

March: Light Changes Everything by Nancy E. Turner

March: Howard’s End by E. M. Forster (audible)

March: Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

April: Introduction to the Spiritual Life by Brant Pitre (audible)

April: Every Living Thing (audible) by James Herriot

May: The Lincoln Highway (audible was EXCELLENT) by Amor Towles

May: Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie

June: Peril at End House by Agatha Christie

June: Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

June: Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (audible)

July: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (it was GREAT!)

July: A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier (audible)

July: Boy by Roald Dahl (audible)

July: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (audible)

July : Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

August: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (audible) The first part of the novel was very interesting and even quite beautiful. I would not recommend the second half. It really degenerated. I am actually embarrassed to say I finished it. I feel like if I had more courage I would have said “enough!” and just quit. If the style of the ending was in the first half I would not have read it beyond a few pages. However, if the ending had continued as good as the beginning it easily could have been a top read for this year. So take that for what it’s worth.

September: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (audible) Picked a a palette cleanser after the previous one. This was a very hard book. I didn’t dislike it, but it was hard to read and I felt like I needed a class to appreciate it. I’m glad I gave it the time (25 hours!) but if I ever revisit it, I’ll do it with a reading guide of some kind.

September: The Trustee in the Toolroom by Nevil Shute (what a super book! I sent it to my Dad right away because I liked it so much!)

October: About Grace by Anthony Doerr (loved it)

October: Nicholas Nickleby read by Simon Vance on audio…It was so delightful, it is possibly my new favorite Dickens! If I were to have another son I’d seriously consider naming him Nicholas.

November: Everything Sad is Untrue read the author Daniel Nayeri-it was really well written

November: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (audible)

November: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (audible)

December: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (audible) An epic end to the year.

Read/Listened to in 2021

January: The Revenant by Michael Punke (audible)

January: The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (audible-beautifully read by Alan Rickman-it was wonderful)

February: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richards (Did not like. But I finished it. Seriously, rain on a cloudless day? Needs an editor!)

February: In The Time Of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (WRM selection) (And now I’ve got to get away from contemporary fiction and back to England. Ugh!)

February: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers

March: Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers

March: Whose Body? By Dorothy Sayers

March: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (audible read by Jeremy Irons-stupendous)

April: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (audible, listened for WRM) I first read this in 10th grade. I was glad to have a chance to experience it again as an adult.

April: Clouds of Witnesses by Dorothy Sayers (are you detecting a pattern? (no pun intended!) I am trying to get through the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, what? 🙂 )

April: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (audible)

May: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (audible)

May: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

June: A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary

June: On My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary

June: The Chosen by Chaim Potok

June: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

July: The Promise by Chaim Potok

July: A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

August: Silas Marner by George Elliot (audible) I read this in 8th or 9th grade. It didn’t make a huge impression on me then I don’t think though I remembered the plot more or less. Listening to it again as an adult was a neat experience. I loved this book so much. It is such a beautiful story.

August: Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

August: Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiana (meh.)

August: Far from the Maddening Crown by Thomas Hardy (audible)

August: Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton (audible) This is a book that everyone should read or listen to. If you have not, I urge you to select it for your next read!

September: I did not finish any books! I was working on 2 longer ones which I finished in October!

October: Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (audible)

October: Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

October: Freddy Goes to Florida by Walter Brooks. Family read aloud. One of my favorite series as a child!

October: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer Hmm. I don’t think fantasy is my genre. But it was very engaging. I got through it in 2 days.

October: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett A family listen on our vacation. Everyone loved it.

November: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Another reread this year of a book I first read in school. I read it along with my son so we could talk about it. I had forgotten a lot but what a good book.

November: All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriott (audible-I loved it!)

December: Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI (audible)

December: Jacob T. Marley by R William Bennett (audible)

December: The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander

2021: THE BIBLE! Yes! I listened to the WHOLE BIBLE on the Bible in a Year podcast. I highly recommend this amazing podcast by Ascension Press and Fr. Mike Schmidt. I have always wanted to read the Bible but always get sidetracked and distracted. This podcast is only 20-25 minutes a day and during that time over the course of the year you get to hear every word, plus commentary and prayer. I learned SO much. I understand so much better how the stories of the Bible fit together in a historical context and how they relate to each other. I have been a church goer my whole life and never before have I felt I really comprehended the words I hear each week. This has been life changing! If you ever thought about reading the Bible, or reading it better, this may be the podcast for you too! It is available on Youtube and through just about any podcast app you like to use.

Read/Listened to in 2020

January: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (audible)

January: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Well Read Mom Book Club selection)

January: The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones (Audible)

February: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston read by Ruby Dee (Audible/WRM selection)

February: The Martian by Andy Weir (Audible)

February: Lady Susan and The Watsons by Jane Austen (audible)

February: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, read on Audible by Nick Offerman

February: A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

March: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (Audible)

March: A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn (audible)

March: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stenger (audible, WRM)

April: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (audible)

April: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (audible)

May: The Bible is a Catholic Book by Jimmy Akin (audible)

May: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (audible)

June: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (audible)

June: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (audible)

June: Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers (audible)

July: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (WRM)

July: The Life and Times of Prince Albert by Patrick Allitt (audible)

July: The Man on the Mountaintop by Susan Trott (audible dramatic adaptation-it was great)

July: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (audible)

August: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan (audible)

September: Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (audible)

October: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (WRM-Audible)

October: Babette’s Feast, Sorrow Acre, and Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (audible-ooooh these were good.)

I kind of gave up on listing my reading this year… 🙂

What else did I read…or rather listen to because I stopped reading and only listened:

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry (a road trip listen with the kids…also How to Train Your Dragon but that wasn’t really literature!)

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkein

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

Read/Listened to in 2019

January: My Antonia by Willa Cather (audible)

January-February: Hard Times by Charles Dickens (librivox) (Well Read Mom Book Club-WRM)

March: The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton (uvula audio recording/read) (WRM)

March: The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis (WRM)

April: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (audible)

April-May: Middlemarch by George Eliot (WRM, audible)

June: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towels (audible)

June: The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (audible)

June/July: Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

July: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (audible)

July: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

August: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

August: Wit by Margaret Edson (Well Read Mom)

August-September: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, read on Audible by Richard Armitage

September: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Audible)

September: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (read it in paperback!)

September: Absent in the Spring by Agatha Christie (read it in paperback!)

October: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, listened on Librivox for WRM

October: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish (Audible)

October: A Grown Up Guide to Dinosaurs (Audible)

November: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle (Audible)

November: Tales from the Perilous Realm by JRR Tolkien (WRM)

November: A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle (Audible) This was one of my very favorite books as a young teen. It was an interesting re-read.

November: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

November: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

December: The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen (WRM)

December: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (audible)

December: Tears of the Giraffe (Ladies Detective Agency book 2) by Alexander McCall Smith (audible)

Read/Listened to in 2018

December: Kristen Lavransdatter (audio) by Sigrid Undset

November: Short Stories by Truman Capote: A Christmas Memory and Thanksgiving Visitor (WRM)

November: Pride and Prejudice (audio) by Jane Austen

November: Sense and Sensibility (audio) by Jane Austen

October: The Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

October: My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (WRM)

September: An American Childhood by Annie Dillard (WRM)

September: Sherlock Holmes Rediscovered Railway Mysteries (audio) (because it is read by Benedict Cumberbatch!)

August: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (audio) by Mark Twain (read by Nick Offerman)

July: The Name of the Rose (audio) by Umberto Eco

July: Atticus: A Novel by Ron Hansen

July: Lonesome Dove (audio) by Larry McMurtry

July: True Grit by Charles Portis

June-July These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy E. Turner (Stitching connection: Was recommended by Diane Williams of Little House Needleworks. She made a sampler in honor of the book. Both she and the author are from Arizona.)

June: One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler

June: Peace Live a River by Leif Enger

June: The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

May-June: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

May-June: Les Miserables (read/listened on librivox) by Victor Hugo (my first time to read the WHOLE thing!) (WRM)

April: Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (WRM)

February-March: Strangers and Sojourners by Michael O’Brien (WRM)

January: In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden

January finished: Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge

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