01 January 2009

100 Books for 2008: an epilogue

Last year, full of ambition, I ventured to read 100 books during the 12 month calendar. I finished yesterday reading approximately 54 books. I was 46 shy, well short of my goal but 100 was always...er...just a number. With 54 books I easily surpassed any total number of books read before in a calendar year. (According to The Architect, I even read more than 43, he read only 45 - and apparently he read only books he agrees with, which I did also).

I suppose one of most entertaining aspects was coming up with my list of 100 books to read. In college the ultimate t-shirt read: So many beers, so little time; then in divinity school the ultimate t-shirt read so many books, so little time. Think of it this way. If I live till I am 85 (I exercise, don't smoke, very little red meat, and I have good genes) and read 50 books a year I will have read only 2,550 books! Having this target in mind makes the formation of the each year's list even more demanding.

What did I learn from the list? I love English detective novels, I do not like imaginary biographical historical fiction, electricity is not nearly as exciting as I once thought, I need more science, I appreciate sentence structure, it is well worth my time to read classic sermons, Eric Carle is quite inspiring, NPR gives great book suggestions, and it is amazing how many books one can read simply chugging through a book a few pages a night.

This year's list is heavy on fiction and classical literature. I will try to read a classic a month. This year's list is only 50 books broken down into five categories: Classical Literature, Theology, Biography, My interests and Wild Cards (books I discover along the way, books given to me, books recommended, books I stumble upon). I also hope to read a few books of poetry. The race is on. Today I finished the first one. The Heart Leans a Little to the Left by William Sloane Coffin. I have never read any of his works but I will now. He writes with a distinct voice, he presents two options then hammers home the one he wants to get across; along the way he quotes Latin phrases, Shakespeare, images from Greek culture, everyday stories - good stuff.

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