2013: A Year of Reading

Essayist Bookshelf 2013Once again I managed to keep one of my New Year’s Resolutions. In January 2012, I resolved to read 50 books or articles related to my research and writing on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings, and I hit #50 near the end of November and did other reading that I didn’t count (mostly novels, classics, and philosophy). In January 2013, I decided to set my goal at 100 books and articles related to Lewis and the Inklings. Once again, I hit my goal in November, but I changed the rules a little bit as the year went on.

First, I have stopped recording most articles and essays unless I’ve read them in detail and they are directly connected to a C.S. Lewis and Inklings project. I wrote three papers this year, and read through dozens of articles at various depths. I’ve chosen not to include most of them.

Second, my project has grown, so that most fantasy, science fiction, many classics, and early to mid-20th century lit are connected to my project, so I’ve included them. The list below, then, captures most of what I read in 2013, other than some articles and any blogs or online research materials.

Third, I’ve added lecture series and lengthy audio dramatizations to the list. I don’t include single podcasts, one-hour documentaries, and the like. But I have gone through a number of graduate-level courses by audio this year, and decided to include those.

Lewis books signature seriesFourth, I’ve chosen not to include C.S. Lewis’ short poems as individual entries, but I do include all his articles, regardless of length. In truth, it is sort of a weird list. Some of C.S. Lewis’ reviews are a page or two, whereas his Allegory of Love took me a whole month to read. Auerbach took all fall, whereas Kafka and Voltaire were digested in single bites. It’s the nature of the project, I guess.

I read about 750 pages of C.S. Lewis letters this year, from 1922-1940 (as well as a few dozen of Tolkien’s). I’ve also tried adding a book on writing each month, but have fallen short in December.  I’ve read a couple of the books twice, and noted each time.

If you would like to track some of my thoughts on the reading, I’ve linked the pertinent blogs. I haven’t blogged on everything. “CSL” refers to C.S. Lewis, and I’ve kept the titles as short as possible. People who have followed a A Pilgrim in Narnia for a while will know that the focus has shifted a bit. New names have emerged, like Roger Zelazny, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Virginia Woolf. And I’ve gone through much of Madeleine L’Engle, H.G. Wells, Rob Bell, and Douglas Adams.

What will I do for 2014? I think I will keep these ground rules and raise the stakes to 150 pieces. My research will require some great journeys that move off this straight path, so I’m pretty excited about the year of reading ahead.

1 01/04 Jane Hipolito, “CSL & Barfield: Adversaries & Confidantes” (2007)
2 01/06 Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
3 01/08 Marilynne Robinson, “Freedom of Thought” (2012)
4 01/11 Jocelyn Gibb, ed., Light on C.S. Lewis (1965)
5 01/13 Antony Flew, There is a God  (2007)
6 01/14 George MacDonald, “Cosmo” story in Phantastes (1858)
7 01/20 CSL, All My Road Before Me (diary 1922-27)
8 02/03 Alana Vincent, Culture, Communion and Recovery: Tolkienian Fairy-Story and Inter-Religious Exchange (2012)
9 02/04 Sørina Higgins & Rebecca Tirrell Talbot, “Between Two Strange Hearts”: Spiritual Desolation in the Later Poetry of Gerard Manly Hopkins & Charles Williams” (2012)
10 02/14 F. Anstey, Vice Versa (1882)
11 02/20 Marilynne Robinson, “Imagination and Community” (2012)
12 02/27 Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006)
13 03/24 “Literary Criticism: Key Terms & Concepts,” class at Cambridge University
14 04/23 Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress (1678-1686)
15 05/04 Hooper (ed.), Collected Letters of CSL: Vol 1 (1905-31)
16 05/13 CSL, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1932)
17 05/14 CSL, “On 3 Ways of Writing for Children” (1954)
18 05/16 Affectionately Yours, Screwtape (2007 documentary)
19 05/16 Milton, Comus (e. 1634)
20 05/16 CSL, “A Note on Comus” (1932)
21 05/22 CSL, “What Chaucer really did to Il Filostrato (1932)
22 05/23 CSL, “The Alliterative Metre” with “The Planets,” a poem (1935)
23 05/24 Paul Fry, “Literary Theory” class at Yale University
24 05/28 CSL, The Allegory of Love
25 05/29 Don King, “Glints of Light:  The Unpublished Short Poetry of C. S. Lewis” (1988)
26 05/29 H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896)
27 05/30 Doug Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
28 05/31 CSL, “The Idea of an English School” (1934?)
29 06/02 CSL, Spirits in Bondage (1919); Intro by Hooper
30 06/04 Hooper, “The Lectures of CSL in the Universities” (1998)
31 06/05 CSL, “Our English Syllabus” (1930s)
32 06/05 M.M. Bakhtin, “Epic & Novel,” from Diologic Imagination (1941).
33 06/05 Madeleine L’Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)
34 06/05 CSL, Dymer (1925)
35 06/07 CSL, “Bluspels & Flansferers” (1936)
36 06/08 H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)
37 06/12 Don King, “Lost but Found: The ‘Missing Poems’ of C.S. Lewis’ Spirits in Bondage” (2004)
38 06/15 H.G. Wells, First Men in the Moon (1901)
39 06/19 Brian Attebery, Strategies of Fantasy (1992)
40 06/22 H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man (1897)
41 06/23 CSL, Boxen (1905-15)
42 06/26 Kathryn Hume, Fantasy & Mimesis (1984)
43 06/27 CSL, “Donne & 17th c. Love Poetry” (1936-8)
44 06/28 Neil Gaiman, Smoke & Mirrors (1980s-1990s)
45 07/01 CSL, Narrative Poems (e. 1925-35)
46 07/02 CSL, “Variation in Shakespeare and Others” (1930s)
47 07/03 CSL, “Genius & Genius” (1936)
48 07/03 CSL’s review of The Hobbit for TLS (1937) and letters where he recommends Tolkien’s work
49 07/04 CSL & Tillyard, The Personal Heresy (1933-9)
50 07/04 Joel Heck, “The Personal Heresy: Scholars Can Be Gentlemen” (2008)
51 07/10 CSL, Out of the Silent Planet (1938)
52 07/15 CSL, “William Morris” (1937)
53 07/15 Paul Ricoeur, “Myth as the Bearer of Possible Worlds” (1978)
54 07/16 Sallie McFague, Metaphorical Theology (1982)
55 08/02 Madeleine L’Engle, Many Waters (1986)
56 08/12 Charles Williams, The Place of the Lion (1931)
57 08/14 Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis, Wildwood (2011)
58 08/15 Doug Adams, Restaurant at the End of the Universe (1980)
59 08/22 Ursula Le Guin, Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
60 08/25 Ursula Le Guin, Tombs of Atuan (1971)
61 08/26 Doug Adams, Life, the Universe, & Everything (1982)
62 08/26 Richard Platt, As One Devil to Another (2012)
63 08/27 Anna Slack, ed., Doors in the Air: C.S. Lewis and the Imaginative World (2011)
64 09/04 CSL, Till We Have Faces (1956)
65 09/06 Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle (1986)
66 09/07 Ursula Le Guin, The Farthest Shore (1972)
67 09/08 Doug Adams, So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish (1984)
68 09/10 Brennan Hill, “Creation Education: An Overview of Contemporary Theological Education” (1990)
69 09/14 Rob Bell, Sex God (2007)
70 09/15 Ursula Le Guin, Tehanu (1990)
71 09/16 Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis (2005)
72 09/17 Rob Bell, Everything is Spiritual (2007, DVD)
73 09/17 Rob Bell, The Gods Aren’t Angry (2008, DVD)
74 09/23 Rob Bell, Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile (2008)
75 09/23 CSL, “Christianity and Literature” (1939)
76 09/25 CSL, The Problem of Pain (1939)
77 09/29 Rob Bell, Drops Like Stars: A Few Thoughts on Creativity and Suffering (2009)
78 09/30 Rob Bell, What We Talk About When We Talk About God (2013)
79 10/01 CSL, The Dark Tower (c. 1938-39), with Hooper Intro
80 10/01 David Jasper, Short Introduction to Hermeneutics (2004)
81 10/04 Voltaire, Candide (1759)
82 10/04 Doug Adams, Mostly Harmless (1992)
83 10/05 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)
84 10/07 Paul Fry, “Literary Theory” class at Yale University
85 10/08 Franz Kafka, Metamorphosus (1915)
86 10/09 James K. Wellman, Jr., Rob Bell and a New American Christianity (2012)
87 10/10 Ursula Le Guin, Tales of Earthsea (c. 1998)
88 10/21 CSL, The Silver Chair (1953)
89 10/31 John Stackhouse, “Theology and Culture” Regent class
90 10/31 CSL, The Silver Chair (1953)
91 11/01 Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
92 11/04 CSL, The Problem of Pain (1939)
93 11/05 CSL, “The Grand Miracle” (1945)
94 11/07 CSL, Till We Have Faces (1956)
95 11/11 Stephen King, On Writing (2000)
96 11/12 Charles Williams, The Descent of Hell (1937)
97 11/14 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)
98 11/15 J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy Stories” (1939/1947)
99 11/19 Yann Martel, Life of Pi (2001)
100 11/21 CSL, Mere Christianity (1942-44; 1952)
101 11/23 Renni Browne & Dave King, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (2004)
102 11/29 Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis (2013)
103 12/01 Focus on the Family production of The Screwtape Letters (2009)
104 12/04 CSL, “The Conditions for a Just War” (1939)
105 12/04 CSL, “High and Low Brows” (1939)
106 12/04 Ursula Le Guin, The Other Wind (2001)
107 12/05 B.R. Myers, “A Reader’s Manifesto” (2001)
108 12/05 CSL, “Learning in Wartime” (1939)
109 12/06 CSL, “15th Century Heroic Line” (1939)
110 12/10 Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)
112 12/12 Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)
113 12/13 CSL, A Preface to Paradise Lost (1942)
114 12/15 J. Aleksandr  Wootton, Her Unwelcome Inheritance (2013)
115 12/16 Auerbach, Mimesis (1946)
116 12/18 CSL, “Psycho-Analysis and Literary Criticism” (1942)
117 12/18 John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667)
118 12/18 CSL, review of Kingsmill’s Matthew Arnold (1928)
119 12/18 CSL, review of Evelyn Waugh, Rossetti (1928)
120 12/18 CSL, review of Ker, Form and Style (1928)
121 12/19 Crystal Downing, “Changing Signs of Truth,” Regent class
122 12/21 Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber (1970)
123 12/25 Roger Zelazny, The Guns of Avalon (1972)

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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33 Responses to 2013: A Year of Reading

  1. orthodoxmom3 says:

    Wow! What grand aspirations! It makes my own list I’m working on to post on the first rather elementary…. oh well..we all have to start somewhere!


  2. You are extremely impressive. (And I’m happy I made the list).
    Quick note: One of your CW titles needs editing: It’s “Descent Into Hell.”


  3. robstroud says:

    Quite impressive. Congratulations on your achievement and blessings as you continuing with this worthy goal-setting process.


  4. Way to go! What an accomplishment!


  5. pageariel says:

    thanks for sharing! this is very inspiring and the recommendations are helpful… I’m a huge cs lewis fan too


    • Very cool. What are you reading?


      • pageariel says:

        I am reading Wendell Berry’s book of poetry “The Country of Marriage” and am almost through “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James. I heartily recommend both!!


        • William James was a puzzle to me–not because I didn’t understand him, but because I didn’t know the consequences of it. Where does his thought lead? I read it with some healthy distrust, I think. I occasionally make my students read a bit of that book.


          • pageariel says:

            Since I haven’t finished it yet, I can’t say what I think about where he takes the lectures in the end. Yet, so far I have found his remarks extremely compelling, especially when seen in the context of religious studies at his time. The most evident consequence is a radical change in how religion is viewed, no longer easily dismissed by scientific “medical materialism” or reduced to debates of origin. I find this compelling historically, but also in my own spiritual journey. His thorough and objective quest into the qualities of true religion help me to speculate about my own conversion, beliefs and it’s relation to my health and emotional state.

            His thought leads in so many interesting directions that I won’t be wholly dissatisfied if he fails to sew a sturdy string through every lecture. I am an philosophical neophyte and read it recreationally, so I feel I can make no serious claims on the subject.


  6. David Hockley says:

    I was telling Michelle about your goal and she said she has probably read more than an hundred books since Sawyer (her son) was born 7 mo. ago. Books like “how many sounds can mr brown make” and she wondered if ready the same book 40 times counts 🙂


  7. C VB says:

    Wow, keep er up



  8. Wow! You must be a very fast reader! Does this even give you enough time for pondering?


    • I am a very slow reader. The lectures were audio, while I was jogging or cleaning or painting. A couple of the novels too. That adds to the list.
      I also spend some of my work day reading.
      But I am slow. I have to figure out how to speed up some how.
      Anyone have tips, ideas?


  9. This is an amazing list. I’m wondering abott what you thought of Le Guin. A Happy New Year!


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