2017: A Year of Reading

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” ~ G.K. Chesterton (thanks to Book Oblivion for the quote)

As a PhD student it is my “job” to read. And though I struggled with writing except in strong spurts in 2017, reading is the area where I have been the most successful and consistent. I had a few goals for 2017:

  • Reduce my reading to 100 books, but read longer books (averaging 320 pages/book)
  • 125 articles, shorts stories, essays, or other short pieces (not in collections)
  • A 1:3 female:male ratio of authors
  • Read C.S. Lewis’ essays in the winter, his poetry in the summer, and his fiction in the fall
  • Increase the number of classes/lecture series to 10
  • Increase my Canadian literature content
  • Read one theological book a month
  • Read one literary theory or writing text a week for my Research Methods class in the fall

My goals this year were really about:

  • thickening up my reading and focussing it to match my thesis needs
  • intentionally building up my CanLit knowledge (with the goal of presenting at a conference in 2018)
  • reading for course prep (which overlaps with my PhD program)

80% of my books fit into one of those categories, and another 10% of my books and all the lectures were designed for increasing skills or devotional reading.

So, how did I do?

With due respect to the creepy encouragement from Goodreads–how would they know what I’m good at?–I muffed my first goal. For some reason, I put some omnibus editions in Goodreads, so it looks like 117 books at 36,000 words. When tracking individual books on my excel sheet (below), it was actually 127 books. In either case, the word length is the same, meaning I didn’t read longer books in 2017. This shows that I was a little soft on my thesis reading and filled it out with more fiction than normal. It also attests to how thin C.S. Lewis’ books are–the main character in my PhD dissertation. Lewis’ brevity is legendary, one of the reasons I would like to write essays like he does. Leaving out his journals and letters, Lewis averaged 221.8 pages per book. In 2017 I read 21 Lewis books, which will soften these averages considerably.

I met my learning goals this year, and except for being soft on Lewis’ poetry, I met my Lewis goals (including struggling with Charles Williams). I read 14 books by Canadian fiction writers. In 2018 I want to take that forward, reading a couple of more of Margaret Atwood, more of Lucy Maud Montgomery, and whatever I can fit in of Guy Gavriel Kay. And I fell just short of my 1:3 female:male ratio (though by the goodreads stats I came pretty close). 22% of the books I read were written by women. As a scholar of primarily male figures, that’s to be expected, but I am intent on broadening my experience. The ratio may shift in late 2018 or early 2019 as I come to a question about gender in my thesis.


Over the years of reading, my monthly averages have flattened out. As always, there is a drop in the early fall–I find the fall semester really difficult to get started. What has been consistent in all three previous years is the strength of my summer reading; 2017 was just below average, with a much stronger spring and late fall. Perhaps this might be a bit bent as my summer was taken up by longer books like The Name of the Wind, The Brothers Karamazov, and IT




Though I don’t tend to count blogs or most internet articles, books are not all of my reading. In 2017, I dropped pretty dramatically in my reading of articles as I found myself reading primary source material more than usual in research. I exceeded the goal with the number of lectures I listened to, going through 13 series in total.  In the chart below, gold is books, purple is articles, and green includes lecture series and classes.

My charts have better detail, but honestly, the Goodreads infographic is just so much nicer (see the entire infographic here).

If my reading had themes this past year, it was these:

  • C.S. Lewis and books about him (21 and 11 books respectively); the book above where I was the only reader is the Revised Psalter, which Lewis helped edit
  • Books by and about the Inklings (10 books), including a focus on Tolkien
  • CanLit books (14), including a turn to L.M. Montgomery
  • Theological works (24 books)
  • SF and Fantasy books, other than Inklings (24 books), including some classic SF, some Stephen King, and my ongoing reading of Discworld
  • Literary theory, literary criticism, and literary history (17 books and a couple of dozen articles), mostly in the fall, but I try to read a literary history book ever season

This coming year, my reading will be determined by season:

  • Winter: Because I am precepting a course called Literature, Film, and Technoculture with Signum University, my winter and part of the spring will be dominated by SciFi (I think my SHANWAR read is SF, but I’m not sure yet)
  • Spring: I will be finishing up the SciFi class reading and focussing on two areas for the rest of the spring: L.M. Montgomery’s work from 1908-1917, and C.S. Lewis’ teenage work (1914-1919)
  • Summer: The summer is all about C.S. Lewis, especially secondary material; my reading will lighten as I have 6 weeks of dedicated writing time
  • Fall: Continues the C.S. Lewis work with a supplement in theology; I will probably also reread Harry Potter, as I do every other autumn

And I will be going slowly through the catalogues that I love: Tolkien, Discworld, and a couple of the lists from this blog.


The Goodreads app is kind of limited, though you can check out my 2017 infographic. They have a thousand possibilities for creating infographics, yet they can’t figure out how to give us that power. Until then, I’ll stick with the classic excel sheet list. I wish I was infographically-inclined, but I do like lists! Here is my list of reading form 2017. “CSL” below means “C.S. Lewis.” I’ve linked some of the blogs that connect with the things I’ve read. Are any of these books or papers yours? If so, feel free to link my list. If you have your own year-end list or best-of blog, make sure you link it in the comments.

# Date Book or Short Piece
1 Jan 01 Kenneth E. Bailey, “Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels” (1995)
2 Jan 01 Courtney Petrucci, “Abolishing Man in Other Worlds: Breaking and Recovering the Chain of Being in C.S. Lewis’s Ransom Cycle” (2016)
3 Jan 01 Terry Pratchett, Jingo (1997)
4 Jan 01 J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2003)
5 Jan 02 David C. Downing and Bruce R. Johnson, “C.S. Lewis’s Unfinished ‘Easley Fragment’ and his Unfinished Journey” (1928; 2011)
6 Jan 06 J.K. Rowling, The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2003)
7 Jan 08 CSL, God in the Dock (1966)
8 Jan 08 Arend Smilde, “A History of C. S. Lewis’s Collected Shorter Writings” (2012; 2015)
9 Jan 10 CSL, The Weight of Glory (1980)
10 Jan 12 CSL, Foreword to Joy Davidman, Smoke on the Mountain (1955)
11 Jan 14 CSL, Christian Reflections (1967)
12 Jan 17 CSL, Present Concerns (1986)
13 Jan 17 CSL, “Blimpophobia” (1944)
14 Jan 17 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Father Christmas Letters (1920s-30s; 1976)
15 Jan 18 CSL, Of This and Other Worlds (1982)
16 Jan 20 Jeff McInnis, In and Out of the Moon (2015)
17 Jan 23 CSL, Preface to George MacDonald: An Anthology (1946)
18 Jan 23 CSL, The Abolition of Man (1943)
19 Jan 23 Katharine MacDonald, “Youth Retention and Repatriation in PEI” (2016)
20 Jan 25 J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf: A Translation (1920-6; 2014)
21 Jan 26 Mary Anne Phemister & Andrew Lazo, Mere Christians (2009)
22 Jan 26 Emily Strand, “Rogue One and the Paschal Mystery” (2016)
23 Jan 26 Tom Shippey, “J.R.R. Tolkien’s Beowulf” (2017)
24 Jan 26 J.R. Lucas, “Restoration of Man” (1992)
25 Jan 27 W.W. Robson, “C.S. Lewis” (1966)
26 Jan 29 CSL, “A Slip of the Tongue” (1956; 1963)
27 Jan 29 CSL, Reflections on the Psalms (1958)
28 Jan 30 J.R.R. Tolkien and Verlyn Flieger (ed.), The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun (1930; 2016)
29 Jan 31 Walter Hooper, ed, introduction and editorial note of They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1979)
30 Jan 31 Clyde S. Kilby, Letters to an American Lady (1969)
31 Jan 31 CSL, Dymer (1925; 1950 preface)
32 Feb 01 Bruce Hindmarsh, “The Roots of Evangelical Spirituality” (2007)
33 Feb 01 CSL, “Christian Reunion” (1944)
34 Feb 03 CSL, The World’s Last Night and Other Essays (1960)
35 Feb 04 J.R.R. Tolkien, Tales from the Perilous Realm (1992)
36 Feb 05 N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (2007)
37 Feb 06 J.R.R. Tolkien and Verlyn Flieger (ed.), The Story of Kullervo (1914; 2015)
38 Feb 07 David Baggett, Jerry L. Walls, Gary Habermas, et al, C.S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness and Beauty (2008)
39 Feb 10 Mark Noll, “Opening a Wardrobe” (1986)
40 Feb 10 Jean L.S. Patrick, ed., A Christian for All Christians: Essays in Honor of C.S. Lewis (1990)
41 Feb 14 Matthew Lee, “To Reign in Hell or to Serve in Heaven: C.S. Lewis on the Problem of Hell and Enjoyment of the Good” (2008)
42 Feb 16 J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun” (1930)
43 Feb 16 Verlyn Flieger, “Tolkien Dark: Kullervo, Aotrou and Itroun” (2016)
44 Feb 18 J.I. Packer, “Still Surprised by Lewis” (1998)
45 Feb 21 Kenneth C. Harper, “C.S. Lewis: A Survey of Recent Scholarship” (1989)
46 Feb 21 Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent (1998)
47 Feb 22 CSL, “Religion Without Dogma?” (1946)
48 Feb 25 Walter Hooper, Preface to Christian Reunion and Other Essays (1990)
49 Feb 25 H. Rider Haggard, King’s Solomon’s Mines (1885)
50 Feb 27 John McWhorter, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English (2008)
51 Feb 28 Bruce R. Johnson, “Answers that Belonged to Life: C. S. Lewis and the Origins of the Royal Air Force Chaplains’ School, Cambridge” (2012)
52 Feb 28 Edumnd Cooper and Roger Lancelyn Green, Double Phoenix (1971)
53 Feb 28 Harry Lee Poe, “C.S. Lewis Was a Secret Government Agent” (2015)
54 Feb 28 Suzanne Bray, “‘The Exact Programme a Particular Country Wishes to Have’: C.S. Lewis’ Literary Broadcast for Iceland” (2016)
55 Feb 28 Gregory Anderson, “Lost Letters of Lewis at the Lambeth Palace Library” (2016)
56 Feb 28 John G. West “Darwin in the Dock” (2012)
58 Mar 01 William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728)
59 Mar 02 Phyllis A. Tickle, The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why (2008)
60 Mar 05 Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology (2017)
61 Mar 11 William Paul Young, The Shack (2008)
62 Mar 12 Orson Scott Card & Christopher Yost, Ender’s Game: The Graphic Novel (2010)
63 Mar 14 Robert Lacey, The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium, An Englishman’s World (1998)
64 Mar 15 Dallas Willard, Renovations of the Heart (2002)
65 Mar 20 Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1986)
66 Mar 20 Larry Keeley, Kyla Fullwinder, “Design Thinking” (2016)
67 Mar 20 Margaret Atwood, “What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of Trump” (2017)
68 Mar 22 Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be (1952)
69 Mar 22 Timothy Smith, “Whitfield, Wesley, and Evangelical Social Reform” (1987)
70 Mar 26 Stephen King, The Stand (1978)
71 Mar 27 Charles Williams, “What the Cross Means to Me” (1943)
72 Mar 28 G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1922)
73 Mar 30 Roger E. Olson, How to be Evangelical without Being Conservative (2008)
74 Apr 01 Michael R. Phillips, The Garden at the Edge of Beyond (1998)
75 Apr 05 Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum (1998)
76 Apr 06 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (1977)
77 Apr 07 Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (1949)
78 Apr 10 Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003)
79 Apr 13 Monika B. Hilder, Surprised by the Feminine: A Rereading of C. S. Lewis’s and Gender (2013)
80 Apr 13 Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book III (1559)
81 Apr 18 Boethius, The Consolations of Philosophy (524)
82 Apr 19 Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood (2009)
83 Apr 20 Mark Sampson, Sad Peninsula (2014)
84 Apr 29 Melvyn Bragg, The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language (2003)
85 May 01 G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)
86 May 03 L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)
87 May 05 Brian Paulsen, The River (1992)
88 May 07 J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016)
89 May 08 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrún (1920s-30s; 2009)
90 May 10 Tom Shippey, Review of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, by J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. Christopher Tolkien (2010)
91 May 10 Joe Christopher, Review of Gender Dance by Monika Hilder (2014)
92 May 10 Laura Lee Smith, Review of Surprised by the Feminine by Monika Hilder (2016)
93 May 10 Charles Huttar, Review of Monika Hilder Trilogy (2016)
94 May 10 Sigrid Undset, Catherine of Siena (1951)
95 May 11 Michael S. Jeffress & William J. Brown, “Freedom of Choice in The Great Divorce: C.S. Lewis’ Rhetorical Vision of the Afterlife” (2017)
96 May 15 William Morris, News from Nowhere (1890)
97 May 15 Carl Edlund Anderson “The Legends of Sigurd and Gudrún” (2017)
98 May 16 Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book IV and 100 Aphorisms (1559)
99 May 19 CSL, T.S. Eliot et al., The Revised Psalter (1959-64)
100 May 19 Walter Hooper, “Reflections on the Psalms” in C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide (1996)
101 May 19 Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam (2013)
102 May 24 George M. Marsden, A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards (2008)
103 May 24 Travis Buchanan, “An Unwelcome Transposition: Review Essay of Paul H. Brazier’s C.S. Lewis: Revelation and the Christ” (2016)
104 May 24 Dabney. “A Letter from C.S. Lewis” (2016)
105 May 26 N.T. Wright, The Lord and His Prayer (1996)
106 May 29 Jason Fisher, “Little Known Lewis Letters” (2017)
107 May 29 Francis Warner, “Lewis’ Involvement in the Revision of the Psalter” (2011)
108 May 30 Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant (1997)
109 May 30 Terry Pratchett, “The Sea and Little Fishes” (1998)
110 Jun 03 Joseph Laconte, A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War (2015)
111 Jun 06 Dante, The Divine Comedy (1308-1320)
112 Jun 07 James M. Houston, “The Prayer Life of CSL” (1989)
113 Jun 10 Arthur G. Holder, The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality (2005)
114 Jun 13 J. Gresham Machen, Christianity & Liberalism (1922)
115 Jun 13 Ron Dart, “CSL and Bede Griffiths” (2017)
116 Jun 14 Brenton D.G. Dickieson, “Mixed Metaphors and Hyperlinked Worlds: A Study of Intertextuality in CSL’s Ransom Cycle” (2015)
117 Jun 14 Suzanne Bray, “’Any Chalice of Consecrated Wine’: The Significance of the Holy Grail in Charles Williams’s War in Heaven” (2017)
118 Jun 16 Marsha Daigle-Williamson, Reflecting the Eternal: Dante’s Divine Comedy in the Novels of CSL (2015)
119 Jun 16 Samuel Johnson, Rasselas (1759)
120 Jun 18 Mark Sampson, The Slip (2017)
121 Jun 26 John Lawlor, C.S. Lewis: Memories and Reflections (1998)
122 Jun 27 John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563)
123 Jul 01 John Warwick Montgomery, “Contemporary Religious Thoughts” (1970)
124 Jul 01 Terry Pratchett, The Truth (2000)
125 Jul 08 Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters (2016)
126 Jul 17 L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea (1909)
127 Jul 19 L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island (1915)
128 Jul 20 Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: History’s Age of Hatred (2006)
129 Jul 23 Charles Williams, Shadows of Ecstasy (1930)
130 Jul 27 CSL, selections from Letters I (1930)
131 Jul 27 David L. Neuhouser, “Crossing the ‘Great Frontier'” (2016)
132 Jul 27 Dale Nelson, “Fantasy and Science Fiction: The C.S. Lewis Issues” (2017)
133 Jul 28 L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams (1917)
134 Jul 29 Eugene Peterson, “Jesus and Prayer” (c. 1996)
135 Jul 30 L.M. Montgomery, Chronicles of Avonlea (1912)
135 Jul 31 Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind (2008)
137 Aug 01 Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brother’s Karamazov (1879)
138 Aug 03 David Teems, Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God an English Voice (2012)
139 Aug 08 Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (1980)
140 Aug 09 CSL, “Philia” (1958)
141 Aug 12 Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time (2001)
142 Aug 13 Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (1997)
143 Aug 14 Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero (2001)
144 Aug 18 Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why (2000)
145 Aug 21 Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying: An Observation” (1891)
146 Aug 24 Gary Thorne, “Baptized but not Sanctified: George MacDonald and the Fantastic Baptism of the Imagination of C.S. Lewis” (2015)
147 Aug 24 David C. Downing on Lewis & Phantastes (1992, 2002, 2005)
148 Aug 24 George MacDonald, “The Fantastic Imagination” (1895)
149 Aug 24 Claire Connors, Literary Theory: A Beginner’s Guide (2010)
150 Aug 24 Owen Barfield, Christopher Mitchell (ed), Amy Vail (trans) Jane Hipolito (ed), “Death” (1930; 2008)
151 Aug 25 CSL, Spirits in Bondage (1919)
152 Aug 29 A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
153 Aug 30 George MacDonald, “The Fantastic Imagination” (1895)
154 Sep 04 Signum Faculty, Research Methods (2017)
155 Sep 05 Jorge Luis Borges, Călin-Andrei Mihăilescu (Editor), This Craft of Verse (1976; 2002)
156 Sep 13 Stephen King, IT (1986)
157 Sep 17 John Stott, The Cross of Christ (1986)
158 Sep 18 Lois More Overbeck, “Researching Literary Manuscripts: A Scholar’s Perspective” (1993)
159 Sep 18 Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel” (1940)
160 Sep 21 Michel Foucault, “What is an Author?” (1969)
161 Sep 24 Frederick Buechner, The Sacred Journey (1982)
162 Sep 25 Percy Bysshe Shelley, “A Defence of Poetry” (1821)
163 Sep 25 Roland Barthes, Mythologies (1957; 2013)
164 Sep 25 Philip Sidney, “An Apologie for Poetrie” (1593)
165 Sep 28 Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul (1895-7)
166 Sep 30 Stephen King, Gunslinger (The Dark Tower I; 1982)
167 Sep 30 Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: Vol 1 (1976)
168 Oct 05 Peters Singer, Marx: A Very Short Introduction (2001)
169 Oct 05 T.S. Eliot, “The Wasteland” (1922)
170 Oct 07 W.K. Wimsatt, Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy” (1954)
171 Oct 07 John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (1819)
172 Oct 09 Charles Taylor, “History, Secularity, and the Nova Effect” (2001)
173 Oct 09 Frederick C. Crewes, The Pooh Perplex (1963)
174 Oct 10 Cleanth Brooks, selection from “The Well Wrought Urn” (1947)
175 Oct 11 Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
176 Oct 12 Catherine Belsey, Poststructuralism: A Very Short Introduction (2002)
177 Oct 20 A.A. Milne, The Collected Stories of Winnie-the-Pooh (2006)
178 Oct 23 Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room (1921)
179 Oct 25 Bill Goldstein, The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster and the Year That Changed Literature (2017)
180 Oct 27 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)
181 Oct 30 Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory (1983)
182 Oct 30 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)
183 Oct 31 Frederick C. Crewes, The Postmodern Pooh (2001)
184 Nov 01 Alan Jacobs, The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography (2013)
185 Nov 03 Paul Fry, “Eng 300: Introduction to the Theory of Literature” class at Yale University (2007)
186 Nov 03 Leonard Neidorf, “R.D. Fulk and the Progress of Philology” (2016)
187 Nov 03 Tom Shippey, “Fighting the Long Defeat: Philology in Tolkien’s Life and Fiction” (2007)
188 Nov 04 Calvert Watkins, “What is Philology?” (1990)
189 Nov 04 Hans Henrich Hock, Introduction to Principles of Historical Linguistics (1991)
190 Nov 06 Signum Faculty, Research Methods (2017)
191 Nov 07 Henry Jenkins, III, “Star Trek Rerun, Reread, Rewritten: Fan Writing as Textual Poaching” (1986)
192 Nov 08 Nola Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring (1998)
193 Nov 09 David C. Downing, The Most Reluctant Convert: C. S. Lewis’s Journey to Faith (2002)
194 Nov 11 J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-stories” (1947)
195 Nov 11 C.S. Lewis, “On the Reading of Old Books” (1943)
196 Nov 11 Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, “‘Something Fearful’: Medievalist Scholars on the Religious Turn” (2010)
197 Nov 11 Stanley Fish, “One University Under God?” (2005)
198 Nov 11 C.S. Lewis, “On Stories” (1947)
199 Nov 12 CSL, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1949)
200 Nov 13 Art Lindsley and Chris Mitchell, “Narnia & C.S. Lewis: Imagination, Reason, and You” (2006)
201 Nov 13 CSL, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1932)
202 Nov 13 CSL, “Religion and Science” (1945)
203 Nov 13 CSL, “Work and Prayer” (1945)
204 Nov 13 Charles Williams, “The English Poetic Mind” (1932)
205 Nov 20 David J. Peterson, The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building (2015)
206 Nov 20 CSL, Prince Caspian (1950)
207 Nov 22 George Sayer, Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis (1988)
208 Nov 24 Charles Williams, The Figure of Beatrice (1942)
209 Nov 27 Eric S. Rabkin, “Science Fiction: The Literature of Technological Imagination” (1998)
210 Nov 27 CSL, “Meditation in a Toolshed” (1945)
211 Nov 27 CSL, Surprised by Joy (1954)
212 Nov 28 CSL, Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1950)
213 Dec 04 Alexander Pope, “Eloisa to Abelard” (1717)
214 Dec 05 CSL, The Silver Chair (1951)
215 Dec 06 CSL, The Horse and His Boy (1953)
216 Dec 08 CSL, The Magician’s Nephew (1953)
217 Dec 12 CSL, “Meditation in a Toolshed” (1945)
218 Dec 12 CSL, The Last Battle (1953)
219 Dec 12 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798)
220 Dec 13 CSL, The Great Divorce (1944-45)
221 Dec 15 Stephanie Derrick, “Christmas and Cricket: Rediscovering Two Lost C. S. Lewis Articles After 70 Years” (2017)
222 Dec 15 CSL, Out of the Silent Planet (1937)
223 Dec 18 CSL, The Screwtape Letters with “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” (1941)
224 Dec 20 CSL, Perelandra (1943)
225 Dec 21 CSL, selections on David Lindsay from OHEL (1954)
226 Dec 22 CSL?, “Cricketer’s Progress” (1946)
227 Dec 22 CSL, “A Christmas Sermon for Pagans” (1946)
228 Dec 26 CSL, That Hideous Strength (1945)
229 Dec 27 Rob Gosselin, “Tolkien’s sub-creative vision: Exploring the broad applicability in Tolkien’s concept of sub-creation” (2017)
230 Dec 27 J.R.R. Tolkien, “Leaf by Niggle” (1945)
231 Dec 31 Frederick Buechner, The Book of Bebb (1979)

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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17 Responses to 2017: A Year of Reading

  1. Earthoak says:

    Many thanks for sharing this, it was motivating to read, and may I say well done for meeting and in some cases surpassing your goals! I very much appreciated your opening comment. The deeply frustrating thing for me is that on the other side of the PhD, the emphasis is so disproportionately placed on “publishing” (and admin) that reading time gets squeezed, such that it can (sadly) turn into an ad-hoc exercise rather than a structured one. And that really is to the detriment of deep, innovative research and thinking. I speak of the British system, it may well be that academe in Canada has thankfully avoided this obsession with merry-go-round publishing. Of course even here different disciplines fare better than others at resisting the above-mentioned pressures. In any case, I wish you an even more successful 2018! It is always inspiring to read others’ strategies and approaches to research and reading, and I liked your consciousness of male/female ratios and deliberate inclusion of Canadian literature.


    • Ah, I see. I suspect the British, Canadian, and American scenes are all the same–perhaps worse in the US where, outside of the top 20 schools, scholars are teaching a lot more than in Canada.
      I believe you about the reading-squeeze–and am in such a rush to write this year that my sitting and reading long books time will shrink, I’m afraid.
      The CanLit thing is new for me and partly about career development: having a CanLit string in my bow will help in a job hunt in a couple of years.
      I don’t know what your research was in (or who you really are)–was it Tolkien?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Earthoak says:

        Yes, I am sure you are right about the US system – things do seem more intense over there. Very wise to focus on reading as much as possible in this final year, time is the most precious commodity after all and only ever seems to diminish, though from what I’ve read I think you’re cultivating a healthy approach to managing the time-pressures of academia, it’ll stand you in good stead. As for me – my specialism is in history and international relations, which I separate from my blog. Anonymity gives me complete freedom, as well as a refuge from work. Tolkien, mythology et al allow me to balance against the overbearing realism (and often pessimism) of my ‘official’ research areas. The two sometimes overlap but not consciously. So that’s how my blog came about.


        • Anonymity has its freedoms, for sure. In working for government I realized how uncomfortable they are with anything connected to religion, so an anonymous blog would have been wise.
          And hobby blogs, when well done, are great things, really.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. hatrack4 says:

    Thanks for sharing. I now know someone that creates charts, lists, etc. regarding their reading. I thought I was the only one, something that my wife calls ‘my craziness.’ I only read 116 books this past year. I’m trying to cut down to under 100 per year. Keep up the good work.


  3. Very impressive! I always enjoy reading your year end reading summary! I know you’ve seen it already but here is the link to my own year end summary: http://www.jenniferneyhart.com/2017/12/my-year-in-books-2017-book-stats-and.html


  4. Wow, I always love your year-end posts …… they’re always so informative and well put together. I really love stats. In any case, I hope your 2018 reading year is even better and your year is filled with peace and contentment!


  5. Bookstooge says:

    Duuuuuuude! This was a great post. I LOVE stats and infographics and lists. Quantifiable data is something I can eat up like icecream.

    I find it interesting that you are deliberately cutting back on the number of books you read. If you do that, how do you read “deeper” the books you do concentrate on? More notes? I mean, how deep are you willing to go with a book like IT? I really enjoyed that book but I’m not sure I’d want to actually go digging into its guts, so to speak. Or do you seek out books that lend themselves to study?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lists rock, don’t they? I really wish that Goodreads would come up with some better autofill infographics. People love tracking things.
      Yes, I’m deliberately cutting to both slow down and go deeper. Some of that is more notes, some of that is harder books. Some of that is the freedom to throw books off entirely and simply write when it is time. My winter and early spring are filled with 20th c. fiction (SF and L.M. Montgomery), so there will be lots there. This summer that will shift and I don’t know where it will go.
      Does IT deserve deep reading? I don’t know. I’ve been trying to think if the mythic element at the end is a careful and wise move from horror to mythopoeia. But I’m not sure. King toys with that in The Stand and the other Walking Dude etc. character books. There is something there worth thinking about, but I probably won’t do that in this decade. For now, I’ll just read those ones for fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bookstooge says:

        King. I read my last book by him in ’17. So I don’t WANT to look deeply into his books 🙂

        How much Montgomery are you going to be reading? I’ve read Anne of Green Gables and then one of the sequels, but while I loved Anne, I disliked the sequel so much that I was never tempted to try more by Montgomery.

        Goodreads is all about processing the reviewer into a buy/sell mentality. They lost credibility with me when Otis sold out to Amazon, and I LIKE Amazon. But a book review site should BE a book review site, not a clearing house for hasbeen, wannabe and noname authors and definitely not a full time ad 😦


        • Ah, I like King. I guess I am never moved by fear when reading, except sometimes when reading Scripture. Horror films make me giggle.
          I’ll read all 7 Anne books this winter/spring, plus two chronicles of Avonlea, the first Emily book, and her diaries. No, I don’t think there is anything like the first Anne book, but there are aspects of her writing that strengthen in the later books. And many say that Emily of New Moon is one of her best ever.
          I don’t follow the movement of app-suppliers, but Goodreads is both helpful and stale. We’ll see how it goes. It wouldn’t take much to breathe life into it.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Yewtree says:

    Interesting list – I love reading lists of what other people have been reading.

    A couple of recommendations for you 🙂

    Canadian: I was surprised, given your other interests, not to see any Robertson Davies on this list. My favourite is the Deptford Trilogy, which I re-read every couple of years, but What’s Bred in the Bone is also wonderful. Davies also wrote a book on how to read deeply, which would make an interesting comparison with Lewis’ book on the same topic.

    Another Canadian, as I see you like science fiction: Robert Sawyer. His stuff is really interesting – reflections on the nature of consciousness, and what it mens to be human, among other things.

    I’m also planning to read loads of First Nations authors. I’ve started with Tom King, An Inconvenient Indian, but there are many more.

    Women authors: if you like Neil Gaiman, I recommend Ekaterina Sedia (especially The Secret History of Moscow). Also Hope Mirrlees, Lud in the Mist (with an introduction by Neil Gaiman; it’s a 1930s fantasy and has a lot of ideas in common with Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market). Also Liz Williams, especially Empire of Bones and The Ghost Sister.


    • Ah, we Canadians do know about Robertson Davies. And Robert Sawyer–though like Tom King, I know him mostly for interviews and commentaries more than fiction. Tom King’s “The Truth about Stories” Massey Lecture is transformative.
      I don’t know Ekaterina Sedia, and Hope Mirrlees only for the Lud-in-the-Mist piece. I am more likely to read them than Robertson Davies, who was someone that interested my mother.


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