It isn’t quite time for the end-of-year lists from me, as the end of the year is still two weeks hence. Today I’m going to talk about current trends in my reading, and take a glance at my to-be-read piles. Really it is more like my to-be-read bookshelves as I’m a bit obsessive about collecting books and I don’t read them nearly as quickly as I collect them.
This past year has been one of new/different/odd mental space as I’ve been in contact with 1Mom since 2 January and we met for the first time in (mumble mumble) years on 9 January. I know my reading has been influenced by (a) my distracted state, and (b) the books she’s passed me. (Yes, she is also a constant reader.) Some things I’ve noticed:
A. I’ve read a lot of science fiction this year. This picked up in the second half of 2010, and I’ve been reading more in that direction than I have for years. It’s been kind of fun.
B. My concentration on non-fiction has dropped. I also think my selection of non-fiction was not as great this year. More of that in a moment.
C. I’ve not re-read as much this year as I have in previous years.
For the past year and a half I’ve been attempting to be disciplined about reading theology for an hour a day. I’ve not totally given up on this, but my distracted state means that the daily thing is not happening as much. I’ve got a lot of theological books in my to-be-read piles that I bought thinking I’d read them someday. Then I decided that someday had come and I needed to act like a theologian and read the books. So I started. I made a short list in four broad categories (biblical studies, theology, history, pastoral theology) and I read a book in one category, then move to the next. Since I started this scheme I’ve read 6 books in each category and I’m on the seventh cycle through. I hope this picks up speed again in the year ahead. Just finished: Figured Out by Christopher Seitz. It was a bit spotty. Some interesting things, enough for me to pass it on immediately. Current theological reading: Why Narrative? Readings in Narrative Theology ed. Stanley Hauerwas and L. Gregory Jones. Next up: The Last Divine Office: Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Geoffrey Moorhouse.
In fiction-land I most recently read The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card. It was interesting, very Mormon theology influenced. I’m currently re-reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Very nice, it has pulled me right back in. I love the way a child’s reading experience is described near the beginning of the book.
“(I never read without making sure I am in a secure position. I have been like this ever since the age of seven when, sitting on a high wall and reading The Water Babies, I was so seduced by the descriptions of underwater life that I unconsciously relaxed my muscles. Instead of being held buoyant by the water that so vividly surrounded me in my mind, I plummeted to the ground and knocked myself out. I can still feel the scar under my fringe now. Reading can be dangerous.)”
Oh yeah. Reading can be dangerous. Next up, I’m not sure. I’ve got wobbly stacks of books everywhere that have loads of possibilities for next reads in fiction-lands. I’ve picked up a few potentials over the past few days while Christmas shopping. Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card, House of Shards by Walter Jon Williams, Perdido Street Station by China Miéville, Sovreign by C.J. Sansom. Any of these, it depends how the mood strikes. Maybe something that’s been on the shelf for a longer time. We’ll see. Any suggestions?
In other news, a Blog interview of me was published yesterday. Check it out.