Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Lists From the Past

Inspired by a post by Kat about journals and book lists on mirabile dictu the other day, I pulled out a reading journal that I had kept for the years 2000 through 2005. Actually, I was surprised I had kept track of my reading for that length of time.

Looking over the titles, I see that 2000 (68 books) was the year I discovered Beverley Nichols (Merry Hall) and Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient, Running in the Family). In 2001 (98), I was enjoying Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad and many, many mysteries by Robert Barnard. The year 2002 (53) introduced me to Middlemarch by George Eliot and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. 

P.G. Wodehouse played a big part of my reading life in 2003 (66). In 2004 (53), I spent a lot of time reading decorating books but also found time for E.M. Forster and Louisa May Alcott. James Thurber and Donald Westlake tickled my funny bone in 2005 (46),  when I wasn't trolling through books on how to declutter and simplify my life, that is.

I also found index cards with goals of five titles to read for each year: some are checked as read and some still languish. (I wonder if I will ever read The Pickwick Papers?)

Almost all of the books I read during those six years came from the library. I don't know what I was reading during the years between 2006 and 2009. Perhaps there are lists that I kept in the back of a calendar. Since April 2009, though, my library has tracked my reading history and I see the likes of Alexander McCall Smith, Daniel Pink, and E.L. Doctorow. 

Then in 2011 and 2012 I began keeping a list again.

Why am I blathering on about all this? Well, I see quite a few titles that I would like to re-read. I don't think of myself as a person who revisits books, but in 2012 I enjoyed reading ten books I owned that I had already read before. 

It was nice to recall some of the books on these lists of yore; others drew a complete blank. I was thinking I could actually just re-read books from these lists in 2013 with an occasional foray into new ones on my TBR list and I would probably be perfectly happy.

What about you? Where do you keep lists of the books you have read? Any plans for re-reading in 2013?


  1. 2013 will be the year I read and keep an accurate record of what I read and my scattered thoughts on same. I'm tired of trying to find bits of paper, backs of envelopes, library print-outs etc etc that had notes on the book just read, what i liked, musings, what i needed to research further, authors and book titles mentioned that I wished to look up, and important to me also find the etymology of words mentioned, that i was unfamiliar with. So 2013 I am determined to get a decent jotter, not too big (making notes in bed) not too small, so overall functional, but not too fussy. It would also need to have reasonable quality paper as 2013 (actually late 2012)is also the year i return (after too many years) to using a fountain pen and real ink! The latter came as a yearning after reading Philip Hensher's excellent book "The Missing Ink"! So onward and upward, 2013 here I come!

    1. Way to go, Tullik. I like your plans. I am always saying I am going to keep a New Word Vocabulary list and then I never do. One of the great things about an e-reader is I can just tap on an unknown word and the definition appears along with the word's etymology. It's magic.

      You might try the old faithful black-and-white composition notebooks. The cardboard covers give them some heft and ink from a fountain pen doesn't bleed through the pages. I should know - I have a cabinet full of journals in said composition books all written with a fountain pen.

      I have "The Missing Ink" on my TBR list. I have written with a fountain pen for years and have quite a collection. Just another obsession of mine.

    2. Thanks Belle! I will look for a "composition" notebook, as i am in remote area I am not that hopeful! I find that my new collection of fountain pens (its slightly addictive!)are fickle, and a bit snobbish in liking only medium bond paper! As to your comment re "e-reader" I'm afraid while i would be lost without the internet and can never denigrate technology, i need the printed page, and cant imagine every getting one of "them tings". As to etymology i have volumes of reference books but am amazed what the internet can provide at the click of mouse, how scholarly and accurate it is another matter. It would be handy to have a "tablet" (?) and instantaneously look up a word but i love the chase, through old slightly musty pages!

    3. You can find the composition books online. I find that Mead is the most reliable brand and used to find them for $2 or less. Now I see Amazon is selling them for $5! Outrageous.

      Ah yes. I used to scorn the e-reader but now that I can download books from my library - for Free - I am glad I have one. I still buy the real books that I want to own. I am learning to live with both.

  2. I keep a list of books I have read, have for many years. A lady I correspond with and I exhange names/authors of books we have read. We don't often read the same books but make a note of authors to try "someday"

    As to rereading, Gladys Taber books beg to be reread every year or so, some of them month by month as they are written. Wind in the Willows, the Little House books branching out to read some books Susan Wittig Albert is using in her book about Rose Wilder Lane, Louisa Alcott, Elizabeth Ogilvie series about a Maine island lobstering family, and, and, and.

    Today I borrowed Life Among the Savages from the library. 31 pages into it and I'll keep reading.


    1. Joyce, how great that you have a long-standing author/book partner. I love making lists and am always coming across a scrap of paper with one on it. Not always about books but maybe flowers for the garden, places to visit, new restaurants. Like you say, on and on.

      Let me know what you think about 'Life Among the Savages.' I am impressed that your library carries it. Not mine.

  3. I love all posts about book journals. Blogs are great, but there's something about a notebook.

    I discovered Beverly Nichols at about the same time you did. I read the three Merry Hall books (can't remember the others' names), but I know he wrote a LOT. I should look for him again.

    How amazing that you know they are library books!

    These book journals stimulate the memory, I find!

  4. Kat, journals and notebooks are another obsession of mine along with stationery, fountain pens, and books. One can never have too many of any of them.

    I reread all three of the Merry Hall books this year. I adore Mr. Nichols. I also read 'Down the Garden Path' this year and own a copy of 'Twenty-Five' which was written when he was twenty-five! He is wonderful.

    I know most of the books came from the library because I wasn't buying books willy-nilly then as I do now.