to read in 2016

As everyone with an internet connection knows, we are getting slammed with snow here in DC this weekend. Some people’s parents might have been worried about their electricity going out or running out of groceries, but my dad’s only question was, “Do you have enough books to read?”

Don’t worry, Dad. My weekend will mostly look like this:


That outerwear and vacuum will get put into use at some point, but mostly… me and those books. My tissues and Emergen-C are just out the frame.

But what it boils down to is: I have a ridiculous amount of books to read.

What am I hoping to finish or begin in 2016?

Here’s a run-down, with (shiny new affiliate) links to Amazon:

Gaudy Night – Dorothy Sayers. I bought this book in the summer and am finally, finally settling in with it for the long haul. I’m so enjoying it thus far, and I think I will have to go back and dig through a lot more Sayers mysteries.

The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton. A second one I keep neglecting. Fascinatingly complex so far, and again, I love a mystery, though this one has a pretty high-brow tone compared to most. And I borrowed it, so I have to finish and return it eventually.

The Cloud of UnknowingThis anonymous volume seems actually fit to be read in smaller chunks over a longer time… Which is what I’ve been doing for most of the last year. I swear, I will finish it in 2016. I think Lent is calling for this deeper dive into contemplative prayer.

Home and Lila – Marilynne Robinson. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Gilead last year. This year, its companions are on the roster.

The Story of a New NameThose Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child – Elena Ferrante. Again, I finally read the first book of an acclaimed series in 2015 and need to read the rest. In this case, My Brilliant Friend was totally captivating. Time for the rest.

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything – James Martin. Fr. Martin has such an accessible style, and I’ve been meaning to read this primer on Ignatian spirituality for ages. Then, when St. Nicholas bought books for our stockings, I dropped this in his Amazon cart.

Rooftops of Tehran – Mahbod Seraji. I borrowed this book last year from a friend. Now, I need to actually read it. Honestly, I might have borrowed it in 2014.

Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. My sister got me this beautiful collection of short stories, poetry, selections, novellas, etc. for Christmas, and I’ve read a few so far. Plan to enjoy many more this year.

Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow. I wrote this, for Pete’s sake. I’m a groupie for the musical. I obviously need to read it.

Fates and Furies Lauren Groff. I was supposed to have this read for book club on Tuesday. I at least have it downloaded on my Kindle, but I feel like completion looking pretty unlikely at this point. I do legitimately want to read it, though, because I love books that get described with words like “daring narrative.”

Big Girls Don’t Cry – Rebecca Traister. Oops, I’ve been meaning to read this book since the LAST presidential election. Maybe I can finish it by Super Tuesday.

Love in the Ruins – Walker Percy. I have never read Walker Percy, but I know the Catholic Canon requires it of me. I am not mad because “hilarious, post-apocalyptic, lapsed Catholic” basically describe a book I will read in one sitting. Even if the sitting is an entire weekend.

In This House of Brede – Rumer Godden. “Brigid,” you might be asking by now, “how have you not read these massively important Catholic writers/books/etc?” Oh, just wait until you read the rest of this list. I’m losing ALL my cred in this one post.

A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr. Sweeping, speculative fiction about Catholics in the future? Yes, I really enjoyed The Sparrow, too.

The End of the Affair – Graham Greene. Nope, never read this either. Come on, I just read Brideshead Revisited and Persuasion in 2015. I was too busy reading new literary fiction for the last decade. Quiz me on some Michael Chabon.

The Long Loneliness – Dorothy Day. Just kick me out of every club I’ve ever claimed to be in.

The Life You Save May Be Your Own – Paul Elie. The Percy and Day selections make sense now, right?

With God in Russia – Walter Ciszek. I love Jesuits and long books. And after reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, I realized I really have very little knowledge about the Soviet bloc or really modern history.

Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander – Thomas Merton. I need fewer project reads on this list, but I really love Merton, so… let’s just put another project read on here.

Introduction to the Devout Life – Francis De Sales. Why stop with the huge project reads? I really have been drawn to St. Francis De Sales recently after learning more about the personal evangelization during the French revival. So I’ll read this benchmark of a book.

Jesus Feminist – Sarah Bessey. Not a project read! Seems like a digestible and intriguing book. I like the whole premise of it, but I’m trying to not get my hopes too high.

Crossing to Safety – Wallace Stegner. I also want to read Angle of Repose, but I can’t resist a book set in Madison.

The Only Necessary Thing and Discernment – Henry Nouwen. Ain’t no party like a Nouwen party because a Nouwen party explodes my heard and makes me question my entire life and every decision I have ever made and then reminds me that God just wants me to devote my life to love and that’s even harder.

Markings – Dag Hammarskjold. There was a quote from this incredible leader in my high school biology classroom. Truly a stunning inner life. “The road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.” Boom.

Becoming Human – Jean Vanier. In case I was still feeling too comfortable after the Nouwen, I’ll let Jean Vanier drop some truth and mercy bombs in my life. He would never say that, he’s far too gentle.

The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah. WWII France book. My mom liked it so it’s on our shared Kindle account. I’ll read this on the Metro over a few days.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. NorrellSusanna Clark. I wanted to read this in high school and didn’t. Maybe I will this year?

Wild – Cheryl Strayed. I liked the movie. I hated Dear Sugar. I’ll give it a shot.

I also have Harry Potter audiobooks on Audible. I’m probably set. No one let me buy new books.


3 thoughts on “to read in 2016

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