Plumb Tuckered Out: 100 in 2013

shelf As I was packing the last of our stuff last week and put July's books from 100 in 2013 in a box to haul to our new place, I realized I'd only actually had time to read half of one of them. Half. Of one. Of eight.

A few days later I was sitting next to a friend and she commented something about my time and the commitments on my plate currently. "I'm convinced you wouldn't be so pressed if it weren't for a certain book project you undertook," she said wryly. I don't usually use adverbs after "said," so you know it must have been said wryly. Point taken.

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At the beginning of this project I said, "I don’t have time to read 100 books in 2013. I didn’t have time in 2012, and I don’t foresee ever having the time to commit to such a project. If you know me at all, you know the possibility of failure is rarely a reason to not try something. Mumbo-jumbo about not setting yourself up for failure has never appealed to me much and so there is a very real possibility that I will hit March or September and get plumb tuckered out. I hope that doesn’t happen, but I won’t feel too badly if it does. The point is, I’m going to try (read full post here)."

Well, here we are, it's not even August first and I'm plumb tuckered out. And I would like to feel badly about that, but I don't. Since January I have read 56 and a half books. That might be small peanuts to some people, but it's a treasure trove to me. I have discovered books that will go down as some of my favorite pieces of literature. I have been challenged, stunned, and bored, I have skimmed, reread, and underlined more sentences than I have since college.

But I'm tired y'all.

Not tired of reading. But tired of consuming. While reading Wendell Berry last month, I realized I wanted to give him my entire attention and I just couldn't, not at the pace at which I was going. It seems somewhat unfair to take someone's life work and give them a cursory glance.

So I'm pressing pause on 100 in 2013. I don't think I'm quitting, but I might get to the end of 2013 and have renamed the project 67 in 2013. It doesn't have the same ring, but goodness gracious, it's still more than I've ever read in a year.

I know so many of you have loved the short reviews I've been doing and I have no plan to stop them. I may not do them monthly, or I may, but with less books, I don't know. But I will continue to do short reviews as best as I can.

Thanks for following along on this journey—and if you bought me a book for the project that I haven't reviewed yet, make sure you look back in the coming months—it will show up sooner or later!

 

 

June: 100 in 2013

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night in a sort of middle of the night panic. It was nothing really. I just remembered I hadn't posted June's 100 in 2013 and it's the middle of July. What that should tell you is two things: 1. I need a personal assistant because [s]he would never forget such things. 2. I am human.

It should also tell you a third thing which is that I didn't actually finish June's books until a week ago, and even then I didn't finish one of them entirely. But more on that in a bit.

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (or Karen von Blixen, whichever you prefer) has long been one of my favorite tales. It is beautiful writing from start to finish and it's been about six years since I first read it. Story aside, every sentence is pure poetry.

The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung. This is one of the books every month I mostly skim. The reason for that is simple: I read enough articles and blog posts saying similar things often enough. However, that said, I think it is still an important book particularly for the YRR movement and even more particularly for those who accuse the YRR movement of being lax in their pursuit of holiness. Within the context of grace and justification, DeYoung delves into sanctification and its implications on the Christian's growth.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson will probably top the list of Most Memorable Books read this year (of which The Brothers K and The Meaning of Marriage hold sole positions thus far). I have heard about Robinson's writing for a year now and this book was like eating a perfectly ripe peach, drinking the finest wine, and sitting at the feet of a hundred ancestors. I have heard many say it was difficult to get into in the beginning, and I would agree, but give it 50 pages, please. You will not regret it.

The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry. This is the aforementioned book that I did not finish in its entirety. It includes 21 of Berry's essays and each one is more spectacular than the one before (though, nothing, in my opinion, tops A Native Hill, which is my favorite essay of his). I read 16 of them before feeling like it would be best for me to set it aside for a few months. Part of the challenge of this 100 in 2013 has been the speed at which I'm reading and the inability to truly ingest fully. Berry deserves that and I aim to give it to him.

Notes from the Tilt a Whirl by N.D. Wilson. I wanted to love this book, I promise. I very much wanted to love it. Wilson is a fine wordsmith and I think there are many who will identify richly with this book, but I'll be honest, I had a hard time following his direction and even harder grasping some concrete ideas. This might be a book I revisit in a few months or years when I can give it more time.

Still by Lauren Winner. This is my second time through Winner's second memoir, this one sub-titled Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis. I eagerly read her previous books and recommend them highly, but this one was hard for me yet again. The writing itself is lovely and the way she works through her faith in a somewhat disjointed and beautiful way is exactly what a faith-crisis ought to be, but her conclusions again left me sadly wanting.

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Review here.

Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous. I'm one of the suckers who bought this book simply to see if I could figure out who the author was by the writing style, I admit it. Conclusion: I have no idea who wrote it, except that they are probably associated with my associates. Who knows? It could be you. But that's missing the point, isn't it? The point is to embrace the unknownness we are so lax to embrace in a world of platforms and pulpits. Point taken. If this is a struggle for you, I recommend the book highly.

june

These are the last of the books to be packed for our upcoming move. You see how much I love you? I keep things unpacked for you.