Friday, December 28, 2012

The Bibliophile Awards

Photo Credit


This is the last post of 2012 on My Lady Bibliophile. My sadness for the end of one lovely year is mixed with excitement about looking forward to another. With a graduation, finishing a huge writing project, getting my driver's license, and starting this blog, I think 2012 will always stand out as an epoch in my life.

Today, I thought it would be fun to look back and remember. And then to look forward and dream a little. :) You see, a lot has happened since I took up the mantle of Lady Bibliophile, both in my own life and in the literary world. Before I pushed that alluring "Publish" button almost one year ago, I didn't do much online. Writing emails and designing birthday cards was about as involved as I got. Not because I was a bookworm who preferred the Dark Ages: I simply didn't care as much about the Internet.

And then I pushed that "Publish" button.

More of that nostalgia on Tuesday. Today I want to showcase my favorite posts from the year in several different categories. And then we'll look forward to 2013. It's been a lovely year for bibliophiles, folks. Amidst all our chocolate-covered-anything-edibles,  let's take a short time to share what's happened in our reading lives.

First of all, I met Tolkien. What an inexpressible joy to team up with Frodo and Sam and Aragorn and Legolas to try and destroy the Ring. But that's not all. I also got to review a book that went on to become a New York Times bestseller, celebrate Dickens' bicentennial, and formulate articles on romance, magic, and language.
The year was not without it's dark spots. I had to lay down two books that I really wanted to finish. One I was 900 pages into, which is a lot of investment, and couldn't justify any more. The other was the first in a series, and I shall never know the end. Some articles I formulated when I was still reeling from shocks I had received. Writing can be a kind of therapy, I suppose, though I was more trying to capture a passion on paper that had so affected me.

But the glories far surpassed the struggles.

So here you have a little taste of the year at My Lady Bibliophile, and my number one picks from 106 posts about all things literary.

Top Five Favorite Articles:

1. Tall Tales: Is Love a Fancy or a Feeling (Part One, Part Two, Part Three)
2. Why We Love Stories
3. The Battle Won
4. Magic, Fantasy and Allegory (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five)
5. How To Deal With Dirty Words (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)

Article of Merit: Beau Ideal

Top Ten Favorite Book Reviews:
1. The Way We Live Now, by Anthony Trollope
2. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
3. Quiet, by Susan Cain
4. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
5. The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
6. The Chosen, by Chaim Potok
7. Kidnapped, by Robert Louis Stevenson
8. The Betrayal, by Douglas Bond
9. Amazing Grace, by Eric Metaxas
10. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)

Nonfiction of the Year:

The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Gripping theology that affected my graduation speech, my understand of God's grace, and pretty much my entire view of Christianity ever since I read it.

Fiction of the Year:

Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

Number One Book of the Year
 
The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Because it's not every author who can keep me on the edge of my seat for two books in a row, leave me an emotional wreck from the height of his conclusion, and bring me back to his story multiple times. Also, Tolkien wins hands-down for the most I've ever paid for a set of books. And he has to be pretty good to do that. More about this in a week or two.



Number One Author of the Year:


I know it was my first year meeting Tolkien. And he's really amazing. But I'm still going to give it to Charles Dickens. It's only once in a lifetime that I'll be able to celebrate his bicentennial, and he has the best characterization I've ever met. Check out my reviews of Little Dorrit, Bleak House, Great Expectations, and Martin Chuzzlewit.




Looking Forward to 2013
I'm already planning out my book list for the coming year, with titles such as The Silmarillion, Ben-Hur, and Middlemarch making an appearance on it. 2013 is the bicentennial of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, so we'll be taking a look at her works and world. I have Our Mutual Friend on my list as well, and Sherlock Holmes, which I haven't read since I was 14. Way too long. And I might just get around to Pilgrim's Progress.

Thanks to you all, my friends, I added 20 books and authors to my huge list. That's right. 20. My thanks is ecstatic, if a bit breathless, because my other off-line and off-blog acquaintances added 22 more. That's a grand total of 42 new books and authors to explore. And, alas, I can only read so many at a time.

My Lady Bibliophile will be seeing a re-design and expansion in the coming weeks: after all, a new year deserves a new look. But since I'm still formulating the elements, I cannot say for sure when that will happen. Rest assured, title and web address will still remain the same.

Reviews galore. Articles aplenty. There are a lot of issues still to discuss, including Roman Catholicism in books, a series on Situational Ethics, and a few Tall Tales along the way. I'd also like (though when this shall be, I do not know) to do a series on authors' worldviews.

Lord willing, there will be many more posts to come.

And be sure to come back on Tuesday, when I release my 2012 reading list and My Lady Bibliophile celebrates its first birthday.

I would love to hear from you--what were your favorite articles and book reviews? What points taught you the most, or did you have the most fun with? Were there any books you had never heard of, and looked up because of seeing them here? Such feedback not only encourages me, but helps me to keep the good things coming. :)

Blessings,
Lady Bibliophile

8 comments:

  1. Well, well, well... the Bibliophile awards!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D
    My favorite blog posts were The Battle Won, The Brethren, and of course some of the pictures you put in! :D And of course I REALLY enjoyed hacking into your Blogger account to give you a surprise birthday post! :P :D
    My favorite week was Juvenile Reads and my favorite articles were The Mark of Excellence series.
    Just a thought on your re-design. A search bar would be nice when looking up old post. :D
    Wonderful post!
    Love, Sister

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    1. My dearest, darling Sister: one of the highlights of my blog was your hacking into it on my birthday. :D I'm very glad you enjoyed Juvenile Week and The Mark of Excellence series--great for writers too, eh? :)

      Search bar coming soon...

      Love and cuddles,
      Sister

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  2. Schuyler, a Happy New Year to you! I also hope you had a blessed Christmas =D.

    I am so glad to have met you through the blogsphere this past year... that's been a true blessing, and I've appreciated all of your sweet comments, whilst reading your lovely blog and the reviews you've put up on 'My Lady Bibliophile'. You have made me interested to read a lot of books too and I hope I have done the same to you (go forth and don't be afraid to embark on 'Pilgrim's Progress'!!). I'm sure you'll love Ben Hur... I know I did, also my sister read 'Middlemarch' and seemed to like it. Ah, I am currently reading 'The Silmarllion' too. For me too, the year of 2012 has been my introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien for which I am SO THANKFUL!! For me personally Tolkien takes the literary cake for the year, though of course Dickens is marvelous too =D.By the way, thank you so much for sending along to me your movie reviews for LOTR films... I have to admit, I am a lot more fond of the films than you obviously (it does take a bit of time to really fall in love with them like that), and I have come to appreciate the films a lot (I seem to know how to separate the novel from the movie and enjoy both as much as each other!!) Have you watched 'The Hobbit' film yet by the way?

    Oh, I am glad you'll be having a redesign for your blog... I hope you won't mind me saying this, but I do feel your blog design could do with a bit of a tweaking... especially the font and size (it can be rather annoying for the eyes sometimes you know). So I am really looking forward to a new design! By the way, have you ever considered getting someone to professionally design your blog? I know two good Christan young ladies who do beautiful blog designs if you're interested =D.

    God bless and a Happy New Year, dear sister.
    Love, Joy @ joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com

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    1. Dear Joy--Thank-you, our Christmas Day was quite lovely. :) A happy New Year to you and your family too!
      Oh, as for the LOTR reviews--I actually did quite enjoy them; perhaps I came across as too critical on paper. I prefer the books, but I am looking forward to seeing the movies again. (With the exception of Faramir in TTT--he's nice in ROTK, but I'm afraid I can't warm to him taking the Ring) but if only for Frodo and Sam I would want to see them again! :D In fact, I gave one of my family members FOTR for Christmas. :) I have seen The Hobbit, and am typing up a review for it. Would you like one? (Though of course I wouldn't be offended if you pass. ;) It is available though, if you are interested.

      I'm sorry the font has been a bit hard! I hope I can improve it. I have changed the font and the text size. Perhaps it's because I'm rather used to reading old, faded, tiny-print books, and so I don't notice as much. :) Thank-you for mentioning that.

      I would love a professional design, though unfortunately I can't fit that in the budget right now. But if you would like to pass the names along, I would love to keep them as reference for the future. I am trying to find a good background; I've been looking for something bookish, but no success yet. I even tried a photograph or two; hopefully in the next week or two I'll have something satisfactory. :D

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you continue to enjoy! I *shall* conquer Pilgrim's Progress. ;)

      Love,
      Schuyler

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  3. Dear Schuyler,
    I have loved following your blog over 2012. (Btw, I'm very, very, very thankful you didn't delete it. :P) You've put several books on my to-read list. :) You've been so faithful at posting twice a week: you quite amazed me. :D Well done.

    My favorite posts were these: Quiet, Hope for the Introvert; Magic, Fantasy, and Allegory; The Most Important Book for A Bibliophile; and The Conviction to Lead.

    I also loved it when CG "hacked" your account and gave you a lovely birthday surprise. :) And I looked up "Jane of Lantern Hill" because you had reviewed it. ;)

    I look forward to your new design. I loved redesigning mine 6 months ago. :D

    Love,
    Kaleigh

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    1. Dear Kaleigh,
      You'll never know how close I came. :P
      I loved it when CG hacked my account too. :) And I'm so glad you looked up Jane, she's one of my favorites. The only scary things is that I'm so much older than her now, and we used to be the same age. I loved it when we matched for a few years.
      I think Magic, Fantasy and Allegory took the most thought and effort. I've never been so afraid of an issue in my life, both because many others understand it much better than I do, and because I didn't want to have to give up books I loved. But it was good to face it, and even to face it in public, for that forced me to come to grips with it. Sometimes I honestly only come to an understanding of these issues just before I hit the "Publish" button. ;)

      Love,
      Schuyler

      P.S. I loved Quiet too! I almost ranked that the top nonfiction of the year, but Cost of Discipleship won out. :) Perhaps because CoD came from a Christian perspective, while Quiet required a little discerning. But I would definitely rank that as high on my favorites list. :)

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  4. Dear Schuyler,
    Well, I just lost my comment that I had written, so here goes again!
    What a wonderful summary of the first year of My Lady Bibliophile! I have been so blessed by this blog, and I always look forward to Tuesdays and Fridays to see what you have for us! (You seriously thought of deleting your blog??? Oh dear, I hope you never do! ;):D)
    Hehehe, your description of your internet usage before this year sounds familiar! ;)
    I have enjoyed Great Expectations, Kidnapped, The Baronet's Song, and The Brethren at your recommendation, and I now have several to look forward to in the New Year!;) (I have begun A Tale of Two Cities to finish off Dickens' bicentennial; I was not quite ready to tackle Little Dorrit. :P;)) Also, I have started a "To Find Someday and Read" list as a result of many of your reviews. ;)
    Some posts/series which come to mind are "Is Love a Fancy or a Feeling", the Elsie Dinsmore reviews, and the ones on Christian liberty. As I said, these are some that come to mind at the moment, but I really enjoyed them all!
    I also enjoyed immensely the guest appearances of Junior Bibliophile (invited and uninvited! :P:D)
    When I read this post to my mum, she said, "Oh, but I LIKE her blog design!" My sentiments exactly. :) But, of course, I realize that you (and other readers) would enjoy a "new look".
    I'm looking forward to seeing your 2012 book list! I'll have to send you mine soon. ;D
    So, once again, thank you for all your insights and recommendations as you encourage us in all our individual literary journeys and walks with the Lord!
    2013 sounds exciting!
    Love,
    Kyla <3

    P.S. And you simply MUST get 'round to Pilgrim's Progress!!!

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    1. Dear Kyla,
      A Tale of Two Cities is a great choice to finish off Dickens' bicentennial. I think you will enjoy it a lot. :) And actually, Little Dorrit's a pretty fast-paced read once it gets going, in spite of its size.
      Ah, yes. I, too, enjoyed writing the posts that you mentioned. I would have included them in top ten, but that would have been almost all of them!
      I hope you enjoy the new blog design, in spite of the change. Much of it will remain the same, with a slight change of font and header, but I trust the expansions will be an improvement. :)

      I almost deleted my blog at the very beginning. I shall tell you the story sometime. ;) But needless to say, I thought better of it, and have no intention of doing something so rash in future. :)

      Love,
      Schuyler

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