2019 Wrap-Up and a Look Ahead to 2020

As I look back at my reading adventures in 2019 I am very happy with what occurred. Two major accomplishments were books I dreaded reading and surprisingly Anna Karenina and Moby Dick turned out to be two of my favorite books of the year.

I had plans to read more books by several writers that have become favorites since I started blogging and while I didn’t get to everyone I am pleased to have finished all of CS Lewis’s Narnia books (which helped me with my contribution to Witch Week and my post on the White Witch), read several novels and novellas by Edith Wharton and two novellas by Henry James.

Other highlights: I read my first Emile Zola and 4 volumes in Susan Cooper’s the Dark is Rising Sequence. Tracy Chevalier’s A Single Thread started me reading contemporary novels (which I post about on Instagram). Some reading experiences I treasured were Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, Willa Cather’s, O Pioneers!, and Wharton’s, A Custom of the Country a masterpiece in class criticism of which she is a master. I was disappointed with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and with Virginia Woolf’s, Night and Day.

In 2020 I am looking forward to a quieter year here:

  1. I will finish my Classics Club list by September 13th!
  2. My attraction to Edith Wharton has grown and I have decided I want to read everything she has written! This year, though, I will start with books about her, the classic biographies by R.W.B. Lewis and Hermione Lee as well as Wharton’s own autobiography, A Backward Glance.
  3. Challenges and Readalongs/Readathons: Not many actual Challenges this year–Reading the Classics, European Reading Challenge and the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, which will get books off my TBR shelves. I want to concentrate on readalongs and events that catch my eye. Four events at the moment have me excited, One Hundred Years of Solitude and War in Peace readalongs, The Wales Readathon and Zoladiction.

My 2020 should be subtitled The Year of the Chunkster or as Chris of Calmgrove calls them ‘doorstops!’ To finish out my Classics Club list I have Wives and Daughters, Portrait of a Lady and Middlemarch; I have committed to reading War and Peace, David Copperfield, Jane Austen’s, Emma; and several more near and over 500 pages. Yikes, what is the matter with me???



In my personal life as a newly retired person life is still a little weird as I look onto a land of many paths. While I love reading and writing for Relevant Obscurity, there is more out there for me. I am looking forward to experiencing more literal trails in nature as well as the spiritual trails in my head. But I am lucky to be where I am now and so grateful for the possibilities.

And finally, Relevant Obscurity exists as a journal of personal reactions, a sensitivity to and awareness about my thoughts as I read and not as a book review blog, because this is why I read….
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
William Styron

To all my readers far and near I wish you a 2020 of nothing but the joy of living and participating in this wild world and especially, may all your book dreams come true!

24 thoughts on “2019 Wrap-Up and a Look Ahead to 2020

  1. Wives and Daughters is a fairly quick read even though its long. Portrait of a Lady though is SLOW going. I found I was reading a whole page and not taking it in at all because James does so love long and complex paragraphs . So then I’d have to start the page again…..
    Good luck with it 🙂
    Middlemarch is my favourite classic of all time so I really hope you get to love it too

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds as though it’s been a great year of reading for you. I have read and enjoyed Anna Karenina, but have never been brave enough to attempt Moby Dick – I’m impressed that you’ve read both this year! I read the first two Dark is Rising books this year, so need to continue with the sequence in 2020.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s an impressive list Laurie. One comment. I read War and Peace when I was 18 and loved it. Since then I’ve tried to re-read it twice and failed. Just can’t get into it. Similar story with Hardy and George Eliot. Is this just changing taste or a reduced ability to concentrate, I wonder?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds like you had an awesome year, Laurie! I’ve so enjoyed discovering your blog and reading all your thoughtful posts. Any change in life requires some adjustment and I hope you get your bearings more with all your free time. There are so many interesting things in life to discover!

    I’m still not sure what I’m doing for next year. The Deal Me In challenge for sure and a Classic Challenge and possibly a Newbery challenge but otherwise I’m going to blow with the wind.

    I hope you have a wonderful 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. great book study

    You have read some wonderful books this year! Anna Karenina is a literary masterpiece. (Well, I think so.) Moby Dick is no easy feat, but Melville’s writing is superb. Wharton is a literary goddess, right? Good luck on War and Peace – another great work by Tolstoy. You won’t be disappointed.

    I wasn’t crazy about Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde either.

    P.S. I love your mission statement. I think I said something similar about my blog. I don’t review books as much as I write about my personal reactions. I couldn’t review a book to save my life, but I know how one makes me think and feel. Totally different.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

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