Ten Currently Reading Books That I Need To Finish

Ten Books on My Currently Reading

When I had more time to read, I used to have about 6 to 8 books going at the same time.  This was never a problem and I did like to be able to read sections of a books consistently with group reads keeping me on track.  But sometime in the last three years or so, it’s all gone wrong.  Suddenly, I wasn’t finishing books I started, yet I would still pick up new ones to begin.  Which, of course, has left with me with a number of books I’ve begun but never completed.  Not good.

In fact, I was looking at my Goodreads currently-reading shelf the other day and the numbers made me whoozy.  My currently-reading shelf stood at 44 books.  How on earth did that happen?  Even after pairing it down, I still had 34 books that I do PLAN to finish. I’ll highlight ten of them for this list:



City of God

City of God

Good grief.  Even though I wasn’t enjoying this book nearly as much as Confessions, I was at one point moving along at a reasonable pace.  I’d even planned to pick it up again last year when a group on Goodreads was reading it over the entire year.  Fail!  However, I WILL finish it!



The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

Well, if my version was an “as told to the children” version, I’d be finished it now. However, it is the full poem and it is LOOOOOONG!  I do know why I stalled though.  I was doing posts each book and part and they took hours and hours and hours.  It was all I was reading and all I was posting on.  To see the length of the posts, you can view them here and perhaps understand why I stalled.  I would like to complete it though, including the posts.  I wonder if it’s wishful thinking …..



The Republic of Plato

The Republic of Plato

I did love learning about Plato’s perfect city.  I started it while I was away on the island when I had the time and brain capacity to absorb it and have fun with it.  But when I returned to the city, I found I just didn’t have the mental energy to devote to it.  Perhaps it’s a self-isolation-type book.  I should pick it up again.



The Last Chronicle of Barset

The Last Chronicle of Barset

What an embarrassment!  I had planned to read The Chronicles of Barsetshire as a read-along from May – October 2014.  And I’m STILL reading it.  The good news is that I never gave up and this is the last book in the series.  More good news is that I’m actively reading it now so I do plan to finish before the year is out.  I’m happy that I’ve kept plugging along and even produced reviews for all the other books:  The Warden, Barchester Towers, Doctor Thorne, Framley Parsonage and The Small House at Allington.  Never give up, right?  Slow and steady, wins the race ………. You get the idea ………….



The History of Napoleon Buonaparte

The History of Napoleon Buonaparte

Okay, this one gets the award for the most ridiculous unfinished book of mine.  I began reading it in August 2013 and I LOVED this book.  It was so fascinating because Lockhart lived during Napoleon’s time and he apparently covered many of the great little man’s victories that are overlooked in other biographies.  I remember it enough that I could pick up where I left off, but for the enjoyment, I’m considering reading it again.  I’ve yet to decide.



Dead Souls

Dead Souls

I started reading this with Cirtnecce ages ago and I don’t think either one of us finished.  In fact, I didn’t even get 1/4 through, not because I didn’t enjoy it but probably because of other book distractions.  It would fit with my Russian Literature Challenge which I’m not doing great with so far this year.



The Cloud of Unknowing

The Cloud of Unknowing

I was reading this as part of my undocumented project to make my way through the book, 25 Books Every Christian Should Read.  I love their list because they have you read great spiritual works chronologically.  With only 25 books, you don’t see a detailed development of the Christian faith but there’s a glimmer.  So far I’ve read On The Incarnation, Confessions, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, and The Rule of Saint Benedict in order, and previously The Divine Comedy, The Seven Storey Mountain, Mere Christianity, The Brothers Karamazov, and Orthodoxy, but I’ll probably read each of them again when I reach them on the list.  In any case, The Cloud of Unknowing is difficult.  It’s very esoteric and mystical and, honestly, confusing.  The anonymous writer (who was a monk) states that no one should read it unless they are called to the holy devout life.  I perhaps should have followed his precept. 🙄



A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and a Tour of the Hebrides

A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and A Tour of the Hebrides

This was a fun book.  I’ve technically already finished the first book by Samuel Johnson and was starting the second.  This will be easy to pick up and start reading where I left off.  It’s still quite fresh in my mind.



The Gulag Archipelago

The Gulag Archipelago

This was my very last biography book to complete the biography section of my The Well-Educated Mind Project.  Why didn’t I get through this one?  Because for once in my life, I need to read an abridged version (which I believe Bauer recommends).  I have two huge volumes of this read and I think there’s a third. Unless I’m given two more lives, I don’t see the sense in trying to make it through them.  However, I still need to find an abridged version.  So Soltzhenitsyn will have to wait.



The Good Soldier Svejk

 The Good Soldier Svejk

I found this book to be silly and rather stupid and I didn’t care for it at all.   Svejk acts like an ignorant idiot and while at first it could been amusing, after page after page of his silliness, one gets a little weary of his antics.  I don’t know … perhaps it will get better but I don’t have much hope.  In any case, to read a classic of Czech literature, I will attempt to make my way through it.

So here is my list which I can look back on and see if I accomplished any of it.  I did spend some time a couple of weeks ago looking through some previous lists and was encouraged that I eventually read what I planned to (mostly) although not necessarily in the time I expected.  The key word is EVENTUALLY!




Top Photo Courtesy of Tama66 on Pixabay

37 thoughts on “Ten Currently Reading Books That I Need To Finish

  1. I’m in awe. What a list.

    I read The Good Soldier Schweik, years and years ago, and now can’t remember anything about it, except that feeling that I was plodding through it.

    • Well, the list of “awe” took a long time to build, lol! 😂 Oh yes! I know the feeling, Cath. Plodding is right. But plod I will at some point.

  2. Smart move…take it in phases. You have selected the first 10 books and as I see you will be busy for some time to come! Faerie Queen? City of God….whew!
    Republic should move along quickly as will Dead Souls.
    You are about to finish some ‘currently reading’ books…I have to start reading again
    after a 6 week decline. Good luck to us both!

    • I’ve been taking my cleaning in phases and now my reading! The only one I’m really dreading is The Faerie Queene. But I should try to read a Part every two weeks and eventually I’ll get through it.

      I know …. I haven’t REALLY felt like reading either. It is certainly weird times when we don’t feel like reading. Let’s turn that around! Good to hear from you, Nancy!

  3. I’m currently working my way through the Gulag and I’m planning on taking 2-3 years for the 3 volumes. It’s just dense stuff.

    As for that Cloud of Unknowing, that little phrase esoteric and mystical rang alarm bells in my head. I know I wouldn’t bother to read it. Of course, I’m strongly against the priesthood/monasticism as a Christian institution, so that doesn’t surprise me.

    Best of luck whittling down the list, seems like you’re going to need all the help you can get 🙂

    • You’re reading The Gulag?! I’m impressed! That gives me some inspiration to finish it. Not that we’ll probably compare notes, or anything, lol!

      I really encourage you to read some of the earlier church works. I started to when I realized I knew so little about the history of my faith. I was just listening to a podcast on St. Ignatius who was apparently a disciple of John and they covered some of his letters. It’s kind of neat to make an historical connection with someone who knew an Apostle.

      Yes, I will need luck, time and lots of will!

      • Yep, I’ve been meaning to read Gulag for years now, but never really had the impetus. But when Bernie Sanders ran for president and so many people thought he was god’s gift, I realized Communism was alive and well in the United States and I needed to read about what was going to happen to us 🙁

        I’ll keep early church writings in mind.

  4. Yikes! That is a serious list. The CIty of God! The complete Gulag Archipelago! You’re allowed to give yourself massive credit for having read even part of those, I think.

    I read Good Soldier Schweik, but I only realized later it was an abbreviated version. I liked it but it is silly. Depends on your tolerance for silliness, I suppose…

    I’ve got The Faerie Queene on my Classics Club list, but I haven’t even really started it.

    • Yes, they’re all pretty big books, aren’t they? The size of the book doesn’t usually affect me, it’s usually the content and how much brain I have to devote to it at any given time.

      I might have been able to handle an abridged Svejk but the original is so long. I don’t mind silliness but I found his antics somewhat ignorant. However, he’s supposed to expose some of the historical characters, groups and philosophies of the time so I’ll put up with it to see what I might have missed.

      I still hope we can read The Decameron together. That one I haven’t started and not finished. Phew!

      • I’m definitely interested in doing the Decameron. Having committed (I think?!) to Plutarch’s Lives in the next month I’m definitely out for that duration, but we should think a possible schedule.

        • (I think) I’m committed to The Mysteries of Udolpho during the summer but starting September might be good if that works for you.

  5. Regarding The Republic, I would love to know what you think when you get to it! I finished it, but it slipped through the cracks as far as reviewing goes. You could try reading some shorter dialogues instead… I read the Gorgias earlier this year and didn’t get around to writing anything, but I will probably reread it this summer. It is pretty short, so I guess I have no excuse.

    • Yes, books like The Republic not only take brain-power to read but brain-power to review. I think that’s why I like posting chapter by chapter; the ideas are still fresh and I can go back and review.

      I do want to read some of his shorter dialogues. I read The Apology and loved it. However, it might be good to finish The Republic and it will get easier from there. If you can call Plato “easy”, that is ……

  6. I listened to “City of God” on audiobook (LibriVox). I wouldn’t have gotten through it otherwise. There are so many passages that are frankly repetitive and excruciatingly boring. Audiobook was the perfect format for this book, and I’m usually someone who doesn’t get on with audiobooks.

    • I will admit that I’m so challenged in listening to audiobooks. My attention always wanders and I feel like I should be productive doing something else. However, with City of God, that might be a good idea. Or The Faerie Queene. Being a poem, it should be read aloud.

  7. Oh man, I can sympathize. I have about 19 books that are unfinished. (Well, they’re on the “Finish Later” shelf, having worn out their welcome under “Currently Reading.”) In particular, the biography of Nikola Tesla is staring me down every day.

    At least in your defense, quite a few of these books are long! I also plan to read an abridged version of Gulag. I wouldn’t normally do that, but in the greater scheme of things, I don’t think I’ll feel bad about it.

    • Oh yes, my “unfinished” partner! I’m glad I’m not alone! I remember you were reading Tesla and I was interested in what you thought. I guess I’ll have to wait awhile, lol!

      I can absolutely read an abridged version of The Gulag. Normally I wouldn’t touch an abridged book with a ten foot pole but in this case, I’ll make an exception!

  8. That Faerie Queene readalong was HARD! It’s no wonder you stalled. But I think you can do it!

    I too finished the Johnson part of Tour of the Hebrides, started Boswell….and I haven’t picked it up for months. I really need to get back on the horse with that one!

    That’s a great list, and I agree with Reese — even getting part of the way through this pile is an accomplishment!

    • You and O left me in the dust with The Faerie Queene!

      That’s so funny that we stalled in the same place with Boswell and Johnson. At least it will be an enjoyable finish/read.

      Well, at least given their size I’ve read part of all of them ….. finishing won’t be so difficult as starting from the beginning!

  9. Wow…some amazing books here! I think I may do this same kind of blog post of what I need to finish. I am in the middle of a good chunk of unread books. Oops!

      • It often feels like a bad habit…starting a book and not finishing. But I’m being patient with myself and seeing reading these books as a journey. 🙂

  10. i deeply sympathize… i read Faerie Queen while driving the backwoods of Oregon at about five mph and dodging log trucks on the dirt roads… it was a real life experience of living in two realities simultaneously, haha… it took me about 6 months as i recall… agree re Soldier Svjek… the others sound really challenging and i admire you for not just dropping them and going on to something else… but give yourself a break: having fun with books is important also and if you aren’t liking the experience go on to something else.. that is unless you’re studying endocrinology or something… take care…

    • Ha, ha! Two realities that aren’t at all similar unless you have a vivid imagination! Most of these books I was enjoying, that’s the puzzling part of it and I can’t only blame getting distracted with other books for my not finishing them. The only ones I might not be that fussed about are The Gulag (but I want to read it to complete the biography section of The Well-Educated Mind Project) and The Good Soldier Svejk. All the others I want to read but they require brain power and I think my brain became fuller with other things, especially in the last year. But perhaps one at a time will do it! You take care as well!

  11. Hmmm…I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but of those I know by reputation, they would seem to be “takes work” books, so I can see why you may have stalled at times. I usually find that if I set a book down for too long, I might as well start it over when I do pick it back up. And often the second time goes much better! Take your time and good luck!

    • A very few of them have stayed current in my mind, and some I’ve compiled posts for what I’ve read already, so reading those posts will refresh my memory. But, yes, most I will probably start again. Not City of God though. Forget it. I was already half way through and I couldn’t bear starting again. Thanks for the wishes, Amanada!

    • Exactly! Ten books are much more manageable than looking at 34! I’m working on only one of them now so I should add another to the mix soon. Hope you’re doing well! 👍🏻

  12. I feel like Russian literature is really difficult to read at this time of isolation and fear so dont fret! Good thing is Dead Souls isn’t /too/ long.

    • Thanks, Keely, but I feel somewhat guilty anyway …. 😉 I read your blog post with your Turgenev short stories so perhaps I could focus on something like that. Of course, getting books nowadays is no easy feat. I’ll have to take a look and see what I own.

  13. My book that I am determined to finish this year that I started – wait for it – in 2017!!! The book? The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. I picked it up just today and decided it was time to finish this thing. Can you believe I only have about 20% left to read? Why did I not finish it???? This book felt like a slog to get through when I first started reading it and that’s why I stalled out on it. Then I picked it up again at some point, read some more, and stalled out again. I think a good part of the reason it felt like a slog was because it was the first Russian classic I have tried to read and I wasn’t used to all the names and such. Believe it or not, though, after it probably has been a good year since I picked it up last, I still remembered what was going on in it fairly well. I just had to refresh my memory on a few of the characters today and I read a brief summary of some of the preceeding chapters to where I had left off. I found it much more engaging today when I started reading it. I really do think I want to try reading it again from the beginning at some point because I think I will like it much, much better now since I have read a couple of other Russian works since I started The Brothers K in 2017. 🙂

    • Wow, I’d say The Brothers Karamazov is the most difficult Russian novel I’ve read so far, so you sure picked a doozy to start with. I really needed a number of other Russian novels to even get a grasp on what Dostoyevsky was attempting to say, or perhaps I should say the way he chose to say it. I could not imagine starting with The Brothers K! I have a review of it that might help: https://classicalcarousel.com/the-brothers-karamazov-by-fyodor-dostoyevsky/ I even had to use a biography to help me write the review. Dostoyevsky was unbelievably deep and creative with it but it wasn’t an easy read. Best of luck!

      • You just made me feel so much better! 🙂 It’s taken me soooo long to finish this tome. I am almost there…. I plan to write about it on my blog when I finish. I wish my first Russian novel had been something else. I think had I started with something different, I would have enjoyed it more when I first started it. Going back now and finishing it after having read some other Russian works in the meantime, I can tell a difference. I’m off to read your review. 🙂

        • I started with Tolstoy and even though he’s more accessible than Dostoyevsky, I still wish I’d begun with Turgenev or Gogol or Chekhov. However, if we just keep reading, those Russians get easier and I’ve gained so much appreciation of their works. I’m so glad I made you feel better!!

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