Raising Readers, Reflections
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New Year’s Literary Goals (and Literary Confessions)

Happy New Year!

The Lord has blessed each of us on the Redeemed Reader staff—and our site as well—in 2014. We are excited to see what He will bring our way and do through us this coming year. We are humbled by His faithfulness and goodness to us, and we pray that He is using our efforts here at Redeemed Reader to bless you, our faithful readers.

It’s that time of year again: What are you resolving to do this year? Are you making any literary goals for 2015? Perhaps to read the Bible through this year? (For some great Bible reading plans, look here).

reading challenge

Perhaps you are planning to read a certain number of books this year. Perhaps there is one book—or series—that everyone tells you to read, but you still haven’t found the time. Read on for some personal favorites of the Redeemed Reader staff as well as some surprising literary confessions from this group of professional readers. We enjoyed seeing where our lists overlapped and gasping in shock at the titles some of us still haven’t read! All of us will protest that these are merely the top five titles that came to mind this month; our favorites lists ebb and flow constantly, and these are by no means mandatory reading. May you be encouraged that reading is indeed a very personal pursuit: worth doing, to be sure, but also worth realizing that people are individuals in different times and places and with particular tastes and abilities. Enjoy!

Names in alphabetical order

Betsy’s Top Five (in no particular order):

  1. Charlotte’s Web
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (and others in the series)
  3. Any of Jane Austen’s novels
  4. Little Women
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird

Confession: Betsy still has not read Jane Eyre.

Christie’s Top Five (in no particular order):

  1. All the King’s Men
  2. Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy by Sigrid Undset
  3. Anything by Jane Austen
  4. Communion with God by John Owen
  5. Harry Potter Series

Confession: Despite recommending the series enthusiastically, Christie still has not finished the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian.

Emily’s Top Five (in no particular order):

  1. Anne of Green Gables
  2. Diary of Anne Frank
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird
  4. Morning and Evening by Spurgeon
  5. Flannery O’Connor’s Revelation

Confession: Emily has still not read the Narnia books!

Hayley’s Top Five (in no particular order):

  1. Anything by Jane Austen (although Mansfield Park is her least favorite)
  2. Tale of Two Cities
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird
  4. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
  5. Anything by P. G. Wodehouse

Confession: Hayley has still not read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

Janie’s Top Five: Top five—can’t do it. I can list my favorites but that doesn’t mean everyone should read them. It’s not just that reading tastes are so personal but also that reading needs are personal, and what I get from a book is not what anyone else will. That said, here’s the one book everyone should read: the Bible (of course!).

Confession: Janie has still not read the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

Megan’s Top Five (in no particular order):

  1. Stepping Heavenward
  2. Till We Have Faces
  3. The Hiding Place
  4. The Queen’s Thief
  5. Frances the Badger series

Confession: Megan has still never finished the Anne of Green Gables books!

So, what are some of your favorites?  Any confessions you need to make?

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Filed under: Raising Readers, Reflections


Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.


  1. Marijo Taverne says

    How can Betsy not have read Jane Eyre? I just don’t get it.

  2. Emily says

    Now, now, Marijo. You can’t comment on someone else’s confession unless you make your own….what haven’t YOU read??? (wink, wink)

  3. This is a lot of fun! Next time you should confess the books of which you have multiple copies. At a bookstore, I am always most tempted by the books I already own— new editions, beautiful covers, lovely paper, fresh translations, etc.

  4. Rebecca Joy says

    How can Hayley not love Mansfield Park? Other than that, all her favorite books are simply wonderful! As are everyone elses’…. (And I still have not read any P.G. Wodehouse, sadly).

  5. Hayley says

    Rebecca Joy, thank you for commenting! I really need to give Mansfield Park another chance; I suspect I’ll enjoy it more on a second reading. I didn’t used to like Emma, but a second reading won me over! Hope you have a chance to read P.G. Wodehouse soon.

  6. Betsy says

    Marijo–it is indeed a mystery, isn’t it? Somehow I made it through college as an English major AND have TWO master’s degrees in literature-related fields. The only thing I can figure is that I skipped my senior year in high school during which I would have had AP lit (where they often read Jane Eyre). It was never assigned after that, and I’ve always had so many other things to read on my plate… Now, it’s kind of fun to see people’s shocked faces 😉

    I, for one, was appalled that Emily hasn’t read the Narnia books!

    This was a fun exercise for us to do! 🙂

  7. Wodehouse and Narnia and LOTR are indispensable. Jane Eyre is great, but one can live a good, full reading life without it. 🙂 I raise eyebrows and invite speculation when I admit that I’ve not read a single Harry Potter book. Most people surmise that’s because I have moral objections, but actually it’s just that I don’t think the books could possibly live up to the hype. I’m afraid of being disappointed. Top five: Les Miserables, Narnia books (all of them), LOTR or at least The Hobbit, something by Dickens, and yes, Charlotte’s Web.

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