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Reading: October 2017

By on November 6, 2017

Currently

Beauty in the Word by S. Caldecott
This book has been on my to-read list for ages and a sweet friend even gifted me with it months ago. Yet, it sat on my nightstand. Finally, I picked it up last week and started reading it and goodness it’s good. It is written from a Catholic perspective, but the explanations he gives regarding education and learning and our consummate goals are just beautiful. I’m trying to read slowly and digest it all; copying all sorts of great things into my commonplace book.

Johnny Tremain
The chick and I are still slowly reading through this. So far, so good.

The Awakening of Mrs. Prim by N. Fenoliera
This was suggested by a host of people and it’s been so interesting so far. I feel like the writing style is so different, but maybe it’s just the characters? I don’t know. I have a hankering where I think this book is headed, but honestly I’ve been surprised already with some things that I didn’t expect so I’m curious to keep reading.

Home Education (#1) by C. Mason
I’ve finally gotten a copy of at least the first volume by Ms. Mason and I’m super slowly reading through it. I’m in a study group that’s going through volume 3, but for my own education I wanted to start from the beginning.

Finished

The Seamstress by S. Tuvel Bernstein
This was recommend to me by another friend ages ago and I finally got my hands on it. It is a Holocaust story, but one set in Romania, of which I knew very little regarding the story of the Jewish population in Romania. Her story starts with the years leading up to the War and then goes all the way through Liberation. It really is an amazing story of survival.

Number the Stars by L. Lowry
I’ve never read this book and my son needed to read it for his writing assignments so I figured it was high time – since both of my kids have read it multiple times. This is another Holocaust story, but set in Denmark. Again another area of Europe I wasn’t totally familiar with. This time, it is about a non-Jewish family, putting themselves at risk in order to save their friends.

Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken by Powlison
Powlison is awesome and I’ll ready anything by him. I feel like he takes a subject that is so hard to discuss – any subject- and brings it back to Scripture so well. This is a super helpful book for those with and without any type of sexual brokenness; which in this day and age pretty much includes all of us.

The Optimist’s Daughter by E. Welty
I’ve never ready anything by Welty (who apparently is the “other” southern writer) and this was on my master to-read list this year. I almost feel like I need to read it again to really appreciate it. It was super well written and the story flowed along like nothing else.

Swallows and Amazons by A. Ransome
Fantastic! We really loved this book and it totally waxes nostalgic for days when kids were just free to do whatever without any fear of anything.

The Kitchen House by K. Grissom
Yet another book that was on my master to-read and it was good. Set in the south on a plantation during the years of slavery, it’s a hard book to read but the storytelling is amazing and the character development was fantastic.

What’s Next

I’ve got a couple of books about the internet that I really want to read: The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by N. Carr and The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection by M. Harris. I’m really trying to figure out how to manage all the reading, writing and creating I’m not doing because of the lure of the screen. Setting boundaries in the beginning, but in the end I’m so ready to chuck it all. I long for the days when all I did was sit here and blog and write; which honestly weren’t perfect either. Nothing ever is.

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Reading: September 2017

By on October 6, 2017

I honestly don’t know what happened to September and I’m certain that October is about to feel the same way. I feel like a got a fair amount of reading accomplished this past month, but my “to-read” list is super long.

Currently

Johnny Tremain by E. Forbes
The chick and started this as our next bedtime read aloud. It’s on every list I’ve ever seen when studying early American history so I figure we should probably read it. We are only one chapter in so I don’t have much to offer yet.

With Lee in Virginia by Henty
This is a pre-read for my son and his American History list. I haven’t ever read anything by Henty and while I can’t preread all his book for this year, I figured this would be a good one to do. So far it’s been pretty interesting; but again I’m only a few pages in so the jury is still out.

Persuasian by Austen
I haven’t officially started this book yet, but a friend gifted to me and another friend told me last year that I needed to read it if I was ever going to be a true Austen fan. Emma will always be my hands down favorite, but maybe this might change my mind?

Completed

Swallows and Amazons by Ransome
This was a fun book. It’s full of lots of sailing jargon that we kind of had to work through, but the idea of a time of life where you could just let your kiddos loose on a little island and not worry about them is amazing to me. As I find out more about Ramsome and the beginnings of this story I love it all even more. We watched a video of the area where Ransome used to go and this story is based upon and you can even go and take tours. As I come to terms with a little adventure story in my head based on a real place where I grew up, it’s encouraging to me to know he had the same idea.

The Kitchen House by Grissom
This was on my to read this year and I flew through it. It was a great story; just riveting. I’m usually not a huge fan of southern stories on the same topic, but I feel like Grissom handled all the slavery and masters etc really well. She was honest in her treatment of them, but also very sensitive. I highly recommend it.

A Girl of the Limberlost
I’ve been reading this off and on for months and finally finished it. I really did like it and I do think it will be a great book to hand to my daughter when she is 15 or so. It’s a fun story about a whimsical girl who loves nature and about dealing with and overcoming deep heartaches – from mothers to boys.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Reay
This is a pick of our mom’s book club and it’s another book I flew through pretty quickly. It’s an easy sort of read; perfect for the beach honestly. A fun story with a feel good ending. Not a huge thinker sort of book, but not super twaddle either.

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic
This was another book on my 2017 list and I really liked it. I felt like it was even more applicable as I finished it just about the time Maria and Harvey showed up and people in this day and age were struggling to find clean water. Towards the end I did start skimming through all his observations. The book was written over 10 years ago ago and it’s crazy the advancements in technology (for good and bad) and how that has changed so many things in our lives regarding disease (and the potential for disease).

Eve in Exile
This is our first quarter selection for our mom’s book club and we are getting ready to discuss it next week. Honestly I would never have pushed through this book without having the pressure to have to. It is filled with gobs of historical information regarding women’s rights in the US and in England and while I did appreciate the history, her tone throughout the book was so snarky that I had a really hard time getting into it. There were bits and pieces throughout it that could take away and I wouldn’t say I don’t recommend it. I did find a podcast interview with the author on Sheologians and I’m anxious to listen to it to help me maybe get a better perspective.

Coming Up

I feel like I am so far behind on what I need to pre-read for my children’s schooling and my own “schole” that I can’t even begin to make a list of what’s up next.

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Reading: August 2017

By on September 1, 2017

August was a crazy month. In some ways I look back and it seems like a crazy long period of time and then really it just flew by. We started school, which this year brings me homeschooling both children, we started co-op and my oldest turned 14. In the midst of all that, I did find some time to read, but this month I feel like it was more of a luxury than before. Squeezing time and effort into reading was  little bit harder.

Currently

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
Yes, that Lauren Graham of Parenthood and Gilmore Girls. I’ve had this on my amazon wish list for ages and finally got it from the library because I was looking for something sort of light and hopefully funny to read. Reviews I had read were mixed, but many people said that they loved it in the end because they heard Lorelia Gilmore in it so much. I’m not sure about that. I think part of it is because the main character is a girl wanting to make it into acting in New York and I totally cannot even begin to identify with that. So while it’s been an interesting read, it’s not the story I was hoping for.

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic… by S. Johnson
This was on my master list for 2017 and I finally got it from the library. I raced through the first few chapters while sitting at a super long doctor’s appointment (which was kind of ironic given that the book is about cholera) and was completely fascinated. I’ve read and watched so many things about the early years of London and I still cannot get over the filth that people used to live in. It’s crazy how little “doctors” knew about anything back then…and really not even that long ago. I’m so thankful for clean drinking water and the world of science.

Swallows and Amazons by A. Ransome
My daughter and I are reading this at bedtime and are really enjoying it. It’s sort of a Swiss Family Robinson type story; a little bit. But more than anything it’s a book about a group of kids with amazing imaginations and what happens when you let kids have freedom to explore the outside. It makes me miss my childhood and the freedom I had to roam the neighborhood and the woods around us and how letting my kids just play across the street in the park freaks me out a little bit.

Finished

The Core by L. Bortins
Technically I’ve got one chapter left, but I’m calling this one finished. It was a great introduction to the world of classical education and interesting to see how her vision created Classical Conversations (which is the co-op program that we are a part of).

The Hamilton Affair by E. Cobbs
This was pretty good. As much as I want to know and understand early American history, I get bogged down all the time by all the different labels people had: Patriots, Tories, Sons of Liberty etc… But this was my first attempt at trying to get on the Hamilton train. I’m sort of getting there.

Unseen by S. Hagerty
I was given an advanced reader copy of this book and I really enjoyed it. I love the message that she is trying to get across and even more love the scripture that was woven throughout. It was an amazing reminder that in seasons of less, seasons where you feel so missed and lonely and unseen, we are never unseen. God sees us and our way to seeing him is through prayer and more specifically through His word. It has truly pushed me back into God’s word as a means of meditation and not just checking off a list that I’ve read the Bible today. If I want to feel rooted and found, it’s at His feet and in His word that I must go.

Coming Next

I’m heading up a mom’s book club for our Classical Conversations group this year and our first book is Eve in Exile; so that’s first on my list. David Powlison has a new book out that I’m hoping to read and study and a sweet friend gifted me with Beauty and the Word so I’m hoping to start digging into that too. I also need to finish The Ghost Map and I’m continuing to slowly read through Charlotte Mason’s volumes as our homeschool moves more and more that direction.

What are you reading?

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Reading: July 2017 + midway update

By on July 31, 2017

I’m halfway through the year so far and I’ve done pretty good with my “assigned” reading list. I’ve read about half of the fiction books and I’ve dabbled in the other categories as well. I’ve found myself a little frustrated with some of my choices and I’m wondering if I will end up reading everything. It’s a funny thing when you make a list at the beginning of the year and then life happens and you wonder why one book seemed so appealing to you and then 6 months later it doesn’t?

You can check out where I am on my list here. But for July, here’s what I read:

Currently

The Core by Leigh Bortins
I’m still plugging through this book written by the creator of Classical Conversations (the co-op we are a part of). So far I actually have really enjoyed it. It’s been super helpful to get a more formal perspective on the program and just classical education in general.

A Girl of the Limberlost
Yes, still reading. I’m finding that I put this one aside when I pick up another book and then come back to it. I’m getting there.

Unseen by Sara Hagerty
I’m privileged to be an advanced reader for this book and so far it’s been super good. Definitely a conversation that needed to start in my head between the Lord and myself.

Finished

Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky by C. Lapallo
This book was fabulous. It was a pre-read for my 8th grader and I had heard rave reviews from friends who had recommended it as a great early American history book and it didn’t disappoint.

Walking on Water by L’Engle
Nothing short of awesome. Such a good book and one I think I’ll read again for sure. After getting to listen and meet Katherine Paterson a few months ago, it’s made me super sad that I’ll never get to hear L’Engle in person. I’ve been searching for recordings of her past lectures or anything and I’ve come up short. I really appreciate her take on art and spirituality and how that all fits together so much.

Abandoned

The Seamstress by F. de Pontes Peebles
I got about 200 pages into this book and just couldn’t keep going. It was such a laborious read and I wasn’t getting the sense that it was all going to be worth it in the end. There were parts of it that were getting a little to graphic for my taste too so I set it aside.

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by L. Terkeurst
Just couldn’t get into it. I think Hagerty’s book, which is a similar idea, is more what my heart needed.

What’s next?

I am still pre-reading stuff for school.  I need to read The Landing of the Pilgrims next and a few other shorter stories for my daughter. I’ve reserved The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by S. Johnson from the library and I need to finish all these books I’ve started too. The loose ends are getting to me!

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Reading: May 2017

By on June 5, 2017
Currently

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
This book was nowhere on my radar, but if the author is Ann Patchett then I’ll just grab it and read. It’s a family drama with the amazing character development that Patchett is so good at. So far, so good.

When Hitler Stole the Pick Rabbit by J. Kerr
This is a leftover book from our school book list and it really is the sweetest (if that word can be used when talking about WWII and Nazi’s) book. It follows a family that has been forced out of their home in Germany. The father is an author that is very unsympathetic to the Nazi’s and obviously they don’t like that. It doesn’t help that the family is Jewish. It’s a super read aloud.

A Girl of the Limberlost by G. Stratton-Porter
I’m about half way through this book and put it down for another read and I haven’t yet picked it back up again. It’s been on my to-read list for ages and it’s a bit reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables (strong willed young girl, unappreciated, dreamy and lover of the outdoors).

Moths of the Limberlost by G. Stratton-Porter
This is a coordinating book with the fiction story and describes all the moth life in the Limberlost. It’s actually been a fairly interesting read. I’m becoming a bit of a lepidopterist and I’m slowly researching moths and butterflies for a couple of different reasons. This book is a great introduction to my study.

Walking on Water by M. L’Engle
I’m still plugging along slowly this book and falling more and more in love with L’Engle. I never read any of her books growing up and just read a Wrinkle in Time this past year. The next in the series is on our read aloud list for this summer and I can’t wait. I’ve loved this book in so many ways and when I’m finally finished will be worth of it’s own post.

Finished

Olive Kitteridge by E. Strout
This book was on so many “must-read” lists that I quickly added it to my 2017 master list. The whole layout and voice of this book was so different. It wasn’t until I was finished that I realized she approached this book as a collection of short stories all about this one character. Basically giving you a different perspective from all these different people while telling a whole collection of stories from characters in this small town. From the beginning I really didn’t like Olive and so it was hard for me to keep going when the titled character was just so frustrating to me. But I plugged through and honestly I think the further away I am from this book, the more I realize Strout is a brilliant writer (clearly – she won the Pulitzer) and I’m glad I pushed through and finished it. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite book, but I am glad I read it.

Upstream by M. Oliver
Finally finished. It was good and I’m glad I read it. I’m not a big memoir person.

Atonement by I. McEwan
Another one from my list. It was a bit of a slow read. Another one I kind of had to push through and another one where I wasn’t totally fond of the main characters and the writing style.

Hind’s Feet on High Places
Truly one of my favorite allegorical stories ever. I’ve read it twice on my own and my daughter and I just finished reading it aloud together. There’s not a time I’ve read this where I haven’t gleaned something new.

Up Next

I had great plans to read through (or at least start) The Making of a Story this summer and work on some writing goals, but I’m honestly not sure that’s going to happen. My mind is so fractured with so many other things I just don’t know that I can take on another goal. Right now I just want to finish the books I’ve started and then I’ll figure out where to go next.

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