Reading :: spring/summer 2019

It’s been a while since I did any sort of reading update. I’ve been steadily plugging along, starting too many books and not really keeping up with what I’m reading. It’s been the first summer in like the last 4 years that I haven’t had to do any trainings for upcoming teaching responsibilities, so I feel like my reading life has been wide open. I’ve tried to do a little pre-reading for my upcoming sophomore, but I keep becoming distracted by other books that are more appealing or higher on my list.

Currently

Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer’s Journal by D. Kline. :: I’m not really sure how this ended up on my reading list, but so far it’s been pretty interesting. It does cause to one to harken to the simplicity of a farming life and even the Amish life; especially with all the crazy political junk going on.

Phantastes by G. MacDonald :: I’m reading this because apparently it was one of C.S. Lewis’ favorites. I have to admit it’s rather odd and it might not be the best book to read before falling asleep – partially because it is sort of putting me to sleep and partially because I’m not sure I’m awake enough just before bed to really appreciate it.

Beate Not the Poore Desk: A Writer to Young Writers by W. Wangerin Jr :: This book is awesome. I’ve loved all of it and I really love Wangerin. I’ve only ever read his non-fiction, so the jury is out on whether I’d like his fiction, but I completely “get” his writing voice and love it.

Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and Depression by JP Moreland :: I quickly ordered this one when I realized the topic. I’m about halfway through and it has been really encouraging and full of many different ways to combat anxiety attacks. I appreciate his perspective of how the church needs to be in more conversation about anxiety/depression, but also his recognition that sometimes it takes more than prayer and sin confession to overcome this struggle. Medicine is not an evil.

On Hold

I started a few books and they are on hold for various reasons, some because we are on a school break, some because they were due at the library again and some just because I start too many books.

You Learn by Living by E. Roosevelt, In the Land of the Blue Burqas by K. Mccord, The Lifegiving Table by S. Clarkson and Tending the Heart of Virtue by V. Gurolan

Read

Kingdom of the Blind by L. Penny :: I really want to like Louise Penny because I feel like every mystery lover does, but I really am not a huge fan. She’s ok when I’m in the mood for a mystery and don’t have one, but really I just don’t love Gamache and the characters. This one was better than the other one I read, but still not a fan.

1984 by Orwell :: this was a pre-read for my high schooler. He was interested in reading this and I hadn’t read it since high school, so I felt like it was due time for me to read it again. There were some things in it that I didn’t remember at all, but overall it was super scary to read it in these times of history revision/erasure and just all the other lack of individuality (despite everyone crying out for it) and just our inability to respect other peoples differing opinions.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by K. Morton :: this was another one that had been on my list for a while and another author that people tend to rave over. I really felt like I slugged through the first half of this book; maybe even the first 3 quarters. It did ramp up a little in the end, but man the ending was horrible. I finished this and 1984 on the same day and it was totally depressing. Both of them had super depressing endings.

The Night Gardener by Auxier :: this is a youth book and it’s by the guy that wrote Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. I really loved this. I had read many reviews that mentioned how good it was and it really was. My daughter was not so convinced.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Callahan :: this is the story of Lewis and Joy and was our book club choice for July. It was eh; so- so. There were parts of it I really appreciated and enjoyed and then parts of it that I thought were sort of unnecessary . She really takes license with the love story between the two of them and that kind of made me uncomfortable. Callahan is also a very flowery, descriptive writer so that was mildly annoying. Honestly, romance novels are not my thing so maybe that was my utmost issue. It was a good and interesting story and apparently she consulted a fair bit with Joy’s son and there were many tidbits in there that I had no idea about that were interesting.

The Curve of Time by Blanchet :: this is probably my favorite book so far this spring/summer. I absolutely loved it. It’s the story of a widow living on the coast of British Columbia who would take her children sailing all summer in the area between Vancouver Island and the rugged coastline. It’s a crazy area where the Pacific Ocean tides come through and mix with the freshwater rivers coming down from the mainland. I wish I was a mother like this; wild and free and able to just take off and go on adventures. I’m so not.

Persuasion by Austen :: People had been telling me for years to read this Austen, mostly because Emma is hands down one of my favorite books. This did not disappoint, but honestly I still love Emma.

Next up…

I don’t know what’s next. I really need to get busy and make a list because I know I have tons of pre-reading I need to start for school. What are you reading this summer?

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Reading: July 2018

Currently

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by J. Birdsall
This is our latest read aloud, which in the summer has been time spent few and far between. I’m anxious to get back into our not summer family rhythm so we can get back to reading aloud more. This comes highly recommended by many friends and so far, so good.

Glass Houses by L. Penny
This is only my second Louise Penny mystery and I’m still struggling to get into it. I love a good mystery and I really love mystery series. People rave about Louise Penny so I’m hoping that the more I read the more I will love her too.

A bunch of astronomy books
I’m teaching an 8th grade homeschool class this year and we do a history of astronomy in the Fall semester so I’m cruising through a bunch of different astronomy books.

The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
This is for my August book club meeting and I’m trying to stay with it, but it’s just strange. I love CS Lewis and I love a good allegory, but this one has been a little bit hard to figure out. Probably because I’m reading so many other things!

Educated by T. Westover
I started listening to this on audio and had to return it and I’m like number 100 in line for the book at the library. I loved the interview on NPR I heard with her, I loved as much as I was able to listen to and I’m almost tempted to just buy the book so I can finally finish it!

Finished

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by S. King
Awesome book. I loved this book as much as people said I would. It’s a fabulous book for write wannabes like me and it was such an amazing insight into King’s process. He’s totally strange, but yet he seems like such an ordinary family guy. He loves his wife and his kids and while what he writes about is often bizarre, his process is totally normal. Highly recommend!

Gilead by M. Robinson
I really wanted to like this book. I know people who love it, but it was so draggy and so somber. It often put me to sleep at night and it was almost drudgery to get through. There were parts I should have totally written down in my commomplace because they were so good, but overall I don’t know. I have one more episode to listen to of Close Reads as they talk about this and listening to the podcast has helped me process the book. Otherwise I would totally not like it.

The Fledgling by J. Langton
Actually we didn’t finish this book, but abandoned it. There’s only a handful of books that we’ve started to read aloud together and then quit and this one added to the list. It’s a super strange book and we really couldn’t figure out the whole point. A girl and a goose who flies. I don’t know. It was weird.

 

What’s Next

Goodness – who knows. I need to keep some good “easy” reads for my afternoon tea time, but I’ve also go so many things I need to read for my class. Not to mention that we’ve started homeschool so I’ve got tons of pre-reading I need to stay on top of too. I’m not going to make the next couple of book club meetings, so I’m not sure that I’ll stay on top of those readings. Who knows!

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Reading: 2018 Book List

Last year I made an attempt to make a master to-read list and challenged myself to write every month about the books I was working through. I am super excited that I think I hit every month! My master list from last year is here and you can find all the posts for the year here. I’m also active on Goodreads so you can follow me there and see exactly what I’m reading.

Believe it or not, it’s the first day of 2018, so it’s time for a new list and this year I have a feeling is going to be a bigger challenge. I’m actually involved in a couple of book clubs, I’ve got gobs of pre-reading to keep up with for homeschooling and tons of personal reading I want to do too. Somehow I am going to have to figure out how to make more hours in the day appear. You might notice that some of these will be a carry over from 2017 and the books I’m reading for book clubs are marked with a *. Here’s my list for 2018.

Fiction

The Mill on the Floss
This Must Be the Place
Half a Yellow Sun
America’s First Daughter
Station Eleven*
Lilac Girls
Jaybar Crow
Our Souls at Night
Pride and Prejudice*
Alias Grace*
The Book of Three*
David Copperfield*
The Good Earth*
God’s Smuggler*
Brave New World*
The Man Who Invented Christmas*

Non Fiction

In the Heart of the Sea*
The Hiding Place*
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Zaleski
First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by KA Brower
12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You*
Paradox of Choice
Great Possessions
Out of the Ashes by Esolen
Reading People by A. Bogel
The Story of Happy Marriage

Personal Growth

On the Shoulders of Hobbits
You Learn by Living by E. Roosevelt
Bandersnatch
Tending the Heart of Virtue
The Writing Life by A. Dillard
Beate Not the Poore Desk
Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him
Home Education by C. Mason

Spiritual Growth

The Great Divorce*
Attentive Life by L. Ford
In the Name of Jesus and/or Love Henri, Letters on the Spiritual Life by H. Nouwen
Again by L. Tankersley
Orthodoxy by Chesterton
Liturgy of the Ordinary
The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time

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Reading: August 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

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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