Friday, December 28, 2012

Books Read in 2012

Posting has been sparse (again) this year, but most of the titles below are linked to my semi-monthly posts where there is usually a brief summary of my thoughts. It seemed like it wasn't a very productive reading year, but combining my own reading with what I read aloud to my kids, averages out to one book a week. That's a good goal, and seemingly an attainable one, too!

Next year, I hope to read more classics, more mysteries, and more historical fiction.

1. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
2. Chronicles of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
5. I Am Half Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley
6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
7. Joy Comes in the Morning by Betty Smith
8. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
9. My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve
10. The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennett
11. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
12. Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope by Mary Beth Chapman
13. Three Men and a Maid by P. G. Wodehouse
14. Growing up Amish by Ira Wagler
15. The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
16. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell
17. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
18. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
19. Royal Children of English History by Edith Nesbit
20. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
21. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
22. The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell
23. Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
24. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
25. Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
26. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
27. The Virgin in the Ice: The Sixth Chronicle of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters
28. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
29. The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne
30. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
31. The Hobbit (or There and Back Again) by J. R. R. Tolkien
32. An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor
33. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
34. At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
35. Blackthorn Winter by Douglas Wilson
36. The Bible (NASB)

1. The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow by Allen French
2. Son of Charlemagne by Barbara Willard
3. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
4. The King's Shadow by Elizabeth Alder
5. Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
6. Dangerous Journey by John Bunyan and Oliver Hunkin
7. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
8. The Beggars' Bible by Louise A. Vernon
9. Ink on His Fingers by Louise A. Vernon
10. The Fantastic Flying Journey by Gerald Durrell
11. Thunderstorm in Church by Louise A. Vernon
12. Huguenot Garden by Douglas M. Jones III
13. Tucker's Countryside by George Selden
14. Harry Cat's Pet Puppy by George Selden
15. Chester Cricket's Pigeon Ride by George Selden
16. Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse by George Selden
17. Chester Cricket's New Home by George Selden
18. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
19. Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey
20. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
21. The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas: An Austin Family Story by Madeleine L'Engle
22. Various and assorted picture books!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fall Reading - the catch-up edition

With the start of home schooling (K & 3rd grade) and various weekly church activities, I haven't had much time for reading these past few months. Additionally, I fell into a serious reading funk, which I think was due more to the mode (Kindle) than the material, although at least one title was funk-inducing in and of itself (more on that later). So, briefly (I hope), here is what has been read during the fall months (September - November).

(If you're visiting from a Read-Aloud-Thursday link, the read-alouds are at the bottom.)

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
This was an enjoyable classic, and I'm glad I gave Gaskell another chance after reading Cranford a few years ago. I wouldn't say she's one of my favorite British authors, but it was a well-paced, period piece in which the characters brought the distinctions of industrialized England into sharp focus. Aside from a few melodramatic scenes, which seemed out of place for the very reserved characters, it had none of the silly pettiness of Cranford.

The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne
Did you know A. A. Milne wrote more than Winnie-the-Pooh? Murder mysteries, to be exact? Well, this was a fun diversion, if not a very complex plot, and I'd recommend it.

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
(Who names their child Jerome Jerome?) This is described as a comic travelogue, but for some reason I just wasn't in the mood for such humor. I think (I hope) it was intended as a parody on idle young gentleman who think too highly of themselves, but I had my fill of that with Brideshead Revisited. Now Three Men in a Boat was not so disheartening as Brideshead, but for some reason it put me in a real reading funk, perhaps because I didn't have a real grasp for it's size on the Kindle and it seemed rather interminable. I found it soooo tedious, yet I kept reading thinking it would surely get better. There were, in fact, a few interesting historical divergences in a vast sea of stream of consciousness rabbit trails, but it still took me more than a month - a month! - for me to read this relatively short book. I persevered, mostly because I thought it would be helpful to have the background before reading To Say Nothing of the Dog. This more recent time-travel story sounds fascinating, but the original was so disappointing that I'm almost afraid to start it.

The Hobbit (or There and Back Again) by J. R. R. Tolkien
If I had nothing better to do, I'd spend a year or so reading Tolkien's entire corpus. I find that his idea of "true myth" gives me much to ponder, though it's all too easy to get caught up in the adventure and miss the broader truths. I appreciated the read-along posts on Redeemed Reader this November, particularly this one which explores his true myth concept in more detail.

Yes, we've seen the movie. I loved parts of it and was really irritated by other parts. That almost always happens with books adapted to screen, especially when I've just read the book before seeing the movie. With more distance I might be able to appreciate the movie for its own merits, but not this time.

Harry Cat's Pet Puppy
Chester Cricket's Pigeon Ride
Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse
Chester Cricket's New Home
by George Selden
Yes, we've read them all, and if there are more I don't want to know! While it was a pleasant journey, the sequels aren't as good as the original Cricket in Times Square. I think E. B. White knew what he was doing when he brought Charlotte's Web and The Trumpet of the Swan to a satisfying close and didn't try to capitalize on whatever success they gained. If your children are voracious readers, I'm sure they would enjoy these continuing tales of unlikely animal friends. However, I'm a little sorry that we spent so much time on these read-alouds when there are so many other wonderful children's classics to read.

Such as Homer Price and Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey!
These books are just downright fun bits of Americana. Since I grew up in a small Ohio town not far from Robert McCloskey's own hometown, these stories just ring true to me. I'm afraid I might even pick up the dialect a little too well! My kids love them, too! They are funny enough to appeal to kids, but there's some subtle humor for the grown-ups, too.

Our home school co-op of 6 families read Homer Price for a book club week, and each family acted out one chapter, which was loads of fun! While the older kids did some art and map projects, the younger children then did activities related to Make Way for Ducklings - another favorite of mine!