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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Reading Journal - September

Reading Journal 

Books read in September:

Non-fiction

  • The 4:8 Principle: The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life by Tommy Newberry - I liked the premise of this book, but overall I think there are better books on this topic. This had a feel of if you always think happy than you will be happy. 
  • The Conversation: Challenging Your Student with a Classical Education by Leigh Bortins - While we are not a part of Classical Conversations, I have enjoyed all of Leigh Bortins books. The strength of this book, especially for non-Classical Conversations homeschoolers, is the beginning chapters that deal with homeschooling in high-school. If you are unsure about homeschooling high-school I highly recommend picking this up. 
  • Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines - Let's just say I enjoy watching Joanna Gaines and I loved The Magnolia Story. This would have probably been a better read if my home style at least fell in her 5 different styles, but unfortunately homeschool book style wasn't listed. For some reason this book was more readable on Kindle than in book form. 
  • Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will by Kevin DeYoung - Can I park right here and say you need to read this book. Even if you don't struggle with the will of God it will help when talking to others on the topic. Excellent, excellent read!!!!!!
  • Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass - I read this over the summer for my Charlotte Mason Reading Group. I am a big believer in narration and it was fun reading and discussing this.
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean - When I started this book I thought I was going to really enjoy it. This tells the story of the fire that happened at the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986. There were some interesting parts, but by the end I was really frustrated with the story. The author jumps around a lot jumping from the fire to the history of the library to the arsonist (though she has a whole section at the end arguing that it may not have been arson????). The author also puts a lot of speculation (hers and others) in the book which is not my favorite thing in a book. I want the author to tell the story and not put their 2 cents in every other paragraph or so. Can you tell this isn't a favorite?
  • Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Season by Christie Purifoy - An okay read. I realized I had this book on my Kindle after I heard about her new book Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace. I recently started listening to her podcast Out of the Ordinary that she does with Lisa-Jo Baker. Her writing reminds me a little of Ann Voskamp which I find a little hard to follow, so I can't say I loved this book. I have enjoyed the podcast. 
Fiction
  • After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson - I was on the lookout for a new book to read. This would be considered a cozy mystery, but I wasn't impressed.
  • A Common Life: The Wedding Story by Jan Karon - I'm re-reading the Mitford series and this tells the story of Father Tim's wedding day. A light and enjoyable read.
  • A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang - For some reason it took me a long time to read this book. I thought it was a good read for a first time author.
  • The Heretics Apprentice by Ellis Peters - Another Bro. Cadfael mystery.
  • Othello (No Fear Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare - I read this along with The Play's the Thing podcast. 
  • Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes - I'm not sure how I heard about this book, but I am sure glad I did. I really, really enjoyed this story. It is set in current day, but the story does flashbacks set during World War II. This is considered a Christian Historical Romance which I don't read much of anymore, but even though there was romance throughout the book the story really shone brighter.
Books I listened to:
  • About My Mother: True Stories of a Horse-Crazy Daughter and Her Baseball-Obsessed Mother by Peggy Rowe - I have watched a few of Mike Rowe's Returning the Favor and he is always talking about his mom and her book so I decided to check it out. It's sweet and there are some funny laugh-out-loud moments.
  • The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment - I'm not sure where I was when the Wild + Free Communities started, but I started hearing about them about 3 years ago. I have heard a couple of interviews with Ainsley Arment plus I'm always up for a good homeschool book so when I saw this was available on Hoopla I went for it. I could see if you were a new homeschooler and felt like curriculum was restricting that this book would appeal to you. As a veteran homeschooler I found much of the material very redundant--curriculum styles (though only those that were appealing to this style of learning) and love languages (honestly, does this need to be covered in every.single.book?) I still wasn't too sure exactly what the Wild + Free method is and I'm sure everything discussed in there has been said before in a different way. I don't mean to offend anyone who loves Wild + Free because many of the speakers are speakers that I personally love to listen to, but I honestly don't think this book has much to offer to a homeschool mom who has been able to come up with her own method of education for her family. On a side note: The narrator to this book was NOT a favorite. I did not like her voice or reading at all. On another side note: I also had checked the book out from the library and it is a beautiful book! If this book is high on you list to read get the book and avoid the audio.
  • Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery - Well, after two years or more I made my way through the Anne Series again. Rilla ranks up there as one of my favorites in the series. 
  • The Secret of the King's Tomb by Garrett Drake - I was interested in this book since it featured the adventurer and author (The Complete Book of Marvels), Richard Halliburton. This probably isn't the best book ever written, but hey, it's Richard Halliburton and you have to appreciate anyone who enjoys him so much that he writes a fiction series about him.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Reading Journal - July & August

Reading Journal 

July:
  • Checklist for Life for Leaders: Timeless Wisdom & Foolproof Strategies for Making the Most of Life's Challenges & Opportunities - Thomas Nelson Publishers - I have owned this book for years and finally picked it up to read. I was actually surprised on how much I really enjoyed this book. I wrote down quite a few quotes and found it to be just what I needed for the moment.
  • Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf - I found this a fascinating read about the brain. She does share a 21-day detox plan (second half of the book) which I found a little confusing. Overall, I thought this was a very though provoking read.
  • The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan - I really enjoyed her new book, The Spies of Shilling Lane, so I decided to give this one a try. There were a lot of things I liked about this story, but the language and other topics were a turnoff. 
  • Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver - This book and the next book are part of the Amory Ames Series. They are pretty much cozy mysteries. 
  • A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver
  • A New Song by Jan Karon - I've been sloooooly reading my way through Mitford again. Father Tim never disappoints!
I listened to:
August:
  • Education: Does God Have an Opinion? by Israel Wayne - Israel Wayne was one of the speakers at our local homeschool convention. A good read.
  • The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver - Two more books from the Amory Ames Series. I have caught up in the series. I think so far I have enjoyed the first two books in the series the best.
  • An Act of Villiany by Ashley Weaver
  • Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery - Another series I've been reading thorough slowly. I always get a kick out of Rainbow Valley. How after writing all her other books can she still come up with crazy things that happen to kids? It boggles my mind.
I listened to:
  • An Enemy Called Average: The Keys for Unlocking Your Dreams by John Mason - This was a very short audio book and there were some good little tidbits in it. I plan on giving it another listen in a few months.
  • The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett - I'm not sure what I can say about this book. It is Christian fiction and, oh my, it shows. I coudn't quit rolling my eyes it was that bad.  
  • Brother Cadfael Mysteries by Ellis Peters - This is another series I started a while back and have been sidetracked. I found some of these to check out so I dove right in. I really like this series. Ellis Peters does such a good job of showing how people are human whether their are royalty, a servant, a priest, a monk, etc. Good stuff.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Reading Journal - June

Reading Journal

I have to admit that when June arrived I was feeling very depleted in my reading life. I like to listen to podcasts, but decided to download some audiobooks and purposely listen every change I could. I dived right in to the Miss Marple Series by Agatha Christie. I feel quite refreshed now and am going to continue this until life takes a violent shift into high gear. 
I read:
  • Are Women Human?: Astute and Witty Essay on the Role of Women in Society by Dorothy Sayers - I read this for The Literary Life Podcast. An interesting read and I was thankful for the podcast to help break it down.
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear - It took me several months to get through this book. I started listening to it and then decided I should read it instead and check it out as an ebook from the library and finally had to check the book out. There is some great information in here, but there are so many steps that I don't know how well I could apply it to my life. He does offer a "cheat" sheet on his website but I'm sure I would need to re-read the book to implement it.
  • The Gospel-Centered Mom: The Freeing Truth About What Your Kids Really Need by Brooke McGlothin - If you are a mom this is a must read book. Being a mom is hard and you can't do it on your own. The message around us is that "You are enough." but God's Word says "He is enough." Some great tips and reminders for the weary mom.
  • Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery - I have been slowly reading through the Anne Series over the last couple of years. Anne's children are still young and this book is full of stories of her children. My favorite part of the book is the end where Anne thinks Gilbert is tired of her as a wife. Such a real story.
  • Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver - A fun fluffy mystery.
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - I read this along with the Close Reads Podcast. I hesitated to read it since Marianne is so over the top, but dived right in. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading that she wasn't as bad as I remembered, but then I got in the middle of the book and yes, she was over the top. Anyways, I did enjoy this reading and stand amazed at Austen's way with a pen.
  • The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan - I'm not sure why I picked up this book, except that it looked interesting. I really enjoyed this story. It's a story of a mother going in search of her daughter. In the midst of kidnapping and spying they come to terms with their relationship. (Edited: If books had movie rating I would say that this is a PG read.)
  • The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie - The second book in the Miss Marple series. I couldn't get this one audio so I had to read the book.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I read this aloud to my 12th and 10th grader for their literature selection for the last term of school. I so enjoy this story and it prompted a lot of great discussions with my kids.
I listened to:
  • The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay - This was an enjoyable read. At first I had a hard time following the story since the different characters told the story from their point of view but on the audio the same narrator kept reading. When I finally realized that it helped a lot!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Reading Journal - May

Reading Journal

May has come and gone and I feel it wasn't one of my finest months of reading. Yes, I do have a decent list, but it took me quite a while to get through some of these. The last two days of May I sat down and purposed on finishing up my little pile that had collected. So here is my non-impressive pile.

I read:
  • Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers - The Lord Peter short stories were recommended by Cindy Rollins from The Literary Life podcast. I'm not a short story person, but I decided to check these out. This book includes the Lord Peter Wimsey Stories (great stories), the Montague Egg stories (short & fun reads), and other stories (Not my cup of tea at all!). 
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers - I read this along with The Literary Life podcast. This is my second time to read Gaudy Night and I knew that when I first read through the Lord Peter series that I would have to re-read them since they are dense read, especially for fiction. If you have never read any of the Lord Peter books, I do recommend starting earlier in the series, especially the books with Harriet Vane.
  • MacBeth (No Fear Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare - I read this along with The Play's the Thing podcast. An intense read!
  • The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton - I grabbed this title since it looked like a quick cozy mystery. I didn't find the story line very intriguing (it took me two months to read) or the main character very likable.  Even though I did finish reading the book I probably won't be reading anymore in the series. 
  • Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson - A book about books and filled with book lists--what's not to love? While there are a lot of the recommendations I probably will not pick up I did put a few on my list that looked intriguing. 
  • The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile - A few months ago I listened to a podcast (I have no clue which one) and Suzanne Stabile was being interviewed. I love to read about personalities and find the Enneagram a little confusing. This book was filled with plenty of information, but I still have a ways to go to understanding this way of understanding personalities. 


I listened to:

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Reading Journal - March & April

Reading Journal

It's been a busy two months. My reading has been slow, but I'm hoping May will bring better reading time and books.

March:
Audio:
  • Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat - I was able to read this book aloud to my two middle kids years ago and actually started to read it to my youngest, but life got pretty swamped so I resorted to the audiobook. We listened to this together. This has been a favorite book with my kids which makes me happy.


April:
  • The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschooling, Learning, and Life by Julie Bogart - While not a follower of Julie Bogart I am familiar with many of her ideas. I decided to give her new book a read and while many ideas given wouldn't happen in my homeschool I do believe she has an important message--you can homeschool your kids! Her chapter titled "The Dangers of Idealogical Alignment and True Belief-ism in Home Education" is a gem. She addresses something I don't hear addressed very often in the homeschool world and is a worthwhile read.
  • Help I'm Homeschooling: Helpful Habits for the Heart of Homeschooling by Tricia Hodges - I'm always on the look out for helpful homeschool books to recommend to new homeschoolers. Since I used to follow Tricia Hodges' blog years ago so I was familiar with many of her suggestions. I would recommend this for a new homeschooler or someone who only follows a boxed curriculum and are wanting to try something different.
  • The Next Right Thing: A Simple. Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by Emily P. Freeman - I started listening to The Next Right Thing podcast a few months ago and decided to order the book. While I did enjoy the book much of it was a repeat from the podcast. If I had been listening to her podcast from the beginning I'm sure I wouldn't have found the book so repetitive. Either way,  I do find her writing (and podcast) beautiful and thought worthy. 
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather - I decided to dive into this book since you always hear Willa Cather's name talked about when it comes to classics. Well, I have read it. I can't say I was too impressed. 
  • Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody - On the other hand, you can't go wrong with Little Britches. What a wonderful story. I read this along with the Close-Reads podcast hosted by Circe Institute.
  • Sold On a Monday by Kristina McMorris - I liked the premise of this story, but I struggle when authors put things in their books that would have never happened in the time period they set their stories. I'm nit picky. This is just an okay read.
  • Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate - This was a slow going story, but I found it a lovely read. When I finished the book and entered it into my Goodreads only to find out I had read it over 10 years ago. I didn't even remember. 


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Reading Journal - February

Reading Journal

February felt like a slow reading month though I did get 9 books read. I am really struggling with coming up with fiction that is interesting to me. In the meantime I'll keep plugging along and hopefully I will find something to fill the need. 

I read:
  • Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery - Last year I made it through book four in the Anne series so I decided to keep on reading. Since I have read this book several times I actually was hesitating in reading it, even though I love to see Anne in her new married life and new place to live. Thankfully, the part I was dreading wasn't as bad as I remembered it. I love L.M. Montgomery's creativity. Even though many of the characters reflect earlier characters from Avonlea Montgomery does a great job of still giving them enough of their own personality so it doesn't feel like you're just reading over an old plot.
  • The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy - This was this term's literature book for my older kids. Yes, it is a little bit below their reading level, but I had read really good reviews about it and it was sitting on our shelf. The Chestry Oak starts off very slow and it stays that way for quite a while. We were trying to figure out what the rave reviews were all about. Eventually the story did pick up, though I don't think it lived up to the hype I had read about. Is it a worthy read? Yes, but just be prepared for a slow first half.
  • The Kaiser's Last Kiss by Alan Judd - This was an interesting read about a German soldier who watches over Kaiser Wilhelm and a young Jewish servant. The German soldier is determined to be the best German soldier he can be, but while watching over the Kaiser he is starts to see the truth about the Nazi's along with his attraction to the young servant girl. This was a thought provoking book that I enjoyed. (Side note: The soldier and the servant have a relationship in the book, but these are not overly descriptive.)
  • Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt - My favorite Gary D. Schmidt book is The Wednesday Wars (with Okay for Now following hard after it). Pay Attention, Carter Jones is another great book. There is a lot of fun along with Carter Jones learning to deal with a major life change--one that any child doesn't want to go through. A touching story. (Another side note: While I really enjoyed this I still think The Wednesday Wars shines a little brighter. The story rotates around the game of Cricket which even though he tried to describe it I was quite lost.)
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen - I started listening to this on audio book, but ended up not liking the narrator. I quickly grabbed the book off of my shelf and starting reading it. I know I have read this before, but I honestly had forgotten the first half of the book. While I enjoyed this story I didn't find it as satisfying as the last time I had read it, so I'm not sure if I've been more influenced by the book or the movie. I guess I'll have to watch the film and see.
  • The Fairy Tale Girl by Susan Branch - A couple of years ago I read A Find Romance:Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch which I loved. Not only was her travelogue a fun read, the format of the book was unique and a lot of fun. She later wrote The Fairy Tale Girl which tells about her early years out of high school--her jobs, her marriage, how she became an artist, her early life, and eventually how her marriage failed. I did find her take about the woman's lib movement in the 70's and 80's to be a very interesting read. Again, she makes these books have a beautiful layout with a lot of pictures and artwork.
  • To-Do List Formula by Damon Zahariades - I thought this book made a to-do list a lot harder than it should be.
  • You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal With It by Rachel Jankovic - Rachel Jankovic takes on our culture's ideas of identity (i.e. "Who am I?", "find yourself", "follow your heart") in her typical no-nonsense manner. She is not afraid to say it like it is and remind us all that our identity is found in Christ--not in ourselves. Excellent read! 


I listened to:
  • A Few Quick Ones by P.G. Wodehouse - This is a collection of short stories with a lot of different characters from Wodehouse's other stories. An enjoyable listen.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Reading Journal - January

Reading Journal

I'm am going back to my Reading Journal format since the What's On Your Nightstand link-up is now defunct. January was a good reading month. I have a lot of non-fiction since I "fasted" reading fiction for 3 weeks. While I survived it amazes me that fiction makes me go to sleep so much faster than non-fiction! Here's January's list:

  • Something Fresh - P.G. Wodehouse - The first book in the Blandings Series. There are a couple of classic Wodehouse moments in this story.
  • The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - I read this along with the Close Reads podcast. This is a slow moving story which was an okay read. 
  • Henry V - William Shakespeare - This is my first time through any Henry play. I definitely need to go back and read the Henry IV plays. I also find my first time through a Shakespeare play leaves me a little befuddled. 
  • Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together - Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth - The focus on this book is older women mentoring younger women. The author goes through the scripture in Titus and breaks it down piece by piece. Excellent read.
  • Becoming a Welcoming Church - Thom Rainer - I found out that we have some things we need to work on for our church. This is a short and sweet little book that is very helpful.
  • Chasing the Horizon: Our Adventures Through the British Isles and France - Patrick Kinkade - This was such a charming book with little vignettes painted by Thomas Kinkade. Patrick (Thomas' brother) tells of their trip to Britain and France with their dad. Some of the trip was retracing their father's journey when he fought at D-Day. There are a few funny stories, but overall I felt it was lacking when compared to other books about travel.
  • Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff - Myquillyn Smith - I read The Nesting Place a few years ago and really enjoyed the style and tone and the affirmation that it was okay to go with what you liked.  In Cozy Minimalist Home it felt like the author was giving too many dos  and don'ts which will never be applied in my home. I really had to part ways when she constantly kept saying to add throw pillows. I'm sure there are way that I could improve my home, but I'm pretty happy with how it looks--especially without throw pillows!
  • Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought Back from the Brink - Anthony McCarten - This book passed through my hands at work so I brought it home to give it a read. I haven't seen the movie yet. This was an enjoyable read even though it was written as a movie tie-in. At the end of the book the author shares his opinion that Churchill was on the brink of settling for peace with Hitler. I'm not too sure what to think of this opinion and will probably have to do a lot more reading before I know where the truth lies.
  • Decluttering at the Speed of Life - Dana White - I read this book on my Kindle which means I've been reading it for a very long time. One reason I bought this book is that I enjoyed her first book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, and thought she did such a great job of simplifying the cleaning process. In the Decluttering book she does the same thing. her advice is probably just as good as Maria Kondo's and you don't have to thank your clothes, etc. while you are decluttering.
  • Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky - This book is about making more time (as the title suggests). I liked how they set it up with their suggestions, but a lot of it is repetition such most suggestion refer to controlling your social media usage.

I listened to:

  • The Inimitable Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse - When a lot of people talk about Wodehouse they seem to love the Blandings series or PSmith, but honestly, I don't think it gets any better that a Bertie and Jeeves book. This book is in the beginning of the series and are more stories than a continuous novel, but this doesn't feel like short stories. There are enough of the same characters to make the stories flow.

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