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Monday, August 27, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - August

What's On Your Nightstand

August has come and almost gone, my oldest son was married, my husband and I celebrated 26 years of marriage, and I sent my two middle children to church camp where my youngest son promptly hurt his knee and had to come home. Needless to say I didn't read very much this month and that is okay. We had a lot of fun with family and friends and now it's time to face the fact that summer is coming to an end, which for me means that it is time to start our new homeschool year. This is easier said than done since I haven't planned a thing. My nightstand for September is not very big since I'm sure I'll have my nose in school books for the next two weeks. Of course, I could get a lot of reading time sitting in the doctor's office.

Here is the happy bride & groom!

Image may contain: Hannah Beth Starr and Caleb Starr, people smiling, flower

For September:

From August's Nightstand I read:

  • Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear - I always enjoy a Maisie Dobbs read.
  • Here is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History by Andrew Carroll - I really enjoyed this book though it took me awhile to read through it. If you like odd history stories this is a great read.
  • The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch - Technology and families--something that I think haunts every parent. I really did appreciate the author's honesty when he admits sometimes his family aren't always the best at keeping their limits they have placed on technology. My favorite chapter was the one on singing. You may wonder what that has to do with technology. If so, you'll have to read the book and find out!
  • Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overload Lives by Richard Swenson - This was a great read, actually it was an audio book, but great nonetheless. Very timely information and some good food for thought.

I also read:

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer - This has been on my list to re-read for a while, but when I saw that Netflix had turned it into a movie it received a violent shift to the top of my pile. Honestly, I enjoyed this just as much as the first time I read it.  In fact, I haven't had the heart to watch the film. 
  • This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber - An okay mystery that got me through the wedding.

Monday, July 30, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - July

What's On Your Nightstand

I had a great reading month in July which ending up being the month for audio books. I had a hard time finding a physical book that held my interest and obviously had the time to listen to more books than normal. August is a big month for my family. My oldest son will be getting married in a couple of weeks and we will have some family visiting for a little bit. Most of the books I put on my Nightstand for August are ones I am currently reading and I'm going to leave it at that. I may not get too many read and that is okay!

For August:
 

From June's Nightstand I read:
I also read:
I listened to:
  • Frederica by Georgette Heyer - I've read/listened to this one many times. I think this is my favorite Georgette Heyer!
  • Money in the Bank by P.G. Wodehouse - This was a re-read, but the first time I did it on audio. I think I preferred reading this to listening. It seemed harder to follow the plot while listening to it.
  • Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving - A short story I listened to after I realized I had never read it. This is full of a great descriptive writing.
  • A Basic History of the United States, Volume 3: The Sections and The Civil War 1826-1877 by Clarence B. Carson - My kids had finished up their American History course which had a decided bias when it came to the Civil War. I listened to this to get another view point. Though Carson can be kind of dry at times I have enjoyed his view on history.
  • Lies Women Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth - This is a re-read and I was excited to learn that it was updated. Excellent, excellent read!!
  • The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines - When my Mom came to visit she just raved about this book. (Neither of us have a TV so we don't watch their show.) Anyways, I found it available to download from the library and decided to check it out myself. I had to concur--it was a great read! Everything that should be in a memoir. The audio was a lot of fun with a mix of both Chip and Joanna Gaines doing the readings. Excellent!
  • Why I Hate Green Beans: And Other Confessions about Relationships, Reality TV, and How We See Ourselves by Lincee Ray - After reading the previous book I was on the lookout for another fun memoir. Though it wasn't quite as good I loved the transparency of the author which came through while she was reading the book.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - June

Here I am on the cusp of July. June has flown by and was filled with a lot of baseball and a visit from my parents. While they were here they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The celebration was low key but we did spend the day together taking a small day trip and then celebrating with some nice big beautiful pieces of cake! I am hoping July will be a good month for reading, but I won't hold by breath on it. My summers are always busy and the closer we get to August the busier I will get especially since my son's wedding is fast approaching! How did I get old enough to have a son getting married? Oh, well, I'm not going to dwell on that and just focus on reading.

For July:
 
From May's Nightstand I read:
  • Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin - The first book I read by Gretchen Rubin was The Happiness Project which I hated. I then read Better Than Before which I really liked. I decided to Happier at Home and I have to admit it won't be my favorite, but I didn't hate it as much as The Happiness Project. There are parts which I think she just tries too hard and then there are some insightful lessons that she learns which I found applicable. One thing I have noticed is she has a pattern to how she writes her books which made this one easier for me to understand. Maybe one day I can go back to The Happiness Project and get more out of it now that I see the pattern in her writing.
  • Made to Crave Book & Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst - This is a re-read from 2011 though I didn't read the devotional at that time. I felt I was in need of re-reading since I had gained some weight and was really feeling unmotivated about losing it. Honestly, if I had to do it over I would just read the devotional book. I think it has just as much if not more to offer than the book. Though she is mainly talking about food many of her ideas are applicable to other things that can trip us up. (About my weight--I started the book and went back to Weight Watchers at the same time. It's working. Making myself pay to lose weight was probably more motivating than the book.)
  • Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry - The was a Close Reads podcast book that I listened to by audio. Again, this is a re-read. I will admit that the first time I read this I really disliked the book. I think the Close Reads Podcast has helped me come to better terms with many of the ideas in this book though I don't think Wendell Berry will every be a favorite author. I find his books incredibly sad.
  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh - I really wanted to like this book. To start with it is a beautiful book. The pages are heavy and are beautifully decorated. There is original artwork interspersed throughout the story with a list at the end of the book telling what each piece is, whose it is, and where it can be found. There is a lot of history included along with important ideas that helped shape our nation. My biggest problem was with the story--very cheesy. I think this may be a great read for kids who only feed their minds on twaddly books and TV, but if your kids know any history I don't think it will be very appealing at all.
I also read:
  • The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera - Another re-read. I really liked this book the first time I read it but I found the ending lacking. This time through I didn't dwell too much on the ending and found the book just as enjoyable and since I already knew how it ended it didn't disappoint!
  • The Dyslexia Help Handbook for Parents by Sandra K. Cook - I'm still researching dyslexia. Out of all the dyslexia books I've read so far this one is the most encouraging. The author gets the frustration that parents feel. She also encourages the parents that they can help their child and don't have to rely on specialist. Of course, she gives that as an option too, but she is very affirming and reassuring to parents.
I listened to:
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams - Another Close Reads listen. I didn't care for this play in any way, shape, or form--even with the discussion.
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear - I haven't listened to a Maise Dobbs in quite a while. I really enjoy these mysteries. Even though I don't agree with the author's worldview she writes very compelling stories.
  • The Lifegiving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson - This book is such a breath of fresh air when it comes to parenting books. I think this is a great read to help parents in making a long-term goal of how they want their family to live. Excellent read!

Monday, May 28, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - May


I had quite a reading month! I'm kind of shocked myself. I will admit that I spent quite a bit of time today finishing up two books since I wanted to get them on the list. I don't know what June will hold for reading time. My parents are going to come for a visit and we are still busy going to baseball, though practice gives me plenty of time to read. I also will need to see how my allergies hold up. June is grass season and some days I'm not good for anything except watching movies, etc.

For June:
 

From April's Nightstand I read:
  • The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse - I read this with the Close Reads podcasthttps://www.circeinstitute.org/podcasts/close-reads. You can't go wrong with this Wodehouse.
  • The Looking Glass Wars by John Le Carre - I continued reading on in the Smiley series, but I have to admit this book may have ended it. Bleak, bleak read. I haven't decided if I'm going to attempt Tailor, Tinker, Sailor, Spy or just give it up.
  • The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton - This is a very highly recommend read and I bought it for my daughter for a gift a while back. I decided that I'd read it, but I have to admit I did not find it lived up to all the great recommendations. Afterward, my daughter said she wasn't crazy about it either. I guess we just walk to a different beat.
  • Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen - I attempted to read this book years ago when it first came out and never made it through. So it has sat around my house forever until I decided to get it read. Esolen writes very sarcastically so that can make it hard to read. I did find myself agreeing with everything he said though I felt their were times I cringed because I wasn't doing well in that area. A very thoughtful read.
I also read:
  • Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery - 
  • The end of this book always makes me so very happy.
  • Bachelor's Anonymous by P.G. Wodehouse - I was on a Wodehouse kick this month. This is a stand alone novel. It was fun read though it won't be a favorite.
  • The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse by Alexander McCall Smith - I haven't read anything by Alexander McCall Smith in forever. I found this book in the online catalog and thought it looked like a good read. Well, I was disappointed. This isn't one of his better reads. Skip it.
  • A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson - Book 1 in A Very English Mystery series. I absolutely loved this series. They were just fun and clean cozy mysteries.
  • The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall - The last book in the Penderwicks series which I have really enjoyed. I'll admit I'm a little rusty in the previous books and probably need to refresh my brain. Unfortunately, I can't say I was very satisfied with the book since it was the last in the series. It wasn't horrible but it just fell short of the mark compared to others in the series.
  • A Question of Inheritance by Elizabeth Edmondson - Book 2--same as above.
  • The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis - More reading about dyslexia. This is about the Davis Method of working with Dyslexia. Not super helpful unless you are considering using it with your child.
  • The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie - I have listened to all of the Read-Aloud Revival Podcasts and decided to just order the book from the library rather than buying it. I really enjoyed reading Sarah Mackenzie's thoughts about reading aloud to your kids even though I've heard a lot of of it. I think this is a great gift for new parents or anyone parent for that matter. Highly recommended! 
  • Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination by Vigen Guroian - Andrew Pudewa recommends this book when he talks about reading aloud to kids. I was able to get it at the library (thankfully since it is quite an expensive book) and kept having to renew it. I finally assigned myself so many pages a day so I could get it read before my last due date. This was an interesting read. I have to admit there were probably some things that went over my head, but I kept working my way through it. 
I listened to:
  • My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - The first book that introduces Jeeves. The Jeeves stories in the book are the best.
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown - This was another highly recommended book that has been on my radar for awhile. This book did lift up to the recommendations. It really gave me a lot of food for thought that I will be thinking about in the next little bit. It is a business book but many of his thoughts are applicable to everyday life.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Reading Goals for 2018 (or the rest of it!)

2018 Reading Goals

I am really late at getting this posted, but I still want to set some goals for the rest of the year. Bible reading is first and foremost. This list focuses on non-fiction since I naturally gravitate to fiction. My main goal is to clean off some of my shelves, but I don't think I'm achieving it too well. Also, I will decide which are keepers and which books will leave the house.

1. God Has a Waiting Room by Kim Haney - This was on my 2017 reading list and I somehow missed reading it so here it is again.
2. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen - I have had this book for quite a while. I've started it several times, but my goal is to get through it this year. (5/28-Donation)
3. Made to Crave (Book & Devotional) by Lysa Terkeurst - This is a re-read, but I feel I need it. (6/25-I think I'm going to donate and hope one day I'll find just a copy of the Devotional. That was more worthwhile to me than the book.)
4. Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women by Susan Hunt - This book has been on my radar for awhile and last year I was able to get my hands on a copy of it.
5. Eve in Exile and the Restoraion of Femininity by Rebekah Merkle - Again another book that caught my eye. I haven't had it too long, but I'm very interested in this topic so on the list it goes.
6. A Touch of the Infinite by Megan Elizabeth Hoyt - A book about music appreciation with Charlotte Mason. I've had this book for over a year, but other books were pushed ahead it so on the list it goes.

Kindle books:
7. (un)Natural Mom - Hettie Brittz - I have so many books languishing on my Kindle, but I'm choosing one to try to get read this year. I should just focus on reading my Kindle books but for some reason that doesn't feel as productive as reading real books.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - March & April


Again I'm having to do two months together. Last month went right by and I forgot. So my list is longer. The next six week are going to be a big push around here to get school work finished. That shouldn't affect my reading but one never knows what will happen around here!

For May:

From March's Nightstand I read:
  • Out to Canaan by Jan Karon - Always enjoy my visits to Mitford!
  • For Woman Who Are Called By Women Who Have Answered by Kim Haney - As a pastor's wife I added this as "professional" read.
  • Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass - I love using the Charlotte Mason education in our homeschool and was excited to read this book. We have used narration in our homeschool for years and this was an excellent read to help us do it better.
  • Lion by Saroo Brierley - Last summer I saw the film Lion when I was with friends and while I found the film intriguing, but it was missing something. I decided to check out the book and see if it filled in the gap. I did enjoy it more than the film and it is a story that will stick with me for awhile.
I also read:
In April I read:
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery - Just taking another round through the Anne books.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - This was a literature selection I read aloud to my older kids though my 9 year old insisted on listening in. Of course, you can't go wrong with Austen.
  • The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John LeCarre - I read this for book club. This book is a different beast than the first two in the series. I'll just put it this way--I felt I needed therapy when I finished the book. Intense and not what I was expecting (or wanted)!
  • True Grit by Charles Portis - I read this along with the Close Reads Podcast. I had watched the John Wayne film years ago but didn't hardly remember it. I enjoyed Portis' writing style, but again the ending was more intense and the ending was bittersweet.
  • Church of the Small Things:A Million Little Pieces That Make Up Life by Melanie Shankle - If you've been following my nightstand posts you will notice I've been on Melanie Shankle kick. This is her latest. A nice book to relax to.
  • A Path Through Suffering:Discovering the Relationship Between God's Mercy and Our Pain by Elisabeth Eliott - A good read about suffering with some important truths. The good thing was I figured out I wasn't suffering that bad.
I listened to:
  • For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley - If you know anything about Charlotte Mason then you will know this is the go-to book to introduce people to a CM education. Honestly, this has never been my favorite read and I'm currently reading it with a CM book club. I found that the audio was available to download from the library so I pushed through it to help me through my slow reading. 
  • Aunt's Aren't Gentlemen by P.G. Wodehouse - Yes, I just listened to this in February but we had an errand day up in Portland and my kids wanted to listen to it. We made it through over half the book so on another trip up to Portland I finished it. I think right now this is my favorite Jeeves book.
  • Call for the Dead by John LeCarre - Book one in the Smiley Series. I really enjoyed this book.
  • Overcoming Dyslexia:A New and Complete Science-Based Reading Program for Reading Problems at Any Level by Sally Shaywitz (April listen) - My youngest seems to be dyslexic and I'm trying to figure out what to do. This book was always coming up in my research so I borrowed the audio through Overdrive and powered through it. Honestly, I was quite disappointed in it. There wasn't much of a solution and very much for parents who children go to government schools. I felt very frustrated with this read.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What's On Your Nightstand - February


This month was a busy month with my kids getting ready to go to a competition. Our life has kind of been turned inside out. My final reading list ended up being a lot better than what it felt like it was going to be. We have another week and half before the competition begins and then maybe I can find my reading groove again. It has been a successful month though. My daughter is sewing the binding on her quilt and then it will be finished. I'm feeling quite accomplished! (All those nagging encouraging words I was giving!)

For March:
 

From February's Nightstand I read:

  • A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner - I really liked Meissner's Secret's of a Charmed Life and wanted to read more by her. I first picked up A Bridge Across the Ocean and realized it was a ghost story and so that was dropped immediately (personal preference). I can't say that A Fall of Marigold was a big hit either. Meissner did a good job telling two stories that happen in two different times, but I just couldn't relate with one of the main character so the book fell flat for me.
  • The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle - Another book from one of the hosts of The Big Boo Cast. I really enjoyed this read. Laugh out loud fun!
  • Women in the Word by Jen Wilkins - A good solid Christian book. I think the biggest thing I took away from from this book was her simple way of studying scripture. 


I also read:

  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford - I read this for book club. I can't believe I have never read this book. It was sooo good! 
  • Howard's End by E.M. Forester - I read this along with the Close Reads Podcast. Reading along with them helps me broaden my reading horizons. You have to read to the end to appreciate the story which was a good thing since it put me to sleep every time I read it.
  • The Vanderbeeker's of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser - This book has a lot going for it but I only liked it. I wanted to really, really like it but I just couldn't. I read it as an e-book so I don't know if that is why I just wasn't connecting with the story like I wanted to. It could be that the story moved too fast or the characters were undeveloped. Maybe it's because I'm not a 10 year old kid! I'm just not sure.Anyways, the story is very reminiscent of The Penderwicks, The Melendys, and All of a Kind Family but set in modern day time. I don't think a kid would be disappointed in the story. I will definitely read the next book in the series maybe the magic will happen in the next story. (Whew! There are a lot of maybes happening here!)


I listened to:

See more What's On Your Nightstand here.



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