In total, I read 60 books this year!
***ETA: I completely forgot one. How did that happen?! I actually read 61 books, because I also finished La's Orchestra Saves the World in the last two months. It was an impulse read. The cover was so lovely, I couldn't help it. [grin]
I also made some progress on 9 more.
Some long (A Tale of Two Cities, The Grapes of Wrath…), some short (In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, A Long Walk to Water…).
Some difficult (Catch-22, Beloved), some delightful (The Awakening of Miss Prim).
Some deep (Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Pieper, Beauty Will Save the World), some superduper shallow (Highland Fling).
Some quickly (The Law and the Lady), some sloooowly (Hamlet).
Most new to me (A Christmas Carol), a few old favorites (Little Britches, Dominic).
I added so many books to my original list over the course of the year, and there were many books I didn’t even touch. But I read more than I would have if I hadn’t made a list!
It’s so, so difficult to choose favorites because I read some great books this year. But I’ll cringe and do it anyway.
Here’s my top 5 (if you ask me tomorrow, my answer may be different!).
Supper of the Lamb
The Awakening of Miss Prim
The Boys in the Boat
The Book Thief
A Long Walk to Water
My two favorite book experiences this year:
Reading A Tale of Two Cities aloud to the boys.
Discussing Hamlet month after month with my Schole Sisters.
The two biggest surprises:
The Grapes of Wrath [I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did!]
The Book of the Dun Cow [How does one describe this story?!]
The Signature of All Things [Well-written, but disturbing and I wish I hadn’t read it. It was so long, and I wasted so much time.]
Catch-22 [It made me slightly insane and it was waaaaaaay too long, but I’m glad I read it for cultural literacy reasons.]
On Challenging Yourself Next Year [Do it!!]
[My Reading Challenge 2016 list is in the works. I’ll post it soon!]
:: Responses to “12 Reasons You Should Read At Least 12 Books This Year” @ Seasonal Soundings
:: Back to the Classics Challenge @ Books and Chocolate
:: The 2016 Reading Challenge @ Modern Mrs. Darcy
:: 2016 Reading Challenge @ Challies.com categories, 13 books, 26 books, 52 books, 104 books!
:: 31 Day Winter Read-Aloud Challenge—for your KIDS! @ Amongst Lovely Things
On Books I Didn’t Finish
:: December 7 – John Milton, from “Paradise Lost” [Literary Advent Series] @ Center for Lit [Check out the rest of this wonderful series!]
Here I sense a double ransom: Christ’s life and mine. The Son lays down His life to buy me back from the enemy; I trade mine to gain the riches of His life and work. Emptying my hands, forsaking my own goodness, I receive His – His life for mine; my life for his. Through this ransom, Milton professes, “Heav’nly love shall outdo Hellish hate.”:: A Perpetual Feast #1: Talking Homer with Wes Callihan and Andrew Kern! [I’m so excited about this podcast series!! I’ll be finishing The Iliad and reading The Odyssey with Levi next year, and we are going through the Roman Roads Western Culture Greeks DVDs with Wes Callihan—so this is perfect!]
:: The True-Life Horror That Inspired Moby-Dick @ Smithsonian
On Reading to Live
:: What Happens When Homes Have No Books @ Acculturated
“Most of us can’t rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends,” [Ray] Bradbury said. “The things you’re looking for… are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book.”:: Autodidacticism: How You Like Them Apples? by Joshua Gibbs @ CiRCE
This is the strength of autodidacticism; it is a kind of beginners luck enjoyed not with a game, but a book, and not just once, but over and over again. The rules of a book are unknown, undogmatized, and so the book has secrets and mysteries. In the same way it is possible for a dramatist to overact, it is possible for a teacher to overteach a book— to predestine the mysteries the students will solve, to program them to love this character, to predetermine the kinds of questions they are capable of asking. No autodidact will overteach himself a book, though.:: Why can’t we read anymore? @ San Francisco Chronicle [I struggle, really struggle, with attention issues.]
What was true of my problems reading books — the unavoidable siren call of the digital hit of new information — was true in the rest of my life as well.
Hamlet! [I had the last meeting with my Schole Sisters. It took us over a year, but we watched and then read the play, discussing portions at a time using the 5 Common Topics. It was satisfying to end with Testimony, as the play wraps up with Hamlet exhorting Horatio as a witness. It seems “testimony” is a prevalent theme in the play. Whose testimony is reliable? Who is acting? Who is covering up their actions? And Shakespeare seems to build a case for Horatio as a credible witness all through the story.]
The Sign of the Beaver [With Levi and McKinnon for CC Challenge B]
A Christmas Carol [The boys and I listened to Adam Andrews (Center for Lit) read this one aloud and it was spectacular! I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before. Then we went to see a radio-theater-style reading of it at the local high school.]
Supper of the Lamb [Loved, loved, loved.]
Clouds of Witness [Decent mystery by Dorothy Sayers]
The Grapes of Wrath [There’s a reason this one is a classic. Tragic, but so beautifully written.]
[ETA] La's Orchestra Saves the World [Nice story by the author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This is a stand-alone novel set in England during WWII.]
Paradise Lost [I tried, I really did, but I am just. not. smart enough. I need the plain English novel form and a bunch of study notes.]
The Iliad [I’m still working on it. At least it’s easier than Paradise Lost!]
[*Added to original list]
The Brothers K
Dune [I tried to start it and just couldn’t get going. Maybe I’ll try again later this year.] [I found this article at The Guardian: Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world. I guess it stays on the list…]
The Once and Future King [in progress]
The Return of the Native
The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel
*Gone with the Wind (ChocLit Guild)
Paradise Lost (ChocLit Guild) [In progress]
The Brothers Karamazov
The Lord of the Rings
Frankenstein [in progress]
The Iliad [in progress]
Children’s and YA Novels
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (ChocLit Guild) [in progress]
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Faith, Culture, and Education
Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education (CiRCE Conference) [in progress]
The Soul of Science (CC Parent Practicum)
*The Phantom Tollbooth (CC Challenge B)
*The Question (CC Moms Book Club) [deep reading in progress]
*The Catcher in the Rye [in progress]
*Heidi by Johanna Spyri