Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Reading List Challenge 2016!!

2016 Reading Challenge @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I have been slaving (delightfully) over creating a reading challenge list for myself for 2016, but I’m having trouble organizing it this year. I’m reading for several different book groups and classes, and I’m not sure how to list the books nor how many books I can possibly read this year. I’d love for that number to be over 100, but it’s never going to happen! So many books, so little time!

I didn’t want to put off posting about books until I could get my act together, so we’ll begin with a starter list and the books I’ve already finished this past month. I hope to have something resembling a final list by next month, but we all know I’ll add a bunch over the course of the year and not get around to half the books on my original “hope to read” list.


January Reading

Children’s classic novels, sci-fi, classic short stories, biography, faith/culture/education, classic novel, fantasy, devotional, picture books, Shakespeare, essays, epic poetry… I think I read a little of everything this past month!!

:: Daddy-Long-Legs [Easy, short, old-fashioned, charming, funny, romantic novel—in short, a perfect way to start the new year.]

:: The Martian [Gripping, fascinating, hilarious, and stressful sci-fi novel. The most interesting scientific and technical “manual” I’ve ever read, and science/technology/sci-fi are not my things. Lots of language and short, choppy journal-style writing for most of the book but it fit with the story. It is a fantastic tribute to human ingenuity and spirit, with an up-beat can-do attitude.]

:: The Terrible Speed of Mercy [I loved this biography of Flannery O’Connor. It is peppered with quotes from O’Connor’s own writings (letters and essays) as well as details about her stories. I feel much more equipped to understand her fiction writing.]

:: Dragonflight [Classic fantasy, and Russ’s favorite author. Fantasy is not my genre, but this one was enjoyable. Definitely some adult situations and not for young children.]

:: Far From the Madding Crowd [This was my first Thomas Hardy novel, and I loved it. His descriptions are vivid paintings, and I laughed out loud more times than I could count. His characters sprung to life. This is an early contender for 2016 favorites. I enjoyed the new movie version as well. 4 1/2 stars.]

:: Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty [There are some gems in this book, but I feel as if I had to work so hard to mine them. The last chapter of the book is fantastic, though.]

:: The Family Under the Bridge [This short children’s chapter book was a re-read for me. Our Book Detectives group had a wonderful literary analysis discussion on this one.]

:: Heidi [I don’t know that I had ever actually read this one all the way through before. The boys LOVED it. Every day they would ask for me to read just one more chapter, and then just one more! In fact, one evening Russ sat down and listened with us and he wasn’t content with the two extra chapters, so he sat next to me after the kids went to bed and I watched a movie and he read the rest of the book, laughing out loud and reading passages to me from time to time. 4 1/2 stars]

In Progress

:: Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories [I read The Geranium, Revelation, and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.]

:: Mystery and Manners [I read a few of her essays this past month and hope to finish the book in February.]

:: The Iliad [I’m limping along and need to pick up the pace!]

:: Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories [I’m reading this collection and discussing with Levi and McKinnon over the next few months. We read nine of the stories this past month.]

:: Listening to Your Life [I continue to enjoy this daily devotional filled with excerpts from Frederick Buechner’s writings.]

:: Ambleside Online Year O Reading List [I’m reading all the books on this list aloud to Lola this year.]

:: Plutarch’s Lives [I will be attempting to slow-read this one with the boys this year. I may chicken out and read the Greenleaf Guides Famous Men of Greece and Famous Men of Rome instead. Or even Augustus Caesar’s World.]

:: Julius Caesar retold by Leon Garfield [I’m working through both story volumes with the boys this year.]

:: Understood Betsy [Another re-read, but it had been a while since my last time through!]


The Beginning Stages of the 2016 Reading Challenge Master List

(Books marked out have been completed)


Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner [in progress]

Real-Life Schole Sisters

The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories [in progress]

Mystery and Manners [in progress]

Online Schole Sisters

Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness & Beauty

Leisure: The Basis of Culture (re-read)

[Also discussing Flannery O’Connor with this group.]

Symposium at Parnassus (Facebook Group)

Understood Betsy (re-read) [in progress]

Jack and Jill (Alcott)

Little Women

Little Men

Rose in Bloom

Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education [in progress from 2015]

Plutarch’s Lives [In progress]

Potato Peel Pie Society (Facebook Group)

[Ambleside Online Year O book list with Lola]


Julius Caesar (re-telling by Leon Garfield) [In progress]

The Taming of the Shrew (“)

The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (re-read)

The Green Ember/ Black Star Rising

Surprised by Joy

ChocLit Guild

Far from the Madding Crowd

The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare by Chesterton


Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

Book Detectives

The Family Under the Bridge  (re-read)

Dominic (re-read)

The Cricket in Times Square (re-read)

Symposium Read-Alouds (with boys)

Shakespeare (Leon Garfield, both volumes –Hamlet and The Tempest) [in progress]


The Princess Bride

Tuck Everlasting

Roman Roads Western Culture Greeks with Levi

[Also discussing with online Schole Sisters]

The Iliad [in progress]

The Odyssey

CC Challenge B short stories [2015-16] (with Levi and McKinnon)

Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories

God Lives by Hans Christian Andersen
The Teapot by Hans Christian Andersen
The Bet by Anton Chekhov
The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
Little Girls Wiser than Men by Leo Tolstoy
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke

Araby by James Joyce
The Schoolboy’s Story by Charles Dickens
That Spot by Jack London
The Red-Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Celestial Railroad by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett
A Man and the Snake by Ambrose Bierce
The Cop and the Anthem by O. Henry
The Necklace by Henri Guy de Maupassant
The Hammer of God by G. K. Chesterton
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
The Bird on its Journey by Beatrice Harraden
The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde
A King in Disguise by Matteo Bandello
The Startling Painting by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Last Lesson by Alphonse Daudet



The Martian

So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

Heart of Darkness


Beth @ Pages and Margins said...

Awesome list! Daddy Long Legs and The Martian are both favorites of mine - though obviously very different from each other!

Unknown said...

Just love reading your comments and checking out your rating. I often get reading ideas from you. Thanks!

Christa said...

I enjoy reading your booklist and those of your boys. For Plutarch, I encourage you toward very slow reading. There are some lovely guides to Plutarch available on amblesideonline. We are reading with a goal of one life per term, and it seems to be a good pace for all of us (ages 8, 9, 13 and me) to glean from them without anyone checking out. You might give them a look?

Unknown said...

I love your lists, Heidi. I'm almost finished with The Terrible Speed of Mercy - loving it. I'm on track to complete more books this year, thanks to Audible and more reading-aloud and your great suggestions. And thank you for reminding me of Ambleside - such great lists there!