Friday, March 4, 2016

Reading List Challenge 2016 ~ February

February Reading Round-Up @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[The boys sit down to their math, and I sit down to my book stack and a refreshing drink.] 

Completed in February

I feel like I cheated just a bit in February because the books I finished were rather short. I still read a good variety, however—dark modern classic, classic mystery, sweet children’s book, theological modern classic fiction, and non-fiction. I started several new books (my “in progress” pile is getting ridiculously huge) and completed a few short stories and essays.

:: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad [This wasn’t as hard to read as I thought it was going to be. The prose was exquisite in places. His descriptive writing reminded me of Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, though this one was not nearly so lovely. The forward movement felt slow, and the characters less appealing (though one was fascinating). 3 1/2 stars]

"There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect."

:: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie [I love a good mystery. I watched this as a play years and years ago, but it was high time I read this, one of A.G.’s most famous stories. 4 stars]

:: Understood Betsy [This is such a beautiful classic children’s book, but it is just as important for adults—particularly parents and educators. The author of the story, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, brought Maria Montessori’s teaching methods to the United States and was also named by Eleanor Roosevelt as one of the ten most influential women in the country. 4 1/2 stars]

:: The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton [Loved it. Review here. 4 1/2 stars]

:: Becoming Human by Jean Vanier [This fascinating non-fiction book on the value of every human and the tension between individuality and community was a book club selection this month, paired with the middle grade novel Wonder. I’ll share some thoughts and quotes when I get my copy back. It’s making the book club rounds at the moment. 4 stars]

In Progress

:: Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories [I read The Life You Save May Be Your Own and Good Country People this month.]

:: Mystery and Manners [I read a couple more essays this month.]

:: The Iliad [I’ve stalled, but I’m determined to finish… sometime this year… ]

:: Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories [I’m reading this collection and discussing with Levi and McKinnon over the next few months. We read several 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 am 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.]

:: The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (re-read) [One of my favorites.]

:: Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper (re-read) [Another favorite.]

:: Beauty for Truth’s Sake by Stratford Caldecott (re-read) [And yet another favorite.]

:: The Law by Frederic Bastiat

:: Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw


Maybe by next month I’ll have a more complete 2016 Master List with links and up-to-date reviews…

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 [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. 4 stars]

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

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor [in progress]

Online Schole Sisters

Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness & 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. 3 1/2 stars]

Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper (re-read) [in progress]

Beauty for Truth’s Sake by Stratford Caldecott (re-read) [in progress]

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

Symposium at Parnassus (Facebook Group)

Understood Betsy (re-read)

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] [in progress]

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. 3 1/2 stars]

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

The Taming of the Shrew (“)

The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (re-read) [in progress]

The Green Ember/ Black Star Rising

Surprised by Joy

ChocLit Guild

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy [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.]

The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare by Chesterton [Review here. 4 1/2 stars]


Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

Book Detectives

The Family Under the Bridge  (re-read) [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.]

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]

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]

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

Classical Conversations Parent Practicum (“Navigating History: The Art of Argumentation”)

Rhetoric by Aristotle

The Law by Frederic Bastiat [in progress]

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande

Family Life/Parenting

The Young Peacemaker by Ken Sande

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey


Daddy-Long-Legs [Easy, short, old-fashioned, charming, funny, romantic novel. Brain candy I don’t have to feel guilty about. 4 stars]

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. 4 stars]

So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

Heart of Darkness

The Diary of Ann Frank

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw [in progress]

Children’s/YA Novels

The Ranger’s Apprentice

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Edition)


Unknown said...

made me think of you

Laura at By the Bushel said...

Of course, great list. Jumping out at me, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, The Man who Was Thursday. I've read neither. Also, The Peacemaker, by Sande, was mentioned Sunday in our assembly. I've been reading Tozer's The Pursuit of God lately, and just picked up T.S. Eliot's Christianity and Culture. Tozer is delightfully convicting and encouraging. Eliot -- afraid I'm going to be needing serious think time to savor. But already gaining perspective just by virtue of when it was written and likely further understanding to that which it was written in reaction. Heading off to find the first 2 books ^^. :)