One of my daughters has joined me in my goal to read 100 books in a year. She’s right on track, having already completed 7 books so far this year. I asked her recently if she’s including books read for school as part of her 100. She’s not, and I can’t understand why, but she’s got her reasons. I, however, am counting books that I read to the kids as part of my 100…otherwise, I’d probably never reach my goal!
Finish #9 is Mary Jones and Her Bible by Mary Ropes. The story focuses on a poor Welsh girl and her quest to have a Bible of her own.
The story is mostly true, though the author admits in the postscript to taking certain liberties.
The story is inspirational. Hopefully the inspirational message wasn’t lost on my son, as he complained that he didn’t like the writing style. It wasn’t bad…it was just unusual…an introduction to him of a new way to tell a story.
I was particularly moved by a portion of the story where Mary answers a neighbor’s questions about how her family manages to get by when they have so little, and yet they still manage to have money to help others. Mary answers the neighbor by telling her that each member of her family has given up something so they might be able to help others.
The final installment of 2015 finishes and my thoughts.
- Motherless Child – Glen Hirshberg (Okay. But that scene where they travel in the boat was a bit pointless. Sorry, Glen.)
- The Screwtape Letters – CS Lewis (Mr. Lewis was so much more than Narnia. Very thought-provoking. Really enjoyed Till We Have Faces a few years ago.)
- The Arrow Over the Door – Joseph Bruchac
- Hen’s Dancing – Raffaella Barker (Neat.)
- For One More Day – Mitch Albom (Another great Mitch Albom book.)
- The Great Divorce – CS Lewis (Deep. Probably need to read this more than once to get it all.)
- The ABC Murders – Agatha Christie (My first Agatha Christie. Enjoyable.)
- Unoffendable – Brant Hansen (Great. Top ten non-fiction. We need more unoffendable people in our nation right now. Perhaps this should be required reading for everyone.)
- Above the Waterfall – Ron Rash (Way to leave me hanging a bit at the end there, Ron. Did the guy and the gal end up living happily ever after?)
- Summertime – Raffaella Barker (Another good book by her.)
- Serving Crazy with Curry – Amulya Malladi (Wonderful. Definitely crazy!)
- A Choice to Cherish – Alan Maki (Very good.)
- The BFG – Roald Dahl (Became a fan of his when I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory years ago to the kids. Loved Matilda. Always wanted to read this one. Cute book.)
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (I liked this one a lot.)
- Little Mercies – Heather Gudenkauf (Oh my. This one was a rough read…in a good way.)
- It is About Islam – Glenn Beck (Not certain I really should include this on my list. Don’t want to offend anybody. But I did read it, so here it is.)
- In Silence – Erica Spindler
- Story of the World #3 – Susan Wise Bauer (Reading these with the kids. We’ve been through 1, 2, and now 3. Working on #4.)
- The Sherwood Ring – Elizabeth Marie Pope (Definitely one of the best books in the Sonlight Curriculum for homeschoolers. We all really liked this book.)
- N or M? – Agatha Christie
- Sweet Jiminy – Kristin Gore (Really liked this one.)
- Walking Prey: How America’s Youth are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery – Holly Austin Smith (This was a rough read. Not a good one to read around the holidays.)
- The Slave Across the Street – Theresa Flores (If the last one was rough, this one was brutal. Yet again, not one to read around the holidays.)
- James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
- Tidings of Joy – Margaret Daley (Okay…just some light fiction to counter those human trafficking books.)
I also read through the book of John with the kids. We jumped around in the Bible quite a lot this fall. I think that was the only book of the Bible we read in its entirety.
In an earlier post I mentioned a quilt that I worked on while listening to Call the Midwife and promised a photo when it was all finished. It’s now finished…a little late for this past Christmas but early for next. We’ll just pretend I’m way ahead for next Christmas! There is an INSANE amount of quilting in those bluish squares and triangles. I don’t even know how many spools of thread went into the quilting. The star is made of Christmas prints. I love it (now that I’m done quilting it)! I had planned for it to just be a lap quilt, but it might end up hanging on a wall somewhere. Now that I’ve got this one out of my work-in-progress pile, I’ve finally been able to cut up some gorgeous fabric for a Valentine’s quilt. (Let’s hope it gets finished in time for this Valentine’s Day!)
Now, on to finish #8:
Oh, Janet Evanovich, I had such hopes for this book. Usually, I can’t put your books down. What happened? Have I become immune to your particular brand of humor? Or did my ennui have nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that you had a helper, Phoef Sutton, to assist you with the writing of this book?
What usually follows when I pick up a Janet Evanovich book is laughter…the out loud kind of laughter. I may have chuckled a couple times while reading this book, but it just didn’t have that can’t-put-it-down-’cause-I-can’t-wait-to-see-what-kind-of-craziness-happens-next feeling. I was actually able to put this one down quite often.
I’m assuming there are more books to follow in this series of books about Lizzy and Diesel, but I’ve not decided if I’ll read them. It won’t harm Evanovich’s sales figures, though, as I’m a cheapskate who gets books for free at the library.
Don’t forget to comment with the titles of any books you think I might enjoy!
Finish #7 is a book that I read to my kids as part of our homeschooling curriculum. I’ve been homeschooling our three children for their entire school “career.” I hate that term, “career,” to describe the time spent learning. Going to school is not a career. You don’t get paid to go to school. Getting paid is sort of a defining characteristic of a career. Nonetheless, I’m constantly hearing kids and grown-ups using the term “career” to describe what is essentially the forced confinement of children and teens in a setting that is nothing at all like the real world. In the real world, you are not surrounded by like-aged folks all day long in a place where you have to raise your hand if you need to attend to normal bodily functions.
Anyway, all ranting on schools aside, homeschooling is what works for us. For several of the years that we’ve homeschooled, we’ve used Sonlight Curriculum. Often, the books are interesting and engaging. Occasionally, they aren’t. A Heart Strangely Warmed by Louise A. Vernon is one of those books that we did not find to be all that interesting or engaging.
The story follows a boy named Robert who meets John Wesley. (Who, if you were unaware, had a lot to do with the Methodist branch of Christianity.) I feel that the book could have been interesting. It started off well, then it seemed to become quite disjointed and fragmented, as if the author had become bored with her subject and just wanted to get it over with.
By the midpoint of the story, we were ready to get it over with as well. Sorry, Sonlight Curriculum, but this one was a fail. Thumbs down from us.
Here is the next installment of 2015 finishes with my comments.
- The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch – Marsha Moyer (Good.)
- The Last of the Honky-Tonk Angels – Marsha Moyer (Okay.)
- The Shack – William P. Young (Wonderful. Thought-provoking. Top ten worthy.)
- Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered – Szalavitz and Perry
- Heartbreak Town – Marsha Moyer (Getting weary of these characters, Marsha Moyer.)
- Return of the Stardust Cowgirl – Marsha Moyer (Maybe you should have stopped two books ago, Marsha Moyer. Sorry if that’s harsh.)
- Rescuing Sprite – Mark Levin (OHHH, a tear-jerker. I enjoy listening to Mark Levin on the radio. I always liken him to an angry little troll…don’t know why, but that’s what I think of when I hear him. When he gets on a roll…)
- A Murder for Her Majesty – Beth Hilgartner (Enjoyable novel that I read to the kids.)
- Brown-Eyed Girl – Lisa Kleypas
- Crosscut – Meg Gardiner
- Around the World in 50 Years – Albert Podell (Enjoyable. I’ll probably never visit half of these countries. Who am I kidding? I’ll be lucky to visit one or two. Don’t really need to hear about your numerous girlfriends, though, Al, or the debauchery that ensued in one foreign country.)
- Red Flags: How to spot frenemies, underminers, and toxic people in your life – Wendy Patrick, Phd. (Yep, there’s that one person in my life that definitely qualifies as toxic. Can I post a red flag on his head to warn others??)
- Heaven is For Real – Todd Burpo (Wonderful.)
- An Exercise in Laughter – Tina Krause (Given to me by my mom ’cause we definitely need some laughter in our lives.)
- Moonlight Road – Robyn Carr (Oh, dear. If you read my first post you’ll see that I’m having difficulties finishing a Robyn Carr book. Should have learned my lesson from this one.)
- Out of Many Waters – Jacqueline Dembar Greene
- But Don’t All Religions Lead to God – Michael Green (Read this to my kids. Very good book.)
- The Dorito Effect – Mark Schatzker (Get in my belly…or rather don’t. Artificial everything in our food. ICK! No wonder Americans are unhealthy and fat.)
- Perfect Touch – Elizabeth Lowell
- Escape Across the Wide Sea – Katherine Kirkpatrick
- The Collector – Nora Roberts (I’ve always enjoyed Nora Roberts’ books.)
- The 5 People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom (My first Mitch Albom book. Great. Thought-provoking.)
- China Lake – Meg Gardiner
- The Timekeeper – Mitch Albom (Getting on a Mitch Albom kick. Really liked this one. Made me think. Top ten worthy? Maybe.)
- How to Stay Christian in High School – Steve Gerali (I’m not in high school. Read this to my kids. A little hokey, but we all learned something.)
There was great discussion last year when I stated my goal of reading 100 books as to whether audiobooks would be counted. Some in the family said they should not, others said they should. I was in the “should” camp, and as it was my goal, I figured I got to set the “rules.”
I don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks. Usually the only time I listen to them is when I am working on a quilt. Or painting, as was the case with finish #6 – Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. I started listening to this book in late December while quilting the Christmas quilt that had more quilting than I desired to do. (Giant sections of blue/purple fabric surrounding a scrappy Christmas fabric star…What was I thinking when I decided to do straight line quilting about 1/2 inch apart all over those giant sections?? I’ll try to remember to post a picture once the binding is all sewn on. Note that the Christmas quilt is not yet finished and here it is almost a month after Christmas!)
Anyway, this audiobook followed me up to the bathroom that I needed to paint over the holiday break. Then it followed me back to the sewing room to entertain me as I entered a quilting stupor whilst finishing the boring straight lines.
We’ve watched and thoroughly enjoyed several seasons of Call the Midwife, so I enjoyed hearing the book that inspired the series. The characters were familiar, though, as is often the case when books are made into television shows or movies, there were numerous differences.
Personally, I’ve had three babies and have never had any experience with midwives. My sister-in-law, quite the opposite of me, has had two home births with a midwife. All my children were born at the hospital with nurses, doctors, ready access to an operating room should any intervention be necessary, and rapidly available help for infants and mothers in distress. And I am so thankful for that. I experienced significant blood loss after my first was born, and number three required a day in the nursery with all sorts of tubes and wires as he experienced some health issues shortly after birth. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t had adequate medical care immediately available. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we were living in the East End slums of London during Jennifer Worth’s tenure there.
My eldest daughter saw this book when I brought it home from the library and said, “How cute.” What makes it cute? Its size. And it was its size, small and compact, that made it stand out on the newbie shelf at the library. (Strangely, when I visited a Barnes and Nobles this past weekend, this book stood out on a display as I was wandering past. Genius move by whoever makes the decision on how a book is going to look if this book could stand out among the thousands and thousands of books in a Barnes and Nobles.)
My fifth finish for the year is Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke. Despite its tiny size, this book packed a lot of wisdom into its pages.
I keep a journal handy to copy down interesting quotes, passages, or anything meaningful that I hear, and one passage in this book made it into my journal. Here it is:
“All of us are asked to surrender the superficial beauty of youth and step towards something greater. We are being made ready for the spirit world. Each wrinkle is a crack in the shell of our conceit. Our conceit must be pulverized for the soul to fly.”
As a woman, I’ve often struggled with the graying of my hair, the wrinkling of my face, the aging of my body. I’ve rebelled against the societal pressure to hide my age by not dying my hair or botoxing my face. I don’t slather on anti-wrinkle “remedies.” I exercise, but I’m not obsessive about doing so. So many people think that by dying their hair, camouflaging their wrinkles, or doing any number of strange anti-aging rituals, they are “growing old gracefully.” I think it looks more like they are being dragged to old age kicking and screaming. But that’s just my opinion.