Thursday, January 21, 2010

2009 Reading Review

Tonight I am sitting down to tackle a number of things on my to-do list, one of which is my 2009 review of books, which is three weeks overdue!

I just barely made it to my annual reading goal this year, and I only made it because of the chapter books I read aloud to the children. In some ways I'm satisfied that I'm not reading as much -- it was in my years of illness that I began reading and reading and reading. I find that not having read as much is a reason to give thanks that I am so much better.

That said, another reason I didn't get as much read is because I watched Monarch of the Glen -- all the series! And, I spent all that time sewing flowers for my little business, so in a way it was necessary. However, this year I'm thinking I need to try my hand at books on tape so I can actually keep "reading" enough books as well as doing the hand sewing I need to.

I did try reading a few books to review for a publisher, which was a good experience but I found it detracted from the books I really wanted to read.

I was happier overall with the books I ended up reading this year (as compared with the previous year). My goal is to keep "reading richer" and to try to make up for lost time in American History and the Classics.

All right, now for the books. I think I'm just going to list them all, since I appreciate my friends' lists and getting ideas from what they've read.

Holding onto Hope by Nancy Guthrie
A good, concise book on suffering. The author lost two infants.

Shimmering Images by Lisa Norton
A helpful and inspiring book on writing memoir.

Imagine London by Anna Quindlen
Somewhat of an annotated bibliography of London. Not as great as I expected.

Keeping House by Margaret Kim Peterson
An enjoyable and inspiring book on housework from a theological perspective.

Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas
Basically her own memoir with writing exercises; not as good as Shimmering Images

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montmomery
Sweet romance about a 29 year old around 1900. New to me -- satisfying ending.

For These Tough Times by Max Lucado
A book on suffering but a bit too concise.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
The best novel I've read all year!!! Similar to a Jane Austen; set in England in the Industrial Revolution.

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
Good, balanced book about loving children

A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron
A novella set in 1917 NY City. Very sparse, short chapters. Abrupt and sad ending.

The Shack by William Young
Was not able to finish this as it went so strongly against many of my theological convictions. I should probably not even open myself up to comments on this one(!!) but if anyone would like a review, Michael wrote a very helpful review for publication which I can forward you.

Reading the Classics with C S Lewis by Thomas Martin
Inspiring book though a bit dense at times. Essays on each time period or genre and what Lewis thought of them.

In the Footsteps of Paul by Ken Duncan
Nice, pictorial book of Paul's life.

From Clutter to Clarity by Nancy Twigg
Good book on uncluttering from the inside out -- deals with contentment, worry, distrust, self-acceptance, saying no, busy-ness, possessions, technology, stewardship and giving

Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin
I think this is the first book on marketing I have read. While I didn't find all of it applicable to me, this book actually gave me the idea that launched me into felted flowers which "blossomed" in an amazing way as the year went on.

An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
I loved this GP version of James Herriot, but struggled with the profanity.

Cherie Blair: Speaking for Myself by Cherie Blair
I enjoyed this book immensely as it gave me the life story of the wife of the PM in office when we lived in Scotland.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Let's just say it's not my genre.

Romans Vol. 4 by James M. Boice
Very much enjoyed the Romans commentaries; most particularly Vols. 1 & 2. I found myself disagreeing with certain things in this volume.

Service Included by Phoebe Pamrosch
Entertaining book about life as a waiter at a high-end restaurant -- somewhat crass in parts.

Lenten Lands by Doug Gresham
CS Lewis' stepson's story about CS Lewis and his mother, Joy. Enjoyed this and found it helpful to see a glimpse of the suffering that went on in that family.

Get Known Before The Book Deal by Christina Katz
Growing an author platform before you try to publish a book.

A Moveable Feast by E. Hemingway
Enjoyable descriptions of Hemingway's life in Paris in the 1920's. Minor crudeness.

Mistress of the Monarch by Alison Weir
Excellent biography of Kathryn Swinford, John of Gaunt's mistress and then wife. (John of Gaunt was John Wycliffe's patron at one point). Enjoyed this very much and found it absolutely fascinating. Weir is one of my favorite authors -- she has a few more books to be released soon!

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
Enjoyable memoir with recipes but couldn't keep myself focused so will have to actually finish reading this book another time.

The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge
Very good novel about giving up romantic love to do the right thing morally. Set in Britain prior to WWII. Goudge does tend to be overly descriptive for my tastes, but I enjoy reading her now and then.

The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket
LOVED this book full of photos, essays and inspiration on domestic art.

Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow
Highly recommend this book dealing with discontentment, worry, anxiety, etc.

How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons
Enjoyable, informative book about the food we eat -- what varieties, how they are grown, how to cook them, etc.

Reasons not to Move to the Country by Judy Rumbold
An hilarious little read about a lady who moves from London to the country.

An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
Sequel to the Irish Doctor mentioned above. Once again, good except for language.

The Sovereignty of God by A. W. Pink
Hadn't read this book in about 12 years and found it a helpful reminder.

The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis
The kids are really into the Narnia books right now and we listened to several on our car trips.

The Silver Chair by CS Lewis

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Wow -- what a novel! Mine was 1448 pages (okay, this is another reason I didn't get as much read this year!). The novel is set in the south during the Civil War and I found it very eye opening, being a northerner, born to northern parents.

Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge
Sequel to The Bird in the Tree mentioned above.

Banner in the West by John Macleod
A spiritual history of Lewis and Harris (outer Hebridean Islands off Scotland). This book was interesting and informative, but did take me a long while to finish!!

A Deeper Kind of Calm by Linda Dillow
Good, short book on clinging to Christ in difficult times.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Gripping novel about the Jews in Paris during WWII. One of the best novels I read this past year.

The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater
A year in the kitchen with one of my favorite food writers. Loved it!

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
First time ever to read one of the Bronte novels. Enjoyed it very much, despite the length.

The Magician's Nephew by CS Lewis

Farmer Boy by Laura I. Wilder

Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
Lovely old story about a horse and a boy in Vermont long ago.

Washington Square by Henry James
First time reading Henry James. Felt disappointed with the ending but watched the movie based on this book and everyone convinced me the ending was justified.

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
Story of a trumpeter swan (without a "trumpet") and a boy and how their lives intertwine.

Miss Pickerel and the Geiger Counter by Ellen MacGregor
I enjoyed these little mystery books when I was young.

Hope's Crossing by Joan Goodman
Set during the Revolutionary War. A Patriot daughter is taken to Royal country and this tells her fight to return to her parents. Would highly recommend this book for reading aloud to children.

Raiders from the Sea by Lois Johnson
The kids enjoyed this book about the Vikings and their raids on Ireland. Rachel read the rest of the series herself.

Ollies Cabin in the Woods by Robert and Katheryn Hessong
Indiana history story about a boy growing up in the pioneer woods.

Now, if you'd like to know what went on today over here, you can check out my mom's blog.


A Little Bunny said...

im impressed! you are a prolific reader. i need try and figure out what i read this last year...a recomendation for you -
my life in paris - julia child

Rachel said...

What a great idea to do a reading list-love it! Was it me that put you onto Monarch of the Glen? I assume you loved it if you watched all of them. I gave up sometime after Archie left. Just love that series.
I'd be interested to read Michael's review of the Shack - not because I've read it - I was put off it when it first started becoming popular through another review of it, but I see it everywhere in all the christian book catalogues, and I'm intrigued to know why it's so popular.
I love North and South too - and good on you for reading Anne Bronte - that's one I haven't tackled yet - you have to read Jane Eyre - it's the best one!

Heather said...

What a great long list - you are a 'real' reader! I love to read too - but mostly 'brain candy' light and fluffy stuff for my tired out mind! I've just been re-reading a lot of my books. I ordered a few from your list from the library to look at! Thanks for the list! How's it going with your dishwasher? I hope it is 'fixed'!