Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Books

I had a brief crisis of conscience today as my heart was singing with the bright skies and warm weather. It felt like spring! And then I thought, "Is it okay to feel this way when I'm supposed to be writing about loving winter?" Of course it is!!! The whole point of all this is to find joy IN THE PRESENT -- whatever that means. We have another warm day tomorrow (52F) and I can't wait to enjoy it!

Last year was a good year for reading. Not that there was much different from previous years (except the books) but I did feel that I read more than one or two really great books. I'm going to put my highly recommended books at the top of this list and then the rest will follow. (Note: the descriptions of the books are written in my record right after I read the book, that's why the word "loved" appears so often in the top 10 or so books!).

One Thousand Gifts
Ann Voskamp
Perhaps my favorite book of the year. A book on gratefulness and one woman's journey through grief and depression to living fully through counting gifts.

A Praying Life
Paul Miller
Excellent book on practical prayer. This, with "Praying Backwards", would be my favorite work on prayer.

The Gift of Rest
Joe Lieberman
LOVE this book on the Sabbath!!!! Highly recommend this to everyone who takes the 1o Commandments seriously!

What the Bible Teaches About Guidance
Peter Bloomfield
Extremely helpful book on knowing the truth about God and His will.

Eat That Frog!
Brian Tracy
"21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time." Very helpful and easy to read.

The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin
LOVED this book! So thought-provoking and enjoyable to read and think about. A year of projects to spur on happiness.

Hamlet's Blackberry
William Powers
Excellent book on the power of the digital age and how to establish a balance in it.

The Distant Hours
Kate Morton
Totally engrossing novel set in modern and WWII Britain. Mystery to be solved. Well written.

Winter Garden
Kristen Hannah
Loved this novel that is set in modern America but weaves in the Leningrad occupation in WWII.

A Red Herring without Mustard
Alan Bradley
Another terrific Flavia de Luce novel. I love these!!!

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Joan Aiken
Loved this interest-grabbing kids book set in Victorian England. Two girls must solve a mystery and escape a wicked governess. We also enjoyed the two sequels.

An Irish Country Courtship
Patrick Taylor
I do love this series set in Ireland a generation ago and bringing the day to day life in a little village to life through the eyes of a student doctor. Always disappointed that there is some language.

Louann Gaeddert
Historical fiction for kids on life in a Shaker village in the 1800's.

What's He Really Thinking
Paula Rhinehart
Some good insights into relating to your husband. Favorite quote: "Don't make your husband pay the bill another man left in your life."

Betrayal at Cross Creek
Kathleen Ernst
Juvenile historical fiction set in North Carolina at the start of the Revolutionary War. The kids and I enjoyed this.

Marriage to a Difficult Man
Elisabeth D Dodds
An endearing biography of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards' marriage. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Swamp Fox of the Revolution
Stewart Holbrook
I thought this was dull but the kids liked it. General Frances Marion of South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. Namesake of Marion County!

Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley
Marguerite Henry
Sweet story of a little girl and her mule.

The Journey of Hannah
Wanda Luttrell
Very good Christian story of a slave girl beginning in South Carolina and going to Kentucky.

Heart of the Artichoke
David Taris
Beautiful and enjoyable cookbook.

Good News for Anxious Christians
Phillip Cory
An incredible book detailing "ten things you don't have to do". Very helpful.

Mitt, the Michigan Mouse
Kathy-jo Wargin
Such a cute book about a mouse. Kids loved it. End did not bring much resolution but I guess there is a sequel.

The Books of Ezra and Nehemia
F. Charles Fensham

Diary of an Early American Boy
Eric Sloane
Read this with Andrew who loved it! A year in the life of a 15 year old boy in 1805.

Why We Get Fat
Gary Taubes
Helpful -- points to insulin as the problem.

Steady Days
Jamie C Martin
Helpful little book on setting a routine for young mothers -- mostly helpful for mothers with kids under school age.

When Helping Hurts
Corbett & Fikkert
Thought provoking book about ministry to the poor

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
Nicholas Drayson
Adorable, light novel set in Nairobi.

Black Hearts in Battersea
Joan Aiken
Sequel to the Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Just as engaging as the first book.

Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter
Vicki Courtney
Good but mostly giving statistics....body image, growing up, relationships, virtue

Our Triune God
Ryken & LeFebvre
Short, helpful book on understanding the work of the trinity in salvation.

How to Make Money on Etsy
Tim Adam
Helped me to know I don't want to do what it takes to make money on Etsy!

Chu Ju's House
Gloria Whelan
Story of a young, Chinese girl who has to find her own way in life.

A Little History of the World
E H Gombrich
A small, easy-reading overview of world history.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Helen Simonson
Adorable little novel about middle-aged, cross-cultural love in an English village.

A Child's History of Indianapolis
Ann Mallatt
Cute, interest-grabbing history of Indpls from about 1816-1840's.

Like a Mantle the Sea
Stella Shepherd
Sweet story of eight years spent on Papa Stour, a small island off the Scottish Shetland isles. Amazing how different life was even 50 years ago.

A Thousand Resurrections
Maria Gairiott
Maria's story of her marriage and inner city life as a minister's wife in Maryland.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader
C S Lewis

The Silver Chair
C S Lewis

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler
E. L. Konigsburg
Entertaining kid's book taking place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pioneer Woman -- Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
Ree Drummond
Easy read, entertaining. Enjoyed reading on my trip to Oklahoma.

Captive Queen (Eleanor of Aquitaine novel)
Alison Weir
Loved this though a bit shocked at the beginning but got better. Weir is my favorite author.

Nightbirds on Nantucket
Joan Aiken
Final book in the Woves of Willoughby Chase series. Another good book!

Turkish Delights and Treasure Hunts
Jane Brocket
"Delightful treats and games from children's classic books."

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
E L Konicsburg
Story of Eleanor of Aquitaine -- maybe for kids? But suited more to teens except for one or two things. Not very interesting.

Organized Simplicity
Tsh Oxenreider
"the clutter-free approach to intentional living"

The 24 Days Before Christmas
Madeleine L'Engle
Cute, simple, more heartwarming if you had read the Austin family books.

The Rhythm of Family
Amanda and Stephen Soule
Another enjoyable book by Amanda organized by the 12 months.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair
Nina Sankovitch
I guess I must label this as boring -- more about Nina dealing with the death of her sister and her journey through that than about the 365 books she read in a year.

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
Steve and Annette Economides
Helpful to me -- especially if you are not couponing.


Esther said...

Hi Heather,

I enjoyed your list--I read a few of the same books this year, including When Helping Hurts, which I profited from, and others are on my reading list, like Marriage to a Difficult Man and A Praying Life. :) Daniel read Good Calories Bad Calories also by Gary Taubes this year and it has really changed how we think about food. :)

Thought you might be happy to hear that there are actually a bunch more books by Joan Aiken in the same series--Nightbirds on Nantucket is not the last. Most of them follow the story of Dido Twite; if you look at Joan Aiken's Wikipedia page you can find a list. I enjoyed the first three the most (I read them growing up), and found some of the later ones a little creepy and macabre, but some of them are really good. I remember liking The Stolen Lake particularly. So far my kids have not gotten into them but maybe reading aloud would help.

The Alexanders said...

Just finished "One Thousand Gifts" this afternoon! On the whole I enjoyed it and was certainly challenged and encouraged by it.

Must look into "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand". I read "A Day in the Life of Miss Pettigrew" when I was Miss Pettigrew! If I remember correctly I read it in a day.

Thank you for taking the time to put together these lists.


The Alexanders said...

Sorry. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

Charis's Mum said...

I like your reading list and read a few of the same books this year. We read "What the Bible teaches about Guidance" in Sabbath School at Trinity and read other books personally.

I've been contemplating opening up an Etsy store, but now I want to read How to Make Money on Etsy, especially since you wrote, it "Helped me to know I don't want to do what it takes to make money on Etsy!"

Shannon said...

What did you think about The Rhythm of Family? I've wanted to read it but haven't yet.

Nicole said...

How the heck did you have time to read all of those books???

Amy K said...

Taking notes! I really need to read that Thousand Gifts book. Seems like it's getting rave reviews everywhere!

Enjoying your winter posts ... What a great idea to have your own progressive dinner, eating a different course in each room. The kids would LOVE that.