Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January reading

So many people had posted at the beginning of January how many books that they had read in 2011, that I was curious how many I had read, but had no way of figuring it out. However, I did write down the books I read this month. I have a few friends who regularly write rather cool reviews of all or some of the books they read, but if I try to do that, I probably won't read anything else this year, so here are the titles, with just a sentence or two each:

Facing the Music by Mary Sheepshanks: a novel about a flautist who marries the wrong guy. I enjoyed much of the book because of the interaction between different characters and the scenery in Scotland, as well as the internal wrestling, but I didn't like many of the main character's decisions.

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw: historical fiction set in Ancient Egypt. I read this because it was scheduled with Sonlight Core 6/G, which Marie and Jacob are now doing. I have no idea why it was scheduled as a read-aloud, as it was a pretty easy read, but they're reading all the books on their own anyway, and I'm just trying to keep up. Historical fiction is my favorite genre anyway and I really enjoyed this book.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw: another historical fiction story set in Ancient Egypt, by the same author, but totally different and considerably more mature, also read because of it being part of Core 6, but this one WAS scheduled for the children to read themselves. If I had younger children in this Core, I would not particularly want them to read it on their own! Marie and Jacob and I had a great discussion about this book--we all loved it, but for different reasons. Marie and I were very pleased with the romantic ending, while Jacob didn't even notice it! Interestingly, both books contain grave-robbing episodes, but they happen in entirely different ways and for completely different reasons, and in one it's a very negative thing, in the other actually positive.

A Free Woman by Libby Purves: a novel, but I'm trying to remember it...Oh yeah, two completely opposite sisters and some very unexpected (to me) twists, and a corny and wonderful ending that satisfied me completely.

An Elephant in Our Garden by Michael Morpurgo: Jörn gave me this for Christmas, and I keep meaning to research whether there's any basis of truth in it, but haven't. It's set in Germany near the end of World War II, with the bombing of Dresden and the subsequent escape to the Allied lines in the west. Historical fiction about WWII AND set in Germany should make it my favorite, but the writing was pretty choppy. When I could ignore that, I enjoyed the story.

Mother Country by Libby Purves: another novel, about various themes, but the one that fascinated me most (for probably obvious reasons) was that of a woman who'd lived in many places and was more-or-less trying to figure out where she was from.

More Lives Than One by Libby Purves: hands-down my favorite of the Libby Purves novels I read, probably my favorite book of the month. A couple madly in love (with each other!) and married for ten years (to each other!) faces some amazing challenges...and stays together. I liked that.

Continental Drift by Libby Purves: reading this one immediately on the heels of the last probably was partly why this was easily my least favorite book, although I thought I was going to like it when it started with Eva (I think that was her name?) from Poland backpacking around Europe. All the romances went in the wrong directions and there were too many of them and none of the characters stayed consistent with themselves. Diana was especially irritating to me.

The Spiritual Power of a Mother by Michael Farris: the only non-fiction book I read beginning to end this month, and I could have done without it. The parts I liked I already know, and the rest seemed to be about perfect people. Since I only have six children, not ten, and none of mine are perfect and neither are their parents, I couldn't relate very well. (It probably didn't help that I didn't like the book his wife wrote, either, A Mom Just Like You, which I read maybe five or six years ago or so. The main thing I carried away from that book is that she is NOT a "mom just like me." While homeschooling ten perfect children, she also found time to write a book!!)

So that was nine books that I read for the first time, as well as a couple of books that I finished after having started them in December, and I'm in the middle of several more now. Three more books that I might have counted had I been reading them for the first time were The School Story by Andrew Clements, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and White Stallion of Lippiza by Marguerite Henry, all of which I read aloud to Lukas and Katie and enjoyed very much. Also, on January 9th I started a challenge to read the Bible in 90 days and have read through 2 Samuel so far. And I've read a million, give or take, picture books to Helen and Elisabeth.

I'm a bit embarrassed that all of my own reading has been in English (or at least, all of the books I completed were in English), but at least I've read picture books in all four languages (English, German, Spanish, and Greek), and have even started "reading" one particular book in all four, just to try to make the text a tiny bit more interesting. (Opposites. "Big. Small. Up. Down. In. Out. Long. Short." I'll stop there...the rest of the text is fairly predictable.) I admit that I was getting tired of Elisabeth's previous favorite, Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, but I wish she'd found something different than Opposites to glom onto. With hundreds and hundreds of picture books to choose from , they always want the same ones over and over! I love re-reading books myself, but interspersed with plenty of new ones.

If this month was a typical one (and I probably read less than usual because of the 90-day-Bible-reading and other stuff I've been doing), I suppose that means I read around 120 books a year, not counting around three or four full-length books a month to the children (so around 40 or 50 a year, maybe) and all the picture books.

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