Wednesday, December 30, 2015

For the Record: December 2015

I thought I'd give this month a proper wrap-up before I start diving into the huge (and hugely fun) end-of-year stats. This December was more of a blur than usual, since the whole family had a terrible cold/flu for a couple weeks, as well as cramming in the final construction for our house before our epic housewarming party on the 12th. Boy am I glad that is behind me! Looking back through my month I realized I hadn't written down anything I read (highly unusual for me!) but I think I pieced it all together.

4 Books Read in December [83 books year-to-date]

2 for Home School:
  - The Landmark History of the American People Volume I, Daniel Boorstin (5) I didn't much like the older version of this book, but the new edition with its beautiful illustrations has been a wonderful resource to use with my 6th grader. One really gets a sense of how life was, why things developed as they did, and the sense of speed with which progress was made.
  - The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Richard L. Neuberger (3) Much more boring than it needed to be (it literally put multiple people to sleep). If I'd known, we would have watched the Ken Burns documentary instead.

1 for Book Club:
  - Lila, Marilynne Robinson (4) I liked this better than Gilead, though that may be partly because I had some history with the story. Touching and thoughtful, and masterfully crafted.

1 Other:
  - The Night Watch, Sarah Waters (3.5) Enjoyable, but not as much depth as I was hoping for. A little too much relied on the relationships rather than the characters themselves.


Current Reads:
  - Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett. I'm still enjoying my current audiobook, even though I'm not much for the explicit scenes. I like the time period and the story.
  - The Old West, Stephen G. Hyslop. The one book I got for Christmas. It's more of a coffee table book, with lots of illustrations and text divided into tidbits, but I'm enjoying it.
  - Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, Jean Lee Latham. Current read-aloud to my 11yo daughter to go along with our history studies.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

For the Record: November 2015

Here it is, nearly halfway through December and I haven't posted about November's reading.  It's that time of year: so much to do, so little time.

5 Books Read in November [79 books year-to-date]

3 Junior Fiction:
  - The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall (3) Reviews of this books typically contain mass adoration and undying love, but it felt overthought and saccharine sweet to me. Very much a rehash of Little Women, which was a boring read for me too.
  - The Cabin Faced West, Jean Fritz (3.5) Sweet story about early Westward Expansion based on a true story. Somewhat forgettable due to the lower reading level.
  - Dreamland, Robert L. Anderson (2.5) New Junior Fiction that I read to preview for my 11yo who saw ads for it on YouTube. Unfortunately, the seemingly random insertions of language and guy/girl thought processes makes it a bit inappropriate for her age. My 15yo would be fine with that stuff but would be completely bored with the storyline. This was a flop.

2 Adult Fiction:
  - The Martian, Andy Weir (4.5) What a great audio book! Uniquely written (and published) and entertaining to the end. I need to see the movie now!
  - A Cup of Dust, Susie Finkbeiner (2) I requested this on LibraryThing's Early Reviewers, not knowing it was published by a Christian publisher.  Since I am a Christian, this should be a good thing, but I have too much experience with the lower quality expectations in the Christian market.  It's irritating that this is the case, because it really shouldn't matter, but this book was no exception. As with Christian music, it's typically immediately apparent that the quality isn't the main objective. My irritations aside, it wasn't preachy and the plot wasn't redemption based, which I appreciated. The plot wasn't overly Christian-y. Some of the turns of phrase were, though (like "I wonder why they held onto shame like that"). Anway. Whatever. It's been read. I didn't like it, but my mom did. To each her own. :)


Current Reads:
  - Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett. My current audiobook, and it's making for a good one. That's a relief since it's something like 40 hours long! It's definitely less focused on the writing and more focused on the plot than I'm used to, but entertaining.
  - My Struggle, Karl Ove Knausgard. I took a break from this because of holiday ADHD, but am enjoying enough that I already bought the second volume.
  - Lila, Marilynne Robinson. My book club pick...I didn't finish it in time but am enjoying it more than I did Gilead. I'm glad to have read Gilead, since having that background is probably partly the reason I'm enjoying it more.
  - The Night Watch, Sarah Waters. This is the book that I thought would take two days to read but reading time has been especially hard to find lately so I'm still working on it.  I like how Waters writes, but am not enjoying the storyline as much as The Paying's moving a little slower and focuses too much on love affairs. That could be because I'm taking too long to read it though. Some books are like that.
  - Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, Jean Lee Latham. Current read-aloud to my 11yo daughter to go along with our history studies.


On My Nightstand:
We've been putting the house through massive tidying in preparation for our housewarming party this weekend, so I haven't had much reading time and have ended up putting potential books back on my shelves. So there's actually nothing in the queue right now. I need to get through some of my current reads before I decide what is up next. End of year is always a bit of a free-for-all.