Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Improvement Of Her Mind

" extensive reading." Tradition has it that we do this thing around this time of year. We look back on the books we read in the past twelve months, and feel very good about ourselves. At least, I do. The list usually ends up being longer than I had hoped and it always makes one feel cultured to see a piece of paper with The Weight of Glory and Psmith, Journalist chivvying for mention. So without further commentary, my list:

Tramp For The Lord by Corrie Ten Boom
The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (reread)
Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque
The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Notes From The Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson
Psmith, Journalist by P.G. Wodehouse
Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers
Mr. Popper's Penguins by the Atwaters (reread)
Betsy, Tacy, and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace (reread)
Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (rearead)
Stuart Little (by “Whatshisface” is what I had written on my list) (reread)
True Men And Traitors by David W. Doyle
Schindler's List by Thomas Kenealy
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson
Cocktail Time by P.G. Wodehouse
Summer Lightning by P.G. Wodehouse
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Always Pack a Party Dress by Amanda Brooks
Dearie: The Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
How To Get Dressed by Alison Freer

My list rounds out with The Whimsical Christian by Dorothy Sayers, which I will finish shortly after the new year. I love how, with my governess-ing job picking up this year, I got to include re-reads of some of my childhood favorites with the girls! I hope to include a lot more this coming year. I am also happy with the balance of ten non-fiction titles out of twenty-four. That's nearly a fifty-percent non-fiction ratio, which is the highest I think it has ever been, and the strength of my brain feels it. Hurray for challenges accepted and completed! I can't wait to see what titles will make it onto my list for 2016! And now I want to know: what was your favorite book read this year? For me, I would choose Always Pack A Party Dress, which was basically The Devil Wears Prada incarnate. Just a fascinating read for anyone interested in the wide, intricate world of designer fashion.


Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

Mr. Popper's Penguins is a beloved childhood memory for me too. And of course E.B. White's (aka Whatsisface) children's books too. Tell me, did you have The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton or What a Wonderful Day to Be a Cow by Carolyn Lesser?

Wodehouse, Austen, Sayers, Chesterton...excellent, excellent. :) Undine—is that the one Jo March wanted for Christmas?

Abigail Hartman said...

Mr. Popper's Penguins. I read that so many times as a child. I love that it's an "animal book" that actually has a happy ending, unlike numerous others I could name... <3

What did you think of The Island of Lost Maps? That one sounds like a fun topic, although some of the reviews on Goodreads are less than favorable. And Go Set a Watchman? I haven't worked up the courage/interest to read it, not after the amount I've heard about it; I'd like to hear what you thought.

I think my favorite read of the year was probably Faith and Treason, which actually had me devouring chapters in a way few books can. Unfortunately, though, except for a few gems, this year was a year of "meh" reads. I'm getting increasingly alarmed by the number of two- and three-star reviews I've been handing out. :/

Rachel Heffington said...

Elisabeth: I didn't have the cow one, but "The Little House" is one of my favorites! It always nearly brought me to tears, but in a good way. And I can never seen an out-of-place house in a city without thinking of it. <33 And yes! Undine was what Jo March wanted for Christmas! I bought it expressly for that reason. So many of my more obscure titles are the fault of allusions made in famous books I love!

Abigail: The Island of Lost was interesting as far as that goes, but I think I enjoyed the general information and history of various famous maps more than I actually enjoyed the story of Gilbert Bland Jr. himself. So on one hand I was disappointed by the lack of excitement in that realm, and on the other hand I enjoyed it for what it was: a book on a topic I'd had little experience in beforehand. I will write up a review on Go Set A Watchman. I personally liked it, but I seem to have grabbed hold of a different end of the handle than everyone else, so perhaps I missed something? I would say it's definitely worth reading, if only to give you some interesting thoughts about how Lee managed to write TKAM from the perspective she did, since this seemingly contradictory book came first...

Unknown said...

What an awesome list! You should be super proud. I LOVE childrens classics :) I'm so excited for my son to be old enough to read to!

Skye Hoffert said...

This reminded me that nonfiction does exist, I think I will try to read more this year.

Suzannah said...

The Little White Horse is just darling! As is Goudge's other book Smoky-House, which you and the little ones will love if you can get a hold of it :).

My favourite read this year might have been my BEOWULF marathon. It's amazing how MUCH you can learn about a story simply by reading it four times in quick succession. Loved it :).