Monday, October 31, 2011

In Which We Wish You A Happy Day

Agnes, Margo, Edith, and two Minions wish you a Happy Halloween! (Or Happy Harvest. Whatever.)

P.S. If you see any Almond Joy on clearance at the store tomorrow they're for me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus Christ, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you – your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything – then although you may have the Christian life, you are not living it. – Ian Thomas
Col.3:1-11 (ESV)
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and whave put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Links - October 30, 2011

Yes, dear devoted readers (all 5 of you), this has been a light posting week for me. It has not, however, been a light living week. We started the week with a nice extended family getaway. A cave visit, an hour long horseback ride, many games, much food and much frivolity ensued (not necessarily in that order or significance).

We rushed home for our church's annual Harvest Party. We came crashing back to reality with a vengeance. Vengeance, I say! {Sigh}. Maybe I'll talk about it later but right now I'm just putting the whole thing behind me.

Anyway, suffice it to say, it's been a busy week and blogging hasn't been a priority. I do have some links for today because, while I haven't felt like writing my own blog posts, I have enjoyed reading some:

1. Some of this Critique of The Consumption Tax goes way over my head. I do think I have a slightly better handle on the idea and the points against it. Everyone has their own pet solution but I hope we can all agree that our current system is horribly broken and in need of an overhaul.

2. Smockity Frocks' post Making Family an Idol? Is one of those posts I wish I'd written.

3. This second post On Memorization from Ordo Amoris had me nodding my head and heartily agreeing. {OK, I admit: I only nodded my head in my head. I doubt it was actually physically nodding. Just, you know, so we're clear.} The part that really resonated with me: Unnecessary memorization = parlor trick.

4. I have a Fake Family too. Let me tell you: my fake family is fabulous. There are never lights left on, toothpaste on the bathroom floor (or tub), daughters whining ("Why do I always do all the work around here?") rumpled clothes, or impromptu pick-ups just so we can find the bedroom floor again. Not Fake Family. Jen Hatmaker has a different life and different family from mine. And we both need to retire our fake families.

5. This Darning Tutorial could come in handy. I'm getting fairly good at mending things but I'm pretty sure you have to know how to darn in order to go pro.

6. Advice on Cashing In On Your Hit YouTube Video. You know, just in case.

7. And now, before sharing my favorite pins of the week, let me share two posts about the ethics of Pinterest:
My takeaways: I pin from the specific post, not the main page; I'm trying to give far more attribution and credit in my pin captions (beyond just "Love This"); and I'm not pinning things that are for sale with captions like "I could totally do this for far cheaper than this Hussy is charging." You know, simple good manners.

And, with all that said, onto my favorite pins:
Adding a spout to a mason jar? Brilliant!

I love this Lego storage:

I'm keeping this in mind for the day (far future and nebulous) that we have a dedicated playroom.

This hedgehog costume is possibly the cutest thing ever:

You see? Ever.

I need to throw a book exchange party:
Outfit of the week:

Would you believe that Kelly is 4'11"? (Her blog Alterations Needed is a great resource for those of us who are, ahem, vertically challenged.)

So, did you stumble on anything this week? Do share!
This post is linked to Saturday Stumbles at Simply Staci. Share your links and see what other folks have stumbled on.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of the imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration. – William Temple

Psalm 96
O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekend Links - October 22, 2011

Links for this week:
1. A Little TV Won't Hurt. But wait:

2. Yes, it Will. These dueling posts, both of which were written recently, demonstrate that the "screen wars" are not over. My take: you're the parent, be the parent. Whatever you decide about your kids and screen time, make sure you are actually DECIDING about your kids and screen time.

3. I've been following some the book posts about Men Without Chests by C.S. Lewis. Some of it goes {way} over my head. But I found myself nodding my head and murmur ring "yes, exactly" while reading Brandy's related post on Training the Emotions. I am a girl (duh) and I am raising four daughters. Training the emotions is a pretty major, necessary work around here. (Also: I have now checked out The Abolition of Manby Lewis from our library. I plan to dive in next week. Wish me success!)

4. This post on To Trick or Treat or Not to Trick or Treat sounds pretty much like our family's chosen approach. (We do, in case you're wanting the short answer.)

5. 7 Secrets Retailers Won't Tell You. I always head straight for the back of a store and the clearance stuff, unless I'm Christmas shopping.

6. My amazing husband has just taken up roasting his own coffee beans so I think he would enjoy this post about Coffee basics. And I am putting it in this post in the hopes that I will remember to share it with him. (Or, maybe, he might read my blog someday and see it.)

7. I enjoyed this Confessions post by Stacy at Not Just a Housewife because it's nice to know that someone else doesn't get the current blogging obsessions of coffee filters, chevron stripes and pennant banners.

8. Careers for the Classically Educated. This post (by Cindy of Ordo Amoris) really encouraged me.

9. Another encouraging post: How to Do Hard Things by Connie at Smockity Frocks.

10. And yes, another encouraging post: A Conscious Pace. Here's one of my favorite quotes:
My husband is wonderful at compartmentalizing his different roles. His brain I think, has little rooms with doors, and when he walks out of one room so to speak, into another, he can slam that door and all the stress, deadlines, responsibility stay shut in there. My brain doesn't have doors, heck it doesn't have walls. I feel all the stress from all the responsibilities all the time. Stress affects how we act every day and I realized that when I felt really happy and content I choose to do one thing, and one thing well.
11. Here's a look at a local mansion. I love my Crosley (and I love the local connection)! But can you imagine actually living in a place like that?

Pins of the week:
Love this tool cart re-purposed into a changing table:

Although I would want a red one instead of yellow, of course.

Miss Lili would love this:

What is it about pulling wipes out of the wipe container that is just so awesome to a baby?!

We're off to the corn maze / pumpkin patch today. I hope you have lots of Fall fun planned for your Saturday too!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Frugal Fridays: Further Proof...

that I am not a style blogger and that Candid Diversions is not a decorating blog:
I saw an owl at the thrift store, almost exactly like this one.

And I didn't buy it to spray paint it white.

I didn't buy it at all.

Part of me really wanted to buy that owl. Then I could have run over to Target or Home Depot and picked up some white spray paint. (I am not - alas - someone who just has white spray paint sitting around)

My Prince Charming thought the idea was a little crazy (he doesn't read home decor blogs, obviously) but he told me to go ahead and try it if I wanted to. So he wasn't the one holding me back.

Here's what held me back:
  • I don't have time today to spray paint an owl or anything else. We have other things going on (and weather that is currently wet and yucky) that do not include spray painting owls.
  • Which would mean I would have an ugly ceramic owl sitting in my living room or, more likely, my basement because who wants to have an ugly owl staring at them?
  • We were at the thrift store to work on the girls' Harvest Party costumes. None of the girls required an owl for her costume. (Just out of curiosity, what costume might require an owl? I'm drawing a blank here.)
  • I had already picked up a couple snowman plates that we didn't not, strictly speaking, need. While they were impulse buys they were quite a bit cheaper than the owl.
  • Which I would have to buy spray paint to complete, remember?
One of these days I might just buy some spray paint and go to town on some thrift store finds. This was not that day. There may or may not be a ceramic owl in my future. And I'm perfectly OK with that.

Frugality isn't always about not affording something - I could have easily purchased the owl without hurting my budget. Sometimes it's about knowing the right time for something. Sometimes it's about knowing yourself and letting yourself off the hook - I'm not a decorating blogger so I didn't need to buy something, paint it, and show it off {to the 57 blog parties I link up to every stinkin' day. Ahem. I may have strong feelings about some of these decor / craft bloggers}.

And, as it happens, I got a blog post out of it without buying any owls or spray paint {wink}

This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Words for Wednesday - On The Seasons

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all. - Stanley Horowitz

Perhaps I've mentioned that Fall is my favorite season? Reasons I love this season:
  • apples
  • pumpkins
  • homemade soup for supper (but not pumpkin soup!)
  • wood smoke
  • hayrides
  • mugs of hot cocoa (or tea or coffee. I'm not picky.)
  • sweaters (not the itchy kind, of course. Dear Lord preserve us from itchy sweaters)
  • fleece blankets for curling up with a good book
  • extra quilts on the beds
  • colorful leaves
  • patterned tights
  • chill in the air but no need for searching out six coats and six pairs of hats, gloves / mittens, and scarves. 
What's your favorite thing about Fall?
This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries even though I actually wrote and posted it on Wednesday. Bad blogger!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Homeschool Year - Foreign Language Edition

We (by which I mean Polly & I) began learning Latin when Polly started 3rd grade, two years ago. Philip took a college level class at the same time and I was really looking forward to taking the class with him because I've always wanted to learn Latin.

For several reasons which I will not get into here, I didn't get to take the Latin class with him. But Polly and I kept right on with our own studies. We started with Prima Latina:

We worked through at our own pace. {Read: slowly} This curriculum is designed for parents {teachers} who have little or no Latin background.

We liked it so much that last year we moved on to Latina Christiana I:

We're just about to finish this book and I've already ordered the next set. {Latina Christiana II}

This curriculum allows you to work at your own pace and learn as you go along. It isn't flashy or complicated. It reinforces what the student learns in Grammar and helps boost vocabulary and spelling skills. Polly and I work through the lessons together.

We use games found here, here, and here as review and to break up the lessons. Vocabulary review can get a bit tedious so I'm thankful that someone out there has invented online games (free!) to switch things up.

This curriculum does use Ecclesiastical pronunciation instead of classical. (Which means we get to use the "v" sound instead of the "w") It does have songs and prayers in Latin but nothing - so far - that I would disagree with doctrinally. (As in, we haven't had to sing any songs to Mary or anything like that. If I came across something like that we would skip it.)

I realize this can be a touchy thing among some branches of Christians but I figure the positives outweigh the negatives for us.

Another language curriculum we've added this year is:

The girls were actually given this set as a gift. We got it out this school year and they have absolutely loved it. It is super basic, in that it teaches some elementary vocabulary and uses "repeat after me" type activities. So no conjugating French for our four year old, at least, not yet. Sweet Pea has enjoyed the games so much she actually finished the first two levels before her older sisters.

Eventually we plan to add in more serious French study, probably with the Rosetta Stone curriculum. For now this is fun and it works.

Polly and I were talking about Latin and French just the other day. We were discussing adding Greek, eventually. Probably this set:

She was excited about the idea since she has enjoyed Latin and French so far.

"I could grow up to be a translator," she observed. "If I keep on studying languages."

"That would be pretty neat," I agreed. "Translating books or in a business situation."

"Really, I could be a missionary," she said.

"That too," I said. And I realized: I had been thinking of something glamorous or prestigious for her. She got right to the heart of the matter: learning languages can be fun (it has been for us) and it can be useful (ditto), but most importantly, it can be - and ought to be- used to bring glory to God.

That's my girl: always teaching me.

Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

We all know, deep down, right from wrong. We’re self-contained truth machines if only we’d pay attention. It’s only our pride, our willfulness to have our own way, to be god of our own lives, to rationalize our compulsions and sins...that disconnects us from it. – David Kupelian

Romans 1:16-21
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend Links - October 15, 2011

Before I start let me just say "Happy Anniversary!" to my grandparents.

1. New research suggests that chocolate is "as good for you as exercise". Haven't I been saying that for years? Sometimes dreams really do come true.

2. This WNBA player is only 5-2. There goes that excuse for not being better at basketball. I know nothing about this woman but I admire her already. It's a tall person's world out there and we short(-er) folks have to stick together.

3. Here's a useful list of period dramas that you can watch online via YouTube (and a few other sites). If you haven't already watched "North and South" (the British version not the old 1980's cheese fest) or "Little Dorrit" I recommend you start NOW. You can thank me later.

4. 14 Wonderful Words with No English Equivalent. I suggest we adopt "Tartle" and "Zeg" immediately.

5. Another Mental Floss post: 25 Words You Might Know are Trademarked. Pass me a Kleenex while I eat my Jell-O, won't you?

6. My dad clued me in to this post In Defense of Disney Princesses. Our favorites are Belle and Cinderella, just FYI.

7. 10 Writing Tips from the Masters. This is my favorite:
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

8. Have you ever run into a NOEITEU? I have. Almost every day. Far worse than running into one would be actually being one, though.

9. I read this obituary about a local woman who spied for the British during the Second World War with great interest. What a great story!

10. I'm not sure what the moral is in this story but it caught my eye: Dispute Over Apple Image Shows Internet's Reach. I sure hope the lesson here is not "don't even try to be creative because someone has already done what you are going to do". Creativity is hard enough without fear of being sued. (Of course, I do not approve of outright plagiarism or theft ever. But the line is fine sometimes, is it not?)

Pins of the week:
1. I'd like to try to make my own handsoap like this:

2.I love these DIY bookends:

3. Outfit of the week:

Simple, casual, and I think I have similar pieces in my wardrobe already.

Have you stumbled on anything interesting this week? Please share!
This post is linked to Saturday Stumbles at Simply Staci.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Finer Things Friday - These Two

Sure, they keep me hopping.

And yes, they fuss and fight sometimes {a lot of the time}.

And if one, or Heaven help me, both of them get quiet I know I really need to find out what exactly is going on.

Because they're best buds, partners in crime, two peas in a pod, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys. A cousin to play with is definitely one of the finer things in life, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Words for Wednesday - On Luck

I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more of it I have.
- Stephen Leacock

And a bonus, related quote:

Inspiration does exist but it must find you working. - Pablo Picasso

I think I better get working.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday - Books I Wish I Could Read Again...

for the first time:

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I love these characters. I love the prose. I love how I'm transported back to girlhood when I read this book. This goes for pretty much any L.M. Montgomery book.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I devoured this series but I kind of wish I could start over again without knowing the ending.

3. Amelia Peabody mysteries. There are so many I hesitate to name just one. I just wish I could pick up any random book in this series and read it again without knowing exactly how the mystery is solved.

4. Persuasion. This book means more to me as an adult than it did to me as a teenager: unrequited love, adults acting like adults (as opposed to impetuous younger folks)... Definitely more grown-up concepts.

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. So good and manages to be sweet without being saccharine.

6. Penny Candy. Because I've run out of Jean Kerr essays to read.

7. Kate Ross mystery series. Because, due to the untimely death of the author, there are only four.

8. Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier. I also wish I could read the book without thinking of the movie because, though it's a great movie, it affects my perception of the book.

I see a pattern here: favorite books from childhood and mysteries I enjoyed. I do re-read these books but it's not the same as reading a book for the first time.

Now I'm drawing a blank so this Top 10 list is a Top 8 list (which just doesn't have the same ring to it!). What books would be on your list?

This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish.

Images in this post are Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Make Believe Monday - From My Commonplace Book

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust

Which makes parenting an amazing voyage of discovery, does it not? Mermaids might be real, clouds can be anything, worms are treasures, butterflies are friends = new eyes my children have granted me.

This post is linked to Make Believe Mondays at My Three Rivers Home. Come share your stories, quotes, and favorite books.

Picture: a younger Polly enjoying a butterfly exhibit.

Not Quite A Malaprop

Overheard on a well known radio show about finances:

We just keep robbing Peter and Paul to pay Mary.

(And, just in case English is not your first language: the actual figure of speech is "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" and this is what it means.)

I'm guessing the poor lady who mangled this one spent the 1970's listening to Peter, Paul, and Mary while ingesting illegal substances, but I suppose I am inclined to be uncharitable. Maybe her finances are just that bad.

Either way, Philip and I had a good laugh about it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. - SÇ¿ren Kierkegaard

James 1:17-26 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekend Links - October 8, 2011

Links seemed a little scarce this week - everyone has gone Halloween crazy which, well, is just not my thing. We don't even do much "Fall" decorating (apples, pumpkins, corn stalks...) around here and we certainly do not do Halloween decorating.

1. I just recently stumbled on this post about journal-keeping. I have to say, I may not agree with the whole thing, but I do think the author has a valid point. I kept a diary - off and on but mostly off - as a young teenager. I eventually threw the thing away as it was so whiny and, dare I admit, boy crazy, that I didn't care for my (at that point still) future progeny to read it. I still have a journal I kept when I was dating my husband (as well as letters we gave each other - no stamp required since we saw each other almost every day anyway). Maybe I'll keep that, maybe I won't. I haven't looked at it in a long time so I'm having trouble remembering how horrifying it might be.

My "journals" now are my commonplace book where I keep a list of books I've read and quotes that spoke to me from those books and a spiritual growth notebook where I write things from my Bible reading or inspirational books. Plus it has some cartoons and odds and ends stuffed in it. Some observations are personal but I wouldn't be ashamed to have my husband or children read it.

Oh, and, obviously, this blog. Which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. I'd like it to point people to my Savior and I'd like it to be a balanced picture of my life (which is neither perfectly-perfect or miserably-horrible). Whether I succeed at those two things is debatable.

What say you? Yea or nay on journal keeping?

2. I could so see myself in this post: When Good Ideas Get In Your Way from A Soft Place to Land. I'm a recovering perfectionist. If I can't do it perfectly or efficiently or whatever standard I've set for myself, then I just won't do it at all. Not good. Sometimes (every day?) I just need to give myself a shake and just do it already.

3. As a wannabe writer I found this post useful: Ignoring the H8Rs. Must work on growing thicker skin for sure.

Pins of the week:
1. I love this Vintage Good Housekeeping Cover (I pinned a few more but I think this is my favorite):

Wouldn't it be awesome if magazines still had these types of covers?!

2. Our mousepad is in serious need of a makeover. Maybe I'll try this:

3. I think the girls would really enjoy making these cardboard laptops:

4. I really need to make some of these caramel apples. That or spend $6 to buy one (!):
5. Outfit of the week:

Love this red plaid dress from Kristina J.

Stumbled onto anything beautiful, thought-provoking, or delicious (we are nothing if not versatile, right?) this week - share in the comments.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Things I Love Thursday - Times of Encouragement

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday mornings sitting in a conference {primarily} for preachers. The host church fed us breakfast and lunch. They offered a staffed nursery and children's program. (Which the girls are still talking about.) The ladies of the host church prepared a sweet gift for each preacher's wife.

But all those things were not my favorite part. There were four sermons by four different preachers each morning. Yes, the sitting and listening was my favorite part.

Before we went to the conference, I knew we were facing some significant spiritual challenges. I knew that there are some things our church must do better. I knew there were things I must do. I knew I was tired and weary but I don't think I would have admitted to being burned out.

But God is good to send us where we need to be just when we need to be there. I hadn't really considered attending this conference both mornings. I thought we would go the first morning just to say we'd gone and to say hello to some friends. (The church hosting the conference is about 30 minutes away, so it did not require us to be gone overnight. We just drove home each afternoon.)

It turned out the 8 sermons were just what we needed to hear. (Including one where my dad knocked it out of the park. Not that I'm surprised by that, he's always a great preacher -if I do say so myself -but it's just sometimes he really, you know, Brings It.)

Restoration from God, fellowship with fellow laborers, and a temporary change of scenery: definitely things to love.

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Words for Wednesday - On Children's Habits

(From the Delightful Order shop. And don't miss her blog, either!)
The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children. - Charlotte Mason
Habits extend to far more than chores, of course, but it's as good place a place as any to start. Yes, a two or three year old can learn to carry {small} trashcans, put away silverware, or hang her sweater on a hook. And yes, it will take longer than if you do it yourself.

But who wants to be hanging up the children's sweaters for the rest of her life? Not I.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Books of 2011 - September

1.Jack, Knave and Fool . Fiction by Bruce Alexander. Series mystery. These are very atmospheric and engrossing mysteries with a likeable narrator. I'm not so sure I like some of the "new" characters introduced in this book but I can reserve judgment a while longer.

2. Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope. Nonfiction by Trevin Wax. Here's one of my few claims to fame: I knew Trevin Wax when I was growing up in Tennessee. We even had the same piano teacher. This book is excellent (and not just because I once knew the author) and worth reading. The gospel is such a powerful, dynamic thing - why do we settle for counterfeits?

And, just as an aside, I can't tell you how humbling it is to realize I have just written down in my commonplace book a quotation from a man my age and whom I knew as a child. What have I done with my time? I can tell you what I haven't done: I haven't written two books which you can order on Amazon. (le sigh)

3.Brimstone in the garden. Fiction by Elizabeth Cadell. Strange, very strange.I usually love these vintage stories but this one was just odd and there's no other way to put it. I suppose the title ought to have warned me. This book has ghosts, "devils", and only a very hazy semblance of a plot.

4. The Knife of Never Letting Go. Fiction by Patrick Ness. Also:

5. The Ask and the Answer

6. Monsters of Men

The three above books are called the Chaos Walking series. On the planet on which these books are set everyone can hear men's thoughts (but not the women's. Which, yes, causes a whole 'nother set of problems). Philip read these and passed them onto me, and, while they are intriguing, they were not really my cup of tea. There are varying levels of profanity, violence, and other negative elements throughout the three books. These are marketed to young adults so parents beware: if your teenager brings these home you may want to at least read them yourself so you can know what's going on.

7.Writing World War II: A Student's Guide. Nonfiction by Sylvie Murray. A scholarly, if somewhat dry, look (including commentary with a different point of view) at how the Second World War is presented in American textbooks.

8.Please Don't Eat the Daisies. Nonfiction by Jean Kerr. Very funny essays upon which the popular Doris Day movie (which I have never seen) is based. I actually laughed out loud reading this and read much of it aloud to Philip (whether he wanted to hear it or not).

9.Churchill's War Lab: Codebreakers, Scientists, and the the Mavericks Churchill Led to Victory. Nonfiction by Taylor Downing. Doesn't really break any new ground but makes for fascinating reading just the same. (I'm not sure it's even possible to make Churchill not fascinating.)

10.Penny Candy. Nonfiction by Jean Kerr. Yes, another collection of essays. I really enjoyed this one too.

11.Legends , Lies & Cherished Myths of World History. Nonfiction (?) by Richard Shenkman. My somewhat ironic question mark above is because, while this book is admirably attempting to correct popular misconceptions, it seems to promote as many myths as it "debunks". I'm not sure what sources Mr. Shenkman considers unimpeachable but, as he rarely gives sources, it's hard to take him seriously anyway, no matter how much he obviously loves the sound of his own voice.

12.Death of a Colonial . Fiction by Bruce Alexander. Yet another in the series. (See #1 above.) This story is related to the previous book so I'm glad I read them just a few weeks apart. Still didn't like the new girl.

Totals for September:
Fiction: 6
Non-fiction: 6

Did you read anything interesting in September? Share in the comments!
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