Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Books of 2011 - October

1.The Blue Castle. Fiction by L.M. Montgomery. One of her best, lesser known works. This is one of the books that proves that L.M Montgomery was not just at "children's author" (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with being "just" a children's author). The characters are excellent (as always), the humor is pointed and biting and the plot is just classic: what if you found out you only had a year to live? What would you do? Highly recommended and, just for future reference, I do not own this one and I would like to. (hint, hint) This is one of only two L M. Montgomery books I do not own.

2.Off to Arcady: Adventures in Poetry. Non-fiction by Max Heyberg. Some lovely old poetry and suggestions for studying and appreciating poetry.

3.Some Tame Gazelle. Fiction by Barbara Pym. I enjoyed my first Pym book last month (Excellent Women) but this book seemed so much the same. Pym has been described by some as a modern Jane Austen but I don't see it. There is a thread of bitterness and loss in these books that is unlike anything Austen ever wrote.

4.Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling. Non-fiction by John Taylor Gatto. Gatto will make you angry, he'll upset you and he'll challenge you to think. I don't always agree with his arguments or conclusions but I still recommend this book.

5.The Snake Has All the Lines. Non-fiction by Jean Kerr. Absolutely hilarious good fun.The title comes from this story: her son came home from school with the news that he was going to be Adam in his (Catholic) school play. She congratulated her son on this but he didn't seem appropriately excited. He admitted that it was the lead role but "The snake has all the lines."
That's life, right there.

6. How I Got To Be Perfect. Non-fiction by Jean Kerr. This was mostly repeats of her previous works but there were at least two "new" essays. Still lots of fun.

7.The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose. Non-fiction by Robert Pagliarini. Lots of inspiration and ideas here. Philip and I are constantly looking for ways to create new income streams and use our time wisely. We need books like this to keep us motivated because neither of us is, strictly speaking, highly ambitious or driven.

8.Devil's Food Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries). Fiction by Joanne Fluke. Series mystery. Recipes included! I've always thought that an odd combination: murder mystery with recipes but I enjoy both so I guess it works. These are not gruesome, realistic stories but they are a nice, easy read when I need one.

9. The Vices: A Novel. Fiction by Laurence Douglas. Not recommended.

10.Real Simple 869 New Uses for Old Things: An Encyclopedia of Innovative Ideas for Everyday Items. Non-fiction. This is one of my favorite features in the Real Simple magazine. Some of these are not new ideas but the book is still helpful and gorgeous photographs of every day items don't hurt.

11.What's Math Got to Do with It? Non-fiction by Jo Boaler. Most schools in the United States (and the UK) are teaching Math (surprise, surprise!) completely wrong. This book is really about public (or even private) schools but there are applications to be made for homeschooling families. Philip is currently taking a continuing education class about teaching math so we've enjoyed reading this book and discussing it together. We (obviously) don't agree with everything in the book but it's given us some ideas for helping our girls to be stronger in (and enjoy more) Math.

12.What I Hate: From A to Z. Non-fiction by Roz Chast. Good fun and hilarious illustrations, like a picture book for adults.

13.Cooking With Hot Flashes: And Other Ways to Make Middle Age Profitable. Non-fiction by Martha Bolton. I remember reading this humor writer back when she was "The Cafeteria Lady" for (now defunct) Brio magazine. No, I am not {yet} middle aged so I'm not the target audience for this book but I still thought it was funny and (occasionally) poignant.

14.Death in a White Tie. Fiction by Ngaio Marsh.The first Marsh mystery I've ever read, after seeing them recommended by many fellow book lovers. Guess what? I loved it. I thought it was a bit difficult to follow at the beginning but I got into it and thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and the characters. I'll definitely be watching for more of these mysteries.

15.Cracking the Communication Code: The Secret to Speaking Your Mate's Language. Non-fiction by Emerson Eggerichs. Follow-up to his highly recommended book Love & Respect. I have Thoughts on this book (and the related issues) but I think they merit their own post (or book!) at a later time. Stay tuned.

16.Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. Non-fiction by Kim Brenneman. I have seen many recommendations of this book around the homeschool blogosphere. I'm probably not the target audience (four children doesn't qualify as a "large family" in these rarefied circles, which is actually kind of refreshing after the "Are they all yours?" questions I seem to field every time I take my children to the grocery store) but I still found some encouragement in this book. Two nitpicks:
  1. This book is too tall. It's like an awkward textbook and not at all comfortable to sit down and read.
  2. There are several typos and the chapters are all over the place as to order and size.
Still, if you feel like you're swimming upstream against our worldly culture, this book will most likely encourage and inspire you.

Totals for October:
Fiction: 5 (including one I had no business reading. See #9 above. I'm just being honest here. I should have stopped reading that one after I realized how bad it was going to get. But I didn't.)
Non-fiction: 11 (including one very short book #12 and one poetry book #2).

Finished any interesting books recently? Do share in the comments!

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3 comments:

MacKenzie said...

I'm excited, I've never read The Blue Castle (well, not about having never read it, but about how now I get to read another L.M. Montgomery book for the first time.) I really enjoy her writing, although I've heard she wasn't a nice person in real life which is truly sad. Maybe that "fact" is one of those internet rumors that has no basis in reality.

Also, I feel like the only person in the world who hasn't read Large Family Logistics yet. But I do plan to someday.

"Gram" said...

I feel exalted when you say you don't necessary agree with the arguments or conclusions of John T. Gatto. I've heard you say the same things concerning me. ;)

What are you doing reading a book about hot flashes?! Leave such topics for the time when you can appropriately appreciate them, say another 21 years or so!

Mom

"Gram" said...

And yet another thought with which you might or might not agree:

When it comes to higher math The Bear and I have found that trigonometry (or Advanced Math for all of us Saxon fans) is much easier to understand when coupled with the Apologia Chemistry and Physics books. We were about 40 lessons into the Advanced Math book when we added the physics course.

Let's just say that it does 2 things. First, ithelps to have the explanations of 2 different math/science authors; and second, it helps to answer that stupid question, "When will I ever use this in real life?".

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