Thursday, December 1, 2011

Books of 2011 - November

I can't believe another reading year (OK, another year in general) has almost come and gone! Anyway, these are the books I completed from my huge (-ish) stack in November:

1.Teaching Mathematics: A Sourcebook of Aids, Activities, and Strategies.Non-fiction by Max Sobel and Evan Maletsky. Lots of what it says on the cover: teacher helps, activities and strategies. Polly and I enjoyed several of the puzzles and Math tricks in this book.

2.The E Myth EnterpriseNon-fiction by Michael Gerber. Pretty much the strangest business book I've ever read and NOT what I was expecting at all. According to this author most of humanity is not "awake". (If I were driving in Cincinnati A.M. rush hour traffic right now, I'd probably agree with him.) Strange read.

3.Have His Carcase Fiction by Dorothy Sayers. Lord Peter Wimsey series mysteries. Well done and made me interested in more Lord Peter mysteries. I picked this one up at a library sale so I sort of started in the middle (a practice I generally abhor) but that didn't seem to hurt my enjoyment of this story.

4.And God Came In. Non-fiction by Lyle Dorsett. I'm not sure if this is exactly the same as the copy I read (I have it written in my Commonplace Book as "A Love Observed") but even if it's a slightly different edition I'm sure it would be worth your time. Beyond the fictionalized account in the movie Shadowlands I have seen very few books about C.S. Lewis that quite know what to do with Joy Davidman Gresham, the former Communist American who became his wife near the end of her life. This book is fascinating, largely because Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis was fascinating. I found her personal experience with "The Hound of Heaven" (that would be God, just in case you don't get the reference) truly amazing and her love story (because, yes it was one) with one of my literary and Christian heroes was almost just as amazing.

5.The Abolition of ManNon-fiction by C.S. Lewis. Speaking of Lewis, I finished this one just a few days after finishing the above biography. I wanted to read it because some of the homeschooling blogs I frequent (Ordo Amoris, Afterthoughts) were taking part in a discussion about it. This collection of essays, and even the essays discussing the essays by the aforementioned blogs, pretty much went over my head. But I tried. And maybe I'll try again in a few years. Besides, I love Lewis' writing even when I don't understand what he's talking about.

6.Acceptable Loss Fiction by Anne Perry. Series mystery (William Monk). Rather horrifying subject matter (I guess when you've written as many mysteries as Anne Perry you have to get a little darker every time) means that this is not one of my new favorite mysteries even though I like the characters and how three dimensional they are.

7.Whose Body? Fiction by Dorothy Sayers. An entry in the Lord Peter Wimsey that predates the one I read earlier in the month (#3 above). I fancy you can tell the difference in writing style (this one is quite a bit simpler with less going on) but it was still quite well done.

8.Practical Genius. Non-fiction by Gina Amaro Rudan. I received this book for review purposes and you can find my review in this post.

9.Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It. Non-fiction by Jerry Jenkins. I saw this one recommended over at The Common Room in relationship to the scandals surrounding Herman Cain. The basic (what some would consider common sense) premise: live your life and protect your marriage in such a way that, not only are you not faced with temptations, people won't believe false accusations against you anyway because you are so well known for your {good} behavior (what this author calls Hedges). Recommended.

10.If You Want to Write. Non-fiction by Brenda Ueland. One of the best books on writing I have ever read. I mean it. I immediately ordered a copy (OK, I requested it on Paperback Swap and it came almost immediately) to keep in my personal "'Writing Library". Highly recommended.

11.The Unpleasantness at The Bellona Club. Fiction by, you guessed it, Dorothy Sayers. Yes, another Lord Peter Wimsey book. What can I say? My reading tastes tend to be at least temporarily obsessive. This one was great and I particularly enjoyed the contemporary look (though not highly specific) at the effect The Great War had on British society and British former soldiers.

12.A Householder's Guide to the Universe Non-fiction by Harriet Fasenfest. I do not, by a long shot, agree with this author's politics. And her motivations for "going back to the Earth" are probably not the same motivations I would claim but this is still a helpful guide to a householder's year: planting, canning, preserving, butchering, eating seasonally, all these things and many more are addressed in this book. And, despite my strong negative reaction to her politics, I really did enjoy this book and think some of you would too.

13.Enter Mrs. Belchamber. Fiction by Elizabeth Cadell. I didn't enjoy the last Cadell book I finished and consequently it's been awhile since I ordered one of these vintage British novels. This one reminded me why I enjoy this author: quirky characters, interesting situations, and a winding but not too convoluted plot.

14.Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds. Non-fiction by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken. A fascinating book that deserves more than a few sentences as review. So maybe I'll talk about it later. I will say that I immediately thought of all my missionary kid friends (all of us now grown, obviously), as well as a few connections I made to my own upbringing. Like I said, I need more time to talk about this one.

Totals for November:
Fiction: 5 (Yes, almost all series mysteries!)
Non-fiction: 9

Read any good books lately? Anything you think I ought to add to my ever growing stack? Fire away in the comments!
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