Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading Year 2011 in Review

Totals for 2011: 159 (27 more than last year. Hooray!)
Fiction: 60
Non-fiction (including poetry): 99
That works out to 13.25 books per month or around 3.05 books per week.

Most books finished in: June (19)
Fewest books finished in: April (6)
Most non-fiction finished: this is a two way tie between January and October (11 each)
Most fiction finished: August (12)
Fewest number of non-fiction books finished: tie between April & August (4)
Fewest number of fiction books finished: four way tie because I only finished two in January, February, March and April.

Favorite mystery series: The Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers (my favorite might have been:The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, but really, they're all good)

Favorite trilogy:The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Favorite Trilogy Runner-Up: Matched by Ally Condie deserves a shout out here too. I've only read the first but I'm eagerly anticipating the next 2 books in the series)
Least favorite trilogy: The Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Second least favorite trilogy:Chaos Walking: The Complete Trilogyby Patrick Ness. Both of these series had interesting premises but that's the only nice thing I can say about them.

Favorite novel: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Most Hyped (and therefore, most over-rated):Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
Most Austen-esque:Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal ("Austen meets Bewitched")
Also somewhat Austen-esque:Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

Best Book About Writing:If You Want to Writeby Brenda Ueland
Funniest: any of the books by Jean Kerr (such as: The Snake Has All the Lines)
Non-fiction Book that inspired more research:The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Ageby Juliet Nicolson
Favorite Book / Movie Combo:Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre (movie:The Man Who Never Was) I think this was the only book / movie combo, to be honest.

Worst Memoir: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairieby Wendy McClure. Almost sucked all the joy out of Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic books. Almost.
Best Memoir:A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matterby William Deresciwicz. Several disclaimers apply (language, intimacy) but this book manages to be self-aware without being ridiculously self-important.

Favorite Biography: tie between-
Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slaveryby Eric Metaxas and
And God Came In: The Extraordinary Story of Joy Davidmanby Lyle Dorsett

Number of books sent to me for review purposes: 2 (Practical Geniusand The Immigrant Advantage). This was a first for me. Of the two, I only properly reviewed the first so perhaps I am not cut-out for this position.

Books with fewest degrees of separation between the author and myself:
Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hopeby Trevin Wax (we had the same piano teacher and performed in the same piano recitals. Also, our parents were friends.)
Loving the Everyday: Meditations for Momsby Elizabeth Barkley (the author was my sister's academic adviser)

Most Quotable: From the Library of C. S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journeycompiled by James Stuart Bell. In other news, I just found out today that I'm getting a copy of this via Paperback Swap. I probably don't have to tell you but: free books = happy me.
Favorite re-read: The Blue Castleby L.M. Montgomery. And, as far as I can tell looking over my book posts, the only re-read of 2011.
Dickens finished in 2011: none! That challenge is over and I haven't gone back to re-read any yet.
Dickens-esque: none, really. But I did read several books about London / Great Britain. (And I've already finished a "Dickens-esque" book in 2012, so there you go)

I read several books I shouldn't have. I read a lot of series fiction. I didn't get as much research done as I planned. But, all in all, I'm fairly proud of this reading year. If you've got a post about your favorite books of 2011, please do share in the comments.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own.

How Better to Distract

faithful readers from the lack of original blog posts than...
gratuitous pictures of baby daughters?

This page was made with My Memories Software and with several of their free design elements. If you would like to buy the software you can get $10 off using this code: STMMMS66176

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Links - January 28, 2012

Blogging has been light around here. I don't have a good explanation for this other than I have plenty to say, I just don't want to say it.

So, on to the links:

1. Online Games for Homeschool Math. I had never heard of any of these but I think we need to add a few to our "kid online" repertoire.

2. When Did Americans Lose Their British Accents? This reminds me to point out once again that Paul Revere did NOT actually say, "The British are coming!" (Which would have been like saying, "We're coming!" He is supposed to have said, "The Regulars are coming" (that is, the Army). Another thing I think is interesting about the American English vs. British English discussion is related to the movie Gone with the Wind (bear with me here): there was a bit of a fuss about a British young woman winning the Scarlett O'Hara role (although, seriously, can you imagine anyone other than Vivien Leigh in that part?!) Anyway, considering that Scarlet's father was supposed to be Irish and that in 1860 it had been less than a hundred years since the Revolutionary War...I'm thinking that Vivien Leigh's Southern accent got it pretty close.

End of this diversion and on to the next link. (Hey, it is called "Candid Diversions", after all)

3. Why Can't Some People See Magic Eye Pictures? I can't. But maybe I'll follow that post's advice and try to improve my technique. I really thought all you who claimed to see something in those patterns were making it up all these years.

4. Think your grocery trip is costing you more than it used to? You're right.

5. This was all over the interwebs this week: John Tyler's Grandsons are still alive. Yes, as in our 10th President John Tyler.

6. This post is thought provoking: How Much Do You Ask Your Older Kids to Help? I still have unresolved feelings about this question so Philip and I try to be very deliberate in what we require of our oldest children (and how we reward and or discipline about those requirements).

7. Here's another great parenting post: It Won't Always Be Like This. This is great news for those of us with more than one "strong willed child".

8. I always appreciate Jamie's open and thoughtful posts. This is a good one: When a Homeschool Mom Sends a Child to Public School. Here's what I think is the heart of her post:
I’m never really in control of my child’s education (or anything else), but God is.
See, some homeschool advocates have fallen into the trap of suggesting that, if you homeschool the "right way" (whatever that is, and they're perfectly willing to tell you all the ways you're doing it wrong) your children are guaranteed to turn out right.

Unfortunately that is simply not true. I love homeschooling. I love it for our family. I want to encourage as many parents as are able to at least try it (I usually say it is both easier and harder than you think). But I have no illusions that it makes our family perfect or will produce perfect adults at age 18.

Now then, that got a little heavier than I intended. On to a few pins!

Love this room set up with the long wall.

This would make a great Valentine's Day breakfast:

We like to cut our PB&J sandwiches with a heart cookie cutter but it never occurred to me to cut toast with a cookie cutter - that seems like a great Valentine's idea even if you don't paint on the words.

So, did you stumble on to anything interesting this week? Feel free to share in the comments.
This post is linked to Saturday Stumbles at Simply Staci.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life with Tigger and Fen

Tigger, my occasionally reluctant scholar, really worked hard on her schoolwork this morning. She had a fantastic attitude and worked steadily to finish several different subjects. (I'm sharing this partially to remind myself in the future that, yes, it does happen this way sometimes.)

Fen missed his playmate and Sweet Pea just wasn't filling the gap. When Tigger finally finished her last subject, Fen was standing right there at her elbow.

"We better go play!" He said with a little cheer. (Subtext: before your mom gives you anything else to do.)

"We better go play!" Tigger echoed him.

"Okay!" He shouted back, as if it were her idea all along.

Never a dull moment, folks. Never.
(Picture: Tigger & Fen last September at Cumberland Falls.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Words for Wednesday - On Ideas and Intelligence


A man is not necessarily intelligent because he has plenty of ideas, any more than he is a good general because he has plenty of soldiers. - Nicolas Chamfort

And it is probably not coincidence that, on the same page of my commonplace book, I also wrote down this quotation:

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. - Goethe

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Books in My TBR Stack

Since there is no prescribed theme at The Broke and the Bookish this week, I thought I would share my current "to be read" stack with you:

1.The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp.

2.The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time by David Ulin.

3.The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr.

4.The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice by Todd Henry.

5.God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China by Liao Yiwu

6.Busman's Honeymoon: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane by Dorothy Sayers

7.Wyndham Case (Imogen Quy Mysteries) by Jill Paton Walsh

Waiting for me at the library and almost guaranteed to jump up near the top of my stack:
8.The Confession: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Ian Rutledge Mysteries) by Charles Todd.

And two from my extensive "not in yet" holds at the library that I am eagerly anticipating, that will assuredly jump to the head of the line whenever they happen to come in:

9.Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

10.Crossed by Ally Condie

So many books, so little time...

This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish. The titles in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me.