Thursday, January 3, 2013

Books of 2012 - December

Also known as "Last chance for these books from my massive stack to get on my list for 2012" Each book was jumping and calling, "Pick me, pick me!" (OK, not really. I have not really lost my sanity to that extreme.)

I did a lot of reading in December. Cold, dreary days do that to me. Although, not so curiously, I didn't finish a single book between December 24 and December 28. I can't imagine why not...

1.The Five Love Languages of Children. Non-fiction by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. Helpful reminder that people (including smaller, younger people) have different ways of expressing and receiving love. Inspired a lot of conversation and conjecture as to what our 4 girls' "Love Languages" might be.

2.The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Fiction by Margot Livesey. This one had been in my stack for a while but I finally got interested in it. Imaginative story strongly based on Jane Eyre. Found myself getting impatient with the heroine at times, but I had that same reaction to Jane Eyre, honestly, which has never been one of my favorite classic novels. (All the Bronte sisters tend to make me sigh in exasperation.) Great sense of location in this book, whether Scotland or Iceland (the two prominent countries in the story).

3. These Last Days: A Christian View of History. Non-fiction edited by Richard Phillips and Gabriel Fluhrer. A collection of essays loaned to me by Pastor Dad. Much food for thought here, even though most of the authors hold a different view of eschatology than the one I have been taught. Highly thought-provoking and good fodder for some excellent Sunday afternoon conversations between Pastor Dad, Mom, Philip and myself.

4. The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home. Non-fiction by Jane Brocket. I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. I loved it so much, I gave it as a gift to someone else that I thought would enjoy it. The simple joy of making a home, making it beautiful, and the added interest that the author's home is in England...recipe for a book I highly recommend.

5. Backtalk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Child. Non-fiction by Audrey Ricker & Carolyn Crowder. Ordered this one from the library on a bad parenting day. Cautiously recommend, but warn that the Adlerian psychology might not be everyone's cup of tea.

6. Diary of a Provincial Lady. Fiction by E.M. Delafield. Charming vintage British "Domestic Fiction", a category recommended by book #4 above and of which I am already a committed fan, though I had never read this effort before. Think Helen Fielding of Bridget Jones's Diary fame definitely owes some thing to E.M. Delafield.

7. Turkish Delight and Treasure Hunts. Non-fiction by Jane Brocket. Another book by the author of #4 above. Fun things to do and make inspired by classic children's fiction. Definite British slant to it, which only added to the charm for me. The addition of some classic American Children's Lit probably helps it to appeal to a wider American audience (The Little House Books, for instance).

8.The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Fiction by Agatha Christie. Another Hercule Poirot mystery (see, I am getting around to them!), this one a classic because of the set up, but I can't really give more details without being a total spoiler, assuming you haven't read it. Which you should, if you're a fan of vintage mystery because this book turns the genre on its ear. I shall say no more.

9. Boundaries with Kids. Non-fiction by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. Back when I read the first "Boundaries" book, I didn't really get the big deal. My reaction was basically, "Duh. That's it?" because it is so highly recommended. Well, after reading Boundaries with Kids, I get it now. I think this was one of the best Christian parenting books I have ever read. I'm trying to get Philip to read it now so we can discuss it. Definitely the best parenting book I finished in December, and yes, there's at least one more to come on this list. Highly recommended.

10. Have a New Kid by Friday. Non-fiction by Dr. Kevin Leman. What can I say? It was  a very bad day, the day I ended up ordering at least 5 parenting books from the library. So even though life did get better from that day, I still read at least three of the books I had ordered (#5, #9, #10). Of the three #9 is the one I recommend with the fewest reservations. This one is OK. Leman is very approachable and fairly lighthearted in all his books and this is no exception. (Interestingly, I think the 3 books all tended toward an Adlerian view of psychology, though Cloud, Townsend, & Leman are also Christians, which helps with any worldview issues that might arise.)

11. Final Curtain. Fiction by Ngaio Marsh. Another great effort by Marsh, this one highlighting the reunion of Troy Alleyn (painter) and her long absent due to the Second World War husband, Detective Roderick Alleyn. Featuring another memorable cast of characters, something Marsh excelled at creating and describing.

12. A Life that Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others. Non-fiction by Karen Ehman. Hospitality does not come naturally to me. I'll blame my introversion, of course, but I also like to blame other things, like limited space. Well, Ehman blows that type of excuse out of the water with a chapter called, "The Myth of the Too-Small House". Which confirmed again for me that hospitality is something my family needs to be working on, whether God gives us the bigger house we're praying for or not. (But, yes, we are still praying hard for God to sell this house and give us some more space!) I think blogs have made some of us even worse at hospitality than we used to be: we think our houses must be perfectly decorated, we must be gourmet cooks, and our children must be the kind of children who never backtalk or argue over a Happy Meal toy. This is a practical, encouraging book for Christian women who wish to honor God's call to be hospitable:
1 Peter 4:9 ESV: Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

13. Boundaries in Marriage. Non-fiction by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. Not quite as groundbreaking (to me) as the Boundaries with Kids book, but that may be because I feel like Philip and I are a lot better at the marriage thing than we are the parenting thing.

14. The Pilgrim's Guide: C.S. Lewis & the Art of Witness. Non-fiction edited by David Mills. A collection of essays that has been in my stack and partially read for a couple of months now. Lewis is one of my heroes, and even if I didn't agree with each of the essays, this was a valuable book to me. An inspiring way to end a year of reading - I finished this one on the 31st of December.

Totals for December:
Fiction: 4 (1 new, 1 old, & 2 mysteries)
Non-fiction: 10 (including 4 parenting books - !)

Coming soon: my 2012 Reading Year in Review. Here's a little preview: I finished 140 books in 2012.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. I say could because I'm not sure if I'm actually getting any compensation these days - Crazy Amazon and their constantly changing Terms of Use! Anyway, it could happen. As always, opinions are my own, since this is my blog.

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