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    December 28, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Books are a gift-giving theme around here. My husband and I give them to each other. We give them to the children. Other family members give them to our children, especially our oldest son, who is himself an avid reader {I think it is genetic}. My husband and I are currently trying to figure out our library issues as far as shelving is concerned because we add so many books each year, especially at Christmas time and again for lessons.

    I do try and weed books out via PaperBackSwap. I list any book I don’t think we’ll read again…unless of course we think it is worth lending out. Some one-time reads are still very much worth keeping for this purpose.

    See? This is my problem. I am a book-a-holic bibliophile.

    Alright, so here are all the incoming books {I think…a few may have wandered off already}. I love staring at book cases when I visit someone’s home, so this is me letting you look at my new shelf, so to speak.

    Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl:
    Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World

    The Importance of Being Earnest:
    A Trivial Novel for Serious People

    The Penderwicks:
    A Summer Tale of Four Sisters,
    Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

    The Divine Comedy
    {my pride and joy}

    Fantastic Animals

    An Eschatology of Hope

    National Wildlife Federation
    Field Guide to Trees of North America

    Mary Emma & Company

    The Secret Garden

    The Wind in the Willows

    Gulliver’s Travels

    Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction

    Farmer Giles of Ham:
    The Rise and Wonderful Adventures of Farmer Giles,
    Lord of Tame, Count of Worminghall,
    and King of the Little Kingdom

    Away in a Manger

    Voices of Christmas

    The First Christmas Present

    The Christmas Cat

    Among the Pond People

    The Nutcracker Ballet

    The Snow Goose

    Christmas for a Kitten

    The Railway Children

    The Princess Adelina:
    An Ancient Christian Tale of Beauty and Bravery

    The Big Snow
    {a new favorite already…}

    Thy Friend Obadiah

    Some of these books are duplicate copies. We love duplicate copies. I have read stories of home educating mothers looking on with horror as their grown children pillage the family library by claiming ownership of certain books. In anticipation of this problem, I {1} make sure that each book belonging to a child has their name in it {all other books are mine, mine, mine!} and {2} thoroughly enjoy when a child receives a copy of a classic to own themselves. This is the easiest way to decrease the chance of them attempting to take my copy. There is also a third way: {3} keep all favorite copies in a locking cabinet.


    We had extra blessings this Christmas, completely on accident. I always have an ongoing wishlist on PBS, but if we reach Thanksgiving and I haven’t gotten any matches, I go ahead and order one book per child. Well, this year we hit Thanksgiving, and…no good matches. So, I went ahead and ordered. About a week later, I began getting match after match until I ended up being able to add another book for each child {well, all but the baby, but he likes boxes best anyhow}. This never happens, and it was so fun to surprise the children with two books each.

    The Dante is mine. I think I will keep it by my bedside so I can stare at it while falling asleep. I first read this when I was 16 and I didn’t even understand it, but I loved it. Good memories of this one, and the embossed leather binding was perfect for my display case {what a good husband}.

    Did you receive a special book for Christmas?

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  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts January 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm


    What age do you think that anatomy book is fit for? I’d like to tackle that sometime, some year.

    KM, If Elsa Beskow has your endorsement as well, I am most definitely putting her on the list! In fact, we have a February birthday coming up for someone who has a particular affection for beautiful pictures and stories…Hmmm…

    Rachel, If you ever “review” the Geneva Bible, I’d love to read it. I know that sounds strange, but I am very curious about it, and have never read that particular translation. I wonder, for instance, how it reads (the KJV seems “Shakespearean” to me), and whether the Psalms come across as beautiful. Some translations do a better job than others when it comes to capturing the genres…Anyhow, like I said, let me know if you ever comment on it!

  • Reply Rachel R. January 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I got a copy of the Geneva Bible. 🙂 Hubby says he saw it and immediately thought, “Rachel would want this.” (Then he ordered it and started to worry that maybe Rachel already had it. lol But I didn’t.)

  • Reply Kansas Mom January 5, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Oh, Brandy, you’ll love Elsa Beskow. It’s sad that so many of her books are out of print, but luckily our library has copies.

  • Reply Rahime December 29, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I love perusing your new books! I think I got any reading books myself this year, but I did get a fabulous-looking Mennonite cookbook and a few sewing books. My sister got Francis Chan’s Crazy Love on audio which I plan to borrow when she’s done.

    David Macaulay has an anatomy book that I can’t wait to get for my niece and nephew in a couple years.

  • Reply Emily December 28, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Love the peek at your new shelf, Brandy! So many treats to gaze at, fondle, sigh over, and eventually read. 🙂 Can you tell I’m a bibliomaniac as well? We love The Big Snow! Just reading it fills me with calm. I think I’ll go and pull it out now to look through while we’re having our own big snow in NH.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts December 28, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Mrs. H,

    Would you believe I had never heard of Elsa Beskow before your comment? I just googled her…I am definitely putting her on my list! Her work looks delightful!

    My son is working on knot tying as his handicraft this coming term. So much fun! Next year we can let them tie elaborate knots on the Christmas packages, no? 🙂

  • Reply Mrs. H December 28, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    No books for me, but the kids got 3 Elsa Beskow picture books, The Coral Island, a Calvin and Hobbes book, and a knot tying book.

    Mrs. H

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