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    Ten Books to Read in 2012

    January 4, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    This is new for me this year. I don’t usually plan out my reading, which happens more as a result of a complicated equation involving time + interest + chance. Why chance? Because there are books that have been up on my PBS wishlist for over two years. Eventually, they come to me, and I read them. I can’t plan it. It just happens as a result of God’s sovereign care for my reading habits.


    This year, however, I decided I have enough unread books on my shelves to provide a bit of direction. And my husband has some opinions on what I should be reading this year, as well. I think he’s tired of trying to discuss a couple books with me that he’s read…and I haven’t.

    So, while this is not my entire plan for the year, and though I still prefer to leave a lot to time, interest, and chance {Providence?}, here are ten books I plan to read this year.

    1. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. This was suggested at a CiRCE Conference a year or two ago, and I got it as a wishlist match a couple months back.
    2. Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris. Everyone already read this, right? I’m okay with being two years behind…if it means my books are cheap or free!
    3. Postmillenialism: An Eschatology of Hope by Keith Mathison. Assigned reading from my husband, who believes I am woefully ignorant concerning the eschatological schools of thought.
    4. Culture Makers by Josiah Vencel. Yes, I’m going to read my husband’s book, which he wrote a four years ago. It’s not that I haven’t read it–I edited it! But apparently it doesn’t count to my husband, who wants me to mark up a copy. Hey, maybe I’ll improve it and have it re-printed in an updated version! {Because I have time for that.}
    5. The Paideia Program by Mortimer Adler. Because it is listed in the sidebar of the Life, Books, and Education blog as one of the “best books on education,” I couldn’t resist ordering it on PBS…and one of you ended up sending it to me! {You know who you are!}
    6. Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver. I’ve read parts of this book over and over, but this year I’ll read it the way it ought to be read: straight through.
    7. Kim by Rudyard Kipling. I need to read this eventually because it’s assigned for AO Year Five, but let me just tell you: I really adore Kipling.
    8. Puck of Pook’s Hill by Rudyard Kipling. A free read for AO Year Five, I see this as an excuse to have a Kipling party.
    9. The Warden and Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. Two separate volumes, actually, though I linked to a book that includes them both in a single cover, thereby justifying my decision to place them together at number nine.
    10. Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax. As a mother of equal numbers of boys and girls, the concept of gender differences is both obvious as well as a consistent source of conversation between my husband and myself. Sax, from my understanding, gets into the actual, scientific differences, and I’m hoping he helps me become a better mother.

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  • Reply Crunchy_Conservative January 8, 2012 at 3:37 am

    “Last Child” is excellent. I can see how Louve’s work might have been inspired by Charlotte Mason! He carries many of the same ideas, that children must be exposed to nature and learn to love it before they can truly learn about it.

    “Puck” is just fun! Enjoy it.


  • Reply Rahime January 5, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Yeah, I don’t expect to read much. So far (of course, we’re only 9 weeks in) it hasn’t been too bad. I’m still tired all the time–from being up a lot at night–but in many ways I still feel better than pre-pregnancy. I have more energy in general, and am able to handle getting (much) less than 10 hrs. of sleep a night without melting.

    I started listening to Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare (the only interesting audio book at the library when I went today) this evening and was actually able to follow it, so that’s an improvement on the past year’s “reading.” It will be really nice if my brain ever decides to rejoin my body though.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 5, 2012 at 12:14 am

    ps. I said that not to discourage you, but to let you know it’s NORMAL. {At least, it was normal for me.} πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 5, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I will be curious to see what happens this year for you, Rahime. Between you, me, and the Internet, I didn’t read a SINGLE BOOK {except my Bible} in the year after having my first baby. Motherhood was totally overwhelming for me, and I just didn’t have the brain power. I remember flipping through baby-raising types of books, but nothing was read cover to cover.

  • Reply Rahime January 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Your post inspired me to look back at my list from 2011. Of the 12 books I’d planned to read, I only got to 3.5 of them. I read other books (though not as many as usual), but pregnancy didn’t leave me energy for most of the ones I’d planned to read.

    I suspect this year’s list will look entirely different.

  • Reply Rahime January 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I never got around to finishing Acedia, though I liked it and found it provided much food for though. I have it on CD, so maybe I’ll get a chance to pull it out again this year.

    I listened to Why Gender Matters a number of years ago. I’ll be interested to see what you think about it.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    So, Dawn, we’re doing a book club?? Just kidding…

    Lisa, Reading is contagious, no?

    Julie, My children are 9, almost-7, 5, and 3. The 3yo doesn’t really listen much, but he likes the idea of reading and begs for me to read, even though he proceeds to go play cars. πŸ™‚ But for the most part the rest of the children listen intently to most of the selections. I didn’t do this when my oldest was 3 or 4 because I didn’t know then that children could listen to more advanced works, but they can, and it is good for them. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Anonymous January 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    May I inquire how old your children are. I was looking at some of your books that you did for family read alouds, and just trying to guage what age group you are reading to!
    Julie in St. Louis.

  • Reply Lisa January 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I should really stop reading posts like this–my library list is already far too long! πŸ™‚

    I’ve read the first two books on your list and loved them.

  • Reply dawn January 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I own Acedia & Me but haven’t gotten very far yet. I also have Ideas Have Consequences; Jason’s read it, but I haven’t. I should change that.

    No promises πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm


    It puts you…in Peru. πŸ˜‰

    But, actually, I’d consider myself about 2 years behind on Last Child & Gender Matters, so you are ahead of the game there. πŸ™‚

    I would *love* to see your 2012 list!

  • Reply amy in peru January 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I’ve read Last Child in the Woods and Gender Matters. Both very good.

    As for the two years behind… if I haven’t even heard of the book, where does that put me?

    My husband holds a similar opinion of me…


    Kim was a fun readaloud with my boys, never mind the impossible names πŸ˜‰ I still haven’t read Puck yet, maybe I’ll join you?

    Your list looks good! I’ll let you know when I have my 2012 list up… just for fun πŸ™‚

    amy in peru

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