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    The Year in Books

    January 6, 2014 by Brandy Vencel

    Note: This post contains affiliate links.

    I try and post something about my reading life each January. I like to look back and see what I’ve read. It’s like looking back at photos to see where you’ve been. Sometimes I post the entire list, and sometimes I don’t. This year, I was inspired by Sarah and Candace to try and do something more creative.

    But first…

    This year, I read 38 books.

    Or, at least, I think I did. I am always so bad about writing things down after about October. There is a chance I missed some.

    I have officially reached a new low number, and you know what?

    I’m soaring!

    Yes indeed. I purposed to read slowly, with my commonplace by my side. To stop when something was worth thinking about. To, in a sentence, stop reading like a consumer and start reading like a student. Since my tendency in the past has been to skim and speed and stuff myself with books, I think this is a big triumph.

    Book of the Year

    I’m sure that none of you are shocked, after all my waxing eloquent about this book!

    The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater

    Best Fiction

    I read the third in this trilogy years ago {long story on why I’d choose to read the last book first}, and have always meant to read the other two. This is definitely my favorite of the year, as well as of the trilogy.

    Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis

    Best Non-Fiction

    It’s hard for me to choose! You know how I feel about my non-fiction. With that said, I adored this Ruskin collection. This reads a little like an essay collection, but my understanding is that these were originally speeches that Ruskin gave, and those near the end of his life. It was amazing to me to see how obviously he had influenced Charlotte Mason.

    Sesame and Lilies by John Ruskin

    Best New-To-Me Author

    I really enjoyed reading Jane Healy, so much that I have another of her books waiting in the wings.

    Endangered Minds by Jane Healy

    Book that Made Me Cry

    It feels ridiculous even admitting this, but, yes, this book made me cry. What is silly is that I cannot right now even recall the name of the character who died, which is the whole reason I cried. I was reading this aloud to my children and they jeered me for my tears. Monsters!

    Jack and Jill by Louis May Alcott

    Book that Made Me Laugh

    I read this book aloud to Si. It’s a collection of short stories, actually. It’s a bunch of mysteries, which seems like it should be serious, but I laughed many times!

    The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories by Dorothy Sayers

    Book that Changed my Perspective

    Free for Kindle, this book changed my perspective on time. It’s funny, because I can’t say it really had new information. Perhaps it just said it the way I needed to hear it.

    How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett

    Best Homeschooling

    Was there ever any doubt? This was a pleasure to read for the first time this year; no wonder everyone raves about it!

    For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley

    Worst Book

    I wanted to like this book. I wanted to think it was funny. In reality, I just found it dumb.

    Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith

    Most Challenging

    This is embarrassing to admit it because I know GJ will probably read this and think that I am never, ever going to return her book. Ever. Truth be told, I have fallen in love with this book, and I’ve been working on it for a number of years now, but my brain just can’t hold much of it at one time. I still haven’t finished it. In my defense, I tried to buy myself a copy this year. It was listed as “very good” condition, and at a price I could afford. When it arrived, it was covered in yellow highlighter. I couldn’t keep my eyes in one spot on the page. It was terrible! So, I sent it back, and I continue to hold GJ’s copy hostage.

    Against the Protestant Gnostics by Philip J. Lee

    Best Young Persons’

    Oh my, how I loved this book. It was dangerous in a don’t-bother-me-I’m-reading sort of way.

    Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff

    Best Health

    This was a no contest sort of situation because it’s also the only health book I read this year. But I like reading about country remedies, so it was loads of fun. And also, I started trying his apple cider vinegar tonic. At the end of the winter, I plan to tell you all what I think about it.

    Folk Medicine by DC Jarvis, MD

    Last Read of the Year

    Ha! I finished this book on January 30th!

    Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps

    Did anyone else sneak in one final book before the ball dropped?

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  • Reply Mahers Hill Academy January 8, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    I like how you did this post, Brandy. I think I might borrow some of the ideas or my own book post, if that’s ok. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 8, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Go right on ahead! I borrowed it from Sarah and Candace, and just switched a couple things so it fit better. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sarah January 8, 2014 at 4:32 am

    Argh. Forgot to asked to be notified of follow up comments. I’m sorry about that.

    It’s strange, but there are no images to click, not even a little box showing where a picture should be. All I can see in Chrome is the title of the book. I get everything in IE (picture with the link and the caption underneath), so I don’t know what to make of it.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 8, 2014 at 4:35 am

      I think I finally figured it out! Well, Mystie helped. πŸ™‚ She thinks it is the Ad Block extension. Are you running that? It’s supposed to block all Amazon images.

    • Reply dawn January 8, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Definitely ad block. Same thing happens at Cindy’s.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      I am not running ad block, but sometimes I cannot see things on some blogs, even though. Must be a Google quirk. I especially can’t find the Amazon search widget in blog sidebars, even though I know from my IE days that they are there!

      But YOU TWO can comment. The person who contacted me by email can’t even do that…And I’m still stumped about how to fix it. πŸ™

  • Reply Dawn January 7, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I have been meaning to read Jack & Jill for over a year. As a lover of Alcott I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard of this title pre-AO. Now it is moving up on the list. And now I am really intrigued about the PIXELS book, to re-iterate what was read above about a second recommendation. As for Healy – which one is it? Failure to Connect something else? I think FtC is the next Healy book I will tackle.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      You made me work! I had to go figure out the title because I couldn’t remember! πŸ™‚ But you called it…it’s Failure to Connect. I’m excited to read it…eventually. I probably won’t start it until after Desiring the Kingdom is over.

      I didn’t even mention that I received John Seniors Death of Christian Culture for Christmas! It’s been on my wishlist over FIVE years, so I was a little excited. πŸ™‚

      I had never heard of J&J pre-AO, either. Another favorite of ours that isn’t on the AO list, I don’t think, is 8 Cousins. Have you read that one?

    • Reply Dawn January 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      I know what you mean regarding that…eventually. That may turn into 2015 for me based on my 2014 line-up which everyone keeps adding to with their wonderful recommendations. But I am not complaining:).

      I did read Eight Cousins when I was younger, though I cannot remember much of it now. I can’t wait to share Alcott with my boys soon:).

  • Reply Lisa Winton January 7, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I just bought and began reading The Living Page, really looking forward to it! Jack and Jill, oh how I love that book. Did you read it aloud to the kids? My boys loved that one, we read it several times during their homeschool years.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Yes, Lisa! I did read it aloud and they all adored it. Someone told me it was a “book all homeschoolers should read” and that really didn’t make sense to me until the end, when the mother basically decides to homeschool for the sake of the children. πŸ™‚

      I hope you like The Living Page!

  • Reply Sarah January 7, 2014 at 4:15 am

    Rats, I usually read your blog using Chrome, but none of your affiliate links work in Chrome. I’ll switch over to IE, but I didn’t know if you knew about the link issue, Brandy.

    • Reply Mystie January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      I am in Chrome and it works; but it’s the images that are linked and not the words. Did you try clicking the book covers?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Thank you, Mystie. Is that it, Sarah? And if not, can you tell me what happens when you click an image? It is working for me in Chrome, too, but you are the second person to tell me this, so I wonder if something else is going on?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Blogger doesn’t allow me to link the image captions; I just tried. So what I did was change the caption color to black so that it doesn’t look so much like a link. I think that should help?

  • Reply Candace Crabtree January 7, 2014 at 1:30 am

    I can’t believe I considered myself well-read before hopping over here. πŸ™‚ ive only even heard of ONE on your list!! And I had to google words to read your post. I think your book selections would be over my head. Ha!! That’s a compliment, not a critique…wowzers!! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 7, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      If you’re thinking that I’m a bit of a nerd, you may be right. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply Candace Crabtree January 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Well, I actually consider myself a book nerd…so that isn’t quite it. πŸ™‚ Maybe a SMART book nerd! LOL!!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Ha! I ♥ that you are a nerd…Or, at least, a book nerd. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Karla A January 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    You are the second one to recommend Flickering Pixels in less than a week! I guess I have to read it now =/. I searched my library and they don’t have it. So I will have to wait. I will also be in the look out for The Living Page. So many books and so little time.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      IF you have already read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, you might find there is a lot of duplicate content, but he does take it and apply it to newer technologies (such as the Internet) that Postman didn’t touch on.

  • Reply dawn January 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I got The Living Page for Christmas πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kelly January 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    That Lord Peter book is wonderful. “Talboys” was my favorite.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      You make me want to flip back through the TOC and choose my fave!

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