I give these awards each year, and it’s always a bit difficult for me because first I have to figure out what I read. I usually start strong in terms of keeping a list at the bottom of the blog, but somewhere along the line I forget to write down a title here and there, and next thing I know the annual post requires a bit of detective work. No matter. It’s well worth it, tracking down and revisiting the new friends I make over the course of a year.
My annual book awards are quite biased. To be in the running, a book, first of all, must be read — completely — by me. If I don’t read it, it’s not a contender. If I start to read it, but don’t finish (I can be a book flake at times), it’s also out of the running. And then, naturally, I have all this angst about my lists. Do I include books I read aloud to my children for fun? What about all the books I read aloud for school lessons? Pre-reading for school lessons? Does that count, too? It’s hard for me until I finally remember that whether I read it aloud or silently, whether I read it for fun because I “had to,” I read it. Therefore, it qualifies.
I’m glad that’s over.
You didn’t think I could choose just one of them, did you? This is the third time I’ve read these books aloud, and it gets better every. single. time. It took five months. It was worth every second of every minute we spent on it.
Best Short Stories
How I love you, Father Brown! These were so much fun. I read them aloud to my husband some evenings, and he enjoyed them just as much as I did. Like pretty much everybody, I’m a Chesterton fan when it comes to his non-fiction, but he also shines in these little tales — I get the sense that he had great fun inventing them. But then again, he seemed to take joy in just about everything, didn’t he?
Best Health Book
I read a number of books in the health category this year, which isn’t always the case. But, I was studying up. Anyhow, this is my personal favorite from the year’s collection, and while I read it through to the end, I find myself using it often as a reference.
Best Young People’s
Written for juveniles, I found myself completely entranced by this book. Out of print, hard to find, and often extremely expensive, I paid a pretty penny for this book when I found it (though not nearly what it’s listed for on Amazon as I type), and I’m of the opinion that it was worth every cent. It’s a true living book — a charming read, and one to watch for at library sales and such.
It was really unfair to all the other history books on my list that I was reading Churchill. I mean: who can compete with him? (Answer: no one.) Not only is this book fantastically written, but I enjoyed his somewhat different perspective on certain stories from British history that I’ve read time and again. It’s amazing to me that Churchill could lead a nation and also write a four-volumes on its history. He reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt in that regard — some men are just more capable than others, I guess.
I gave my husband a puppy this year. This book didn’t contain everything we needed to know … but it came close! I definitely feel like it helped us get our bearings — it starts with birth, so no dog is every too young for this book to be relevant.
Book that Made Me Cry
True story. I’ve always thought the story of Joan of Arc particularly tragic, though. This is my favorite Twain work so far, and I’ve read that he called it his best work. The years of research he put into this project really shines — even though it is technically historical fiction, readers come away knowing more about the history of Joan of Arc than they ever thought possible — and more personally attached to her, as well.
Book that Made Me Laugh
Funny enough (ha), Twain made me laugh as well as cry in 2015. I suppose he’s better known for his ability to provoke the former, though. I don’t know why I’d never read this book before — I’ve heard of it many times in the past. But somehow, it didn’t make it into the family library until this year. We read this one aloud, and we laughed together.
Book that Changed My Perspective
I posted a review of this book here. I still love it. I’ve recommended it to anyone who will listen and lent it to a number of friends. It’s just. that. good. And helpful. Super helpful. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that my children have a lot more feelings than I will ever have. And that’s okay.
Book of the Year
You’ve been waiting for this, amIright? Actually, you probably guessed it if you’ve been around here longer than two months. After all, I wrote a huge, months-long series all about it. If you’re super interested in classical education, this book is for you. (I’m super interested. This book was for me.) It’s still for me; I keep going over little parts of it, and of course I need to follow the footnote trail.
What were your favorite books in 2015?
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