Archive for the ‘Reading Lists 2011’ category

December 2011 Reading List

January 2, 2012

Oh, goodness.  I must admit that the month of December is kind of  a haze to me.  So, I will try to reconstruct what I read for the month.  I know it was mostly re-reads because I was too tired to really focus on anything new that required more attention and thought.  Let’s see.

1, 2, and 3.  Star Wars:  Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn:  These three books basically kicked off the Star Wars expanded universe and introduced many important non-movie characters such as Mara Jade, Talon Kaarde, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Captain Pellaeon.  After reading the newer Timothy Zahn Star Wars book last month I felt compelled to go back and reread these favorites.

4.  Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston:  I like Aston’s Pride & Prejudice sequels because I think they are in keeping with Austen’s style and give one a really good understanding of the time period.  I just kind of grabbed this off my bookshelf on the go for a reread.

4 1/2.  Star Wars:  Vision of the Future by Timothy Zahn:  This is actually the second in a two-book series that takes place about ten years after Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy.  I’m only counting it has half of a book, though, because I just skipped through to read the sections about Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade.  I was surprised to realize for the first time that the closing scene of the book is a throwback to the closing scene of the Thrawn Trilogy.



It’s hard to believe that another year has passed, or that I’ve been keeping track of my reading for three years now.  I decided to take a detailed look back through three-years of books as I organized my stats for 2011.  I considered noting which books I had reread multiple times, and which genre or subject I had read the most.  But then I wondered how insane I was to even consider such a project much less think I had the time or energy to do it.  But I do like keeping track of what I have read.  It’s almost like a diary in and of itself.

In 2011 I read a total of 66.5 books.  My book count was down from the two previous years (90 and 91 respectively).  At first I thought this was because it took me an entire month to get through Anna Karenina, and then I gave up reading books for Lent.  Surprisingly I read more during the first half of the year (36) in spite of Anna Karenina and Lent.  June ended up being my biggest month with 12 books.  (Two of those were books that I previewed/read along with Bailey.)

So, I don’t know what happened in 2011.  In the end, though, reading is about enjoyment and learning and not just racking up tally marks.  We’ll just have to see what good books 2012 brings.


November 2011 Reading List

November 28, 2011

1.  Star Wars:  Fate of the Jedi:  Ascension by Christie Golden:  This is just the next book in the Star Wars series that I read.  Although I must admit, that late middle-aged Luke Skywalker is a much more appealing man than early 20’s Luke Skywalker.

2.  Fertility, Cycle, and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon:  I read this book a few years ago, and it didn’t do much for me.  This time I got a hold of the latest edition which was totally revamped.  I don’t know if it’s the new format or if I was just more receptive this time around, but now I’m thinking I need my own copy.  While I’ve never had an issue with my fertility, this was the first time I learned that my long, heavy, and painful periods might be within the range of normal for the population at large but they might not really be normal for me.  They might actually be signs of inadequate nutrition.  As a result, I’ve started ProCycle vitamins, flax seed oil capsules, and a Vitamin E capsule every day to get my cycle in better working order.

3.  Signs of Life by Scott Hahn:  This book is a wonderful and informative book about 40 Catholic customs.  For non-Catholics it offers some great explanations about what Catholics believe about these things.  For Catholics it offers bite-size opportunities for learning about and meditating on the faith.  The book has inspired me to incorporate a few different customs into my daily life and given me a greater understanding about others, such as the controversial indulgences.  I read this book slowly over the course of two months; it’s definitely a book to be savored rather than devoured.

4.  Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis:  This book offers an insider’s view into competitive Scrabble.  I’ve always liked Scrabble, and I’d already been playing lots of Words with Friends on Facebook.  But reading this book made me kind of obsessed with the game.  I actually ended up by a Scrabble PC game because of it.  It asks the question, though, are crazy-people naturally attracted to Scrabble or does Scrabble make people crazy?

5.  Star Wars:  Choices of One by Timothy Zahn:  This “sequel” story takes place between the movies A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.  Zahn goes back to explore more facets of Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn, two legendary characters he first introduced in his Thrawn Trilogy (which basically kicked off the Star Wars expanded universe in the early 90’s).  It was a little strange, though, going back to naive and inexperienced 18-year-old Luke Skywalker after recently reading about Grand Master Luke Skywalker fighting the Sith with his teenage son.


6.  Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery:  I actually listened to this on Audio book over the course of two months while I ran errands in my van (that’s why I almost forgot to count it).  Of all the Green Gables books, the first two are probably the ones that I have reread the least, so a lot of it was new again.  And there were certain insights about the story that have come with age.

October 2011 Reading List

November 1, 2011

1.  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller:  I saw this booked recommended in blog circles I frequent.  For the first few chapters I couldn’t imagine why, but when it kicked it, I understood.  Miller re-examines how we live our lives and offers tips for making the story of our lives better and more meaningful.  My only concern is that Miller is able to control much of his story because he is single.  I wonder how he would expect some of this to work when you have to include another person (or more if you have children) into your story-making process.

2.  Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey:  This was a reread for about the bazillionth time.

3.  The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson:  This book offers more background information about “the girl with the dragon tattoo” as she becomes a murder suspect.

4.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson:  This is the final book in the Millennium Trilogy.  All three books were published posthumously, and I can’t help wondering if Larsson would have whittled down all of the exposition.  There is supposedly a fourth book of the series that was 3/4 finished by Larsson and may be finished by his

5.  Story Engineering by Larry Brooks:  This book was recommended by Jen at Conversion Diary, and it is a must have for anyone who is considering writing a book.  I’ve been using it to prepare for National Novel Writing Month, and I have learned so much.

September 2011 Reading List

October 9, 2011

1.  Born to Run by Christopher McDougall:  This book takes an interesting look at community, at running, at evolution, and at life.  Deep, huh?  I really recommend this for my marathon/runner friends.  It was so good it made me actually consider training for a marathon, until my common sense kicked in.  I’m not sure I really have calories to gamble with at this point.  But it was a really good read even though not exactly what I expected when I picked it up.

2.  Unplanned by Abby Johnson:  The power of this book lies in its simplicity.  This is just Ms. Johnson’s journey from being a college student to becoming a Planned Parenthood director and “Employee of the Year” and then to becoming a vocal advocate against abortion.  Even though she herself experienced three unplanned pregnancies while using birth control, she doesn’t take the time to connect all of the dots between the way Planned Parenthood pushes contraception and the rise in the number of abortions.  At first this annoyed me, but I see now that this could have made the book more preachy and less powerful as an account of personal revelation.

3.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling:  I decided to pick this up off my shelf for a nice reread.  I seem to remember having some great new observation about it, but at this point (several weeks since I’ve read it) it totally escapes me.

4.  The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College by Cardinal Newman Society:  Please refer to this post and this post.

5.  Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris:  In this books Harris explores the importance for all Christians to have a basic understanding of Christian doctrine instead of just letting “feelings” guide their understanding of scripture.  While Harris, an evangelical, obviously holds to sola scriptura his explanation of basic doctrine holds pretty true for all denominations.  In fact, I think he would probably be surprised to learn how close he is in his understanding to Catholic doctrine.  One of his main points is that knowledge of doctrine is pointless if you don’t apply it to your life, and this is something I think that I struggle with.

6.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson:  I saw the movie trailer for this when my husband and I saw the movie adaptation for Moneyball.  Besides being happy to see Christopher Plummer still working, I was intrigued by the storyline.  While there are some sexually explicit scenes in the book, I was not really surprised that the trailer alone added two sexual references that aren’t in the book.  It’s a great mystery, though, and I’ll be interested to read the sequels.

Reading List August 2011

September 4, 2011

1.  Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray:  At over 700 pages of thick prose, this one obviously took me a while to get through, but I found it a really interesting read.  I had kind of watched the movie version with Reese Witherspoon a few years ago, but there were things in the book that I wasn’t sure if they were omitted or changed in the movie version.  I love, though, how Thackeray is mocking everything from the time period, to the idea of heroes and heroines, and the whole idea of writing a book at all.  From what I remember of it, I don’t think that came through in the movie version.

2.  License to Pawn by Rick Harrison:  A few months ago we started watching some episodes of Pawn Stars; it’s been a fun and educational show to watch.  This is the autobiography of the owner of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.  If you are familiar with the show and its “characters”, this book is a great read.  It’s also a great lesson about how hard work and a love of learning can be more important than how many years you spend in a school or what your grades were.

3.  Boy Meets Girl by Josh Harris:  This is the follow-up to his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  In this book he offers guidance for those who feel that they are now ready to pursue marriage.  He makes it clear that it doesn’t matter if you want to call it dating or courtship, and he explains that each couples unique circumstances may keep them from following an “ideal” model.  But he offers guiding principles for this period that keeps God at the center of it all, and he makes it very clear that a courtship period isn’t successful only if it leads to marriage but also if a couples realizes that they are not meant to marry each other but have not damaged each other in the process.


July 2011 Reading List

August 5, 2011

1.  And What About College? by Cafi Cohen:  This is about the third time I’ve read this book full of practical advice to prepare homeschoolers for the college admissions process.  With my oldest just starting third grade college seems so far away, but students really need to start preparing for the admissions process in 8th grade.

2.  Preparing for Adolescence by Dr. James Dobson:  This book is full of great information for pre-teens and teens to prepare for the physical and emotional changes of puberty and the moral dilemmas to which they can lead.  He addresses the book to children as young as ten, but I’m not sure that I would feel comfortable giving this to my child until age 12.  While it doesn’t get graphic, it does deal with sensitive topics such as intercourse and masturbation.  The copy I read was the 1992 reprint, and some of the references were slightly outdated.  I would be interested to get my hands on a more recent addition and see what the differences are.

3.  Overbite by Meg Cabot:  This a sequel to Cabot’s vampire book Insatiable.  It’s a pretty decent, but the ending didn’t completely ring true to me.  And I couldn’t shake the feeling that some of it was supposed to be a metaphor for the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.  My favorite character is feisty Sister Gertrude who always has guns with silver bullets strapped in her habit.

4.  I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris:  This is kind of the flagship book that discusses Christian Biblical courtship, questioning the validity of modern dating practices.

5.  The Care and Keeping of You by Valorie Lee SchaeferI had often seen this book along with the book by Dr. Dobson recommended for children on the cusp of puberty.  This one is especially written for girls and basically deals with health and hygiene issuesI think a copy of this book would be a good gift for a ten-year-old girl.

6.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney:  This was a post-read.  Bailey borrowed this from the library and really enjoyed it.  I was intrigued and decided to see what it was about.  It’s a fun read with an interesting visual format.  I don’t know if I will read the sequels along with her or not, but at least I know what Bailey means when she talks about “the cheese touch”.

7.  Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris:  This is a companion to their book Do Hard Things.  This one offers more practical suggestions for doing hard things and dealing with life when your attempt at hard things may not work out how you planned or worked beyond your wildest dreams.  I think a lot of adults could stand to read these books to change their own perspectives on life.

Reading List June 2011

July 6, 2011

1.  The Unschooling Unmanual edited by Jan and Jason Hunt:  This book about unschooling made me stop to think about whether or not I had Bailey’s schooling too structured.  But then I decided that I didn’t, and Bailey still has a lot of free time to explore her interests.  I think unschooling is great to a degree, but I don’t really believe that kids will study or soak up everything they need to know without any kind of push.

2.  How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper:  This is the first of a new series by fellow WKU-alum Molly Harper.  I didn’t like it quite as much as her vampire books since it’s not set in Kentucky, but it was still a fun read.

3.  Life Skills for Kids by Christine M. Field:  See previous post about this book.

4.  A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levinson:  I really admire the Charlotte Mason method, but it would just not be a good fit for our family.  Read aloud has usually not worked well, and we only get about one tenth of the outdoors time Mason espoused for kids.  But the book did turn me on to a grammar book I might use.

5.  Hand of God by Bernard Nathanson:  This is an interesting biography of a founding member of NARAL and abortion doctor who later became pro-life and converted to Catholicism.  I had to skip the chapter getting into the details of abortion procedure.

6.  The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper:  This is the sequel to the above Molly Harper werewolf book and another fun read.

7.  Star Wars:  Conviction by Aaron Allston:  This is the latest book in the Fate of the Jedi sequel series that switches focus between Luke’s journey quest with his son Ben and Han and Leia’s attempt to protect their grand-daughter.  Apparently Allston is a Dr. Who fan since he named one of the alcoholic beverages in the book a sonic screwdriver.

8.  A Love that Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar:  This sequel covers a lot of the same ground as recent episodes of their show, but the section on character training has inspired me to do better in that area of parenting.

9.  Managers of Their Homes by Stephen and Teri Maxwell:  This is the scheduling and home organization system that the Duggars use.  I’m in the process of tweaking our schedules, but this system has really helped me get a grasp on where all of my time goes.

10.  Abandon by Meg Cabot:  This is the first of a new trilogy based on the myth of Persephone.  It’s a little darker than some of her previous books, but it was still an interesting read.

11.  Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris:  This book challenges teenagers to defy the low expectations set for them by society by doing hard things.  It offers a lot of examples of how “normal” teens did extraordinary things.  This is a very inspirational read for anyone, but I totally plan to make my kids read it when they reach their teen years.  It does have a very Protestant Christian viewpoint, just FYI.

12.  Stupid Things Parents Do to Mess Up Their Kids by Dr. Laura Schlessinger:  Dr. Laura doesn’t pull any punches when she says that the best situation for kids is in a family with two married parents of opposite sexes in which one parent, preferably the mother, stays inside the home to provide care and guidance for the children.  She warns about the perils of not disciplining children, not supervising teens, and treating children like accessories there for our convenience.  I had some concerns, though, about her views on certain fertility treatments and sterilization (which the Catholic Church forbids), and I am not sure about her assertion that an unmarried pregnant woman should never ever try to raise the baby without the father (she should marry or put the baby up for adoption).