What I Read in December

I think the week between Christmas and New Year’s is my favorite. I got so many books for Christmas and I’ve had so much time to read. But I met my goal for the month long before Christmas, believe it or not–mostly because I read almost exclusively fiction!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Emily brought me this one from the library when I mentioned how much I had enjoyed reading another Ruth Ware book earlier this year.  This was an absorbing mystery although I did manage to figure it out before the end.

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney

This comes also courtesy of Emily, who had checked it out of the library and offered it to me when she was finished. The twist at the end of this one was absolutely not one I saw coming at all.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter

I have been reading this off and on for several months as my reading plan is to always be reading something either by or about Tolkien. This was just delightful–both for the insights into the writer and his creation. Catholics will especially enjoy learning more about Tolkien’s faith and its relationship to his mythology.

The Rose Rent by Ellis Peters

I foresee that by next Christmas I will have completed the Brother Cadfael books and will be requesting a boxed set of my own. For now, I try to hold back to reading one per month from the library. I invariably finish in a day or two, captivated by the adroit mixture of mystery, history, and faith. This one was no exception and I never saw the ending coming.

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

This was a surprising installment in the Wallflowers series in which the author pretty successfully convinced me of the rehabilitation of someone I thought was irredeemable.  I am looking forward to the final installment but since they are seasonal Emily says we cannot read it till Spring.

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

I cannot tell you how many times I have read this, which is one of my favorites of all time. I think I got it for Christmas when I was around 12, and it takes place during the Christmas season, so I always get an urge to read it at this time of year.

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

This is actually the first book in The Dark is Rising sequence but I originally read the second one first so I always like to start with that one. This one is told from the point of view of mortal children who do not have a full understanding of the struggle between the Light and the Dark which is made much more explicit in the other books.

The Girl with the Phony Name by Charles Mathes

I continue to collect books I once owned that were lost in our fire ten years ago. I think I got this one from some book of the month club way back in the day. It stuck with me for some reason and I wanted to read it again. It was just as fun as I remembered with eccentric characters and an absorbing mystery.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

My grandmother bought me my first copy of this book, which I read literally to pieces. I enjoyed reading it again although I am taking the copy I got for Christmas to McKay’s and ordering a better one. Watch out for those cheap Amazon reprints of classics, y’all.

Joanna’s Husband and David’s Wife by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

I found this in my mother’s bedroom a million years ago and read it before I could possibly understand it. Now as someone who has been married more than thirty years it resonates more and more. It’s a diary of a marriage as written by a wife and annotated by her husband, showing both sides of a complicated story and showcasing both the joys and the difficulties of attempting to join two lives into one. Y’all may be more familiar with the writer’s epistolary novel A Woman of Independent Means, which I also need to add back to my library.

Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

Even after Christmas, with all those good books to read, I was determined to continue with this series. The third one, like the first, is set in Cornwall, and the protagonists of the first and second join to face the forces of the Dark together.

The Holy Bible

Maybe it’s not fair to say I read the whole Bible this year, but I did listen to it (courtesy of The Bible in a Year podcast). And this year I am going to follow new plan and read a different translation myself.

Dear Enemy by Jean Webster

Last book of the year! This is a sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs above, and another book originally given to me by my grandmother, who had read both herself as a girl. This was my favorite of the two growing up, and I still enjoyed it, but I found it harder to endure the racism and eugenic sentiments (yes, really!) on this read-through. This is another one that will be traded in for a better version shortly.

Did y’all count? That’s THIRTEEN BOOKS!!

Want to find more great reads? As ever, I’m linking up with An Open Book.

And stay tuned for a “Best Reads of the Year” post I hope to have up within the next week!

What I Read in January

I set a goal this year to read five books a month.  In truth, I thought it a modest goal, since I used to read that many every week, give or take.  But it was surprisingly challenging, perhaps partly because I am only counting books I finish each month even though I am reading others at a slower pace for various reasons. (And also perhaps because my kids–one in high school, one in college–started back to online school, and they require frequent assistance!)

I finished the Emily of New Moon series which I got for Christmas.  Much of Emily’s Quest is painful to read, honestly, but the payoff is worth it.  One of the elements of the Emily books that appeals to me is the hint of the supernatural therein which is not really a feature of the more well-known Anne of Green Gables series.

Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action, is one of three books I read this month for various Georgetown University alumni book clubs.  We were supposed to read them over a ten-week period but I just cannot manage that when I get really interested in a book.  This one was a quick read because I wanted to find out what happened to the author in this story of how his medical degree and relentless, active hope were key to finding his own cure when he was stricken with a mysterious, incurable disease.

Ask Again, Yes–another Georgetown selection–was my favorite read of the month.  This story of the intertwined lives of two families and the tragedy that tears them apart was surprisingly uplifting in the end.  And I found it deeply Catholic in its views on marriage and redemption.  Some favorite quotations: “Marriage is long. All the seams get tested,” and (of marriage) “Love isn’t enough. Not even close.”

The Power of Habit was my final Georgetown Book Club read.  Its combination of science, anecdote, and self-help made it an engaging read.  I definitely filed away some of its insights to help me towards my goals.

The Leper of Saint Giles is the next installment of the Brother Cadfael mysteries, which I continue to love.  Everything about these books is pitch perfect–the characters, the history, the mystery, and the faith.  And there are so many of them that I will have the pleasure of reading them for months to come.

Coming up in February, I’ll be doing three book club reads, some spiritual reading, and at least two “just for fun” books!  I’m linking up today with An Open Book.  Click the picture to discover more great reads!

 

 

 

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival

Maybe I should say Monday Snippets since I’m only just now getting around to writing it, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?  Anyway, it’s a weekly linkup of a group of Catholic bloggers hosted by RAnn, and even though lately my content is more catholic than Catholic, I like to join in!
Question of the Week:  Do you have any suggestions regarding the Rosary? Books? Audios? Ways to pray it?
All Saints 5
 
There is a Rosary prayer garden on the grounds of All Saints Church, where Lorelei and I go to Mass every Wednesday morning.  I haven’t said the Rosary there, but it’s a thought, especially since she and I will be studying all twenty mysteries later this year.
morning garden
As you might notice above, there’s no rosary shortage around here!  I’d like to be that person who says it every day, but so far I have failed at all my attempts at formal prayer.
Anyway, on to the posts for this week!
Last Sunday I participated in the My Sunday Photo link up.
Then I wrote a post about last Saturday’s walk in the Urban Wilderness.
I ended with another graveyard post.  And there are many more to come whenever I find the time.
Thanks for reading, and check out the other bloggers in the link up above.