Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The September 2014 Book Review

Running a little late on my posting but here's how September's reading list panned out

"Morning Time" with James (Monday-Saturday)
- The Book of Romans
--- Woohoo! We managed to work our way through the remainder of Romans with the commentary. October will begin a whole new book (see tomorrow's post) and a decision to read the Bible aloud but the commentary to myself and instead work through devotionals for kids with James.
- Westminster Shorter Catechism and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism (PB, Starr Meade)
--- We worked through the devotions for the first three questions and answers (James has the first three memorised and is almost there with the fourth) and took an extra week to practise reciting the fourth Q&A, beginning the devotions for it at the beginning of this week. James has learnt them so quickly and I pray they will be useful to him as he grows.

Sunday Morning/Evening with James
- The Book of Proverbs
--- This was much less consistent than I would like

Independent Reading Time (between lunch and naptime)
- James
--- There are days this doesn't happen but James enjoys it so much that it is better to have a minute of "quiet reading time" than to try to skip it. We worked our way through the "baby books" toward the end of the month as I've sought to further organise J's books. After a last reading the plan was to set these aside for possible siblings but although I would consider that J has outgrown these, he wouldn't agree ;) so we'll keep them to hand for a while yet
- Mummy
--- (Mon-Sat) Something Other Than God (HB, Jennifer Fulwiler)
As this book progressed I got more and more hooked and I read it a lot the last few evenings of the month and will finish it off first thing in October. Jen's style is not the norm and not what I had expected having been a long-time reader of her blog but her clarity of recall and the description of her journey, pulled in by God to reluctant faith is most fascinating especially because of its intellectual elements and as God pulls her to Him, she pulls you further into her story. I even underlined some passages! Unheard of for me to mark a book - gasp!
--- (Sun) Beyond the Sling (HB, Mayim Bialik)
I still haven't gotten into this title as much as I expected to but by reading it in very small increments I feel I'm getting the best of it without the reading of it feeling like work or an "ought to" task.

Read-alouds (during nursing)
- Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know (free e-book, Edited by Hamilton Wright Mabie)
--- Wow I did not realise how long this book was, Aladdin alone took us hours to read! I think in total the kindle reckoned it would take me about ten hours to read this one, so we're still working through it - phew! Definitely a mixed bag of stories, much darker and containing harder vocabulary than any modern retellings but also containing some less well known tales, many new to me. We're not quite half-way through.

Naptime (Monday-Saturday)
- Westminster Shorter Catechism
--- I started so well with my review but fell out of the habit and need to re-commit myself to this goal over October
- Breastfeeding Matters (La Leche League UK magazine)
--- I've continued through my last two magazines and have enjoyed reading these as we approach the end of our breastfeeding journey

Storytime (post-nap)
- James really enjoyed the gentle wake-up of stories after his nap when time/circumstances/behaviour allowed.

Bedtime Stories continued to be mostly with Daddy

Mummy's Evening Reading (Monday-Saturday, except Wednesdays)
- The Valley of Heaven and Hell: Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette (free at the time e-book, Susie Kelly)
--- This one finished off nicely with the finale of the couple's epic cycling holiday, the author really was a bit of a grump but very well informed about French history and gave an interesting perspective on the lives of the fated first couple of France.
- Dying to Run (purchased e-book, Cami Checketts)
--- Short sequel to Dead Running with much less running but lots of violence and death and trafficking and kissing. A thoughtful read in that it made you confront the issue of human trafficking and the ethics/morals of fighting the slavers but also a light read in terms of romance and sarcasm. I think I might go for it and buy the third and final installment, which randomly is a paperback rather than an e-book like the first two.
- Thirty Days Hath... (e-book, Chautona Havig)
--- A year of month-long in-house (chaperoned) dates for Adric set-up by his sister and her pastor husband. A good read for an in-depth look at different dating/courtship experiences. The assignments the "dating" couple are given by the pastor brother-in-law contain very good topics for discussion for a courting couple. An interesting resource on top of a good Christian romance read with a twist. I especially liked "witnessing" the relationships between Adric and his sister and brother-in-law as well as the way most of the characters lived out their faith.
- I didn't get through as many books this month at all.

Mummy's Evening Reading (Wednesdays/Sundays)
- Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother (e-book, Joyce Swann)
--- I got rather sucked into this one and ended up finishing it. Swann rounded off the story of her family with an update as to their adult lives and although I could never be similar in my approach to home education (very structured and formal with strict hours) it was really educational for me to hear another perspective of homeschooling told in such a personal way. The "story" of her family and their trials and tribulations and personal faith and prayer testimonies were a wonderful addition. I've had her daughter's autobiography concerning her education on my amazon wishlist for a while and I look forward to reading the other side of the story in the near-future.
- 100 LB Loser (purchased e-book, Jessica Heights)
--- I finished this a little early, it was a fairly basic how-to/how-I-did-it weight-loss book but it's always fun to read someone else's story and was helpful as I have put myself back on a weight-loss journey (finally). I'm currently down 10 pounds and whilst I'd love to be down more weight already, a decade (or more) of continual weight gain doesn't fall off overnight unless you go on "biggest loser" which is so not happening (especially because I'm no longer big enough-yay) or put in a lot more effort than I currently am (*gulp* must try harder).
- ConDeceived (free e-book, Cindy Dyer)
--- Cindy did warn about the formatting and it is a pain occasionally, because I don't want to lose the end of a sentence, because I like how she writes and I wanted to read it all. Cindy explains it all (a giving over of your fertility to God) so well and I wish I had that gift to explain my position to others. A great read in a fairly conversational style. I've about a fifth of it left to read.
- 50 Veteran Homeschoolers Share... Things We Wished We'd Known (PB, Edited by Bill & Diana Waring)
--- I just have not felt compelled to read this at all this month so I'm setting it aside until the new year.
- The Happiness Project (PB, Gretchen Rubin)
--- Wow, despite my having read thrugh much of the archives of her website, there is so much in this book. I've had to read through it more slowly than I anticipated as I've made so many notes. So I'll continue through this one for the next few months, in smaller sections.
- Why Love Matters (PB, Sue Gerhardt)
--- I couldn't get into this at first and once I had still couldn't read it straight through so I've dipped in and out and found it rather interesting, if not quite in the way the author fully intended. I think this book could lead a parent into more anxiety over their parenting decisions, past sins or their child's future development but I took away the message that you should be emotionally available to your children, gentle and approachable without forgoing discipline - I doubt this was the author's planned takeaway at all. I feel I've really read enough of this title so I'll return it to the lending library and move on - life is too short to waste my time on books that don't build me up, or break me down in order to build me up.
- Homeschooling Day By Day: A Thriving Guide for Mothers (e-book, Kirsty Howard - Editor)
--- I've only read two/three chapters of this one across September but I think I'll continue with this across the coming months.

All in all I don't think I read as much this month, but this is accounted for as I did a lot more work on the house and watched a good few (very interesting and diverse) documentaries (about Space Archaelogy and Egyptology, the daughters of the last Tsar, the history of anatomy, a couple about inventions etcetera). I look forward to the month ahead and a whole new reading plan. Setting aside different portions of the day for different books/subjects worked really well for me and I think only having one day - Sunday - set aside as a day for the books I want to read in shorter bursts (e.g. beyond the Sling) will be how I proceed. It's been a really good experience for me being more intentional about my reading and has decidedly upped my happiness overall. It hasn't reduced my "to be read" pile at all though - rather it has grown - as one title read has led to more suggestions to be read in the future or sequels or prequels or others by the same author :) It's a nice problem to have.

October's Reading List to follow...

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