Reading Log 2013

I always like to look back and see what I read in the year. I leave you with my reading log and some reviews of the most interesting books of 2013. It’s probably I am missing some reads, but the most remarkable books are here for sure.

I read Dorothy Sayers for the first time, three of her books:

1. The Mind of the Maker, a book I enjoyed a lot and that I am surely looking forward to reading again.

2. The Last Tools of Learning. This I listened to in audio. It is a short and thought provoking lecture she gave. Many excellent points so relevant to what a true education is. It is said to be the foundation to a classic education.

3. Whose Body. One of her mysteries with Lord Peter. I truly enjoyed the plot, Lord Peter, and his butler. I like British mysteries. I will be reading more of her mysteries books too.

4. I started the year devouring the Island of the World.  I liked specially the first two thirds of the book.  I recommend it. It will make you cry and laugh. It is a powerful book.

5. Quiet. Enjoyable and informative. It made me realized how much I have changed. Yes. I am a former extrovert. I enjoy being around introverts.

Two language books I loved:

6. Babel No More, about the search for the perfect polyglot in real life, and the greatest polyglot of all times. Terrific read. I came to it after reading Is that a Fish in Your Ear?, they are in the language-translation category. Both were interesting. Babel No More a bit more entertaining, the second one more technical, with a middle part a bit slower to read, but with a nice conclusion to the stated problem of what translation is.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me, recommended by Nancy. Nice book about books, one of my favorite genre.

7. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Excellent. I truly enjoyed Maria’s adventures as an immigrant, which is not reflected in the movie.

8. Children of a Greater God. Very good. But if you have read Charlotte Mason, she has said it all, before, and more complete. A nice and a bit lighter exposition of ideas about education, christianity, our children as persons. It will have you nodding all through the pages.

9 and10.I read my first Agatha Christies (or did I? I may have read some of her books in Spanish a long time ago). The first one was There is a Tide, which I loved, the other was Curtain, which kept me in suspense even more.

11. The Hidden Art of Homemaking. Can you believe I did not love that book as much as I predicted? I found it a bit week for my taste. It was more a conversation than anything else. Yes, some nice ideas and moments, but I wanted more ump.

12. Flower Chronicles. I am in love with this book. It is the history of several remarkable flowers, how they were used, where they appeared first… the recipes and stories behind each flower are amusing and interesting.

13. Life Greatest Pleasure, The Joys of Reading. Lovely little treasure by Burton Rascoe.After this, I bought his Titans of Literature, which I read at intervals, since it is a biography of several iconic writers from Homer to his day in the early 20th century.

14. I read to the girls which I think is one of my favorite children series, Little Pear.

15, 16, 17, 18. I could also call 2013, the year of Ishiguro. It all started with Never Let Me Go, continued with The Remains of the Day, then An Artist of the Floating World, and When We Were Orphans, and by the time I got to his Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, I had a monumental indigestion. Now, with some months in between, I consider Remains of the Day a master piece. His writing is satisfying, beautiful, moving, impeccable.

19. Modern Art and the Death of a Culture.
Oh, this was superb. As I type my 2013 reads I feel for reading many again.

20 Various Antidotes, by Joanna Scott.  Mixed feelings. I liked some of the stories, but I always have conscience concerns with postmodern or modern authors. Some stories  I skipped. I, frankly, am not interested in reading about certain topics or characters. A few stories though, I loved her style, it is true she echoes Nathaniel Hawthorne.

21. Cancer Ward. BIG.TIME.FAVORITE. I declare Solzhenitsyn my favorite Russian writer.

22. Before the Door Closes, by a friend and author, Judith Hall Simon. I truly enjoyed it. It is a must read for those facing the care of the elderly, or those with alcoholism in their families.

23. Three Men in a Boat. Hilarious. Don’t miss it. You will laugh so hard like never before. The characters and anecdotes will stay with you forever and make you life any time remembering about them. This and Celeste (thanks friend), prompted me to buy this other book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis.

24. More on books about books. I read Books in Black or Red by Edmund Lester Pearson. It is a collection of stories about books. The hoax of the nonexistent library of a French Marquee, with books that only had one copy per title, is a classic. The last chapter about a Shakespeare First Folio, will have you roll with laughter. Another book about books is The Library, by Andrew Lang, free for Kindle, but I did not finish the last pages. It is O.K, but not as remarkable as Books in Black or Red.

25. My favorite of 2013. A.A. Milne’s Autobiography.

26, 27. With the Ambleside friends at the forum, I read The Cricket at the Hearth, a short and delightful Dickens Fairy Tale. And prior, we also read a Louisa May Alcott, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving. In January, we will also read together the Iliad, and some of us are commenting on Democracy in America.

I will add to the list Vanity Fair, by Thackeray, though I admit I have a good 200 hundred more pages to go. But it is a book that one can put away for a week or longer, read back, and not be lost. There are new characters, but the old ones keep you connected. It is as if I had lived around them for decades now, 🙂 I truly admire Thackeray. We mortals breath, Thackeray did not, he wrote instead, like that, creating and recreating a full world in his pages.

28. I re-read Pride and Prejudice, and I yet have to read a second Jane Austin title or a Charlotte Brönte second title too. But I am re-reading Jane Eyre, so it looks like it is taking me two re-reads to open a new title for both. There is

29. And I can say I read the first book, Hunger Games, since I am only 30 pages away from finishing it. As I wrote at FB, the writing is not impressive, just effective to carry the plot, which is very engaging and the strength of the book. This book is a B class book, but it is top notch in its category. While the style and language is not demanding, the plot and questions are, so it is after all a good mix of light and heavy. Light reading, heavy topic.

30, 31, 32. With the family, we loved many titles, but specially Brighty of the Grand Canyon. Again, thanks, Nancy, I never thought this would be a family adored book. We were delighted by The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, by James and the Giant Peach, and by Then They Were Five, by Enright. We have read lots of books together, now that the girls are in their respective AO year 1, and AO year 3, but to list the books will be dishonest to the formidable ladies behind and upfront the Ambleside Online Curriculum. If you wish to know what we are involved at, this is it for year 1 girl, and this is it for year 3 girl.  I want to read Speaking of Jane Austen, by Sheila Kaye, but it won’t happen until I have read Jane Austen!

I forgot to include:

33. The Elements of Style. Concise. Great.

34. How could I have forgotten my first Gaskill book, Wives and Daughters. Excellent. I know it will not be my last from her.

35. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day. Not a modern one, but a lovely outdated book by Arnold Bennett which I profited from reading and led me to other books. Funny he said in the mornings we could wake up a bit earlier, and even without service available, we could very well start the stove to make a cup of tea for us ourselves before going to work! Ha! It is about reading things that stimulate our minds and make us grow, instead of pursuing entertainment in our free time.

36. The Seven Percent Solution. I forgot this great short title. Freud, Prof. James Moriarty, and Sherlock. It cannot get any better.

How could I forget that I read Climbing Parnassus. I also enjoyed this apology of studying Greek and Latin.

37, 38. I read Go Ask Alice, and perused Lucy in the Sky. Neigh. If you are doing drugs, chances are you are not reading these books. If you are not, chances are you don’t need this books to not do drugs. Maybe they have a public, but if your teens live happy lives without induced misery, there is no need to read those deep miseries others go through.

39. Life and Death in Shanghai. Excellent. A book I will re read at some point in my life.

40. A Town Like Alice. I like Nevil Shute, from how his pen name sounds, to how he writes.

41. The Ark, Jeanne Bendick. A beautiful and inspiring book for young adults.

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