Book Highlights for 2014

Books Read in 2014

I like to reflect on the best titles of each year, and to look at a new year of reading inspired from my friend’s titles and what they write about their best.

Nancy Kelly is one of my inspirations, read her best titles at Sage Parnassus. My Ambleside Online friends, the bookclubs there and the titles mentioned and discussed, are another valued source of titles for my never ending always changing to read list. And lastly, serendipity is my best friend.

My favorite five:

1. Consider This, Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition  (And I have to add that I read it in conjunction with Karen Glass’ edited Vol. 6, and that added to the experience).

2. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter This is a riveting story, with characters you will never forget. After I read it, and after Heather read it, we both kept remembering something in it. For weeks, and even now, something makes us think of someone or some idea in the novel.

3. Robinson Crusoe. I read this aloud to my family. It was my fourth grader’s literature read for the first term. This book is the perfect mix of adventure and reflection. The language is beautiful, the story compelling.

 

4. Poet’s Choice, edited by Paul Engle. Apart from all the poetry that we read thanks to our wonderful curriculum, Ambleside Online, I always try to read poetry. It is difficult. Poetry requires a mood, one has to read a poem twice or thrice to get something from it (in truth, that happens with books, music, opera, ballets, paintings, etc.) What I liked about this book, it’s that it has something written by the poet about the poem he selected, and that helped me a lot to appreciate the poems. Some wrote extensively, some were very concise. Some poems I could not stomach, ;), and I realized why when reading the words of the poet. This was more contemporary poetry, and I am realizing I need the foundation I am getting along with my daughters, since contemporary poets have the older ones as reference.

5. The Imitation of Christ. For long I thought this was an impossibly difficult book that, as written by a priest, had nothing to offer me. I was wrong. I read the book in small portions each morning for a few months. Every time it had an encouraging thought that exhorted me to imitate Christ. It was the last section that I did not profit from, when it talks about communion as it is understood specifically by Catholics, but the book was always encouraging, specially those points I disagree with Kempis’ doctrine, because they make me think deeper about my beliefs and their foundation.

This copy you see it’s exactly the one I have and read. Translations are very important. I do not know how other translations fare, but mine was very accessible and enjoyable. I will not go into scholar discussions about how translations twist or bend the thoughts in the original language. I’ll only say that I believe to read is to interpret, and I feel happy when I can read an author in its original language, and I feel happy when I can read an author or a book in a translated version. I read to gain ideas, as Kempis says, to fill my gaps, to improve. And every time I can reach a book, thanks to the translation or thanks to a book club, or some preparing work on my side, I feel blessed and elated.

It was hard to pick only five, I also loved:

My Name is Asher Lev

After You, Marco Polo, Jean Shor

My Brilliant Career, Miles Franklin ,

A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr,

The Royal Road to Romance, by Richard Halliburton ,

The Giver Quartet, 

Speculation,

and in truth, all the books were worth reading and favorites in their genre and place they take in my life as a reader.

 

The Law by Bastiat, and our two original Shakespeare plays were deeply satisfying reads.

I am looking forward to Richard II, our third Shakespeare. It is great to always remember to read varied genres such as science, biography, historical fiction, history, politics…

It was also a great year for two titans I had not read their fiction for children, that’s Narnia and The Hobbit. We will continue with Lord of the Rings, and the other half of the Narnia. I also took to Lewis and enjoyed several of his fiction for grown ups, and his Surprised by Joy, realizing that I like his non fiction more.

I enjoyed the books we read together in our AO bookclub, those were The Iliad, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Deadliest Monster, and we have a few we will resume in 2015, The Odyssey, The Everlasting Man among them, plus the new reading together of many of the titles for years 7 and then 8 of the curriculum.

The list for 2015 I will leave for another post, but it’s already looking nicely populated, and it contains wonderful new authors and challenges I have always desired to read and never thought I was ready to pursue until now.

I am venturing also on a different volume than 1 and 6 of Mason’s volumes, I am currently on vol 5 and seeing a different side of Charlotte Mason intermingled with the Mason I know.

The Complete List:

1. Catching Fire

2. The Perfect Score

3. Vanity Fair. 

4. Speculation, by Edmund Jorgensen. Very intriguing and fulfilling book.

5. My Reading Life, by Pat Conroy. Nice book about a writer who was also a hungry reader.

6. The Mockingjay. Last of the Hunger Games Trilogy. I truly enjoyed it. Very nice ending.

7. The Moonstone

8. The Living Page, Laurie Bestvater

9. Jamaica Inn, du Maurier

10. Drawn by Memory, by Ernest Shepard.

11. Julian Hawthorne, The Life of a Prodigal Son, by Gary Scharnhorst.

12. The Rosemary Tree, Elizabeth Goudge

13. The Home Maker, Dorothy Fisher Canfield

14. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis

15. Hannah Coulter, Wendell Berry 

16. After You, Marco Polo, Jean Shor 

17. Waverley, the novel, by Sir Walter Scott 

18. The Adoration of Janna Fox

19. The Iliad, Homer

20. Gilead. A satisfying read, thought provoking and tender.

21. A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr

22. The Royal Road to Romance, by Richard Halliburton 

23. The Eyre Affair, by Fforde

24. Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome  

25. The Drama of the Gifted Child, by Alice Miller (I re-read this book) 

26- Volume 6, Towards a Philosophy of Education, Divulged by Karen Glass

27. Consider This, Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition 

28. My Brilliant Career, Miles Franklin 

29. Their Eyes Were Watching God 

30. Unwind, a YA novel by Neal Shusterman 

31. The Headmistress, by Angela Thirkell 

32. The Wreath, Sigrid Unset 

33. Biography of a Germ 

34. The Magic Barrel, Bernard Malamud 

35. The King’s General 

36. Poet’s Choice, edited by Paul Engle  

37. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter 

38. That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis

39. My Name is Asher Lev

40. The Giver

41. Gathering Blue

42. Messenger

43. Son 

44. The Road 

45. Surprised by Joy 

46. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

47. Escape from Reason 

48. Other Copenhagues, and Other Stories, by Jorgensen

49. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

50. Murder in the Orient Express, Christie 

51. The Imitation of Christ, Thomas A. Kempis 

52. Till We Have Faces

53. La mujer the papel (An Unnecessary Woman)

54. The Deadliest Monster, Jeff Baldwin 

55. The Law, Bastiat

56. The Woman in White

With the Girls

1. The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge

2. Just David, Eleanor H. Porter

3. Seven Little Australians, Ethel Turner

4. American Tall Tales, Adrien Stoutenberg, Richard M. Powers

5. The Heroes, Kingsley

6. Marco Polo, Komroff

7. Pilgrims Progress, Bunyan.

8. The Magic Pudding, Norman Lindsay

9. Haiwatha, Longfellow

10. Children of the New Forest, Frederick Marryat.

11. James Harriot Treasure Collection Book

12.  Just So Stories, Kipling

13. Jungle Book, Kipling

14. Secrets of the Woods, by Richard Lang

15. Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome

16. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

17. Tanglewood’s Secret, by Patricia St. John 

18. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

19. Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis 

20. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis 

21. Hamlet 

22. Robinson Crusoe

23. Understood Betsy

24. Poor Richard, by Daughterty

25. Midsummer Night’s Dream

26. The Hobbit, Tolkien

27. The Children of Green Knowe

Essays/ Short Stories:

1. A Modest Proposal (wow, I don’t know what to say, just read it, it is a mere 23 pages or so),

2. A Tale of a Tub (ingeniously funny), and

3. The Battle of the Books, where at least, some of the authors mentioned ring a bell, and which was a good read, but definitely, A Modest Proposal was the most strange and captivating satire of these three by Jonathan Swift.

4. 50 Great Essays

5. A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s