January on the Books
Happy February, friends! We’re more than halfway to spring now, and I have daffodil shoots poking up out of the leaves outside. I’m a happy camper! January was a great month for reading and hitting other goals. I was pleased with the progress I made in my education reading loop, and finished 11 other books. I am also 33 days strong in developing a daily writing and violin practice that fits into my life well. Violin was already almost every day, but I’ve struggled to fit writing in for a long time. Basically, since Sieg was born! I’m so pleased with it thus far. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but as long as I keep an eye on the amount of time I’m spending on my phone, I’m pretty sure I’ll still be able to carve out my moments 😉
Anyways, I know that’s all besides the point, but I’m very excited about how well it’s going! To the books!
The Books of January
- Deep Summer by Gwen Bristow. Set in the backwoods of Louisianna in the early days of the United States, Deep Summer follows the life of Judith Sheramy. Her family is moving from New England, to take advantage of a land grant. Along the way, Judith falls in love with Philip Larne and the story follows their struggle to build a home in a fledgling country. I loved Celia Garth by Bristow and hoped for more of the same in this book. I did not enjoy it as much as Celia Garth, but it was good in it’s own way. In the end, I felt so conflicted about some different elements of the story that it took a while to decide that I actually did enjoy it. I think what I admire most about the book is how it showcased the true spirit it took to settle this country. It took true grit, pluck, endurance, fortitude… and any number of qualities that I’m not sure would present themselves if I was thrust into a similar situation.
- Christmas Baggage by Deborah M. Hathaway. Claire Frost is tired of spending holidays alone or seasick on a cruise with her parents. When a friend invites her to spend Christmas in London, she agrees on the spur of the moment, and finds herself in the land of red telephone boxes, Christmas boxes, and attractive cousins. Sometimes after you read a really challenging book, you just want to read a Hallmark Christmas movie, even if it’s already January. That’s basically what this is, but I enjoyed my candy bar, thank you very much. Closed door romance.
- Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara. I picked this book up because I thought it was about personal hospitality–you know, inviting people over, being hospitable, in your own house. Turns out, it was written by a famous restaurant manager and more geared towards the hospitality industry. Nonetheless, once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. It was fascinating to read about the process of creating a five star restaurant in New York City, and choosing to be known for ‘unreasonable’ hospitality as well as incredible food. As it turns out, it was also relevant to normal life- hospitality.
- Ten Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden. I wanted to start off the year with some poetry, and even though the title alone is an absurd claim, I was curious what kind of poems would be deemed ‘life-changing’. I wish I hadn’t bothered. I liked a couple of the poems, but Housden’s commentary on them was not my cup of tea. Most of the poems were not my favorite. Sometimes I like a collection of poems, thoughtfully put together by somebody else. This was just not it.
- Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. This is on a book club list, and I read it with my book club gals. It was a painful experience. Fielding is attempting a Jane-Austen-esque critique of societal expectations for women, and while some of her points were valid, the execution was poor. Some of it was legitimately humorous, a lot was trashy. Jane Austen was never trashy.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phonix by J. K. Rowling. Honestly, no idea how many times I’ve read this series now. But this time is my favorite, because I’m reading it with my kids and most of them are as thoroughly obsessed with it as I am.
- Mother O’Mine: A Mother’s Treasury, et al Mary Engelbreit. Tried another poetry anthology. Better than Ten Poems, but also not my favorite. Lots of schmalzy, nostalgic poetry about mothers. Some of the poems were good, others were not. After this month, I don’t think I’ll be brave enough to try a poetry collection again for a while.
- The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jeffries. Dual timelines in 1925 and 1944 keep things moving along in this historical novel. I really loved the storyline in Malta, particularly. Overall, fairly good, though it felt like the plot slowed down in the middle.
- Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Continuing my re-read of the Little House books with the kids, and still enjoying it so very much.
- A Court of Thrones and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve been hearing about this fantasy series for several years, and even checked the first book out from the library several times, but never actually read it until now. I begin to see what all the fuss was about. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to continuing through the series.
- Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. Read with the kids for our family book club, but wow! I loved this book even more as an adult than I did as a kid. I love the tender, personal way that Joe and her professor deal with each individual child. It’s very inspiring.
So there you have it!
It was a fairly good reading month. My reading loop is going strong and hopefully I’ll finish some of my first loop books in February.
My reading loop currently consists of about 15 books. I read about 1 chapter/week in each, though some of them I pick up here and there through the week and read more of. My only rule for myself is that I must read 1 chapter out of each book every week. After that, I can read more from whatever I want. I keep light fiction going on the side so that I have things to read when I don’t feel like something heavy.
January Reading Loop
- A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason (Vol.6)
- Beyond Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
- Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wall (book club)
- A History of Music in Western Civilization
- Music Theory and Analysis
- Music Theory and Analysis Workbook
- Passionate Practice by Margaret Elson
- Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford
- Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff
- Collins Atlas of Wrold War II by John Keegan
- And If I Perish by Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenleaf
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
- Introduction to Italian Poetry edited by Luciano Rebay
- Introduction to Western Concert Music by Armand Ambrosini
- The Works of Henry Mahan, Volume 3
I should probably not be so honest about the number of books I read at a time. It’s a window to my particular brand of crazy 😉 I love it, but I do realize it’s insane.
What did you read this month?