One thing I measurably improved upon this past year was starting and finishing more books. The key, for me, was balancing non-fiction with fiction: too much non-fiction, and I’d never finish what I started, leading to a pile of good but not necessarily page-turning works. Great fiction, though, helps me relax, escape life a bit (which is always nice at this stage of things!) and actually finish something for once. Oh, and joining an amazing book club has been immensely helpful, too!
Here’s what I read over the year, and my favorites are below! Many of the books I reviewed in more detail in previous posts here.
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
China Court by Rumer Godden
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
The Greengage Summer by Rummer Godden
Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather
Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset
The Professor’s House by Willa Cather
Ward No. 6 by Anton Chekhov
The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
In This House of Brede (read-aloud with Tom, third re-read for me) by Rumer Godden
Anne of the Island (multiple re-read aka comfort food) by L.M. Montgomery
Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
Stars, Stripes, and Edelweiss by Mark and Niki Kalpakgian
Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years by Elizabeth Hainstock
Seven Revolutions by Mike Aquilina (still unfinished)
Catherine of Siena (read-aloud with Tom, still unfinished) by Sigrid Undset
Holiness for Housewives by Hubert van Zeller
My Top Picks:
This is tough. I can easily spot the clear and absolute losers (ahem, Winter’s Tale, ughhhh– full scathing review here). Since Tom and I just wrapped up Brede together, it’s fresh in my mind, and my word, it is so, so good (Tom fully agrees). This is my third time through it, but I haven’t read it since early college, so it was both a comfort read as well as having all sorts of surprising things jump out at me this time around. Godden is just such a fantastic fiction writer, and clearly when I like an author I tend to go on a bit of spree!
For non-fiction, I tore through Pioneer Girl and highly recommend (here). Holiness for Housewives was excellent spiritual refreshment, and while the name sounds kind of stodgy and old-school, I think it’s actually sound advice for absolutely anyone (man or woman) who lives an active life (i.e. not living in a monastery or cloister with the job of praying all day). I’ll be re-reading it this Lent and hopefully putting it more into practice!
I’m planning to put up my list of books to be read in 2016…a little scary since I don’t like to fail publicly, and I may not have quite as much reading time/ability to stay awake with 3 babies, but still! I love to see other people’s lists so I will get mine up soon!
(Disclosure: the links here are affiliate, meaning if you click through them and purchase anything on Amazon, I will get a couple cents at no charge to you!)