Reading Recap for 2019

It seems that authors everywhere are talking about their favorite books they read in 2019. Usually posting a top ten on their blog or Facebook page.

I have tried to follow suit. I really have. I have sat down and tried to pick ten books out of the 67 or more different volumes that I read in 2019, but I have failed. I really did read a lot of good books this year. (You can see the log of what I read in the picture above. It doesn’t include books I read twice – they’re only drawn in once.)

In January, I read Peter Pan for the first time. I loved the way J.M. Barrie told his story. Parts of the book are a little weird, and I honestly didn’t expect Peter to be so flighty in his memory, but I quite enjoyed the book. (Which is probably one reason I’m writing a story with Peter Pan as the theme now. More on that later, however.)

2019 marked the first time that I completed C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. I had read The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe more than once, but for various reasons I had never finished the series. I completed it in 2019 and could only say I was sorry not to have read it before. (Though there is something to be said for finishing Narnia while traveling to and staying in Britain!) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had me skeptical, but in the end I liked it as much as the others. I fondly recall The Silver Chair. I don’t comment on all the theological points of The Last Battle, but that book, especially, left me in awe. Particularly the depiction of death and going to Heaven. It was so beautiful and like nothing I had ever read.

On the recommendation of a friend, I read Silas Marner by George Eliot this last year. The first page, I confess, had me skeptical. (It doesn’t take much for me to be skeptical about a book in the beginning. At least, it doesn’t usually stop me from continuing.) It seemed a little dry. I soon found myself proven wrong. I loved how the author portrayed Silas as such a simple man, but wholly human and likable. Not animal-like in any way, just because he had such a simple way about him. I loved watching him take in his little girl, learning to love and care for the child. It was so sweet. I bought a copy of my own a short while later.

In the summer, I read Brothers at Arms: Treasure and Treachery in the Amazon by John Horn. Lawrence and Chester quickly placed in my list of favorite characters. I actually read the entire Men of Grit series in the summer, and I enjoyed every one, but Brothers at Arms is my favorite. The Mountain Fortress: Escape to the Outback is probably my second favorite, though it is difficult to choose.

I can also count As You Like It as one of my favorites this year, but I can not with honesty say whether I loved the Shakespeare play for itself or whether the fact that I read it for my trip to Oxford, saw it as my first play, and attended the play in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, no less, made it a favorite. I can not decide on an unbiased opinion in this case and I do not intend to continue trying at present.

War in the Wasteland. Douglas Bond has been a favorite author of mine since I was sixteen. With that knowledge, I had high hopes for this book, but it far exceeded my expectations. You can read my review here.

Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant. I know that I actually wrote one of the books in this series. I also know that we published The Vintage Jane Austen Series two years ago. For various reasons that I will not bore my readers with, I only managed to give the entire series my full attention this year. I would venture to say that, lovely as our series is, Kelsey may have written the best story out of them all. I really loved the way that she retold Sense and Sensibility.

This seems to have been my year for reading series, which is odd since I generally avoid them. (Short version: I’m always afraid that the further the series goes, that the author will somehow ruin the story. I didn’t see that happen in my 2019 reading, however.) I discovered Chautona Havig’s Meddin’ Madeline series to be quite fun. So fun, in fact, that I am cheerfully anticipating the release of book four. I do enjoy a good mystery and the characters really are realistic, but relatable. I can’t pick a favorite here… I really can’t. I rather think of them as one long book. I’m not sure why.

Another series I enjoyed in 2019 is The Accidental Cases of Emily Abbott by Perry Kirkpatrick. Not sure I could pick a favorite book here either, but I do have a favorite character. Brent Peterson makes being a spy look like such an adventure. Again, I look forward to the next installment. This series was likely one of the most amusing of anything I read in 2019.

Although I have read them before, rereading most of The Lord of the Rings in tandem with a dear friend of mine (we’re still working on the end,) deserves mention, as I have highly enjoyed the reading. Also, I began by reading The Hobbit first, which I hadn’t done before. It’s been fascinating to notice just how often The Hobbit or its characters are referenced in the succeeding books.

I read The Weight of Glory toward the end of summer. I love how C.S. Lewis can make clear, things that have confused or befuddled me. I plan to read it again.

Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and Not a Word by Chautona Havig both get honorable mention, as favorites of mine that I reread.

As this list is growing long beyond all sense of reason, I shall bring it to a close. I would, however, be remiss if I didn’t include among my very favorites, Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey books. I have not finished this series, but I plan to. Whose Body? Charmed me from the first chapter. Lord Peter has not replaced my favorite detective, (because who could replace Sherlock Holmes?) but he does hold second place, currently. His best friend, Detective Inspector Charles Parker, may also be my favorite police detective ever, actually. I look forward to finishing the series.

These are not in order, though they are somewhat in order of my reading. Somewhat. Some of my most favorite are up towards the top, but then… some of them are farther down. And then the list gets mixed up.

I enjoyed my 2019 reading year and I’m looking forward to 2020. (Thus far, I am enjoying Tolkien’s The Return of the King.) What were some of your favorite reads in 2019?

To the KING be all the glory!  

~My Reading List

I haven’t posted a list of current books I’m reading in a long time, mostly because, for a long time, I was limiting myself to just one book, besides my Bible, trying to break the habit of neglecting the Most Important Book for all the others. Now that I have been branching out again and reading more than one book at a time, my reading list might make a post longer than one paragraph! Hopefully, I’ll be posting full reviews of most of these in the future. :)

The Bible: Certainly the most important of all, by the help of the LORD, I have been making this number one of my priority list.

A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett by Himself: I’m reading this book as part of my American History study. It’s been interesting so far. I would have probably finished it by now, but since I haven’t been home much lately, so I still have a 1/3 of it to go.

The Five Love Languages of Children: This is a good and insightful book about how to relate to others, and show your love for them using their language of love. A little repetitive, it’s still quite good.

The Curate’s Awakening by George MacDonald: I have only just begun this book by George MacDonald, and so far I’m liking it. Since I’m only in the third or fourth chapter, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, but at this point, it’s a very “thinking” novel, which I like.

The Basics of Music: I’m slowly making my way through this one while studying music. There are several things in it that I don’t understand very well, studying on my own, but since it is meant to be used with a teacher, I think that overall it’s pretty good.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens: I’m actually reading this one to my sisters – and it’s taking a lot longer than I expected!! I do enjoy Mr. Dickens books, but this one seems a bit more wordy than some of his others… We’re still enjoying it though.

That’s all I think. Anyone else reading any of these?

To the KING be all the glory!

– Studying – Revolutionary and Civil Wars…

Right now I am doing an in depth study of the United States Civil War. Of course I already know all of the basic facts about it – well many of them anyway. My grandmother gave me a set of three books by Shelby Foote titled The Civil War – A Narrative for my birthday last month. I was excited and apprehensive. The idea of three new history books filled me with delight! I love to read! But when I considered that the topic was the United States Civil War, I grew apprehensive. If there was one event in the history of our nation that I had very little interest in studying, it was the Civil War…

I loved studying the American Revolution – and still do. I have read so many books about the founders and the war that I have facts filling my head. Then too, I still have at least two or three more books about that time that I want to read! It seems that whenever I start to near the end of my studying of the American Revolution that I find something else to continue it with! I decided though that I had better move on. Staying in the late 1700’s isn’t really a good thing – especially when you want to do an in-depth study covering roughly 400 years and you haven’t reached the end of the second century. The short-lived War of 1812 was mildly interesting – nothing really splendid and very few original documents, in-depth articles or books to devour. I’m still studying the first 15 presidents – except George Washington (though I have another book or two I would love to read about him!) and John Adams – but I don’t have any books to read concerning any one of them, so I decided that it was better to pick a book that was a little ahead of the time I was studying than another one from behind. The continual reading of books from and about the Revolution had a tendency to pull me back towards it, so in the hope that reading something ahead would pull me forward, I commenced reading what I thought was Book One of The Civil War.

After reading two or three pages, I was quite confused that the author would begin in the middle of the war, instead of the beginning. That’s when I checked for a number on the book. There wasn’t one. But there were two stars on the binding. I knew that one of the other books had three stars on it because I remembered looking at them and wondering what they were for. On further investigation I found I was indeed in Book Two, so I put it back and started on the proper volume, not very enthusiastic but hoping that I would be at least a little interested.

I am now more than fifty pages into the first book and find my interest ever growing. Mr. Foote is a captivating author, quoting frequently and extensively from original documents, creating, thus far, a fascinating account of the events prior too and in the beginning of the American Civil War. I really don’t know if I will finish the series – or even the entire first book. Even though it is growing ever more interesting to me the first book alone is over 800 pages and the next two are just as long. So, we’ll see. For now though, I think I just might enjoy studying this war a lot more than I ever thought I would…

To the KING be all the glory!