Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 Reading List

Nancy Kelly at Sage Parnassus publishes a "Reader's Journal" every year and it's such a wonderful idea--to keep track of books we've read and books we've loved. I enjoy seeing other people's lists and generating ideas for my future reading!

My list does not include the Bible, my devotionals, or our *many* school books....or any of our family read-alouds.

My top recommendations are: 

The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis): A fascinating, witty, and convicting book.  I read most of the book poolside during the summer and had to stop and read, then re-read paragraphs as the real weight of the words sunk into my soul.  Did I mention convicting?  The genius of Lewis shines through in these imaginary letters. I will absolutely re-read this book again.

For the Children's Sake (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay):  I had dabbled in this book before, but not read it cover-to-cover until 2016.  It's wonderful! In fact, a friend asked me for recommendations on books to help her better understand the Charlotte Mason method of education.  Obviously the best books are Mason's own, but that's a little overwhelming to a newcomer.  Macaulay's book is the one I recommend.  Her gentle tone and comprehensive overview of the way a Mason education feeds a child's soul were spot-on, and she never loses sight of the fact that Charlotte Mason's approach is distinctly Christian in its perspective--and to that end, that children are respected.

The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery): I finally pulled my mother's copy down off the shelf and cracked it open.  I wasn't prepared for the whimsical philosophy contained herein; I couldn't believe I hadn't read this before!  A singular book that I really enjoyed.

The Blue Castle (LM Montgomery): I'd read the Anne books and--MY FAVORITES--the Emily series, but had never heard of this one until a friend told me about a while back.  Boy! It was fantastic.  Classic Montgomery--stodgy old relatives, glorious descriptions of the natural world, a wonderful ending.  And the heroine's name is Valancy Stirling--which is, obviously, fabulous.

Children, the Challenge (Rudolf Dreikurs): I honestly don't read many discipline books, but this year I dabbled in a couple.  I liked this one because it seemed so logical, humane, and reasonable. I don't agree with everything in the book, but it's a lot better than a few others I've skimmed--either bizarrely draconian *or* too permissive.  I thought this book struck a solid balance between parenting with gentleness and respect and, well, letting them learn the hard way.  (Which is often the best way.) I don't subscribe to any particular parenting methodology, because I think any method, when followed mindlessly, can go completely askew. I just thought this book was worth reading and owning, and I'm sure I'll refer to it again.

Hard Times in Paradise (David and Micki Colfax): Many homeschoolers have read or heard of the book Homeschooling for Excellence, but I thought this one was better!  It's really the story of how the Colfax family eked out a home and a livelihood on the side of a California mountain.  This book illustrates the family life (hardworking, stubborn, cooperative, democratic, cohesive) that catapulted three of their four sons into Harvard with almost no formal educational experience.  Fascinating! (Plus, it made me value my running water and roof so much more.)

Here's my list.  The books with an asterisk are my most-recommended reads!

1. Learning All the Time--John Holt
2. Hard Times in Paradise--David and Micki Colfax*
3. Teach Your Own--John Holt
4. That Hideous Strength--C.S. Lewis*
5. For the Children's Sake--Schaeffer*
6. Mathematics: An Instrument for Living Teaching (applicable sections)--Richele Baburina*
7. Home Education--Charlotte Mason
8. Blue Castle--LM Montgomery*
9. Go Set a Watchman--Harper Lee
10. The Christmas Bride--Grace Livingston Hil
11. The Screwtape Letters--C.S. Lewis*
12. Surprised by Hope--NT Wright (I've read and digested about half)
13. Anne of Ingleside--LM Montgomery
14. A Room with a View--EM Forster (I'm not done yet; I lost steam)
15. The Little Prince--Saint-Expuery 
16.  The Alchemist--Paulo Coelho
17. Parenting by the Book--Rosemond (skimmed)
18.  Better than Before--Gretchen Rubin
19.  Parts of Shakespeare After All
20.  Christmas at Fairacre--Miss Read
21.  Daring to be Yourself--Alexandra Stoddard
22.  The Adventure of Living--Paul Tournier (parts of it)
23.  The Substitute Guest--Grace Livingston Hill (a perennial read--I shouldn't really count it, but I did read it again this year!)
24.   Children, the Challenge (Dreikurs)*
25.   Parenting with Presence--Stiffelman (skimmed)
26.   Upside-Down Brilliance--Linda Kreger Silverman* (parts of it)(this is a wonderful book if you have a visual-spatial learner, or think you do!! it truly made me see Finn with a new set of eyes)

Last year's reading list is here!


  1. The Blue Castle!!! I adore it - re-read it almost every year, I bet. It's my fave book by her, and I am with you - I love the Emily books better than Anne! Can't wait until G is old enough to like them, too.

  2. Homeschooling for Excellence was one of the very first homeschooling books I read some 20 years ago! I will look that up. And the Montgomery books...I can't wait!
    Great list and rich year of reading.

  3. Thank you for sharing your reading list. I am going to look up some of your suggestions right now! I have read some books on your list, and I am eager to read the rest. Thanks for sharing! :)