Reader's Journal 2013

Maid with the Yellow Hair by Leighton c. 1895
My mom tells a story of when I was hospitalized at age 9 with spinal meningitis.  She says that when the nurse leaned over and asked what I wanted to have - and I could have anything - I replied, "My books, please." I like that story, but I'm not sure what books I was reading at that age.  Some Little House on the Prairie with some Nancy Drew on the side, most likely. Pretty sure I didn't do any reading that day after the spinal tap.

So I guess I've been a book lover for a long time.  Last year I began recording the books that I read in this post.  Here are the titles I read this year.  Some of them I LOVED and some not so much.  Please begin a conversation in the comments if you loved, hated, or learned from any of these! And do feel free to post a link to your blog if you recorded your reads for 2013.

First, here are some of my favorites for the year:

Echoes of Eden:  Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Art by Jerram Barrs
Can Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Harry Potter help us understand God better?  Jerram thinks so and in his beautiful way, tells us how.  Certain family members had a few arguments with his Harry Potter ideas and felt he was stretching things a bit, but then, that's what I like about this book - it will spark discussions.

Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
I had my 16 dd read this one.  It's a wonderful love story in many ways (with God and man) all set in Oxford with lots of literary insights- all in one book.

Splendor in the Ordinary: Your Home As  A Holy Place  by Thomas Howard
This book has echoes of Edith Schaeffer.  You will never look at the rooms of your home in the same light after reading this.

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
 I like Rumer Godden's writing and I loved this book!  A look into a Benedictine community and how earthly struggles are present no matter where you go.  But don't bother with the movie -ugh.

I Buy a School
I Buy A School by Marion Berry
Thanks to Bonnie, I was finally able to read this book!  Marion ran a PNEU school after graduating from the House of Education.  A realistic, fascinating, and sometimes strange look at how a CM school might look with basically one person at the helm. Favorite part - the Shakespeare descriptions!

The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence and Love of Learning  by Ben Foss
I have read about a half dozen bestsellers on dyslexia.  This one was my favorite. It explained things so well and shared the latest research.  I think it's because there's this underlying theme going on throughout - that the child is a person. The video at his sight is worthwhile watching for everyone.

Chrysalis - Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis by Kim Todd
I learned so much from this book!  I can't believe she lived 400 years ago.There was some slogging at certain points, but it helped me understand the views towards science and women back then. Plus,  now I know who the Labadists were.

Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
I read this one with the high school students.  It helped me understand the conditions that led up to apartheid and with the death of Nelson Mandela, our timing was perfect.  I cried more than once but what blew me away was Jarvis and his attempts at redemption at the end. I continue to mull it over.  The movie with James Earl Jones was good, too.  I want to visit this beautiful place in South Africa. The author grew up there and would walk up to 30 miles a day, so he knows this land. (Reminiscent of Wordsworth!)

Here is my complete list for 2013 -

1.  A Child's Delight by Noel Perrin
2. The White Robin by Miss Read
3. A Grace Disguised:  How the Sould Grows through Loss by Jerry Sittser
4. The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison
5. The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel
6. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
7. Two Under the Indian Sun by Jon and Rumer Godden
8. Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
9. Magical Journey by Katrina Kenison
10. Riverwalking:  Reflections on Moving Water by Kathleen Dean Moore
11. Splendor in the Ordinary by Thomas Howard
12.Mississippi Solo by Eddy L. Harris
13.Rumer Godden by Anne Chisholm
14.Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail by Webber
15. In The House of Brede by Rummer Godden
16. Kilmeny of the Orchard by Lucy Montgomory
17. Summer at Fairacre by Miss Read
18. The Rabbi's Heartbeat by Brennen Manning
19. The Rockwell Heist by Bruce Rubenstein
20. Mrs. Pringle by Miss Read
21. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
22. Tom's Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce
23. Changes at Fairacre by Miss Read
24. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Sankovitch
25. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys by Brown
26. God's Troubadour - The Story of St. Francis of Assisi by
27. Farewell to Fairacre  by  Miss Read
28. American's Ethan Allen by Stweart Holbrook and Lynd Ward
29. A Peaceful Retirement by Miss Read
30. Morning Has Broken by Annabel Farjeon
31. The Mayos - Pioneers in Medicine by Adolph Regli
32. Exiles by Ron Hansen
33. Holy is the Day  by Weber
34. The Market Square  by Miss Read
35. The Howards of Caxley by Miss Read
36. Echoes of Eden by Jerram Barrs
37. I Buy a School by Marian Berry
38. Pied Piper by Nevil Shute
39. Thrush Green by Miss Read
40. Think by John Piper
41. The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan by Ben Foss
42. The Man Who Invented  Christmas by Standiford
43. Chrysalis - Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis by Kim Todd

Warmly (on this 3 degree day),


  1. THank you for posting, I am always looking for books to read, recommend, and pass along.

  2. Many of the books on your list have piqued my interest! I feel inspired every time I visit your blog! Thank you.

  3. How do you decide WHAT to read? I'd be interested in how you make your decisions. I read Cry, the Beloved Country several years ago and it greatly impacted me. My senior dd will be reading it this year and I'm looking forward to discussing it with her. I agree, the movie was excellent too. I began "reading" the book by listening to an audio of it. It helped to have the various names and places pronounced correctly before I finished reading it on my own.

    1. Dear Linda,
      Sometimes I listen first, too, LInda! How do I decide WHAT to read? I read other blogs and recommendations and usually "one thing leads to another". Plus, I always have a "must read' list going on in my head.
      Comfort and joy,

  4. I'm interested in the Katrina Kenison titles as I read her Mitten Strings for God...I really loved it even with some of the "New Age-y inner self" type stuff. I'm VERY interested in reading the Thomas Howard title as well! :) Thanks for sharing your list, Nancy! :)

    1. Amy,
      I really liked The Gift of an Ordinary Day, too. I did not enjoy Magical Journey by her. Too much looking inward and it became tedious and unredemptive - at least for my liking. You will like the Howard book!
      Comfort and joy,

  5. Time spent with a nose between the pages is always a delight surely! Thank you ever so kindly for sharing your favourites list...there is always room on the shelf for "just one more" adventure.
    Wishing you much joy in the New Year ...

    1. Judy,
      I couldn't agree more! Happy New Year to you, too.
      Comfort and joy,

  6. I love that you included The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan in your list! This has been my favorite book on dyslexia yet! I think there are many aspects of Ben Foss' analysis of dyslexia with which Charlotte would agree...particularly his belief that simply trying to "fix" a dyslexic's eye reading instead of finding their strengths is detrimental to the point of catastrophic. If anything, this book made me more certain than ever that a CM education is the best for my kids, especially my three dyslexic ingenues!

  7. I will surely come back to this post for my 2014 buys.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.


  8. I'm so glad you shared your favorite books which you read this year! I'm inspired to read some of them this year... :)

  9. What Charissa said! I also really liked In This House of Brede, even if I couldn't fully appreciate the theological side of it.

  10. Thank you for inspiring me to keep a list of my reading. Oh, how I wish I had been doing this since I fell in love with books as a sick little girl. I just had this thought: What if I had technology at that time? Would I now not be a lover of books? I am not anti-technology, but it gives me a lot to think about the next time my boys are sick. Loved your favorite descriptions, and must find at least the Howard, Berry, and Kenison books. Also want to get back to Miss Read. Thank you for taking the time to share this lovely list with your readers!

  11. i always like hearing your recommendations!
    there were two recurrent themes: the ordinary and miss read. ;)
    if i get around to posting my reading, i'll definitely be back to share. i can't remember, do you make a list and then cross it off as you go, or do you just read what you read and list them at the end?

  12. Thank you, Nancy, for again sharing your reading list for the year. I also appreciate your evaluations of some of these books as I add to my growing list for 2014. Here is a link to my list from this past year.


    Thanks for inspiring so many to read through your example.

  13. I began Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck at the end of the year and am still reading it. It is intriguing (so far). She writes about the difference in having a "fixed" or "growth' mindset and encourages parents to avoid labeling their children as the athlete, the artist, the brain, etc. I'll let you know my final thumbs up or down upon completion. :) Also, I began The Man Who Invented Christmas and am thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks for all your recommendations!