Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What I Read in 2015

Ellie, from The Bleeding Pelican, decided to post her "books in review" for 2015.  I loved her list and I thought I would do the same.  I'd love to see what you read in 2015, too.  I'm always on the look out for new reads!




Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen, was difficult for me.  It is written in such an odd style.  He takes modern distractions we should limit or eliminate in our children's lives and encourages that imagination killer, meanwhile describing how damaging that pastime or distraction is to experiencing a rich and imaginative childhood.  It's almost Screwtape like.  Basically one is supposed to understand the opposite of what is actually suggested.  Too confusing for me and I didn't actually end up finishing it.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis was a re-read, but still so valuable!  I read it this time in preparation for guiding our high school co-op class as they read it this coming spring.

Nature Anatomy and Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman are fantastically fun reference guides for "The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World".  We used them a ton in our nature study this past summer and fall.  They are very simple and filled with lovely details and illustrations on everything from minerals to mushrooms.  My kids devoured their contents with relish.

Sir Gawain and the Green Night translated by Simon Armitage.  This was another must read for my high school literature class.  I'd never read it before and I could not believe how much I enjoyed it.  This was my first honest to goodness foray into Middle English literature.  Canterbury Tales is up next.

Strangers and Sojourners by Michael D. O'Brien was another re-read.  I could re-visit his novels over and over again.  Have you seen he as another new one in the Father Elijah series?  Elijah in Jerusalem will be my next new read coming up in 2016.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty was surprise favorite for me.  I usually do not go for modern novels and especially this type of storyline (infidelity, divorce, etc.).  I'd have hated it, if it hadn't wrapped up in the way that it did.  It was a truly engaging story, and I managed to overlook the occasional profanity, this time.

Passing by Nella Larsen was a very quick, enjoyable read and opened my eyes to another side of living as an African American in early 20th Century America.

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is a sequel to Pride and Prejudice.  I actually watched the BBC special presentation before reading the book and I thoroughly enjoyed both, although James did not quite capture Austen's grand wit.

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte was another quick and delightful read.  Agnes is the prototypical English governess brought into a wealthy home to care for spoiled children. Too much fun, right? The story is based on some of Anne's own experiences as a governess.

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve was a selection my girls were assigned for their summer book club.  They both talked of it non-stop during their reading and I thought I needed to see what the fuss was about.  Set during WWII, My Family follows the travels of Franziska Mangold as she leaves Germany for England on the last kindertransport for Jewish children.  It is a wonderfully told story, uplifting and heartrending at the same time.  No wonder my girls enjoyed it.

Bonhoeffer by Erik Metaxas was my summer book and it took me all summer to get through it.  It's a wonderful biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer detailing his upbringing, theological training, philosophical point of view all leading up to his involvement in the plot to assassinate Hitler as one of the Valkyrie conspirators.

7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness by Erik Metaxas was probably my favorite book all year. It consists of seven short biographies of the seven men, who were in Metaxas' opinion, great--George Washington, William Wilberforce, Jackie Robinson, Saint John Paul the Great,  Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Charles Colson.  Metaxas did a formidable job highlighting the Christian virtues and qualities that made each of his choices truly inspiring men.  He just released another book called 7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness.  That is on my list to read in 2016 for certain.

Catholic Matters by Richard John Neuhaus was my lenten read.  It was a great choice and spoke volumes to me as I attempted to pray my way through lent.  Death on a Friday Afternoon will likely be my choice for lent 2016.


I'm sure there were a few other odds and ends not recalled.  I've got a pretty good list going for 2016 already, once I've finished The Count of Monte Cristo (another high school lit assignment and I'm loving it!).  On my short list: Mere Christianity, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, MacBeth, War and Peace, Death on a Friday Afternoon, Elijah in Jerusalem, and 7 Women and the Secret of their Greatness.

I'd love to see your list--both what you read this last year and what you plan to read this coming year. You can leave it in the comments, or blog about it.  Let me know if you do!

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3 comments:

Chere Mama said...

My Family for the War sounds really good! And I LOVE Bonhoeffer. I will try them both!!! Wonderful list of books.

Katie said...

I cannot wait to read the new Fr. Elijah book! I loved that series. I had seen Death Comes to Pemberley too and was surprised how much I liked the series. I really liked Sir Gwain too . . . . I took an Arthurian Lit class in college and loved everything read. And I may just have to pick up "What Alice Forgot" again . . . . I started it but had a hard time getting into it. Maybe I need to give it another try.

Maurisa said...

Katie, What Alice Forgot was my "I need something not as intellectual as Bonhoeffer" novel. Don't expect too much, but for a secular look at marriage, it got it pretty close to right.

I just r ad Bishop Barton's review of All the Light We Can Not See. That one is going on my list for 2016.