Friday, January 24, 2014

Reading 2013: A Year in Review

Well, I have finally finished posting about all the books I read in December in all the extra time I had because I wasn't posting on the blog, so it's time for the annual favorite books post. Because I liked Brandy's post, I decided to do something similar here.

The book covers below are affiliate links to Amazon. I've linked the book titles to my book reviews here on the blog or to the monthly book report for the month in which I read the book.

Favorite Book of 2013

A Right to Be Merry by Mother Mary Francis 

After reading this book, I realized anew how blessed I am to be Catholic and how blessed we all are by the cloistered communities around the world who pray for us.

Best Fiction and Best New-to-Me Author
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

If I weren't so tied to my books-to-read-list, I would plan to read at least one book by Berry every month until I'd read them all. And then maybe I'd start over again. I liked this one so much, I asked for it for Christmas so I could own my very own copy.
Best Non-Fiction
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

Best Classic Book I'd Never Read Before
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

After I read this, we listened to an audio CD of it from the library. Everyone liked it and now we have the continued pleasure of a three year old singing, "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!"

Best Book I Pre-Read for School
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome 

Book that Made Me Cry

Yeah...I can't really pick one here. Just about every book I read makes me cry at some point. Eventually the children are going to get used to this. Or give up on me and read the books aloud themselves.

Book that Made Me Laugh

I've recommended these books to everyone I know with a middle grade reader. I'm just as excited as First Son to read the final book in the trilogy when it comes out in April.

Best Homeschooling or Education Book (also Most Challenging)
Poetic Knowledge by James S. Taylor

Best Book I Read Aloud
Canadian Summer by Hilda van Stockum

The whole Mithcells series was wonderful. This was one of the more difficult categories because there are so many wonderful books to read aloud. Adam of the Road was another fantastic book, perfect to share with just about any child.

Best Kansas Book
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Best Book on Faith
Story of a Soul translated from the original manuscripts by John Clarke, O.C.D.
(other than A Right to Be Merry, of course)

My Other Favorite Books
They may have been beaten out by one of the books above, but they still deserve a mention as one of my favorite books read in 2013.  In alphabetical order by title, for lack of a better system:

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Call It Courage by Armstrong Perry
The Children's Homer by Padraic Colum
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Half Upon a Time by James Riley
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Saturdays (Melendy Quartet) by Elizabeth Enright
Something Beautiful for God by Malcom Muggeridge
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde

I was also really pleased to read Macbeth and The Tempest this year. Reading the plays myself is the best part of studying Shakespeare with the children.


  1. Oh my goodness, second son singing "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum" LOVE IT!! Our kids love to sing "Blow the Man Down" also featuring a number of "Yo ho's" It always cracks me up!!

    I am loving Anima Christi by Mother Mary Francis. Her insights are just beautiful and profound, yet very easy to read and comprehend.

    And yes, crying while reading books. We were finishing reading "The Family Under the Bridge" for Geography today and I was crying while I was reading it aloud to Ira. He must be used to it from me, because he didn't seem to mind. It was just such a beautiful story with beautiful characters. Not sure if you all read it for Geography, but I would highly recommend it! Pretty sure I did the same thing when we finished "The Story of the Treasure Seekers" a couple weeks ago!

  2. I received "Come Lord Jesus" by Mother Mary Francis for Christmas and am really excited to read it next Advent!

    I did read "The Family Under the Bridge" but didn't read it for second grade. I didn't like that he was an able-bodied man who chose to be homeless rather than work. I realize he was redeemed in the end, but still. The other choices were good enough I picked them instead. I haven't read The Story of the Treasure Seekers. Is that on the MA site? I'll have to check it out!

  3. Oh, I just looked up The Treasure Seekers and see it's by E. Nesbit. I read The Railway Children to the kids this year and totally cried! (We all loved it, though.)

  4. Love it!

    And I also love that you listed Poetic Knowledge, but of course you already knew that! :)

    1. I knew you'd appreciate that, Brandy. I thought of your family when I was reading the Mitchell series, too. I couldn't help thinking you'd all love it.

    2. I really do need to look into those.


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