The book covers below are affiliate links to Amazon. (Affiliate purchases covered about half of our Christmas presents to the children in addition to a book for Kansas Dad's birthday, purchased with my own earned money on Amazon. Thank you!) 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.
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
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
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and its sequel, The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle, by Christopher Healy
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.