I decided a couple of years ago that setting real goals for my reading was pointless; I tend to read as the spirit moves me, and putting too many requirements upon myself takes part of the fun out of it. Still, I do have a few ideas about how I’d like to spend my reading time next year:
- Pick up where I left off last summer with my Reading My Library challenge. I am so enjoying pilfering the library shelves for the most promising titles! Next up: the letter G!
- Participate in a few challenges here and there. I’m making plans now for this year’s L.M. Montgomery Challenge, and I’ll likely give Carrie’s Narnia Challenge another go, too. I think I might declare this the year of Jane Austen, too, and pariticipate in the Jane Austen Challenge, which runs all year. Oh, and I can’t forget the Cybils Challenge which the lovely ladies at 5 Minutes for Books keep mentioning! I’m not sure what it will entail, but I’m all about the Cybils this year!
- Read a few titles from my TBR list, as I find them. It seems that the titles I find most interesting from the reviews I read around the book blogosphere (which is what this list is made up of–I have another list of just plain old “books I’d like to read” in my brain!) are ones my libraries are least likely to own. Go figure.
- Read more nonfiction. Specifically, I’d like to get into the habit of having a work of devotional literature or Bible study going all the time. I’m reading a little devotional piece now, and I have a couple on the way from Amazon. One of those is the book on Joseph from the series that Carrie named her most influential reads of 2010.
- Read the Bible through again, this time chronologically.
- Continue reading with my girls, of course! Our language/writing curriculum, Writing with Ease, consists of excerpts from quality works of children’s literature. We’re finding lots of books we’d like to read in their entireties in our weekly assignments!
I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but this is what I have in mind this last day of 2010.
Looking back at what I said I’d like to accomplish at the beginning of 2010, I didn’t do too poorly. I’m looking forward to another year of good reading!
As for my bloggy plans, there are a few changes I’m making to the way I run things around here. I thought regular readers might be interested in what to expect in 2011 from Hope Is the Word.
- I’m going to try to cut back my posting to three times a week. Life is busy now, but it is going to be even busier in the spring (if that’s possible!) because I’m supposed to resume my teaching duties at the community college, so I’ll have less free time than ever. Fun times! 🙂 My posting schedule should go something like this: Monday–book reviews; Thursday–Read Aloud Thursday; one “free day,” which won’t be scheduled, to write up something bookish or schoolish. We’ll see how long I can stick to this!
- Read Aloud Thursday will continue, but with one change (which I’ve actually already implemented). I will no longer put up a MckLinky list, simply because not doing so will save me a few minutes. I don’t mind having the links in the comments, do you? Plus, I’ve heard a rumor (and in fact have witnessed this myself, on my own blog) that those linky lists sometimes disappear.
- Truthfully, I could blog every day, but that isn’t prudent for me. I’m trying to write up posts in advance, and I’ve even started up my own bloggy calendar so I can keep track of when I’m posting what. What this means is that often I will be posting reviews of books I read several weeks ago. I think I’m okay with that. 🙂
- I hope to start participating in What’s On Your Nightstand again.
- I hope to become more active in the book blogging community. I’m not sure how to do that and guard my time, too, but I’d love to have an opportunity to (I’m revealing a dearly-held dream here!) be a Cybils judge next year. We’ll see how that goes, hm?
Anyway, those are my thoughts on this last day of 2010. Now I’m off to get ready to spend some time at the library! 🙂
What do you hope to accomplish in your bookish life this year?
Looking back over the year 2010, my girls and I have enjoyed a lot of good books together. Our reading together has changed somewhat since Lulu is now a first grader–much of our reading aloud time is spent on history and science read-alouds, but we still manage to do quite a bit of fun reading, too. Another difference is that Lulu’s reading has taken off in the past few months, and she now devours short chapter books on her own. I’m loving this new development, but it also helps me realize how short the period is that our children are really intellectually dependent upon us. I remember with fondness our Five in a Row days, and I’m awfully glad we have the DLM’s preschool years ahead of us.
According to my records here at Hope Is the Word, I read eighteen chapter books aloud to my girls this year. That’s a nice number–more than one a month, obviously. Here’s the list, with links to my reviews:
- Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- Socks by Beverly Cleary
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary
- Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
- Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
- Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace
- Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
- The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh (Lulu read it aloud!)
- Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes
- Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace
- Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
- The First Thanksgiving by Lena Barksdale
- The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle
- The Light at Tern Rock by Julia L. Sauer
- The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
(I didn’t review The Hundred Dresses, which isn’t technically a chapter book but is too long and picture-less to be considered a picture book. We finished it just before Christmas, when I couldn’t countenance the thought of a book review. It’s a Newbery winner, so I’ll let the metallic seal on its cover speak for it.)
When I asked Lulu what her favorite chapter books from this year were, she listed The Wizard of Oz, Ramona the Brave, Peter Pan, Prince Caspian, The Secret Garden, and Farmer Boy. Her number one pick was Prince Caspian. 🙂 Her response to my query of why was this: “I liked how Caspian ran away and his uncle didn’t find out.” She has developed quite a love for Narnia again lately; most mornings, she gets out of bed and turns on an audiobook in hers and Louise’s bedroom, and the audio-pick for the last several weeks has been The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I don’t know if it’s because of the season or what, but she particularly favors the chapter in which the Beavers and Peter, Susan, and Lucy meet Father Christmas. It’s really quite nice to wake up and hear Narnia thawing in the other room. 🙂
Louise listed three books as her top picks: Farmer Boy, Peter Pan, and Betsy-Tacy and Tib Go Over the Big Hill. Although she couldn’t articulate why, Betsy-Tacy and Tib Go Over the Big Hill was her favorite. (Bookie Woogie, this ain’t. It’s a skill I need to work on.)
I couldn’t have predicted their favorites. They like what they like. I think that listening to audiobooks (over and over, even after I’ve read the story aloud) obviously helps them keep some stories in their minds. For example, Peter Pan is a book we suffered through read together back in the summer, and given my poor attempt at reading it well, it really shouldn’t have been one of their top picks. However, in November we had an opportunity to see a live performance of the play based on the story at the beautiful Alabama Shakespeare Festival. On our drive south, the girls listened to the audiobook of Peter Pan, so the story would be fresh in their minds. The play was wonderful–Peter Pan flew out over the audience and sprinkled us with fairy dust! The pirates entered the theater from the rear, surprised us, and then regaled us with their lovely voices! (Please indulge me this little mini-review in the middle of my year-end post. I meant to write up a post about our experience, but I ran out of time.) Really, it was excellent in every possible way. I even have a picture of the lovely theater to share:
(I realize this nothing whatever to do with this post, really, but I wanted to share it. 🙂 )
I myself would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. I loved the Betsy-Tacy books we read, of course, but I also loved Ginger Pye and Pinky Pye. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain holds a special place in my heart because Lulu did the reading and I did the listening. The Light at Tern Rock was a surprise to me–I loved it!
In short, it has been a year of good reading. This doesn’t even scratch the surface, though–we read so many wonderful picture books, too!
What about you and your family? What have you been enjoying lately? What have been your favorites from 2010? Write up your own post and link it up in the comments, or simply leave a comment sharing the details. Either way, have a happy Read Aloud Thursday, the last of 2010!
I’m not too good at picking my favorites of anything, least of all books. In general, if I manage to read and review it, I like it. These days, I rarely plod through a book I don’t like. (Maybe this says something about the years I spent taking English classes, huh?) I do like going back over my bookish accomplishments, though. Despite the fact that Lulu started “real” school (meaning I’m schooling her in a grade denoted by a number rather than a letter) and I had a baby this year, I have read forty-five books so far this year (and it ain’t over yet!) and have published reviews of 39 so far. I have a few reviews queued up here for the weeks ahead (more about this in an upcoming post, I hope!), so almost everything I’ve read this year will have been reviewed by the end of January 2011.
Of the forty-five books I’ve read this year, twenty-six of them are juvenile or young adult books, almost all fiction. The following are the standouts from this group:
- The Hunger Games trilogy. Of course. You expected this, didn’t you? Wow pretty much sums up this amazing set of novels. My reviews are here: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.
- Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham. I loved this Alabama story so much that I went to meet the author when I was just a few weeks postpartum (and none too fond of leaving behind the DLM or being caught on camera, but I did both!) and I nominated the book for the Cybils in the middle grade fiction category.
- The Door in the Wall by Marguerite DeAngeli. I love, love, love historical fiction, and this vintage Newbery winner gets it right.
- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I’ll always associate this exciting read with sitting in the rocking chair in my bedroom and rocking a newborn DLM. Good times and a great story.
- Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. This is a truly unforgettable story, and based on what I’ve read of its sequel so far, it has the makings of a fantastic series.
- A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. I loved this story of modern-day Sudan. Its review will be up in a week or two. 🙂
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I positively gushed about it in my review, and now, months later, I still get all warm and gooey on the inside when I think about it. This is my favorite kidlit pick of the year.
I feel like I’ve rediscovered my love for juvenile and young adult literature this year. I’m thinking that 2011 will hold lots more kidlit for me and Hope Is the Word!
I only read seven works of adult nonfiction this year. One of these was a re-read, and two of these I didn’t review at all. (The two I didn’t review, For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Crazy Love by Francis Chan, are both great books, but I just didn’t have the time or wherewithal to write up a review when I read them. For Women Only really earns a Highly Recommended from me–it’s possibly the most practical marriage book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a few.) Of the books I reviewed, the best works of nonfiction I read this year were The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. (Both are linked to my reviews.) Maybe I’ll get around to more nonfiction in 2011!
As far as adult fiction goes, it was sort of a ho-hum year for me. (With a caveat, which I’ll explain below.) I guess the best part of my adult fiction reading was discovering the author Alexander McCall Smith. I read three of his books this year and introduced my children to his works of juvenile fiction. I enjoyed The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency best.
I am so happy to say that I added a couple of classics to my books read list this year, too. A Tale of Two Cities was every bit as good as I expected it to be. The Hobbit was so good, and much funnier than I expected. Why did I wait so long to read these books? I really need to persevere and add more classics to my TBR list. There’s a reason why they’re considered classics. 😉
The biggest accomplishment for me this year by far was reading the entire Bible, from cover to cover, in about six months. I didn’t write much about it here at Hope Is the Word, but I consider it one of the biggest things I’ve ever done. 🙂
That’s a hodge-podge of a post, but those are my thoughts about the year in books. I’m looking forward to reading even more great books in 2011, Lord willing!
Come back on Thursday to read about my girls’ favorite read-alouds of 2010!
This year for Christmas, Steady Eddie and I had to make some tricky decisions regarding technology and our girls. One November evening we were at the mall, and while I shopped around in the children’s department at Belk, Steady Eddie took the girls to visit the Jolly Old Man himself. Steady Eddie looked sheepish when they caught up with me in the shoe department. Lulu had requested a Nintendo DS; Louise, a puppy. Both of these gifts were impossibilities, and yet the girls were convinced of the authenticity of the Santa on whose laps they had sat. The girls both received Leapfrog Leapsters last year, and we had already planned to add a few games for Christmas this year. Besides, we were holding firm to our belief that our girls are too young to succomb to the siren call of the latest, greatest video gaming system yet. It grew even more difficult to maintain our stance when I learned that my mother was buying my nephews, ages 10 and 12, you guessed it–a DSi apiece for Christmas. The angst grew even greater once my mother recounted to me the following conversation that she had with Lulu a few weeks ago:
Mamaw: What do you want for Christmas, Lulu?
Lulu: A DS.
Mamaw: Oh. Well, you might get something else. (She was privy to our opinion on the matter already.)
Lulu: Oh, no. I told Santa at the mall that’s what I want. He’s the real one.
Gulp. What to do?
Well, we stuck to our guns. The really tricky part was going to be Christmas Eve, since that’s when the boys would open their video games from my parents and the girls would open what? A mini-trampoline and some other fun stuff. Okay, but not what was at the top of Lulu’s wishlist every time we asked her.
I’ll admit I was pretty antsy once the gift opening frenzy began. When the boys found their presents and opened them, they were ecstatic (of course!), and the look of expectancy on Lulu’s face caused a lump to rise in my throat. My sister and brother-in-law had offered to give us the boys’ old Game Boys, and I had never really told them yes or no. My brother-in-law made a quick trip out to his truck and retreived them, and the girls were never any the wiser. (I still felt a little conflicted about it–had we given in by letting them have the Game Boys? I don’t think so–the Game Boys are old and worn out, and besides, we only have one game for them.)
Are we mean parents? Many of the children we know around the age of our girls have DSi’s. In fact, if it weren’t for church trips, our girls probably wouldn’t even know the desirability of an internet-capable hand-held computer gaming device. Really, it’s the first part of that description that gives me pause. Granted, a child shouldn’t be able to access the internet without some help, but to me it seems like such a small step away from an internet free-for-all at six years of age. It makes me shudder to think about it.
Steady Eddie and I are not Luddites. (Obviously–I have a blog!! 😉 ) I just want to keep things age-appropriate, first and foremost. Second, I know that once we go forward with some bit of technology, it’s hard to go back. I prefer for them to do almost anything than watch t.v. or play a video game–read (of course!!), color, make something, play a game, play the piano, dress up–whatever!
This story of parenting angst has a happy resolution, believe it or not. We were headed home from a family Christmas get-together on Christmas night, and the lights were out inside the van. Louise was playing her newly-acquired Game Boy, and we assumed Lulu was, too. It turns out that she was using the Game Boy as a flashlight so she could read.
That’s my girl. 🙂
I hereby put this bit of parenting angst to rest.