I’m linking up with Top Ten Tuesday. I had this in my drafts as a spin-off of an earlier TTT childhood favorites, I think I went more middle-grade/preteen on that first one.
In no particular order. A lot of these were from the Five and a Row Series based on the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, definitely the ignition of our love of good books. I’d love to remember all my favorites, I know we loved lots of the little golden books (loved them to shreds), and my grandparents had lots of books we loved including Sesame Street ones that told other stories using Sesame Street characters. And then of course the illustrated series like the Francis books (which I bought my niece when she was born, I wanted to get her a black and white striped badger to go along with it, but I couldn’t find a cute one, I could barely find any badgers, and most were all grey or something), Frog and Toad, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Amelia Bedelia, and Henry and Mudge.
- Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
- The Seven Silly Eaters (Mom gave me a copy of this for Christmas, she’s started to give us some of our childhood favorites for our own current or future children).
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews. I remember learning about color temperature in this book, this book features lots of cool colors.
- A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert
- Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. I vividly remember listening to this on tape, we would go to the library and pick the plastic bags that had little hangers attached to the top, in the bag was the book and the tape. We got this one so often I even remember the narrator’s voice reading it.
- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
- Warm as Wool by Scott Russell Sanders
Also, I have a favorite that I’ve been searching to find ANY clue about, but I don’t think I’ve kept up on the posts I’ve made on various sites about it. I don’t know the title, the author, or the illustrator, but it was beach/ocean/island themed with gorgeous watercolor. It is a sort of Cinderella meets Princess and the Frog (except prince is a large turtle or tortoise in this story). I could have sworn I saw it featured on Reading Rainbow (another thing from the mists of memory), but any list of books featured on the show didn’t trigger any memories. It featured a stepmother/enchantress, I feel like stepsisters turned into birds, and something about a rainbow fish bridge, and the prince as a tortoise carries the princess or maiden, she may not be a princess, to an island somehow, from a ship maybe. I’m not crazy, the sister nearest in age remembers this book too!
I’m linking up here for Top Ten Tuesday.
Here are some of my favorite and/or the most meaningful books/authors. There are more than 10 books, but only 9 authors, sorry it doesn’t quite fit.
- All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot. I listened to this audiobook at work. This the third in a series. I didn’t like the stories as much as the first two, some dark ones (depression and suicide, Soviets)
- The Corinthian and The Grandy Sophy by Georgette Heyer. I read lots of Heyers but I’ve marked this two as the top. Not sure if the first would stay as high if I read it again?
- The Warden, Barchester Towers, and Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope. I’m working my way through The Chronicles of Barchester which E.S. Grayson recommended on her blog. Witty, intriguing look into Victorian England. Still satirical but much less exaggerative than Dickens and not full of caricatures.
- Three Times Lucky, The Ghosts of Tupelo, The Odds of Getting Even, and The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage. Darling, witty, charming, whimsical middle grade series.
- The Moonspinners and This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
- Death in Cyprus and Death in Zanzibar by M.M. Kaye. These four books I read close together and the first three in particular all sort of fit together (and not just because they are all set on islands in the Mediterranean that start with a “c” although that was some of it).
- J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. I’m not a biography person but this was a brilliant work about a brilliant man.
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. The title is probably intentionally obnoxiously click-bait-y to go with Sethi’s (hilarious in my opinion) sense of humor. I just loved the way he presented finances and financial advice. Sometimes you know, it just has to click with you. I bought his newest version and plan of rereading it and implementing as much as I can.
- My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I randomly picked this off of Catherine’s blog Based on the Book. It was rather different from my normal read but another unique biography and quite hilarious. It was also fascinating/hilarious to juxtapose its more normal, light of day feeling with the dark, romantic suspense feeling of Corfu in This Rough Magic.
I’m linking up for Top Ten Tuesday (well, a day late) here. I’d fallen out of interest with TTT for a bit. I also feel that when I post I just find some other posts to read, but I don’t always see common interests and/or feel like going through 100+ posts. So I think I’ll try each of the multiples of tens or something.
- Imaginarium by Amanda Kastner
- A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. Anderson
- The Eagle of the Ninth and The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff, for a start, I love all the titles of all the books I love of hers and think those titles are special, but I thought these could represent the more unique to the average person.
- The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. Seeming oxymoron anyone?
- A Snicker of Magic and The Key to Extraordinary (how apt) by Natalie Lloyd
- Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury and
- Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson. Something about dandelions, I don’t know, just seems mysterious and whimsical.
- Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
- Three Times Lucky, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, The Odds of Getting Even, The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I’m not going to do all the illustrated books (I think I might do that for a freebie). I’m picking books (mostly series) from when I was strongly reading on my own. I’m going with favorites then that I’d want my kids to read.
I guess my age was maybe 9 to early teens or maybe 9-12 for most of these? (And yeah, that’s childhood for me. I was a kid until maybe 14-15). Lot’s of historical fiction (although not the Historical Diaries or whatever they were called that my sisters and others loved, I think those were a little too realistic for me to handle then based on my memories of my unsuccessful attempts). My introduction to Rosemary Sutcliff came right on the heels of these age.
- The American Girls. Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Molly at first, then later Kit, I was growing out of them a bit when Kaya arrived (and she’s the last of the quality ones in my opinion).
- The Little House books and the Caroline books (and the Charlotte ones I read when I was a bit older).
- Boxcar children (we were all obsessed with these).
- The Borrowers (The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, and The Borrowers Avenged) by Mary Norton.
- Grandma’s Attic series and Grandma’s Attic Novels (In Grandma’s Attic; More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic; Treasures from Grandma; Sixteen and Away from Home; Eighteen and on Her Own; Nineteen and Wedding Bells Ahead; At Home in North Branch; New Faces, New Friends) by Arleta Richardson. Our friends read these allowed while we sewed or whatever (I think I was bit older maybe preteens to early teens?).
- Narnia. My dad read these aloud to us twice.
- Sarah’s Journey Series (Home on Stoney Creek, Stranger in Williamsburg, Reunion in Kentucky, Whispers in Williamsburg, Shadows on Stoney Creek) by Wandra Luttrell (so, apparently these are middle-grade Christian fiction but I remember these being good, granted they were favorites).
- Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution (Annie Henry and the Secret Mission, Annie Henry and the Birth of Liberty, Annie Henry and the Mysterious Stranger, Annie Henry and the Redcoats) by Susan Olasky
- Calico Bush by Rachel Field (Hitty is waaay more famous but this was the first one we read, and I’m not sure if I read Hitty at all, if so it was recently).
- Bobbsey twins (to round out the list, these were books I read at my grandparents). For some reason, I never got into the Nancy Drew books or the Hardy boys. I did look at Trixie Beldon, I think those are probably more interesting. I wish I’d read all these when I was younger, some books you can love only if you start young.
I don’t know if all of these are unpopular, they are just opinions/arguments (not the same thing) I rarely see expressed or are expressed and then scorned. But I have a limited exposure.
A lot of these are my ideals. I’m SUCH a mood reader. I feel like I need some escapist reading. I don’t read near enough deep books. But I do think that I should, I just have to have a lot of easy (but still quality) reading on hand, plus ways of planning and motivating myself.
- Show, don’t tell. If I feel like the author is telling me something, forcing something, rather than displaying it, then they’ve failed to convince me (ahem, Jo and Laurie). Books aren’t mere explanations, they are story, art (perfection, okay, maybe an exaggeration). A reason, I think for my avoidance of contemporary fiction.
- Prose, description, characterization, interpersonal relationships, wit, etc. are more important than plot to me, and, (I think) in terms of literary merit at least equal to plot. I feel that this is also why I dislike so much of contemporary writing.
- I dislike the didactic in all forms, and obvious preaching isn’t art, even though some obviously gifted people squeeze it into their books. This goes back to showing, not telling. Y’all, I could find a preacher for anything, but I don’t want preaching, thanks, there is far too much of it already. And I’ve had far too much of it already (and probably done too much of it . . . like now, lol). Again, another reason I tend to avoid contemporary fiction.
- I like my realism idealized (I’m wanting to explore this more later). Basically, when I’m reading a “real” life setting, I’d like it to be idealized, not perfect, just not sordid or mundane or petty.
- Gritty “true to life” isn’t an asset (and isn’t necessarily true to life). Dark doesn’t equal deep. “Realism” can be vicarious reading or voyeurism. I want to escape reality and/or have my mind, ideals, etc. uplifted.
- I like my fantasy realistic. I don’t even know how to describe what I mean about that, but maybe I just mean well-written? I guess I want believable circumstances in a fantasy world, exciting, fanciful, yes, but still “human” I guess? Actually, now that I’m thinking of it, I generally prefer, low fantasy, and this is probably part of why.
- Quality over quality. All books are NOT equally good, well-written, etc. Taste and comprehension are two different things. You can like different genres from other people. But sometimes one genre may be notorious for being shallow and silly.
- Reading is not a hobby. Everyone who can read is a reader. People who don’t regularly read are still readers. Everyone should read as a form of mental exercise, to learn, to be inspired, I think reading for entertainment is good, but that is not the sole purpose of reading, rather an additional purpose.
- Interpretation isn’t up to the readers. Reading comprehension matters, like listening matters. The author chose specific words, for specific reasons. Obviously, we are going to disagree, not understand, view things through our own lenses. But we should try to understand what the author is saying. And then form opinions on what is said, described, etc. Not the actual meanings.
- Reading well matters. Our brains are muscles, reading well is important to our personal development, to our knowledge, to our comprehension, to our families, to our culture, to society, to life. And I don’t mean “current” event copy+paste type reading. I mean read just a tad beyond your comprehension, and then when you get comfortable, a tad more beyond that.
I thought this was really creative/fun/easy topic. I don’t pay too much attention to specific publication dates, more to decades/centuries/eras, so I was curious to see what would come up for me. I exported my Goodreads library and cutting down out extra columns, I managed to look at the years 2018-2009 on publication dates for books I’d rated 4 or 5 stars. I aimed for fiction when I could, but a few years I only had nonfiction. If there were two, and I thought that I preferred one over the other, I picked that. If there were two, and I thought both were equally deserving, I put both. I’m pretty sure I’ve featured most of the fiction on TTT multiple times, but what can I say, I love my favorites, and I’m quite picky. But, somebody PLEASE give Faerie Rebels and the Swift duo more attention.
- 2018 Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson
- 2017 The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
- 2016 The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd (a standalone middle-grade novel, my favorite of hers, Appalachian magic, like the first, which I love; I usually think magic belongs in Old World settings, but there are specific areas/cultures where it fits in the New World, and Appalachia is one)
- 2015 The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (book four of The Penderwicks)
- 2014 Nomad by R.J. Anderson (the second book of Swift duo, was supposed to be trilogy, but that hasn’t come and might not come, mourning)
- 2013 Death by Living by N.D. Wilson
- 2012 Swift by R.J. Anderson (book one of Swift, a continuation of the world from Faerie Rebels)
- 2011 Entwined by Heather Dixon (a slight eery yet lovely retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale) and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (book three in a charming middle-grade series about four sisters)
- 2010 The Chesnut King by N.D. Wilson (the third book in The 100 Cupboards trilogy, a wonderful middle-grade fantasy trilogy)
- 2009 Knife and Rebel by R.J. Anderson (books one and two of the Faerie Rebels series, an awesome fantasy series that straddles the line between middle grade and teen like Harry Potter)
I want to go to more places from this list, but I’m trying to find ones that have a distinct literary connection for me. Many books are set in places I want to visit, but the books themselves don’t inspire me with their descriptions or lack thereof. And then there are places for which I have no literary connotation, but perhaps a historical or movie or genealogical interest for me instead. Anyway, I just feel that some of my favorite books are all in one place and perhaps books I didn’t like so well had geographic interest (but I can’t remember them). And of course tons places in England will have literary connections for me, but I’m trying to find the ones that match with favorites or have a vivid literary connotation for me.
- Yorkshire Dales (James Herriot books)
- London (Lord Peter Wimsey novels)
- Wales (Rosemary Sutcliff books)
- Cornwall (Rosemary Sutcliff and Swift and Nomad)
- Hadrian’s Wall and the Antontine wall (Eagle of the Ninth)
- Prince Edward Island (L.M. Montgomery novels)
- Mackinaw Island (Once on this Island, Girl of the Limberlost)
- Switzerland (Little Women, Heidi, Treasures of the Snow)
- Egypt (well . . . specifically Ancient Egypt with Sheftu) (Mara, Daughter of the Nile)
- New Zealand (closest I can get to Middle Earth) (Lord of the Rings)
I want to finish the last three books of Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle (two of which have to be via interlibrary loans) and the last of Diana Wynne Jones’s Chrestomanci books (also interlibrary loans). I have a few other books currently borrowed or requested again that I want to get through, but I don’t have any I consider significant enough to fill 9 and 10, I might put re-reads in that, I’ve been starting to buy the Lord Peter Wimsey books to re-read, I’ve managed to push-off the re-read, but I think I’ll needed it for January. What a mostly dark list though! I need some happier stuff for winter.
- Arthur by Stephen Lawhead (I have to get most of this series via interlibrary loan, and I wasn’t given enough time)
- Pendragon by Stephen Lawhead (I have to get most of this series via interlibrary loan, and I wasn’t given enough time)
- Grail by Stephen Lawhead (why does my library have the LAST book as the only one of this series)
- The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
- Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones
- On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior (I had this but because I wasn’t motivated and couldn’t renew because others are waiting and it requires intense concentration, I didn’t get far into it; I may need to buy it in order to give it the attention that it deserves)
- Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (I think this is the last full-length Eliot novel I have left, I already started it, and it’s on my Classics Club list)
- All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot (I consider listening to the audiobook a necessary part of the Herriot experience, and our library doesn’t have this one, so I think I’ll be buying that)
- Maybe a Lord Peter Wimsey re-read or Anne of Green Gables re-read (or should I wait one more year?)
- Maybe a Lord Peter Wimsey re-read or Anne of Green Gables re-read (or should I wait one more year?)
I’m rather negative (cue laughter of my siblings at this gross understatement), and I tend to focus on negative (my reading breakdown of oh, half a decade; seeming dearth of good fiction I can love, etc.), so I’m going to try to point of 10 things I for which I ought to be grateful (and possible slip in a sociological study or two).
- I can read. Even though the statistics look excellent for the modern and the U.S. (Historical Rates for England & Global Literacy Rates), sometimes, they don’t really tell the whole story. I recently read a news article that my state reports a high level for high school graduation, but the system is graduating people who aren’t ready, who can’t read, etc. I’ve heard mention of illiterate kids at my siblings’ high school. I took a long time to learn to read, but I’m smart, and I read a ton now, reading late doesn’t mean a person is stupid, but it sure probably means someone or a lot of someones aren’t caring. I think it is cruel how kids are forced into cookie-cutter rates and shamed if they don’t fit. The main goals should be acquiring and using the ability, not meeting some superficial deadline.
- I do read. In 2013, almost one quarter of Americans didn’t read at all, and the overall average read per person was 12 (with a median of 5).
- I was raised to read. I grew up in a household where reading was both required and encouraged. My parents read aloud to us from childhood onward. We got those book and book on tape sets from the library (does anyone else remember those; there were in plastic bags with a hook and all hanged on a rod in the children’s section of the library?) this was a favorite activity, to pick our choices. We had shelves of books, we visited our library system, we visited our church library, we were given books as gifts. Much of my mom’s choice of homeschool curriculum focused on the “whole books” style of homeschooling. I think fostering a reading environment is a main part of what transforms “can” into “does.
- I have a family who reads. We received the fostering reading environment from readers (my parents) and we, siblings and in-laws are readers. My mom’s parents read as well, my grandfather especially, deeply with tons of history and biography. And potentially nieces and nephews, my baby niece already has a shelf full of books. We pass book ideas and thoughts back and forth; we speak the same or similar book language.
- I love the library. Besides knowing how to read and living in a reading environment accessing a library is a pretty significant help to bolster reading, yet in 2016, less than half Americans visited the library and almost 1/5 had never visited at all. Other than living in the boonies without a car, I can’t think of a reason why you couldn’t go. You pay taxes for this, why not use it (and it doesn’t only offer books!)?! Like I mentioned above, visiting libraries was a huge part of my childhood, and this shaped my love for them today.
- Growing up around readers. I was surrounded by readers for much of my life. Both churches we attended had libraries, I’m not sure that is the norm anymore. And almost a decade back, some of the young people formed a book club (now defunct) which helped propel me back into reading. The hostess’s made themed food and games, we picked solid books, we were introduced to Goodreads, and we had fun and interesting nerdy conversations.
- Beautiful books. I’m thankful for those who understand the importance of making the physical book beautiful from the illustrators of the gorgeous children’s books of my childhood, to the designers of Barnes and Noble and Penguin Clothbound classics. Two forms of art at once!
- Book ownership. Hardly anyone through time and place has had the physical and monetary access to books, yet now, here, we can easily build our own personal libraries.
- Goodreads. Enough said.
- Online reader-bloggers. I’m mainly indebted to the homeschool community, but I have appreciated some of the broader environment (such as TTT). I love having constant ability to continually build my TBR list; to discuss books online; to read reviews; and to participate in fun challenges, events, etc.
I’m linking up here with The Artsy Read Girl for Top Ten Tuesday.
- These book plates (plus several of the other designs)
- These book ends (or something similarly fanciful and elegant)
- Book sleeves similar to this for when I lend out books
- A page anchor or something similar
- Miniature classic favorite book necklace or classic book locket
- Something like this in silver for Captain Wentworth’s letter
- Nonspecific book locket
- Some bookish art
- A map or two or three of Narnia
- Some bookmarks featuring favorite books
I’m linking up here with The Artsy Read Girl for Top Ten Tuesday.
To the best of my knowledge this are the longest books I’ve read (as of 9/2/18). I was relying on Goodreads, and editions vary because of size of pages, size of type, any extras (introductions), and anything else that may or may not affect actual page count or numbered page count.
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: 908 pages. I’m glad to save I’ve read this, but if I read again it would be skimming or an abridged version and still not sure it would be worth it.
- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: 1,463 pages. Um, overrated. Not literature-quality writing/prose, and much digging and parsing required to reach the literature/epic-quality plot.
- Camilla by Fanny Burney: 992 pages. 18th/19th century fluff reading, lol.
- Cecilia by Fanny Burney: 1056 pages. 18th/19th century fluff reading, lol.
- Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens: 985 pages. I need to re-read, one of his best.
- Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens: 894 pages. Meh.
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens: 1,017 pages.I think this is supposed to be one of his best, but I didn’t like the characters much, and I don’t think I care enough for his prose and the plot.
- Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer: 972 pages. An excellent history.
- Middlemarch by George Eliot: 904 pages. Definitely worth a re-read.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke: 1006. Bizarre. Ended rather abruptly and confusingly.
I’m linking up here with The Artsy Read Girl for Top Ten Tuesday. I’m including blogs that I used to read that really helped encourage my reading, not only sites I use now, nor is this list comprehensive; I frequently find book lists on blogs or sites that I like that aren’t exclusively or mainly focused on reading which fact I love, I think I find a broader range of topics this way.
(1) My library site that allows me to order ridiculous amounts of books, suggest purchases, order interlibrary loans, and categorize my TBR lists.
(2) Goodreads. This site along with the book club that introduced me really helped spur my reading after my long slump.
Older blogs that aren’t being maintained regularly anymore including:
Blogs that I pull suggestions from now and/or have fun bookish posts such as:
(10) Random sources such as such the web; the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Francis Parkman prizes for history; and random websites from others’ links or that I’m browsing while not looking for books particularly