What I have read over the holidays

What have I read this past month?

I read Hamlet (The New Folger Library Shakespeare) as part of the Classics Bookclub at 5 Minutes for Books. This was a combination of the George MacDonald commentary of an Old English version, a modern translation, the Charles and Mary Lamb version, and Wikipedia’s overview. I wonder if I get extra credit for reading it 4 times.

I read a loaned copy of Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon . It’s a collection of stories about the people and events in a bar in Suffolk County. The puns run pretty thick. The camaraderie of the men in the bar is to be envied. The stories are funny, heart-breaking, and entertaining. I like this guy and will be looking for more by him.

I read Curate of Glaston, The by George MacDonald. It is a trilogy of 3 novels about Curate Thomas Wingfold as he and others around him come or don’t come to a saving faith. Very interesting books. I still think about the dwarf describing how he felt the God of the Bible was a cruel and judgmental God. Then one day the dwarf scared a boy and when he tried to reach out to reassure the boy he meant him no harm the boy became even more afraid and ran away. The dwarf started to wonder if he was reacting the same way to God. He reread the Bible with a different perspective and found a different God.

I read through all 4 gospels again. It is good to take a book as a whole and read it in one or two sittings. Each has a theme that seems near and dear to the gospel writer.

I read The House of Dies Drear . It was an interesting book about a house that had been used as a station on the Underground Railroad years earlier.

I also read Raising Dragons (Dragons in Our Midst, Book 1) . It was an interesting story incorporating King Arthur and knights, along with fanaticism and legalism as well as faith and courage. All magic in the book comes from God and all in all it was an interesting read, if not a perfect story.

And I read my bargain book copy of Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel . I really like the Maisie Dobbs books, even though I wish she knew it was God that was the source of her intuition and skills.

I reread most of Home to Holly Springs and finished up my character list.

I read the library book, The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition . This was a recommendation from Audrey and it was really good. I am making a list of books to look at for Connor over the next few years.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk was good. I am very glad I read this book. I found a lot of very helpful and interesting information in this book. The structure of each chapter is great. The overview of why the “old” way isn’t profitable is a good way to start. The cartoons that demonstrate the old and new methods are handy ways to see it in action. Then the practical examples from parents really trying to do it in the home help see the many ways it can be done. The chapter on praise really hit home, that would have been helpful in my house when I was growing up. I know I doubted most of the praise I got, would deny it, and probably felt threatened by it – it was usually very general and I could always think of a dozen times it didn’t apply, plus the stress I felt to always be the “good” daughter. I think more specific descriptions of what I was doing right would have given me something more solid to rely on. I’ve run into the same advice in leadership classes – intead of just saying someone is really good or smart, use specific examples of something they have done, describe what you see and what you feel. Top it off by summing up the praiseworthy behavior in a word!

I read The Iliad: The Fitzgerald Translation in two days. I have the Robert Fitzgerald translation and it is wonderfully easy to read. After trying to read the Elizabethan English version of Hamlet, this is a breeze. I enjoyed following the story. My only issue is the spelling of names that Fitzgerald uses. I was reading the Wikipedia summary before I realized that Aias in the book is actually Ajax. And I slowed down every time I read Achilleus. Now I’m ready to tackle The Odyssey.

In honor of my completing the Iliad, I give you Achilles


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New Year’s weekend

It’s been busy around here for the New Year beginning.

Anthony had done a few honey do’s for me. He is so sweet and awesome! Jan 29 makes 16 years, most of it qualifies as marital bliss!!!

First, he installed the track lighting in my office. I had a normal light fixture that wasn’t quite bright enough for all the reading I do in there. We had a track light fixture that we took out of the home theater 2 years ago. After much patience (and a little nagging) it finally got put up in my office (of course, after my 2 years of schoolwork in that room are done and finished, but I’m not complaining).


Then, he also installed a clothes bar in the closet. I’d been asking for that for about 2 years as well (I’m detecting a pattern here, at least now I know how long I have to ask for something). He found this bar in a closet at church and since no one else uses it, the pastor said Anthony could have it. Somehow that was the magic step to push him to get it installed. If I had known that, I would have bought one 2 years ago.


This was a lot of work, but he did get some time to recuperate.


And what was I doing during all of this laboring of love?

I read The Iliad, all 588 pages of it.


And just to include a little Christmas in here, I will post a picture of my Christmas present. Anthony got some Macbook laptop thing that he’s absolutely thrilled with, so I get his cast-off. He was going to set it up to boot to Windows but I told him I wanted my cool-factor to go up so leave it as a Mac and I’ll learn how this all works (you haven’t seen how frustrated I can get with the Mac music server, it doesn’t quite do what I expect).

Well, my cool-factor is soaring and I am very happy indeed. (Yes, that’s a second monitor, life without two monitors is just pitiful).


I have started pulling backgrounds from Smashing Magazine. They have new backgrounds every month. The background I used the last week of Dec was really cute – it was a green present with a red bow – very appropriate on my new Mac!

I hope your holidays were Very Merry!

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My 2009 Reading List

I created a separate blog to track my reading and indepth reviews. I’ll post summary reviews here once in awhile. I did start a little early, reading some books in the last 3 weeks of December (after class ended).

Here is my reading list so far.
9 books in 9 categories in 2009!


  • 1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  • 2. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • 3. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • 4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • 5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevski
  • 6. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • 7. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • 8. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • 9. The Trial by Franz Kafka

Book Club Selections

Biography / Auto-Biography

  • 1. The Confessions by Augustine
  • 2. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
  • 3. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • 4. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  • 5. The Small Woman by Alan Burgess about Gladys Aylward
  • 6. Through Gates of Splendor – Jim Elliot
  • 7. Eric Liddell: Pure Gold by David McCasland
  • 8. St Thomas Aquinas by G. K. Chesterton
  • 9. St Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton

Books of the Bible

1. James

Recommendation Shelf

History / Philosophy

  • 1. The Histories by Herodotus
  • 2. The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
  • 3. Lives by Plutarch
  • 4. Xenophon
  • 5. The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
  • 6. The Republic Plato
  • 7. Utopia by Sir Thomas More
  • 8. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
  • 9. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

Drama and Poetry


Just for Fun

1. Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4. something by Elizabeth Goudge
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.

L. M. Montgomery

  • 1. Pat of Silver Bush
  • 2. Mistress Pat
  • 3. Blue Castle
  • 4. Jane of Lantern Hill
  • 5. The Story Girl
  • 6. Emily of New Moon
  • 7. Emily Climbs
  • 8. Emily’s Quest
  • 9.

I’ve also decided to do the US Presidents challenge. This doesn’t have to be completed in 2009.


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Lucy Maud Montgomery


Reading to Know has a challenge going on, to read something by L. M. Montgomery. I have read the Anne of Green Gables books and loved them thoroughly.

I had never ventured beyond that so I hope to read something new in January for this challenge. I’ve put in a request at the library for Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat . That will leave the Emily books for next time. And then there are all her short stories.

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The Complete Woman

Through a roundabout way (one blog led to another…) I came across The Complete Woman blog today.

I like the content and will be following it going forward. Take a look at it.

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The New Me Challenge 2009


This is my resolution every year and I do a middlin’ job of it every year. Every day is a new chance, so I always get back up and try again.

For 2009 I will post weekly progress on Monday.

M pledge:

I will do something every week with 3 main areas of focus:

Total goal: lose some of that blob around the waist. I hope to replace some of the fat with muscle so I’m not hooked on a specific weight goal.

Start date: I can actually say I started on Dec 15 (so I have a head start for 2009)

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Tuesday Thingers – all about LibraryThing


Today’s question: Here is a list of the main areas of Library Thing:
1. Home (http://www.librarything.com/, before you log in)
2. Home (once you log in, contains Your Home, Your Profile, Connections, Recommendations, Reviews, Statistics, Clouds, Gallery, Memes)
3. Profile (Recent activity, tags, comments, members with your books)
4. Your Library
5. Your Tags
6. Add Books
7. Talk
8. Groups
9. Local
10. Search
11. Zeitgeist (Stats, Top Lists)
12. Tools (Widgets, Store)
13. Blog

What area are you most familiar with? What area is your favorite? What area are you curious about? Are there any that you have not really looked at?

I joined in October and got really serious just this month. I know the Add Books and Your Library sections pretty well. Today I found the Talk and Groups areas. Then I found the Group for the 999 Challenge and spent another 30 minutes creating my post with my list for 9 books in 9 areas in 09. The Touchstones feature is great, it adds the LibraryThing link to the book so quickly! After that I updated my library so now my Touchstones on my post have a green check mark to show which books I own. That way I know which ones I’ll need to borrow or acquire some other way.

I haven’t done much with reviews or tags. I started doing more with tags today and will plug in some reviews as I go through my list.

Today my favorite would be the Groups area. My favorite discovery for the day is under Home | Statistics | Series Coverage. I already knew most of this since it takes effort to collect all in a series and read them in order. But I discovered that Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler is the second of a trilogy so now I have two more books on my To Be Read list.

There is still a lot on Home and Recommendations that I haven’t looked at yet. Some day. But right now I need to get back to reading!

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When to undecorate


This came up for discussion in the house today. When I was growing up and every year since then I’ve put the tree and decorations up on the weekend after Thanksgiving. It gives Thanksgiving room to be celebrated and then gets the Christmas season started early enough to have time to enjoy all that effort put into decorating.

Then, the day after Christmas we take it all down. At least, until this year. I know I’ve heard it before, but this year it finally sunk in that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and end on Epiphany (Jan 6). I kind of like that. The day after Christmas always feel like a let down, we build up to the day and then it’s just over, time to pack everything away and be done.

I made an unconscious decision to leave the tree and decorations up until Epiphany. I forgot to share this with Anthony, so this morning when I got up the tree was unplugged, the curtains were closed, and I suspected dismantling was next. I quickly shared my thoughts on the Twelve Days of Christmas and leaving the lights on and decorations up until the evening of Jan 5. He thought that was a great idea so we opened the curtains and plugged the tree back in! It will all come down by Jan 6. but we will enjoy the next few days.


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What’s on my Nightstand in Dec


Wow, a month has gone by already.

What’s on my shelf for the next month?

Curate of Glaston, The

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Hamlet (The New Folger Library Shakespeare) as part of the Classics Bookclub at 5 Minutes for Books. That can be found in Project Gutenberg and today we got a copy downloaded onto the Kindle (for free!) so I’ll be reading it that way.

I am also going to read through all 4 gospels again. I’m about 1/2 way through Matthew already this week. And continuing Mere Christianity and rereading Home to Holly Springs (see below).

Below are the books I included on my list last month.

Mere Christianity is part of Tim Challies reading the classics. That has gone well but I’m not finished so I don’t have a review up yet.

I did read Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody and really enjoyed it. Here is my overview. I highly recommend it for adults and teens.

I read Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking and we tried some of the bread. It was good but I just don’t think we’re the home made bread kind. At least we know where to look when we are ready to try again.

I read Home to Holly Springs (Father Tim, Book 1) once. I will read it again before the book club meeting in January.

I also read A Christmas Carol along with 5 Minutes for Books Classics Bookshelf.

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Fall Into Reading – the results

Way back in September I signed up for the Fall Into Reading challenge. My post is here.

It is time to see how I did with my goals.

First – the books I listed in my post and progress made with them.

Something by Elizabeth Goudge – 4 books

Battling Unbelief by John Piper

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries

The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do by Kathie Reimer and Lisa Whittle – I have read the first chapter and this is another winner.

The Iliad – way too busy to tackle this. Maybe some other year.

Now – books I didn’t know about in September but that I have read and reviewed since.

Little Britches by Ralph Moody and The Place to Be by Roger Mudd

The Instinct to Heal


Antsy Does Time


The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias

Plus, I have read (but not reviewed yet) Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon for our new book club starting up in January.

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