18 December 2015

52 Books in 52 Weeks ~ 2015

Quite a few of the titles listed beneath are ones I've been previewing before I hand the book, or audio, over to Jay or Daisy to go through.  Those titles are listed in green.   Doing this really helps when it comes time to discussing literature study books with them - much more effective than just reading book notes ☺ and, I like to know any content issues before just handing them a book to read. 
I wanted to be more organised before Christmas/summer holidays arrived this year, and have a good amount of audio's already pre-listened to.  This means the children can leap way ahead without me, during afternoon audio time, and I haven't missed any of the story ;-) were wanting to listen through together.
ETA: I didn't complete some of the books (3) so those don't count as part of the 52.  They are now in grey with a line through them
(As in previous years, I won't include the books I'm reading for my extra-mural studies. ) 
The number beside each book is my personal rating for the book, or audiobook,  at the time of reading with the range being:
(1) = would not recommend,
(2) = some interesting aspects but not one of my recommended reads,
(3) = would recommend.
(4) = Really good (or worthy) read, would definitely recommend
(5) = Excellent book, highly recommend

The next few are ongoing, sip, reads so I will add them here:
A: Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens ~ Debra Bell (4++ so far)
B: Teaching from a State of Rest ~ Sarah Mackenzie (4++ so far; 3/4s of the way through reading this)
  1. The King James Bible: 1 Thessalonians to Hebrews, and, The Book of Proverbs  (5+)
  2. The Lacemaker and the Princess ~ Kimberly Bradley    (4)                                                      well written children's book
  3. N or M?: A Tommy and Tuppence Mystery ~ Christie, audio read by Hugh Fraser (3+)
  4. Thomas Paine: Crusader for Liberty (3++)
  5. And Then There Were None ~ Agatha Christie (1)                                                                   very dark book with the kind of ending I loathe!
  6. A Spy in the House: The Agency 1 ~ Y. S. Lee  (1 )                                                                     Many of the reviews I read highly recommended this book; obviously they're not as picky about the literature they have their daughters read as we are;  for me, something just felt off in this book and then after Ms. Lee dropped in that women are more logical than men, and are more powerful because they appear weaker,  I figured I did not need to load this onto my daughter’s Ipod.  We get enough anti-men propaganda elsewhere without actively choosing to ‘drip feed’ it to her inside an audiobook.    Other’s may enjoy this story, but it’s not one I’m recommending.  The writing is similar in tone to a mystery styled harlequin romance, and would appeal to those that enjoy that genre.  I don't. My blog, my review :-)
  7. Enjoy! ~ Sophie Gray (cookbook) (4)
  8. Shakespeare: His Life and Work ~ Timothy West (4-)                                                        interesting and finely executed renditions of selections of Shakespeare's works.  More enjoyable if you know the works that the excerpts are being read from.
  9. The Secret Holocaust Diaries ~ Nonna Bannister (3)                                                               the audio version of this biography was off putting - all the footnote interjections made the experience feel like the editor was constantly giving the reader an 'out' in  believing that the details being mentioned actually happened.
  10. Paul Temple and the Geneva Mystery ~ Francis Durbridge (Dramatised Audio) (3)
  11. Don Quixote ~ Cervantes (3++)                                                                                                      I have to include this on my list of titles 'covered', as it was such an epic listen!  The children and I listened to the first 3 parts together, since part 2 definitely has content issues that I wanted to discuss *with* them, then we listened to the rest, each, in our own time.
  12. Scaramouche ~ Rafael Sabatini     (5 )  ;-)               really engaging story.  I wished I'd known how gripping the story line was going to be.... don't start this book unless you have a day to indulge in a rest and reprieve read.
  13. The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar ~ Dahl (2-)
  14. Tartuffe ~ Moliere (3+)
  15. Dumb Witness: A Hercule Poirot Mystery ~ Christie, audio read by Hugh Fraser  (2)
  16. The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side ~  Christie, audio read by Emilia Fox  (3)
  17. They Came to Baghdad ~ Christie, audio read by Emilia Fox  (3)
  18. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde ~ Stevenson  (2+)
  19. David Copperfield ~ Charles Dickens (5-) I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this story
  20. The Diary of Samuel Pepys: The BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation by Samuel Pepys, Hattie Naylor (3)            Contains content issues (!)
  21. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Dramatised Audio) by Dorothy L. Sayers (2-)
  22. A Case for Paul Temple ~ Francis Durbridge   (Dramatised Audio)  (3)
  23. Paul Temple and Steve ~ Francis Durbridge   (Dramatised Audio)  (3-)
  24. The Scarlet Letter ~ Hawthorne (3+)
  25. Mary Poppins: The Mary Poppins Series, Book 1 ~ P. L. Travers :-) (2-)      I always wondered what this book was like, I'm pleased I read it but don't think it's a keeper.
  26. Charles Dickens's Our Mutual Friend(Woman's Hour Drama) by Charles Dickens (3-)  I think I will just need to bite the bullet & listen to the unabridged version as the dramatized audio was a rather dissatisfying option, for me, to try and go through with this particular title.  I think I'll enjoy the unabridged (long) version :D 
  27. Rob Roy by Walter Scott (audio) (2-)                                                                                                        I just wasn't in the frame of mind for this book.  I may need to go back and relisten,  as Jay enjoyed it.
  28. George Whitefield ~ Arnold Dallimore (4+)
  29. Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners ~ Lori Pickert (3++)  I know I would have benefited more from this in our earlier years of home educated; however, we've  already found our own stride with including project base, delight led, learning in our home, yet this book has encouraged us to branch out more in that area.  I should add, that we'll never be a 100% project based home educating family.  Recommending this as a worthy read for those with younger children!
  30. The Amazing John Wesley: An Unusual Look at an Uncommon Life ~ H Newton Malony (3+)
  31. Child of Divorce, Child of God ~ Kristine Steakley (5)                                                                Highly recommend!!!  Hope filled read. See my review in this post.
  32. Alone, Yet Not Alone ~ Tracey Craven (3++)                                                                      Daisy asked that I read this book, as she'd just read it and enjoyed it immensely.  Recommending it as a read aloud, or for non-sensitive children. 
  33. Do Hard Things ~ Alex & Brett Harris (4++)    Repeat read.
  34.  Just a Little Prick ~ Hilary and Peter Butler  (4)           A 'controversial' read that I wish I'd read before we allowed ourselves to be shoe-horned into fully vaccinating our children.   
  35.  Nicholas Nickleby ~ Charles Dickens (4)
  36.  Dumbing Us Down ~ John Taylor Gatto (4-) 
  37.  Safe Passage ~ Ida Cook (3)             (lots of mid 1900's Opera history in this which I'm not overly interested in, hence the lower rating ;) )
  38. The Key ~ Patricia Wentworth (3+)
  39. The 39 Steps ~ Buchan (4)       repeat listen :)
  40. Greenmantle ~ Buchan (3+)    repeat listen
  41. Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter ~ Susan Wittig Albert  (8 audio books total) (4-)                     I'm giving a rating for the whole series as I listened to them back to back to find out what happened to Beatrix Potter, and so that I'd be a jump ahead of Jay with content.  Read my comment here (at the end of that post) for a fuller review on the start of this series
  42. Missus ~ Ruth Park (2+)     promiscuity and pre-marital relationships.  not my cup of tea. 
  43. They Found Him Dead ~ Heyer (2)                                                                                                                    I decided we might give Heyer's who-dunnits a whirl.  Should have waited until summer time, when I'd be more more in the frame of mind to 'like' bubble gum reads... 
  44. The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy ~ James Anderson (3)                                         This is a older styled secular read.  The characters do not all, nor always, display good moral conduct. "language content".  Mature themes!
  45. The Affair of the Mutilated Mink ~ James Anderson (2+)                                                     as above.  Jay won't be listening to this series, this Christmas holiday!!
  46. The Affair of the Thirty-nine Cuff links ~ James Anderson (2)                                                           I contemplated ditching this one - but decided to skip ahead of the excerpt on the adulterous M.P.   Pleased I did, as the rest of the story is rather good.  Mature themes!
  47. Babylon's Ark ~ Anthony (3)                                                                                                   Given with a PLEASE NOTE:  This book contains cursing and swearing -  I was listening to the audio and it put me right off  the story!  In the first few chapters the author is rather free with ensuring he onshares the f word.  I ditched the audio for a while, but wanted to know what happened to the animals, so skipped ahead a bit.  The story is interesting!!   Purchase the book, and black out the swearing.
  48. The Man in the Brown Coat ~ Christie, read by Emilia Fox (3)  repeat listen, as I couldn't remember if the content was okay for Daisy ;)
  49. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ~ Solzhenitsyn  1945+  () (I have an aversion to profanity & course language, and couldn't  be bothered trying to edit out, yet, another book)
  50. All Quiet on the Western Front ~ Remarque  ()                                                                       content issues.  Dropped.  Just couldn't get into this book & I'm anti books with swearing in them.
  51. I went ahead and listened to the dramatised (bbc) version.  It editions out much of the language, the portion on mas  t  bating and the episode with the French "prostitutes".  Still, it's not an audio I'd recommend.
  52. Enchantress From The Stars ~ Engdahl (2)                                                                               Sonlight title.  Teen books with 'emotional infidelity' never rank high on my reading list; the  main character is engaged, and yet spends the entire second  half  the book in love with someone else.  
  53. The Book Thief ~ Markus Zusak (2)                                                                                         This is one of the few times I would recommend the movie over the book.  The movie is free from continual use of 'bad language' and taking God's name in vain.  Some of my Catholic faith friends may appreciate the heads up on Jesus, Mary, and Joseph being used as an expletive throughout the book.
  54. Nancy Wake ~ Peter Fitzsimons (2)                                                                                   Content Issues!!   Constant swearing through out the book.  Nancy's attitude and world-view concerning (most of life) marriage vows, and extra-marital affairs, are polar opposite to mine.  (She happily lives her life to the full.)   I had originally thought of giving this book to Jay to read....needless to say, he won't be reading it; however, we will go through the documentary on Nancy Wake's war time achievements, as they are outstanding. 
  55. Jane Eyre ~ Bronte (3)
  56. Death in the Clouds ~ Christie, read by Hugh Fraser (3)
  57. Emma ~ Austen (3)
  58. Postcards from the Past ~ Marcia Willet (1)
  59. A Man Called Ove ~ Fredrik Backman  ()    (dropped; as I was not enjoying the tone of this book, nor the swearing.)
  60. Evidence Not Seen ~ Darlene Deibler (5-)   Excellent testimony.  The 2nd quarter of the book seems to drag; stick with it, the 'story' is worth it!  
  61. A Fortunate Life ~ A.B. Facey  (3+)
  62. Among the Mad ~ Winspear (3)
  63. After the War ~ Carol Matas   Sl300 (4-)  See my review here listed under Family Book Basket
  64. A Lesson In Secrets ~ Winspear (2) 
  65. The Rabbit Proof French ~ Doris Pilkington Garimara (3+)
  66. A Dangerous Place ~ Winspear  (1)       I should have taken notice of the rating I gave the last Winspear book,  and just stopped ! Maisie Dobbs-ing. 
  67. The Heretic's Apprentice  ~ Peters, read by Derek Jacobi (4)                This would have made an excellent, highschool level, tie-in title during our study of church history and the debate over the Godhead; and then St. Augustine's teachings.
  68. The Sings My Soul.  Bk2 ~ Robert J. Morgan (4+) I'm going to close my 52 weeks of reading (Dec 24 to Dec 24) with more sip reading from this book.  It's a favourite so it already has a rating :)
  69. The King James Bible: The Book of Luke  (5+)

6 comments:

SarahElisabeth Jones said...

Thank you for this honest assessment. I'm working out the books that I hope to read next year and you have made me think that this needs to include some Dickens, maybe a reread of the Dallimore on Whitfield and Evidence not seen.

Chelle said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting SarahElisabeth.
Hoping you have a list-of-books post that you'll be sharing too.

reader19 said...

Hello Chelle!
I've been going over this post off and on since you posted it---I bet I've stopped in five or six times already! Thanks for sharing your book list, I always find it helpful! I hope you had a Merry Christmas! I thought of you and wondered how your day was going. I wonder what differences there are between an American Christmas and a New Zealand Christmas? Praying for you each day. Sending you a big hug---still haven't made the coconut cake...but, thinking about how good it would be!
May the Lord bless you and yours in 2016!

Chelle said...

Hiya Tracy!!
Lovely to find your comment here.
Aren't book lists wonderful! I've been browsing thru some other bibliophiles booklists for 2016 and finding them helpful too (so pleased that my list is of interest to you :) )
We were thinking of you folk over Christmas too (I'm going to go and read your blog post properly again tomorrow) and figured that as we were finishing up lunch you would have probably been up and just starting Christmas day).
The weather plays a big part in how most NZ-ers approach Christmas.... and it's usually the start to families going away on summer holidays; many have Christmas trees, a special meal and a get-together on Christmas day - and we all hope for a sunny, not too hot day :D (Wet Christmas' feel very dreary!)
Our family spend Christmas - now that the children are older - rather low key and relaxed. No huge Christmas dinners or elaborate Christmas themed decorations; just a lovely meandering day together (with hearts filled !! with thankfulness to our lovely Lord and Saviour), enjoying each others company and the gifts we've been given.
Thank you; and you too!
(Looking forward to seeing what 2016 holds for each one of us.)
much love to you and yours!!



reader19 said...

Hello Friend! I tried to leave a message at the new post, but I couldn't find the right button. Wow! What an awesome new post for me to come back to again and again. I am following much behind you, so I get to read all your books as I plan our future steps! I'm so glad and appreciate your blog very much!!!! I am borrowing a chicken egg incubator; you know what's next!! We will be raising BUFF ORPINGTON chickens this spring! My new Michigan friend is going to bring 24 eggs to us on Sat. for us to try to hatch. Dd and I need to start building the coop ASAP! I can't wait to swap chicken pictures with you! Thanks for being such a good friend; I so appreciate you---and thank the Lord for you! Sending a hug...oh, and I've lost the coconut cake recipe...any time you remember (no hurry) could you try sending it to me again. I promise to write it down fast this time! XOXO Tracy

Chelle said...

Ooo. What fun :-D
Enjoy your chicken hatching journey!!!! Looking forward to following along with your Buff Orpingtons (love Orpingtons!).
Grin. Resending the Coconut Cake Recipe now.