'Muff'in Dome

Category Archives: Reading

Books I Read in 2017 and Books to Read in 2018

I guess there is one advantage to catching the flu — ample couch time for writing quite the extended post. Luckily, I can’t pass germs through the computer so it is completely beneficial to you, dear reader.

This past year, I’ve done a monthly round up book post so I will not include another review, but I’ve provided the link at the end of each book so you can click through to read them.

It was funny to me to find that I, unintentionally, seemed to be reading along a theme each month {mostly}. I guess when I get in the mood for a topic, I like to do it justice.

My top 6 picks for the year I marked with asterisks. This didn’t include the read-alouds I did with the girls; those were all excellent reads!


What were some of your favorite reads this past year? 


{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.} 



  Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi {read in January} **

  The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom {read in January}

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson {read in February} **

News of the World by Paulette Jiles {read in February}

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie {read in April} **

Silence by Shusaku Endo {read in June}

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams {read in June}

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner {read in July}

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer {read in November}

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher {read in December}


A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny {read in March}

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny {read in April}


  Eve of a Hundred Midnights: The Star Crossed Love Story of Two WWII Correspondents and Their Epic Escape Across the Pacific by Bill Lascher {read in January}


  Five Love Languages of Children by Gary C. Chapman {read in January}

Caught Up in a Story : Fostering a Storyformed Life & Imagination with Your Children of Great Books by Sally Clarkson {read in February}

The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd {read in April}

Home Education by Charlotte Mason {read in May}

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay {read in May}

Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie {read in July}

Parents and Children by Charlotte Mason {read in July}

School Education by Charlotte Mason {read in August}

The Way of Beauty by David Clayton {read in September}

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross {read in September}

Self/Home/Family Improvement

The Lifegiving Home : Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally Clarkson {read in February}

The Inspired Room by Melissa Michaels {read in April}

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein {read in April} **

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel {read in July}

The Fringe Hours: Making More Time for You by Jessica Turner {read in August}

In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore {read in August}

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner {read in August}

 Not of This World : A Catholic Guide to Minimalism by Sterling Jacquith {read in November}

The Creative Family Manifesto : Encouraging Imagination and Nurturing Family Connections by Amanda Soule {read in November}

Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life by Lara Casey {read in December}


At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider {read in March}

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines {read in April}

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz {read in September}



Upstream by Mary Oliver {read in April}

New and Selected Poems, Volume One by Mary Oliver {read in September}

Knitting Pearls: Writers Writing About Knitting edited by Ann Hood {read in December}

Devotions by Mary Oliver {read in December} **


  Interior Freedom by Jacques Phillippe {read in January}

Rooted in Hope by Take Up and Read {read in December}

My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir by Colleen Carroll Campbell {read in December}

Politics/Law/Public Policy

Evicted : Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond {read in March} **



Read Alouds with my Children

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White {read in January}

Some Writer! : The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet {read in January}

Stuart Little by E.B. White {read in February}

Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White {read in February}

When Green Becomes Tomatoes : Poems for All Seasons by {read in February}

Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo {read in March}

 James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot {read in April}

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson {read in April}

Little Bear Collection {audio format} by Else Minarik {read in May}

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo {read in July}

Paddington on Top by Michael Bond {read in July}

Paddington At Large by Michael Bond {read in September}

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame {read in September}



To Read in 2018: 


Where the Light Falls: A Novel of the French Revolution by Allison and Owen Pataki

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Address by Fiona Davis

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Within the Walled City by Virginia Evans

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles {re-read}


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

A Rule Against Murder : Inspector Gamache #4 by Louise Penny


L’Appart : The Delights and Disasters of Making Paris My Home by David Lebovitz

Hourglass : Time, Memory, Marriage by Dani Shapiro

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine and Jay Wolf



Consider This : Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by Karen Glass

The End of Education : Redefining the Value of School  by Neil Postman

Beauty in the Word : Rethinking the Foundations of Education by Stratford Caldecott

Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason {I’m on Volume IV here.}

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley

Whole Brained Child by Daniel J. Siegel {re-read}

Self/Home/Family Improvement

Essentialism : The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown {re-read}

Steal Like an Artist : 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Make it Happen by Lara Casey

Quiet by Susan Cain {re-read}


When We Were Eve: Uncovering the Woman God Created You to Be by Colleen C. Mitchell

God or Nothing : A Conversation on Faith by Cardinal Robert Sarah

The Holy Spirit, Fire of Divine Love by Fr. Wilifred Stinissen

Strangers in a Strange Land : Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World by Charles J. Chaput

Knit One, Purl a Prayer : A Spirituality of Knitting by Peggy Rosenthal

To Light a Fire on the Earth : Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age by Bishop Robert Barron

Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Phillipe

33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley

Heaven in Stone and Glass : Experiencing the Spirituality of the Great Cathedrals by Bishop Robert Barron

Bridging the Great Divide : Musings of a Post-Liberal, Post-Conservative Evangelical Catholic by Bishop Robert Barron

Social Sciences

The Little Book of Hygge : Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

Out of the Ashes : Rebuilding American Culture by Anthony Esolen

The Power of Silence : Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Cardinal Robert Sarah

Deep Work : Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance


Knitting Yarns : Writers on Knitting edited by Ann Hood

A Paris All Your Own edited by Eleanor Brown

The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

Read-Alouds with My Children 

Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder


{Books I Read in 2016}
{Books I Read in 2015}
{Books I Read in 2014}

December 2017 Reads

Got back into a reading groove in December. We checked out a shelf-ful of books from the library, in addition to our own collection of Advent/Christmas reads, and took much time to just sit and enjoy the stories of the season. My own reading was very rich too. I’m thankful to close off this year with such a stack.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.} 

Rooted in Hope by Take Up and Read — This was a beautiful study put together by Elizabeth Foss’ Take Up and Read team. Those days I really entered in and practiced lectio divina alongside the beautiful words written here, were very fruitful. Their books Consider the Lilies and Stories of Grace are also excellent devotional books for any time of year.

 Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life by Lara Casey — I got my first set of Lara Casey’s Powersheets for an early Christmas gift this year. I read through this book alongside working through the brainstorming prompts in my Powersheets over the past few weeks in preparation for writing out my goals for the coming year. It is filled with inspiration and very helpful questions to get motivated for living more intentionally.

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher — An excellent wintertime read. It was wonderful to curl up with on a cold evening. It was light fare yet still a good study in human character.

My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir by Colleen Carroll Campbell — Stephen gave me this for Christmas and I devoured it in a few days. The author takes you on a journey through the wonderful and deep ways specific saints have influenced her life. The relationships she described resonated with me as I, too, find the companionship of these heavenly friends both worthwhile and vital.

Knitting Pearls: Writers Writing About Knitting edited by Ann Hood — This collection of essays was not a complete hit, but the ones I connected with were worth wading through the others to get to. An excellent read for thinking knitters.

Devotions by Mary Oliver — Another Christmas gift {one I wanted but no one knew!}. Mary Oliver has made me fall in love with poetry, something I never imagined. This collection of her best poems from earlier works has been a wonderful comfort read in the evenings. However, she makes me want to get outside!


Books I Read with My Children

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry — This sweet tale of a single Christmas tree that becomes many highlights how one thing can be a blessing to many.

 How the Hibernators Came to Bethlehem by Norma Faber — Lucie will never forget where Christ was born after following these animals to “Bethlehem! Follow me to Bethlehem!” The animals are drawn from their wintery rest by the Star to make their way to see the newborn King.


{Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit this month!}

November 2017 Reads

October is missing from my monthly reading logs because we were traveling nearly the entire month, mostly jumping time zones, so between managing children on flights and my woozy brain from never knowing what time it was, I didn’t find much time for words in a book. {We did, however, visit this lovely bookshop across the Seine from Notre Dame in Paris. Brought home a haul in typical Muff family style for souvenirs.}

So here are November’s, with a return to some fiction and thoughts of family culture.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer — A work of historical fiction set during WWII from the perspective of a Jewish Hungarian. It was an interesting read to see things through the eyes of a Jew who was with a country allied with the Axis during the war. There was a certain level of protection, but it certainly was anything near comfortable. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “a book recommended by someone with great taste”}

Not of This World: A Catholic Guide to Minimalism by Sterling Jaquith — I’ve ready many books on the subject of minimalism, which is perhaps what left me rather disenchanted with this read. There is a generally a good argument and practicalities of living as a Catholic minimalist, but it could have used more depth as to the why.
The Creative Family Manifesto : Encouraging Imagination and Nurturing Family Connections by Amanda Soule — I love the author’s magazine Taproot, which I’ve been subscribed to for a little over a year now, so I was interested to read her inspiration for living a creative life as a family. Much of this comes naturally for me, but I think it is a very inspiring read for those who wish to infuse more creativity in their family culture.


Books I Read with My Children

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting — Not what you’d expect to happen to the turkey on Thanksgiving — this book has a very funny ending!

 Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner — Such a fun and beautifully illustrated way to learn all about hibernators. We love other titles by the author too.


September 2017 Reads

A month of wonderful reads, for me all non-fiction and poetry. Sometimes I just get into that brain-building mode, you know? Perhaps it was the start of a new school year that did it to me.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

The Way of Beauty by David Clayton — This one has been on my TBR list for a while, but I knew it would take some brain power to really be read well and relished. I finally felt like I was in good place for that, so I savored it slowly throughout the month. So many good thoughts on the importance and method of expressing beauty in this world in the book. I will certainly be revisiting it. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “a book about a topic or subject you already love”}

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross — Second time reading this gem. I chose to read it again as I’ve been trying to simplify things in our household, but needed some further inspiration and encouragement. I think this is an excellent read for all parents who are really trying to help their children savor their childhoods. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “a book you’ve already read”}

 New and Selected Poems, Volume One by Mary Oliver — After catching glimpses of Mary Oliver’s poems here and there, and being stunned by their beauty, I had to pick up a copy of my own of her poetry. I always experience this tension when reading her words — I want to rush through all of them because I am so overtaken by their beauty, but I also want to enjoy them slowly so I don’t miss a word. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “a book in the backlist of a new favorite author”}

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz — This was a re-read in anticipation of our travels in Paris. Gathering ideas of cafes to frequent, but also driving excitement for all the delicious French food we would eat!

Books Read with My Children 

Paddington at Large by Michael Bond — We can never get enough of our friend, Paddington. We’re nearly through the entire collection and I wouldn’t be surprised if we started back at the beginning once we are done.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame — We had a rolicking good time reading the adventures of Mole, Rat, Toad, and friends in this epic story. The language was rich and had me worried for a time that the girls might miss the meaning of the story, but they absorbed it well and were entrenched in the story throughout. {Probably increased their vocabulary too! I know it did mine.}

Our Advent / Christmas Reads

I’ve had a few ask for a list of our Advent and Christmas reads so I thought I would share them here today. These are all ones that we own, but, be assured, we check out a good pile from the library every year that is just as large! Each year, we like to add a couple new ones to our collection. It didn’t start out big, but with every passing year {and a few good library sales!}, we are able to grow it.

These are some of our most treasured books. They get brought out at the beginning of the Advent season and stored away at the end of the Christmas season to be discovered anew the following year. Sometimes we like to wrap them like presents to use as an Advent calendar of sorts, but this year we will simply be pulling them from their basket on the hearth during reading times.

Please share some of your favorite Christmas reads in the comments so we will have new ones to discover too!

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

Especially for Advent and Other Feast Days

 Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp — Short, lovely reflections written to share alongside your children as you follow from Adam the lineage of Jesus’ family tree.

Waiting for Noel by Ann Dixon — A perfect story to begin the Advent season. Baby Noel is due at Christmas and her family anticipates her birth, just as we anticipate the arrival of the Christ Child at Christmas. It is easy to identify with the joyful anticipation of waiting for the birth of a child!

Lucia: Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde — To celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, we read this book that shares the story of her life as well as some traditions to celebrate her feast.


Quiet Time Together

A Christmas Garland compiled by Grace Hudson — A lovely collection of Christmas poems, perfect for Christmas afternoon tea times or anytime, really.

All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root — A song by Mary for her new little one.

Prayers Around the Crib by Juliette Levivier — Perfect Christmas prayers for your little ones.


Especially Sweet for Toddlers

Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate — I promise this lyrical poem told from the perspective of the manger animals will get stuck in your head. A big hit with toddlers.

One Night in Bethlehem by Jill Roman Lord — A touch-and-feel that allows children to imagine what it would be like if they had been there the night Jesus was born.

B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner — Beautifully illustrated, each letter of the alphabet gives us a glimpse of the Christmas story.

Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown — A toddler favorite told in lyrical form of all the important elements of the Christmas story.

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell — No matter what, there is always room for one more in the stable.

Dream Snow by Eric Carle — As a blanket of snow quietly covers the entire farm, a surprise awaits at the end as the farmer completes one, last task.


Nativity Stories

This is the Star by Joyce Dunbar — Told through lyrical repetition, the story of that Christmas night.

Father and Son: A Nativity Story by Geraldine McCaughrean — Joseph’s heart is revealed in this sweet story reflection on his role in the nativity.

Saint Francis and the Nativity by Myrna A. Strasser — This story reveals the origins of keeping a Nativity scene.


Just For Fun

The Littlest Christmas Elf by Nancy Buss — There’s a special place for all of us, even the littlest of elves.

I Spy: A Candy Cane by Jean Marzollo — The classic I Spy book is given a Christmas twist in this addition.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson — Bear is usually asleep during Christmas, but he friends won’t let him snooze this year. Or will they?

Olaf’s Night Before Christmas by Jessica Julius — A Frozen obsession drew us to this fun book. The Night Before Christmas, Olaf-style. Includes a CD read by the snowman himself.

Paddington Bear and the Christmas Surprise by Michael Bond — Per usual, something’s bound to happen when Paddington goes to visit Santa Claus!

A Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett — A jolly chase to find the perfect Christmas perfect tree! Gingerbread baby is always a delight. {We also love Gingerbread Friends!}

Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? by Tomie dePaola — The chaos of the family Christmas gathering. Apparently, even Santa experiences it too.

Madeline’s Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans — A sweet tale in the classic Madeline tradition.

The Mitten by Jan Brett — Will all the animals fit into the discovered mitten? And what will it look like when it returns to the boy? {In the same vein is her book The Hat.}

The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert — A Nordic tale of a little girl’s wish to become one of Santa’s elves.

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner — A rolicking tale of what those seemingly innocent and quiet snowmen actually do at night when we’re all sleeping.


Christmas Traditions

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas  — A story of Christmas memories beautifully told through the eyes of a child. We picked up our copy at Shakespeare and Co. when we were in Paris in October, so it’s especially meaningful to us.

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg — You will never see a candy cane the same way again. A wonderful telling of the meaning behind the candy cane.

Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal — Adjectives to describe our feelings during the Christmas season, perfect for little ones to understand {and a recipe for cookies at the end!}.

An Early American Christmas by Tomie dePaola — Early American Christmas traditions are shared in this book by the famous author Tomie dePaola

Ella Bella Ballerina and the Nutcracker by — If you have a daughter who loves the ballet, this and the author’s others are perfect for her. Told through the eyes of a tiny ballerina, it gives the story of the ballet in a wonderful format.



 Comment le Grinch a volé Noël {How the Grinch Stole Christmas} by Dr. Seuss — We read {with translation} the French version of this famous story of the Grinch who wanted to make everyone’s life miserable on Christmas, until he found out the true meaning of Christmas.

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers — Our favorite telling and illustration of the delightful Nutcracker story.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg — The classic tale, with beautiful illustrations, that belongs on every child’s shelf.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham — With wonderful, large illustrations and big print, it is the perfect book to cuddle up with a telling of the famous Christmas story.


Books Sharing a Song

The Huron Carol illustrated by Fr. Jean de Brebeauf — A lovely Christmas carol by a Jesuit missionary to Canada, this is an illustrated version that shows how the Hurons took the story of Christmas as their own.

The Friendly Beasts: An Old Christmas Carol illustrations by Tomie dePaola — The song of the animals contribution on that Christmas night, wonderfully illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Good King Wenceslas read by Jane Seymour and illustrated by Omar Rayyan — The story of the benevolent king who went out on a cold Christmas night to bring Christmas joy to the people of his kingdom.


A Lesson Revealed

The Small One by Alex Walsh — Forced to sell his tiny, old donkey, a young boy won’t sell him to just anyone….

The Nutcracker Doll by Mary Newell DePalma — Big dreams start small as Kepley finds out in her first (yet tiny) role in the Nutcracker performance.

Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect by Richard H. Schneider — A beautiful lesson revealed that it is more important to sacrifice yourself for others than to maintain perfection.

The Miraculous Child by Alvin Alexsi Currier — A Russian tale on the importance of hospitality

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson — Mortimer the mouse doesn’t want to share his newfound house with stiff strangers…until he hears the story of the first Christmas.

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo — The impact the smallest act of kindness can have on a person who is lonely.


Oh, To Be Understood {If Just By Yourself!}

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

I’ve always been an information junkie — I like to take in as much information as I can about a particular subject so I can feel that a decision made is well-informed, a subject to be understood is well-researched. The same is true in regards to knowledge of myself and how I relate to other people. I like to learn more about what influences the way I, and others with differing personality types, think and behave. As Anne Bogel states in her new book, Reading People, “I don’t feel boxed in by my personality; instead, understanding myself has taught me how to open the box and step out of it.” It is often easier to navigate the circumstances and events of life when you know what will make you tick or where your strengths lie.


Just knowing that I’m an introvert, allows me to be aware that when I’m spending time with an extroverted friend, I might tire out sooner than that person, or that I might need to alert my friend that it might take me a bit more time to make a decision about something, when they are nearly immediately ready to get going on whatever jumps to their attention first. I’m less likely to butt heads with them when I’m aware of these fundamental differences in our personalities.

I live in a household of Highly Sensitive People {or HSPs} of varying degrees, and in different ways, of sensitivity.

“HSPs can be intense. They are passionate by nature, and can make others feel their passion too.”
~ Anne Bogel, Reading People

This, of course, can be a real treat when everyone is over-stimulated! However, knowing this about ourselves is extremely helpful, because when the tell-tale signs of reaching a breaking point begin to rear their ugly heads, we have developed methods of tiptoeing away from the sleeping bear so as not to awaken him. If we did not know this about each other, we would be more likely to fall into the negative attributes that we can tend towards when we become overwhelmed.

These are just a few of the ways that knowing a bit about personality types have been beneficial for me and those I relate to.

I had the privilege recently of reading an advance copy of Anne Bogel’s Reading People, set to release September 19th, which goes into these typing sets and many more. I’ve enjoyed reviewing some of which I’m already familiar with and getting to know about a few more. She gives an excellent overview of each one, recommendations on where to learn more and identify your own of each kind, as well as some great tools for when you get stuck attempting to figure out in which camp you fall within a certain framework. {After misidentifying myself as an INTJ for many years, I’m actually leaning towards INFP/J. Still trying to work this out, but Anne’s tips have me going in the right direction after feeling quite stuck.}


I’ve heard some say that these personality frameworks simply allow people to justify their negative behavior. I have known certain individuals to do this, but that is a misuse of them. When used properly as a tool to understand yourself and others better, they can, truly, help you become a better version of you and provide tools for improving your relationship with others, be that with friends, family members, or work colleagues. They are not meant to pigeonhole but rather be tools for formation and growth.


Reading People is a great introduction for those unfamiliar with personality typing, as well as for those who would like to dig deeper into them. I guarantee that, with an inquisitive mind, you’ll get to know a bit more about yourself {and maybe even those around you} as you make your way through this book. And it will likely have you thirsting for more!

Grab a pre-order before September 19th and there are some excellent bonuses which you can pick up through the Reading People website with your order number.


Disclaimer: I was provided an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

August 2017 Reads

Hey! Look at that. I’m getting my book post up before the end of the first week of the month. We started school this week, so I’m beginning with some good juggling. We’ll see how it all pans out by the end of the month, though…. 😉

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}


School Education by Charlotte Mason — The third of the six part series by Charlotte Mason, I’ve become increasingly inspired by her educational method as I read through each one. She goes into depth in this book regarding her motto: “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” I really love her emphasis on instilling curiosity and wonder in your children, rather than aiming to teach to a test. Highly recommend this series. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, 3rd and final of “Three books by the same author”}

The Fringe Hours: Making More Time for You by Jessica Turner — While the message of this book was worthwhile and important {i.e. finding time within the fringes of your day to do the things you enjoy}, it left me more stressed out than inspired. I suppose it could be because I already utilize the “fringe hours” pretty well for accomplishing little tasks here and there, so I finished feeling like I wasn’t accomplishing enough within them {not what I needed}. I also think there is too much of a push to fill every compartment of one’s day with activity, instead of maybe spending five, free minutes letting your mind and body relax. That’s what I need more of.

Which leads to my next two books that are more about slowing down…..

In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore — This was a good read, albeit, some of his points could have been more concise {so many examples}. It takes a thorough look at areas of our lives that could use some slowing down. Ones that in this fast-paced world has many suffering from anxiety due to the intense pace we all keep. One thing that really resonated with me: the life of speed keeps us from really connecting with the persons we encounter, especially those closest to us.

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner — Similar message to the last book, but told in a memoir style. The author relates tales from her life where busy-ness spiraled right out of control, even in the midst of many good things. The irony of her title is that sometimes slow is something you have to pursue with the same intensity as fast. But! Ultimately, one finds more satisfaction there. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “A book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able”}


Books I Read to my Children

Mix It Up! by Henri Tullet — My youngest is in love with these books by Henri Tullet. A teacher friend of my mother-in-law introduced her to these recently and she can’t get enough of them. Their interactive nature is right up her alley. If you have a kinesthetic child, these are top-notch for their need to touch.

Chester: the Worldly Pig by Bill Peet — A silly tale of a pig who was too big for his own britches…or is he? This certainly had us laughing at the surprise ending.

John Philip Duck by Patricia Polacco — A duck named after John Philip Sousa? He just might be born for entertaining too! My youngest was in love with this fun story of a young bell boy whose duck made the hotel where he worked world famous. Such great illustrations too.

July 2017 Reads

Still in school prep mode as you will see from my list of reads this month {although I did get to one fun novel!}. Back into reading chapter books with the girls too as that fell off a bit the past few months.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}


Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie — I’ve had this on my shelf for a while and was thinking to keep it there for when I hit a time of turbulence in our homeschooling journey. But I’m glad I made the decision to give it a read-through BEFORE we begin. {It’s always better to have a few coping skills in your tool box before you get to a emergency situation and, even better, possibly prevent burn-out from happening altogether.} I love the author’s relatable thoughts on how to plan and schedule your days in the way that is best for YOUR family, but also some thoughts on resting in what you’ve accomplished and not fretting about what could not be done. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “A book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet}

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner — This was an excellent modern novel that ties together the story of two women in the most unexpected way — one living in the modern day, the other in early 20th century, New York City. The consideration of one’s reaction to a catastrophic event is examined in both the characters and leads you to do a little soul-searching of your own.

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel — I read this as part of the launch team for the book which will be released on September 19th. Anne gives a wonderful introduction into many of the personality tests and how they can be useful in your life. I’m a bit of a personality junkie myself, and have read and tested through a lot of different ones, but I found this helpful too in helping pinpoint ones I was on the fence about and how I could use the knowledge of them more in my life. {If you grab the book on pre-order, there are some amazing freebies up for grabs, including an audio recording by Anne of the book!}

Parents and Children by Charlotte Mason — Second in the six-part series, this one focuses on the role of parents in the education of a child. I think it is worthwhile read even if one sends their children to traditional school. I love how Mason encourages awakening wonder in a child to be the basis of their learning instead of just learning for an examination. This will instill in a child the life-long love of learning and exploring that I truly hope to pass onto mine. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, 2nd of “Three books by the same author”}


Books Read to My Children 

A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog by Mercer Mayer — Wordless, yet highly entertaining. I read this over and over with my youngest who would relate in each picture the story as it progressed. It’s an excellent way to encourage narration in a young child.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo — This is a beautiful tale of hope and perseverance told through a juxtaposition of the light and darkness of a castle. It is simple and relatable for young children. It’s a wonderful tale to open up conversation about going through a difficult time but not giving up.

Paddington on Top by Michael Bond — We just can’t get enough of this beloved bear. I think this is about number five or six for us in the series. {We were reading in order but now I just go with what I can get my hands on readily as the stories don’t really have a progression.} This one is a great vacation read as there are some high-flying tales of Paddington on a vacation of his own.


{Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit this month!}

June 2017 Reads

I nearly forgot about last month’s reading list until I ran across Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit this morning. These past few months have nearly been a blur with all the happenings at home {and why it is so quiet around here}, I’ve hardly had time to read. But I did steal a few moments when we were vacationing pre-4th of July weekend! I checked off two of my books for my MMD Reading Challenge, so at least I made some progress there. Both of my reads were good…but vastly different books.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}


Silence by Shusaku Endo — I was hesitant to read this as the subject matter promised to be violent to some degree. But when a few other readers said it was palatable {unlike the film which I don’t think I will be watching}, I decided to give it a try. The story revolves around a missionary priest in Japan who wrestles with another’s apostasy…and the prospect of his own. It is a very good analysis of a crisis of faith in the midst of extraordinary persecution. It certainly makes you think about the strength of your own faith. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, “A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending” — I think this book covers both of those!}

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams — This is an excellent “beach read” that sweeps you along, making you want to stay up way past ‘lights out’. With a commingling of two women’s lives in the 1960’s, it revolves around a notorious, old car with quite the history. The story flips the reader back to pre-war Europe as the main protagonist navigates a coming-of-age all too quickly. It is one of several in a loose series of stories surrounding the Schulyer family. I read this over several days, and will certainly be looking for another in the series when I need another “beach read”. {MMD Reading for FUN Challenge, “A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit” (that would be Antibes — yes, please!)}


Books Read with My Children

Turtle Splash!: Countdown at the Pond by Cathryn Falwell — This is a fun, short read that my youngest enjoyed as we learned how to count backwards as the turtles jumped into the pond one-by-one.

Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey — As we began reading this, I thought my girls would lose interest with the heavy text on some pages, but the author magnificently describes the scenes he wants to place his readers in in such a way that they were easily captivated by each page. The illustrations are breathtaking as well.

 Animal Alphabet by Alex A. Lluch — This book is at the girls’ grandparents’ house but is one they pull out every time we are over. Lucie, especially, loves to go through the letters and attempt to name all the animals behind each window before sliding it open. It’s a great way to both learn the alphabet and the names of many animals.

May 2017 Reads

May was a busy month so my reading time was less than I would have liked it to be, but I got plenty of time in with the girls cuddled up with a good book or two…or dozen. They also followed suit.

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}


Home Education by Charlotte Mason — I will be working through the series of Mason’s six books over the next few months. This is the first in the series {which has just been reprinted!}. It was hugely helpful and confirming that our educational philosophy will lean heavily on this over the next few years, at least. I enjoyed her style, but those who haven’t spent much time in philosophical works might find it more tedious to get through. {MMD Reading for GROWTH Challenge, 1st of “Three books by the same author”}

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay — You will notice a common theme here in both {and only} books I read this month: prepping for next year’s schooling. I sat down and read this in a day. Again, looking at the Charlotte Mason manner of teaching. It is highly accessible and much less intellectual, more practical. I will be returning to this often for inspiration and buoyancy when I’m feeling like I’m floundering.


Books Read with My Children

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney — This inspiring read has a wonderful moral my eldest has really taken to heart and is trying to implement with her own sowing of flowers throughout our yard.

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork — This was a favorite of mine growing up. I attribute it to my lifelong long of Impressionism, and especially Monet’s works. It is also leading my girls to the same, I think. 😉 It’s a lovely tale of a little girl who travels to France with her friend to see Monet’s works and the actual garden in Giverny that inspired many of his paintings. {This little film based on the book is great too.}

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey — Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk! You can’t help but be captivated by little Sal and his hunt for blueberries — and the surprise that he encounters along the way. Warning: it will make you want to go out to a patch and pick a bunch of your own.

Little Bear Collection by Else Minarik — A much-loved story book character already, Little Bear, was a huge hit to listen along to as we did a couple long road trips this month. Highly recommend for other little ones who love this sweet bear.

%d bloggers like this: