Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What We're Reading: Beginning of May Edition

I enjoy reading other people's posts about what is being read in their families, and I thought I'd try to do this once a month or so as well.

About two months ago, I decided to start a reading plan of sorts for myself.  I was tired of having a long list of books I was trying to read, and I was frustrated when I realized that while I am always reading good and worthwhile books, I wasn't always getting to books I really felt I should read.

I decided to resolve the following:

  • Create a list of categories of books, and to either read the book through or decide definitively not to finish a book before moving onto another book in that category
  • Read twice from each category each week
  • In each session, to read in each category for at least 10 minutes, but no more than 30
  • To review and update my commonplace book twice a week
  • To write notes about my reading in several categories 
  • To participate in Weekends with Chesterton (which I'm obviously not doing well on as of late!)

So far this has gone well for me.  I have a note in Evernote to track my reading each week and I'm enjoying continuing to make progress through a variety of books.  I'm thinking about the books more as I'm not gulping them down over a short period of time, and my commonplace is filling with interesting and thought provoking quotes.  It has also encouraged me to stick with a book if I get to a point where I feel the book is dragging, rather than consigning it to the "oh, I'll get back to it later" pile where it seldom gets picked up again.

So, with that explanation out of the way, here's my current list of categories and what I'm reading in each.

Bible:  2 Timothy - I'm following this plan, which encourages the reader to read through each book twenty times before moving to the next.  I doubt Charlotte Mason would approve but I'm finding it an interesting discipline as I feel like it is allowing me to get a good feel for the themes and rhythms of each book I'm reading.
Fiction:  Waverley, by Sir Walter Scott
Poetry:  I recently finished Goblin Market, The Prince's Progress and Other Poems by Christina Rossetti and now I'm reading First Fig and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Spiritual Reading:  Learning the Virtues by Romano Guardini
General Non-fiction:  The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D. - The research is fascinating, the willpower challenges are useful and helpful, but the way the book is written is occasionally obnoxious.
Self-education:  The Abolition of Man, by C.S. Lewis - This category is for all those books I see referenced and quoted, but haven't actually read.
Chesterton:  I finished The Ball and The Cross last week, and I'm going to start The Trees of Pride next.  I like reading obscure Chesterton.
History:  I recently finished A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander (a great WWII story largely about a German fighter pilot) and now I'm reading Killing Jesus, which was lent to me.  The tone of the book leaves a lot to be desired, and I think the book is poorly edited.  Every time I read it I find myself annoyed, which probably means I should stop.
Charlotte Mason:  The Living Page - The book discussion for this book was cancelled by request of the author, so I won't be posting on it anymore.  It is an excellent book, however, and it has helped me grow in my understanding of Mason's methods and of my role in my children's education.

Emma (age 12):
April was largely a re-reading month for Emma.  She re-read several of the later Anne books, the Mitchells series, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Right now she's reading The Secret Garden.

Gregory (age 8):
Gregory has been enjoying the Tales of the RAF series about a boy who lives near an airfield in England during WWII.  He recently finished On the Edge of the Fjord and he's currently reading The Story of D-Day by Bruce Bliven.

Nathan (age 5) and Justin (age 2):
My two non-independent readers are bringing me a motley collection of books from around the house.  Nathan doesn't tend to find favorites that we read over and over, but Justin is currently enamored with several books.  Right now I'm frequently reading The Best Place to Read, several Eric Carle books, and Snowmen books (Snowmen at Work, Snowmen at Night).  He also has a soft spot for Otis, and I haven't had the heart to put away An Otis Christmas because he's so attached to it.


  1. I love seeing what others are reading, too! I like the idea behind your plan; I really should do something like that as well.

  2. I love your book rotation--I really need to do this. I always have a few books going at once in various categories, but not having a methodical way of approaching actually getting through those books means that some get neglected. And a rotation in which CM and Chesterton each get their own category? My kind of reading plan! :)

    The books Gregory is reading sound like they would be right up my Vincent's alley--definitely checking them out. And I can't wait to introduce my daughter to the Anne series in a few years. Swoon! :)