The Reading Report, Vol. 2

Welcome to Volume 2 of “The Reading Report!” I am so glad to have you here to discuss books and reading with me! In Volume 1 I listed all the books I have read over the past year or so, but now I am ready to write about my current reads. So fix your favorite beverage, pull up a chair and let’s chat about books, shall we?

What I am currently reading. . .

First up, because it is the book I was reading most recently, is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I started this one to participate in a discussion group on the AmblesideOnline Forums, and it has been really helpful to read along with other people. We are reading it very slowly, just one “book” every month, which is good because it is pretty meaty. At first I had a hard time keeping all the characters and their relationships to each other straight, but now that we are halfway through, I feel a lot more comfortable with all that. I am still trying to figure out how I feel about this book. I like it, but not in the same way I like, say, Pride and Prejudice. The Brothers Karamazov is the first Russian novel I have read, and the pacing and structure is very different from my usual reading. I am finding that I do not always understand the deeper themes and ideas that are being developed in the conversations alongside the plot, but I decided that for my first reading, I don’t need to worry about that. I am just trying to enjoy the ride and see it through to the end, which should not be too hard since I really am curious to find out what happens to the various characters!

The other fiction I am actually really reading right now is Brideshead RevisitedThis is another read inspired by a group discussion, this time on the Close Reads podcast from CiRCE. I find it interesting that this is one of several books I have read this year that are either during or shortly after World War 1. This was a time period I have virtually no knowledge of, but reading fiction from that era of history has given me a desire to know more. The prose in Brideshead Revisited is truly some of the most beautiful I have ever encountered. Waugh is a master wordsmith. I have also really benefited from the podcast discussion as it has helped bring out a lot of ideas I would have otherwise missed because I am so new to the concept of reading closely.

In non-fiction, which is usually my weak spot, I am dipping into three different parenting books right now, all of which I have enjoyed and gleaned wisdom from thus far: Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson, Grase-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel, and Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake. I will write in more detail about each of these later when I have gotten closer to finishing them!

What I have finished reading recently. . .

I actually FINISHED a whole book! And in just one short week, too! It has been a while since I read through something that quickly. I am on the launch team for a brand new book called More Than Just Making It by blogger Erin Odum of The Humbled Homemaker. I will have a post dedicated to my book summary and review, but suffice to say that it was an excellent read! Part memoire, part practical tips on how to go from financial frustration to financial freedom. If you are at all interested in getting the book, I highly recommend you check out the preorder bonuses because they are amazing!

What’s on the back burner. . .

So, I sometimes have a problem with a little “start-itis” in which I begin reading too many books at a time. Some of the books I was gung-ho to start in the winter and spring have had to take a back seat. I fully intend to read them in the very near future, but for now I just don’t have the bandwidth for them. Back burner books, in no particular order, are: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (I was mostly listening to this on audio, but probably need to switch to print because I was tuning it out too easily); Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (again listening on audio); Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (another audio book I haven’t had time for); The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain; and A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola.

I was considering sharing a bit of my “To Be Read” list, but I think this volume is quite long enough already! What are you reading right now? Have you finished any great books lately? I wouldn’t mind adding a few more titles to my own wishlist! 😉

The Reading Report, Vol. 1

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blogging efforts, so thanks in advance!

Welcome to the first installment of “The Reading Report”! My hope for this series to keep not only a record of the books I am currently reading and have finished, but also to keep an ongoing conversation with you about your reading life! In Volume 1, I will only be sharing a list of what I have read over the past year, just to give us a jumping off point. It is pretty long, but I wanted to get these recorded someplace besides my old planner. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Books Finished. . .

I started keeping a running tally of books I finished in September 2016, so I am going to start my “Reading Year” there. At first I included on this list chapter books I had read aloud to my 6 year old son, but I have not been doing that lately since they are all on his school reading list. So I will not include them in this post, either. Goodness knows my list is long enough already!

September 2016:

October 2016:

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

For some reason I have no record of books I finished this month. I think I had started my slower reading at that point, and it was getting a little more difficult to get through as much. We also started our first year with AmblesideOnline, so I had a little more on my plate school-wise.

February 2017

  • Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers (read along with the CiRCE Close Reads podcast discussion)
  • The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (I listened to this on audio via Librivox and then read each act afterword. This was another book discussion in which I participated on the AO Forum.)

March 2017

April 2017

And that is where my list of books finished ends. In May we had a lot going on in our family. Plus, the weather was pretty much perfect for spending time playing with the kids outside, so there was less time for just sitting around reading. I also started adding some more longer term reading to my plate. But completing 25 books in about 9 months isn’t too shabby for a slow reader! I have not set specific goals for how many books I would like to read in a year, although I know a lot of people do. I am more interested in quality over quantity, at least at this point. How about you? Do you set goals for your reading? Do you track what you have read/are reading in some way? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Be sure to come back for Volume 2 of The Reading Report in which I will be talking about my actual current booklist! Until, then, go get lost in a story!

My Reading Life

I have always been a reader, not a voracious reader, mind you, but someone who always enjoyed getting lost in a good story. As a child, my mother took me to the library on a weekly basis, and I was fond of these trips and getting new books to read. As school got more intense and life busier, I gradually read for pleasure less and less. As an adult, especially, my reading life took a major hit from work and life demands, as well as the fact that we moved to Illinois. We found that because we lived outside of town we would have to pay for library cards, and that simply was not in our budget at the time. For several years I really rarely read anything more than blog posts and online articles. Sad, but true! We did have access to Kindle books, but for a long time I really did not even know what to read, so even that resource was of no use to me.

Then, 2 years ago a couple of things changed. First, I had our second child and found myself with a lot of time on my hands, sitting nursing a baby with nothing else to do. Second, I had found out about the Charlotte Maon philosophy of homschooling and her emphasis on living books. Pretty soon, I found the free curriculum at AmblesideOnline.org and started pouring over the booklists there. And oh, the free Kindle links were a feast for my poor, reading-starved mind to behold! Suddenly, I had a sizeable laundry list of time-tested literature that I had never read, all right there on my phone. I started reading as many as I could, and that went pretty quickly at first because I started with the first grade level books and just read through them one at a time. 

At the same time, however, I also started listening to several podcasts and reading more blogs about classical education. One of those podcasts was the Close Reads podcast from the CiRCE Institute. It was fun to listen to the hosts discuss books, but even more fun if I was reading along. So I added whatever they were discussing to my growing reading list! Then I joined the AmblesideOnline forums and discovered their book discussions. More books to read and talk about! Somewhere around this same time period I also found out about all the free classics on audio at Librivox.org! Can you see how this is going? I went from hardly reading anything at all, to reading ALL THE THINGS in a matter of two short years. Lately it has been feeling like I might have too many books going at once and that I should probably try to just get through a few to get them off my list. But when you only have a few minutes here and there between taking a toddler to the potty and reminding a 6-year-old to take his shoes to the mud room (for the 5th time in the last 10 minutes!) and trying to make sure the rice for dinner isn’t boiling over on the stove. . . Well, it is hard to get through a chapter of something, let along a whole book! Besides, I know that dear old Charlotte Mason advocated slow reading, and it seems that I am going very slowly indeed with so many books on my plate at once! 

But I am not complaining. I am loving my reading life right now, even though I would like to organize it a bit better, perhaps. I have almost wondered if I shouldn’t assign certain books to certain days just to keep them all going at a steady pace. How about you? What is your reading life like? Do you like to finish one book at a time, or do you keep a few (or several) going st once? Do you have a good system for keeping multiple books up at the same time? If so, do share! I’m all ears!