2017 First Quarter: What We Read

Instead of just listing all the books we read at the end of the year, I thought I would do a post every quarter to go into more depth with some of them, and to highlight some children’s books we enjoyed with S as well. Once more I’ve been surprised at how many books I read – having a list and the library and a sheet (Tim Challies’ Reading Challenge) to keep track of it really makes a difference for me!

January
Raoul Wallenburg: The Man Who Stopped Death. I started this one in December, borrowed from Ezra’s family. Raoul Wallenburg is one of Ezra’s heroes, a man who saved many Jews during the Holocaust. I enjoyed the book, but the style was more suited to late elementary.

They Say We are Infidels Mindy Belz. I wrote about this one previously. It was a very good and eye-opening read, but discouraging because there’s no “ending” with a struggle still going on in Iraq and Syria.

Dispatches from the Front Tim Keese. This was a Christmas gift and I really enjoyed it, once I got used to the “dispatches” style. Lots of inspiring stories of how God is working in the world. We plan on using it as a part of school for our kids someday.

The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers Kavanaugh. Very enjoyable, especially seeing what he had to say about some of the more controversial composers like Wagner and Mozart.

Loving the Little Years Rachel Jankovic. A really good one for me to read as we settled into new routines in our new house, and one I highly recommend to mothers “in the trenches.”

February
The Renewing of the Mind Project Barb Raveling. Mentioned in a previous post, really important for me in fighting PPD, though I don’t always love her writing style.

The First 1,000 Days This was about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life (conception-2 years), especially regarding nutrition. It was eye-opening to see how people don’t know things I take for granted like the necessity of washing hands and produce, but the book wasn’t what I was expecting – I was expecting it to be more about how I can teach them in the first 1,000 days, not just following the stories of mothers and their babies in that time frame.

More Charlotte Mason Education I have been reading a lot of Charlotte Mason books, partly to prepare for the future and partly because there are SO many out there I want to pick one or two to own. This one was short and mostly little summaries of ideas for different subjects.

Symphony for the City of the Dead Anderson. I listened to this one on tape and thoroughly enjoyed it, although it was also very sad. Shostakovich isn’t a composer I had listened to or read much about before, so it was nice to become more familiar with him and his work.

Wildly Affordable Organic I learned a few little things, but mostly was disappointed by this book… but I hadn’t read about it beyond the title, so that may be why: it’s wildly affordable VEGETARIAN organic. We tried a few of her recipes and they weren’t bad but not super flavorful, and the $5 a day is per PERSON, so really we are pretty close to that (if you count S, which some days she eats as much as an adult, and I eat more than usual while nursing).

Dancing Through It Jenifer Ringer. I really enjoyed this since I used to do ballet, and it would definitely be something I would want our girls to read if either of them ever were seriously considering advanced ballet.

March
Hinds Feet on High Places I thought of this book a few months ago and decided I should read it since I kept thinking of the verse it is based on. While I don’t always agree with all the theology, it was very good for me to read it and I can definitely see myself reading it again if we have a 3rd kid, since a lot of Much Afraid’s struggles are ones I forsee myself having if facing PPD again.

Mission of Motherhood Sally Clarkson. This was recommended to me by a friend in Japan, and then I read Desperate which Sally Clarkson co-authors. I don’t always love her writing style but I love what she has to say and was really encouraged and challenged by this book, especially as lately I’ve felt I’ve been floundering a little as a parent with S growing and changing so much.

The Last Will and Testament of Captain Nemo Mary Purselley. Always fun to read what friends have written! This was more of a short story than a book, but it was an enjoyable quick read.

A Charlotte Mason Education similar to More Charlotte Mason Education. I like how concise these are but would probably go with “A Charlotte Mason Companion” over them, although I feel that one is too wordy.

Mission at Nuremberg I was really disappointed by this book, especially since it was one of WORLD’s books of the year a few years ago. There was a LOT of backstory that I felt was too lengthy. Really only the last few chapters held my attention, but those were the only chapters that were what I thought the book was going to be – I thought it was going to be more about the ministry during the trial and less about chaplain Gereke. But even worse was (especially considering it got such high praise from WORLD) that the theology in it was so so off many times. Not Gereke’s, but the author’s commentary.

A Grief Sanctified J.I. Packer. We started this book a few years ago and picked it up on and off, but only on our drive up from Oregon in January did we really make much progress in it. It’s mostly Richard Baxter’s words after the death of his wife, and is very good, regarding marriage, sanctification, and even some on depression that was really helpful to me. We highly recommend it!

Material World mentioned in a Charlotte Mason email I received, I put this one on hold at the library right away. It was fascinating to see and read about people’s lives and belongings. I just wish it wasn’t 20 years old! We were also pleased to find that it was very modest.

The Ministry of Motherhood Sally Clarkson. I hesitated to read this one since I wasn’t sure how different it would be from Mission of Motherhood. There is some overlap, and I feel like Ministry of Motherhood is more focused and will probably be more helpful to me when the girls are older, but it’s still very good for me to read now, giving me more ideas and direction for interacting with them and pointing them to God.

Both of her books are a bit longwinded and have lots of personal anecdotes that can get tedious and sometimes seem to replace what would be more helpful as direct teaching. Also, some commenters are irritated by their seemingly picture perfect life, but she does include some struggles and for me it’s encouraging to know what can be instead of just more examples of difficulty. So I do highly recommend her books but with those two side notes. They are very solid and encouraging and help on both a philosophical and practical level.I recommend The Mission of Motherhood more than The Ministry of Motherhood.


In the middle of…

Parenting Paul Tripp.

Children
Big Picture Story Bible We bought this for the girls for Christmas and love it! I am hoping to do a comparison of children’s Bibles soon and will write more about this and the next two then.
For Such a Time as This Angie Smith. S’s favorite “women Bible.”
The Biggest Story Kevin DeYoung. I got this more out of curiosity since I knew it was only a few chapters and wondered how it was different from others with the recent “boom” in children’s Bibles.
A Ride on Mother’s Back a book about babywearing! It was fun, though do note some nudity in some of the drawings.
Counting Birds Alice Melville.
Hurry and the Monarch.
Insect Detective.
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane. About monks illuminating the Bible. S fell in love with this book, especially after we used berries to stain paper.
Zin Zin Zin A Violin another favorite!
What Charlie Heard about Charles Ives. It’s neat to see some of the books for children about more modern composers like Ives.
An Egg is Quiet Dianna Aston. All of her books are BEAUTIFUL and we love them.

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