Life is busy.
Of the books I read in 2017, I think the one I'd recommend most highly was Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution by Natalie Bober. Other highlights of the year were The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery and Shakespeare's Richard III, neither of which were even on the radar in January.
So - looking ahead. I want to simplify things a little this year, and I'm not signing up for any of the challenges (after attempting 3 last year and not really following up with any of them). I've adjusted my categories a bit:
History spines: finish Age of Revolution. I probably won't go on to The Great Democracies until 2019. Instead, I've started Clarence B. Carson's Basic History of the United States. I finished the first 2 volumes in that series this year between Churchill books, and I think when I finish Churchill's Revolution I would like to do Carson's The Sections and the Civil War.
Six novels, attempt to finish 1 every 2 months:
- The Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas - I'm about a third of the way through this
- Platero y Yo, Jimenez - I'm going to try reading this one in Spanish
- Huckleberry Finn, Twain - Jack will be riding this river for school next year. I've read it before but would like to reread it before sending him off with it.
- Oliver Twist, Dickens - Another book for Jack, although I actually haven't read this one yet.
- Frankenstein, Shelly - maybe
- Silas Marner, Elliot - If I finish the others
While talking about novels, I'll also mention that Sally is currently reading Children of the New Forest, and I'm enjoying it with her. Molly just recieved a beautiful unabridged copy of Pinocchio, which I plan to read to her over the next few months, as well as reading the entire Winnie the Pooh series to both of my preschoolers this year. I'll probably also read half a dozen or so of Jack's 5th grade free reads during the spring and summer.
Six biographies/autobiographies - more than I've ever set out to read in one year before:
- William Wilberforce
- Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery
- Frederick Douglas, Narrative
- Abraham Lincoln
- The Wright Brothers
- John Harrison, Longitude (by Dava Sobel)
I plan to alternate the biographies with 6 other non-fiction books in various genres:
- The Vanishing American Adult, (current events) by Ben Sasse
- Arguing About Slavery, (history) William Lee Miller (Do you see a theme this year?)
- The Law, Bastiat (politics - yikes)
- Towards a Philosophy of Education, (pedagogy) Charlotte Mason - worth rereading
- Know and Tell, (pedagogy) Karen Glass
- Madam How and Lady Why, (science) Charles Kingsley - an author I have not gotten along with very well in the past. But I'm determined not to drop this AO book from my kids' curriculum without at least trying to read it myself first - especially since the general consensus on the forum is that there's not a good replacement for it.
And Christian Thought: I'm learning from a mistake I made last year, and leaving this list more than half empty so that I can fill it in with books suggested for various church-related studies or suggestions from friends or family, which overwhelmingly seem to fall in this category. The goal would be to read at least 12 over the year. Here's a short list to get myself started:
- The Duties of Parents, JC Ryle
- Comforts from the Cross, Elyse Fitzpatrick
- Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, Gloria Furman
- The Deadliest Monster, JF Baldwin
- The Attributes of God, Pink