I may be a Kindergarten teacher once again, but I can still put together an equation when needed:
new job + new city + new home + new graduate program + first 6 weeks of the school year = no free time
As a result, I am rather proud of myself for getting this post done. While I’ve fallen behind on my reading (and blogging), I am determined to finish this 30-book list before the end of 2014, and I’ve made some progress since my last update in May. My Goodreads goal of reading 60 books in 2014, however, will need to be adjusted down to 50. As I write this, I only have 37 books read for the year, and I’m 6 books behind schedule. My total number of books may not be as high as I’d like, but I’ve been captivated by quite a few utterly fantastic reads to date.
1. The New Testament in Modern English – In progress.
2. Theology – Done (thrice)! In February I read Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline by Lauren F. Winner and granted it 4 stars.
In March I read Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food by Rachel Marie Stone. One of the goals that I’ve taken on as 2014 has progressed is to truly find peace with food. I do not want to spend my life as a yo-yo dieter; I do not want to spend my life counting Points and obsessing about food. I want to enjoy food and be grateful for food, but I do not want it to run my life. Eat with Joy was a place to start, and I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.
And in August I finally finished up Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen. I wish I had read this one years ago, as it’s easily a 5-star book and deserves to be read and reread many times over.
3. Pulitzer Prize Winner – Done! Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout left me with mixed feelings and therefore earned an average, 3-star rating from me on Goodreads.
4. Mystery – Done! I read, and was sorely disappointed by, Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James. It was a 2-star book.
5. Spy/Crime Novel – Done! While traveling in Wyoming this summer, I made my way through The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson, the first book in the Walt Longmire series. It kept me intrigued, and I gave it a solid 4 stars.
6. Science Fiction –
7. Fantasy –
8. Christian Romance – Done! To help distract me from the stress of testing season last spring, I read Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick. My mother-in-law is an avid Christian romance reader, and Sophie’s Heart was her top recommendation for me. I can see why, as I gave the novel 4 stars on Goodreads.
9. Popular History – Done (twice)! Over spring break, John and I listened to Ed Herrmann narrate David McCullough’s The Johnstown Flood. Riveting and thorough, I granted The Johnstown Flood 5 stars.
John and I also listened to the audiobook version of Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927 during our winter holiday travels after I won a free copy from Goodreads. It made for a 4-star listen.
10. Social Criticism –
11. Biography – In progress. I’m listening to Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare biography on my drives to and from work through the Texas hill country.
12. Memoir – Done (twice)! Where Rivers Change Direction was a fantastic 5-star read about Mark Spragg’s youth on a dude ranch in Wyoming, while Amy Cohen’s The Late Bloomer’s Revolution earned 4 stars for its humorous take on young adulthood and dating.
13. Book-That-Has-Been-Made-into-a-Movie – Done! While relaxing at my in-laws’ house over spring break, I raced through Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, which was easily a 4-star novel. I’m still waiting on enough free time so that I can watch the movie version of the book!
14. Comedy –
15. British Classic –
16. American Classic – Done! John, Kalyn, and I agreed upon Little Women by Louisa May Alcott as our winter book club read. I gave it an easy 5 stars on Goodreads.
17. Author-I’ve-Wanted-to-Read-but-Never-Have: Edith Wharton –
18. Current Bestseller – Done! Sue Monk Kidd’s latest, The Invention of Wings, was my first read in April. I was somewhat disappointed in this historical fiction novel about abolitionist Sarah Grimké and her fictional slave, Handful. I gave the book an average 3 stars on Goodreads.
19. Travelogue – Done! I whisked myself to the south of France courtesy of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, which I granted 4 stars on Goodreads.
20. Cookbook – I continue to (slowly) cook my way through Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix. I have 25 recipes done, with 128 still to go. This will have to be a 2-3 year project!
21. Culinary Memoir – Done (twice)! I heartily loved A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg and gave it an unabashed 5 stars. But Wizenberg’s follow-up, Delancey, could not compare to its predecessor; it earned 3 stars from me.
22. Historical Fiction – Done! My big summer read was Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It’s a classic for good reason, and I gave it 5 stars.
23. Christmas-Themed Novel –
24. Education – Done (twice)! In March I felt compelled to read two education books. As a teacher, I cannot help but be invested in the field of educational writing. The first of these reads was The Paideia Proposal by Mortimer Adler, which I granted 4 stars.
I also read Results Now: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning by Mike Schmoker. My previous school district was making a push towards authentic literacy, and Schmoker is one of the authentic literacy champions. I agree with much of what he promotes, and I gave Results Now 4 stars.
25. A Collection of Poetry – Done! Ted Kooser’s Delights and Shadows transforms simple, everyday scenes into extraordinary moments. 5 stars, hands-down.
26. A Play –
27. Young Adult Lit –
28. Carnegie Winner – Done! I selected Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech to be my final summer read. I found the children’s novel to be uplifting and fun but also flawed; it received 3 stars.
29. Newbery Winner – Done (four times over)! After reading Little Women, I felt pulled to read Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs. I enjoyed it, but gave it an average 3-star rating on Goodreads.
After the 2014 Newbery winner–Flora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures–was announced, John and I purchased the novel for our Newbery collection. I was disappointed in the book, however, and gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.
In May I also read Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell and Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry while teaching the Newbery winners to my 4th grade class. I granted the books 5 and 4 stars, respectively.
30. Graphic Novel –