Without the love of books the richest man is poor, but endowed with this treasure the poorest man is rich. –Leon Gutterman

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 School Videos

School Videos for 2008

Not a lot of exciting commentary on these movies. They were all very helpful in rounding out our learning experience. One thing I plan on doing in 2009 is review the movies that we watch to offer a little more than just titles available.

Movies have always been a great learning tool for our family and we are very grateful our library offers such a varied and deep selection. My husband has signed us up for Netflix and I'm pretty sure 2009 will see us using that option a lot too.

Don't forget movies when doing your lesson plans!!

2008 Reading for Me

Finished in 2008

Fifty books for 2008. I'm happy with that. That is almost a book a week, although sometimes I admit to reading three in one week and no books in others. Oh well...such is the life of a homeschool mom.

Favorite book of 2008? I would have to say Miss Bishop by Beth Streeter Aldrich, followed very closely by Little Britches/Wild Country by Ralph Moody. They were books that I could recommend with confidence to anyone. They addressed the human condition. They were straightforward without being too simple or easy. They made me think. They made me cry. They made me laugh.

Best series of 2008? I am still wading through Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Morland Dynasty series, now 31 books strong. It is a vast historical account of England (and sometimes the United States) set in a fictional setting. I stumbled upon the books at the library in 2007--"just browsing," you know. And wound up purchasing several of the later books. I plan to go back and add a book at a time as I find a good used price. This will be a series I reread (although I don't know how I will fit anything else in!).

2009 is going to be a wonderful year to read! I already have the first 14 books picked out. Shall we see how long I can stay on track?

If you are interested the books with links for 2008 were:

Will the Real Me Please Stand Up?

ISTP - The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

But, but...it says here that...and there that...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Winter Reading Challenge

Robin of My Two Blessings is hostessing the Winter Reading Challenge. I'm hoping that it's not too late to join in. I'm just now feeling the fog start to lift and am ready to read again.

Robin's challenge is easy for someone to participate in.

"The rules are very flexible:

1) Choose any number of books you would like to read and post them on your blog.

2) They can be fiction and/or nonfiction including e-books and audiobooks

3) They can overlap with other challenges.

4) Sign up on Mr. Linky. I'm still trying to figure out Mr. Linky so will let you guys post your links yourselves when you have your lists ready.

5) In a few days, I set up a link where you can post links to your book reviews"

I think I can handle that!!

The books I've put on my list for this winter are:

1....And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santemeyer I've read this book more than once before, but it is one of my favorites and it has been a few years. I'm looking forward to revisiting the wonderful ladies of Waynesboro.

2. A Light in the Window by Jan Karon Apparently I have a lot of catching up to do in Mitford! I loved getting to know these people.

3. Grim Tuesday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 2) by Garth Nix I didn't think I would read the second installation after the first, but have changed my mind. This is a Young Adult book.

4. I Am Mordred: A Tale of Camelot by Nancy Springer Another Young Adult selection that I'm checking out to see if it is something I would like my oldest to read.

5. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin I really enjoyed A Wizard of Earthsea and have started this already.

6. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon It's been a long time since I visited Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. It's time to go back.

7. Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller I've read this before and wanted to read it again for the Fall Into Reading Challenge, but didn't fit it in. I think it will be a good way to start the year.

8. When Mothers Pray by Cheri Fuller What more needs to be said?

9. The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacey My oldest has read this series and started to read it outloud to his brother (I was eavesdropping.) I think I'll check into it further.

10. The Restless Sea (Morland Dynasty) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles It's been a while since I've picked up a Morland Dynasty book. This is book number 27 of 31 (so far). This has been a fabulous series. I highly recommend it.

11. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë My neice is receiving this for Christmas from us, I read it eons ago, I'd like to read it again.

12. Eragon by Christopher Paolini I've had best of intentions to read this book for quite a while, quite a while, actually. And since two sequels are out now would be a good time.

13. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper Always wanted to read this. Wish me luck.

14. I am already editing!! I forgot that I received Magi by Daniel L. Gilbert from a sweet friend and am going to be reading that right away. I was so surprised by this gift--it came with perfect timing.

I'll post full reviews here on my Reviews & Recipes blog and updates on Joyful Days.

Visit Robin and see who else is reading in the Winter Reading Challenge.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

Last year this book was on my list to read before Christmas. Somehow it became one of those things that got passed over. That was my loss and I'm glad I didn't make the same mistake this year.

Walter Wangerin offers a devotional journey that starts the first day of December and travels through Advent to Christmas to the Twelve Days following ending at Epiphany. We meet people who played a part in the birth of our LORD. Wangerin offers insight and intimacy with Mary, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Joseph, several others and Jesus, Himself.

This book is one that will touch your heart. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to adjust their attitude before Christmas.


From my original list to read for the Fall into Reading 2008 Challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. Check out other participants and their book reviews!

At Home in Mitford

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

I'm really mad! Why didn't anyone tell me about Mitford??? Oh wait...lots of people told me about Mitford. I just didn't listen.

I love Mitford! I love Jan Karon. I want to live there! I know these people, or at least people like them. How wonderful is this hometown Karon created for everyone to embrace as there own? I lost a couple of nights' sleep because I couldn't put the story of Father Tim, an Episcopalian priest who is the rector of The Lord's Chapel, in Mitford.

Fr. Tim is surrounded by a cast of unforgettable characters, his dog Barnabas who adopted him and is commanded by Scripture recitation, Emma the impertinent secretary, Dooley the grandson of the ailing sexton, Hoppy the doctor, Miss Sadie the wealthy chuch member, and Cynthia Coppersmith his delightful neighbor.

At Home in Mitford was a delightful, uplifting read, with plenty of twists and turns and even some mysterious happenings. Trials are faced with family and friends and the love of the Lord. Who could ask for more? Well I did. I'm reading book two--A Light in the Window. What a love story.

This is high on my recommendation list.

At Home in Mitford is on my original list to read for the Fall into Reading 2008 Challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days.

The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

I read the Andromeda Strain in high school. Apparently it didn't leave as big an impression on me as I thought, because I had the title confused with another story--On the Beach by Nevil Shute.

I want to read On the Beach again, but I am glad that I read The Andromeda Strain again, too.

Crichton is a highly skilled, very technical writer. Written in 1969, he created the circumstance of meeting life from outer-space, but the extra-terrestrials are nothing the average person ever thinks of.

The deadly story rapidly unfolds in the small town of Piedmont, Arizona. A town wiped out in a matter of minutes, save two survivors--an old alcoholic with ulcers and a wailing infant. What do they have in common? How fast will the apparent virus-like lifeform spread? How to fight an unknown enemy?

The book is a quick read, very thought provoking, but also very technical. Almost too technical for me, but I am glad I re-read it.

While reading the book my husband and I watched the 2008 movie bearing the same name based somewhat loosely on the book. Crichton was involved in the creation of the movie also, which was a very exciting (at least PG-13) film. Understandably the movie was updated to appeal to current viewers, but I think some of the original story was lost.

There is an older, 1971 version of the movie that I would like to see. Hopefully we will be putting it in the Netflix cue.

My oldest son (11) has seen it sitting in my pile and asked if he would be able to read it. While the decimation of the town of Piedmont is pretty graphic the following story is more of a techno-thriller than anything else. After much consideration I decided to allow him to begin reading it after much discussion he started it yesterday and has flown through it. He's really grasped the technology and the biology--probably more so than his mother. While I would leave it up to each parent to decide the book would be my choice to allow, but not the 2008 movie. The visuals were very graphic and disturbing.

Not a book that everyone is going to like. But really a good read for a sci-fi lover.

On my original list to read for the Fall into Reading 2008 Challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days

A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Two years ago a conversation with a stranger in the waiting room of a hospital introduced me to the name Ursula Le Guin and her Books of Earthsea. I was intrigued, but preoccupied and didn't search them out for a while.

I stumbled on them last summer at, where else, the Half Price Bookstore sale rack. I could not pass up the bargain and bought the first three books. I was rewarded with a treasure.

The first A Wizard of Earthsea is a slim, just under 200 page gem. It is of the wizard Ged, known as Sparrowhawk as he grows. He is a motherless child, with a preoccupied father, living in the archipelago of Earthsea on the stark isle of Gont.

Sparrowhawk is trained first by the village witch, his aunt, later by Ogion a solitary and great wizard, and then at the island of Roke, the Isle of the Wise. Sparrowhawk is hindered often by his feelings of inferiority and the conflicting pride which ends up almost costing him his life.

A Wizard of Earthsea is a fable, a story of maturing and choices, a story of nature and nurture and questing. Full of real creatures and fantastical creatures, A Wizard of Earthsea is a quiet delight. Listed as a Young Adult selection, I would have no problem allowing my eleven year old to read this thoughtful fantasy/adventure story.

I didn't have huge expectations, but was indeed very surprised and pleased. Currently I am reading The Tombs of Atuan, the sequel.

On my original list to read for the Fall into Reading 2008 Challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days