It’s time for my annual year in books review! I love these posts, I hope they don’t bore you to death. Here’s what we read this year (I asterisked super favorites):
I finished reading the Harry Potter books to the older boys:
- Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix*
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince*
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows*
Thanks to reader Alison, I discovered Diana Wynne Jones and gobbled up everything my library had:
- The Game
- Howl’s Moving Castle*
- House of Many Ways
- Enchanted Glass
- Castle in the Air
- The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: Charmed Life / The Lives of Christopher Chant
- The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 2: The Magicians of Caprona / Witch Week
- The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 3 (Conrad’s Fate / The Pinhoe Egg)
- Chrestomanci Series 4 – The Lives Of Christopher Chant
- Power of Three
I re-read an old favorite: The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery.
While at my inlaws, I read my sister in law’s Matched by Ally Condie. I checked out the sequel Crossed when it was available at the library. I’m currently on the waiting list at the library for the third book in the series.
I read the My Side of the Mountain Trilogy (My Side of the Mountain / On the Far Side of the Mountain / Frightful’s Mountain) out loud to the older boys. They LOVED it.
I think the only Robin McKinley book I read this year was The Door in the Hedge. I loved it.
The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden was a Kindle freebie. I liked it a lot and will read more by the author.
Another Amazon freebie for the Kindle was Semper, which was surprisingly good. I was only surprised because it was free and self published. But it was a really good dystopia. The author is working on a sequel and I’ll definitely read it.
Y’all know how much I loved The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. I haven’t read the sequel yet, it’s on my wishlist.
My library had Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. What an amazing writer. I’m reading the next book in the series, The Dark Is Rising. The cover art on the library books is terrible, the art on Amazon is much better!
J. read the Erec Rex Series by Kaza Kingsley and gives it two thumbs up (there’s one more book he hasn’t read yet):
I read the following by Jessica Day George:
- Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow (I wasn’t familiar with the original fairy tale, but I liked this).
- Princess of the Midnight Ball (Probably the only version of the 12 Dancing Princesses I’ve liked.)
- Tuesdays at the Castle (I read this to Miss K, she loved it).
- Princess of Glass (Not my favorite Cinderella rewrite).
I read Eoin Colfer’s first two books, and plan on reading the rest. These are clever, I think both boys will like them.
K and I read Cinderella together, too.
Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur by Ruth Nestvold was a Kindle freebie, and I really enjoyed the history in this epic novel, but I skimmed over the sexy bits. Yeah, you won’t find 50 Shades of Gray on this list.
War Brides by Helen Bryan was another Kindle freebie. I enjoyed it, and thought she handled the multiple POVs really well. The wrap up is a little rushed at the end, but I’d still recommend it.
Before Midnight: A Retelling of “Cinderella” by Cameron Dokey is one of my favorite Cinderella rewrites.
I started The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy but got distracted when Chima’s fourth book came out (see below). I’ll finish it soon, I think the boys would like this series a lot.
Okay, so I loved Cinda Williams Chima’s series, and reread the first three books so I could properly enjoy the fourth. I adore this series, and can’t believe it’s not getting more attention. For conservative readers: They are young adult novels, and there are some references to sex, though no actual scenes (other than kissing). There is also mention of group of women who choose women as lovers. It is not a main part of the storyline, however. There is made up swearing eg: “Blood and bones” or “Hanalea in chains.”
- The Demon King (Seven Realms Book 1)*
- Exiled Queen (Seven Realms Book 2)*
- The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms Book 3)*
- The Crimson Crown Seven Realms Book 4)*
I really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. It has a very likable overweight protagonist, and I’m on the waiting list at the library for the sequel.
The boys are currently devouring everything by Erin Hunter at the library. I can’t keep track of them all, but they are Warrior books that have to do with cats. They love them.
I keep trying to get through Les Misérables because it’s one of my favorite stories of all time, and I wanted to read the actual book before seeing the movie this year (my inlaws took us, I loved it and cried through the whole thing! Though the Santa sex scene could have been tossed, ugh.) Anyway, I keep getting stuck in all the politics. But I’m going to try to finish it in 2013.
J and I read Johnny Tremain for one of his homeschool co-op classes.
This The Boxcar Children Mysteries Box Set: Books One Through Twelve was a steal during the Black Friday days at nine dollars. Miss K loves these and we’ve read half of them already.
I read The Light Princess after our homeschool group put it on as a play (the play was amazing!)
I think Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception (Gathering of Faerie) by Maggie Stiefvater was a Kindle freebie or prime rental or something. I liked it well enough, but admittedly forgot about it until now. I’ll have to see what the other books in the series look like.
I read The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton on a whim. Much better than the film.
Zipped through Wizard’s Hall before handing it over to the boys. Many say it may have inspired Harry Potter.
After Nanowrimo was over, I started thinking maybe I could write something people might want to read, so I started researching. I’ve read the following to help me along this crazy novel-writing path:
- A Writer’s Guide to Harry Potter; How to Improve Your Writing by Studying the Bestselling Series by S.P. Sipal. I really got a lot out of this! Even though I have no dreams of becoming the next JK Rowling, Sipal has a lot of really great insights. I knew we liked the Harry Potter series, but I really had no idea how much went into planning the plot, and hiding all the clues that kept fans addicted. Great read.
- Language of the Night by Ursula K. LeGuin.
- Fairy Tales and After: From Snow White to E. B. White (Harvard Paperbacks) by Roger Sale.
- The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. FASCINATING.
- The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition by Christopher Vogler. Helps decipher the Joseph Campbell book.
- Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. Just because it was supposed to be a rewrite of Sleeping Beauty (which is what I’m working on), also because I’d never read anything by Card.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel by Diana Wynne Jones. (Not really a novel, but really funny if you’re familiar with the fantasy genre).
- No Plot? No Problem!
On the health and fitness front, I read:
- Green Smoothie Revolution
- 12 Steps to Raw Foods
- Green for Life
- Nourishing Traditions
- The Magnesium Miracle
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia (Just started this book with the crazy title, so far really good information)
- Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets
- Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long
- The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live
- The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book
- Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent
As usual, I’m leaving out hundreds of picture books (I should keep track this coming year) and probably dozens of library books I forgot to take note of. My husband read five million books on the economy, politics, and theology. I’ll spare you his list, but here’s a shot of his desk. (It doesn’t always look like this, we just straightened up the office this morning, as the children had cut out a million snowflakes and left tiny papers and scissors all over the place. But he had just finished his morning reading.)
Checked out, but not started yet:
The Secret of Platform 13 (Just finished this 1/3/13)
I forgot! I also have Ender’s Game checked out, I think my brother recommended it.
What did you read this year? Any good recommendations?