Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 In Books (Kara's List)

These are the books I read this year, with occasional comments in italics.

Brave New Family by G. K. Chesterton

Three Men on the Bummel by J.K. Jerome
I didn't find this as funny as Three Men in a Boat. But it was pleasantly diverting.

Maggie's Harvest by Maggie Beer

Why Johnny Can't Preach by T. David Gordon

Untune the Sky: Occasional Stammering Verse by Douglas Wilson

Jeeves in the Offing by P.G. Wodehouse

Finding God at Harvard, ed. by Kelly Monroe

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

There is a lot to be said about the things one sees down at the creek, evidently. As I read this, I began to see the outdoors in a different way. Highly recommended!

Better Birth by Lareen Newman and Heather Hancock

Four Faultless Felons by G. K. Chesterton

Redwall by Brian Jacques

I read this when I was feeling a bit sick during early pregnancy. A fun story, with short chapters.

What to Expect When You're Expecting

The New Experience of Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
I liked her emphasis on joy.

Multiple Blessings by Jon and Kate Gosselin

The Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge

The middle book in "The Eliots of Damerosehay" series, and the best. Also known as "The Herb of Grace".

I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy

A silly historical romance, part of the Scarlet Pimpernel series.

To a Thousand Generations by Douglas Wilson

I found this a very helpful explanation of infant baptism. It's written with a Baptist audience in mind. I came away remembering that baptism is more about God than me.

The Case for Covenant Communion, ed. by Gregg Strawbridge

A mixed bag of essays in favour of paedocommunion. The most helpful one for me was an exposition of I Corinthians 11:28 by Jeff Myers. I'd recommend that, even to people not interested in the larger subject of the book.

Jamie's America by Jamie Oliver

An English chef travels through the U.S. in search of new recipes.

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up by Julia Eccleshare

Edith Head by Jay Jorgenson

Appallingly edited bio of the costume designer.

The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge

The first book in "The Eliots of Damerosehay" series.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Maybe I should have read this as a child. As it is, I found Toad completely annoying.

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic

I found this so helpful that I'm re-reading it. Maybe a review will follow.

In Xanadu by William Dalrymple

This sort of travel is fun to read about, but not the sort I'd attempt myself. Sneaking into Communist China sounds a bit too risky to me! The author retraced the steps of Marco Polo, in the 1990's.

The Water Birth Book by Janet Balaskas

Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize

Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge

Goudge has her ups and downs, but this is the first time she's made me mad. The first half of the book is a lovely tale with wonderful, humorous characterization of small children. Then suddenly we find that all the plot tension is the result of voodoo. Why?! It was completely unnecessary. This isn't the only thing--one of her characters, an Anglican priest, tells his young relatives that they are free to believe in the "old gods". (Pan, etc.) He would like to, but can't because of his position. Bad advice!

The Heart of the Family by Elizabeth Goudge

The last book of "The Eliots of Damerosehay" series.

Supper of the Lamb by Rober Farrar Capon

The Road to Yesterday by L.M. Montgomery

Greenmantle by John Buchan

The Moon by Night by Madeleine L'Engle

Eggs, Beans, Crumpets by P.G. Wodehouse

A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle

Not recommended.

The Waiting Place by Eileen Button

Operation Black Fang by Jake MacKenzie

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

The Baptized Body by Peter Leithart

I particularly liked the essay in the appendix, "The Sociology of Baptism".

The Titian Committee by Iain Pears

Biggles of 266 by Capt. W.E. Johns

The first Biggles I've read. This is one time my little brother is ahead of me!

Realms of Gold by Leland Ryken

A discussion of classic literature which rehashes arguments which are made much better elsewhere, such as Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories". However, it does contain a provocative chapter on what a Christian classic is.

What to Expect: The First Year

The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena: The Secret World of Optical, Atmospheric and Celestial Wonders

I really enjoyed reading about things like lunar eclipses, superior mirages and will o'the wisps.


Radagast said...

I also discovered The Wind in the Willows late in life. I liked it, though I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. I loved Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Suzannah said...

I love lists!

--I've always wanted to read "Untune the Sky".
--Redwall books are great, but I stopped after about five when I realised that every plot was basically the same. However, Jacques DOES excel at unapologetic swashbuckling melodrama--something that nobody's been able to do since postmodernism became fashionable. Isabel Allende's "Zorro" novel is a great example of a postmodern attempt at a swashbuckler! Horrid!
--I've got "The Herb of Grace" but not the other two in the series. I've also heard--from Mrs Sonnemann--that Elizabeth Goudge's books vary wildly between the good and the awful. Interesting to know some more details.
--Oh, Baroness Orczy, the queen of silly historical romances!
--The Wind in the Willows is a very interesting book. I read it when I was little, so I find Toad outrageously funny. But the best part is the epic homecoming-of-Odysseus at the end. I love it when writers import genres generally intended for grownups into children's stories, sort of like how Peter Pan is a sophisticated satire.
--Ooohh! Greenmantle! I forget if I've talked to you about Buchan before, but is that a reread or your first plunge into Buchan?
--And BIGGLES. Biggles of 266, IIRC, contains a lot of the original Biggles stories, the ones intended for a general readership (not just boys). Definitely among the best.

I'm going to have to do a list rather like this, I think.

Kara Dekker said...

Not quite my first Buchan, Suzannah. I read The Thirty-Nine Steps, years ago. Prompted by an article in Credenda Agenda about books for boys, I think.

Suzannah said...

OH, KARA. The article in Credenda Agenda...that article...was prompted by me! I actually emailed ND Wilson (for some reason) when he was the editor, saying that I thought he'd enjoy John Buchan! He wrote back to tell me that he did, he had just finished reading the Richard Hannay books aloud to his wife, and his favourite was Greenmantle! The very next issue of Credenda/Agenda contained the article to which you refer.

What do you know?