Books I Read in 2018

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The Pilgrim’s Regress

The Pilgrim’s Regress – Hard to read unless you are extremely well read in the classics and know much of the different philosophies popular in the early 20th century. Lewis himself later explained that he wrote this in a confusing way. This was in part, I think, because he had recently become a Christian and was making sense of his own apologetics. This was the first work he wrote as a Christian.

Many of the words he uses do not mean the same thing in regular use today. Keep this in mind otherwise you’ll make all kinds of wacky conclusions about what he’s saying.

I liked it, but I know I understood only half of it. At best.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big – A very funny read, sometimes on the border of crass. Language alert.

That said, Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has some great things to say about life, success, and how to fail forward. My husband read the book first, and then I followed, in part so I could understand all the things he was telling me to do, like chew through walls.

If you’re up for an entertaining, inspiring ride to accomplish great things in life, this book may be the shot in the arm you need.

The Sign of the Beaver

The Sign of the Beaver is a book I read with my older boys years ago when we were studying the colonial period. Now, four and eight years later we’re reading it again. Yes, this is my fourth time through the history of the entire world, at least as a college graduate. I still love this book, and it still makes me cry. The littles (ages 9, 11, and 13) and I read through it in about 4 to 5 hours this week. They watched the movie this weekend which is not as good as the book. Of course.

Smarter Faster Better – I randomly found this at the library linked with other books I was waiting to get on hold. It’s really fascinating, and edible in small chunks throughout the day. The dude differentiates between productivity and time management. They aren’t really the same thing. I think I went into the book thinking time management, but it’s not really a time management book. It’s more about doing things that matter and have a lasting impact. Sorta.

The stories he tells about people doing good work are really inspiring, so even if you are independently wealthy and don’t need to do anything all day, I think it would be interesting. For the rest of us, I think it’s fun to translate someone else’s experience to my own and try to find some take-aways.


I reread A Tale of Two Cities with my high schoolers. I think this is only my second time through, my last reading being in 10th grade when I couldn’t put the book down. A year or two ago we read Great Expectations and I think it’s fair to say that I am most thoroughly a Dickens fan. Though I just now discovered that. I hope to add a few more to my list soon.

The littles and I finished Johnny Tremain this week. I don’t exactly remember reading it with the bigger boys; I’m thinking they must have read it on their own. Lord knows, we DID watch the Disney movie, many times. I loved it, and yes, I read ahead. If you haven’t read it before, I recommend it, for young and old.

I started reading Carry On, Mr. Bowditch to the younger three, but then read ahead on my own and promptly lost my voice (for reals!) so they finished reading it on their own.

I love this book. It’s based on a true story, and is super inspiring about hard work, self-teaching, and dedication.

Books In Process:

I’ve got many books in process, in part because the library took them back and I’m trying to get to the books that will expire first.

The high schoolers and I are working through Sense & Sensibility. They have friends who are Austen fanatics, so now they will be impressive in their knowledge of the Dashwood family. They know the story of Pride & Prejudice but don’t really know this story.

 

As for my own reading, I’m working on these when I have snatches of time.

I wish I had read A Man Called Ove before we watched the movie last summer. Still, it’s amazingly fun and well written. The translator did a fantastic job! I know the story is beautiful because I saw the movie, but the words are just really well done. Library called it back, so I’m not sure when/if I’ll finish.

In an effort to think more deeply, I’ve found myself digging into more nonfiction books, whether or not they directly relate to my personal life. I also know that I can use little minutes to work through nonfiction while fiction will tempt me to distraction. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade is on the agenda.

My friend Anne recommended Deep Work, so I’m giving it a shot. I haven’t got very far, but I’m keeping at it. It’s a little hard to get into, but I was reassured to hear Andrea say it gets practical. Eventually. I’ll get to those parts once the book is available to me again.

I’ve heard of Bonhoeffer, but don’t really know much about him. I’m 1 to 2 chapters into Bonhoeffer. It’s a tad dry, but still interesting. I’ve moved this book to the bottom of the stack, though, since I’ve renewed it and other books have more pressing deadlines.