Books: 2nd Edition

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby AJAiken » Jan 30, 2020 10:40 am

I've read quite a few interesting books in the last couple of months!

The Faithful Spy is an semi-graphic novel (lots of illustrations, but not a comic) about Bonhoeffer by John Hendrix. The drawings are wonderful, bringing so much depth to the biography. It's excellent - definitely a good introduction to the subject for older children/teens.

Rough Magic: Riding the World's Wildest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer was a Christmas gift, so I began it knowing nothing about the subject. Lara became the first person to win the Mongol Derby, the world's longest horse race, in 2013, despite apparently being hopelessly unprepared. It's a very frank account of her time taking part. I enjoyed this book a lot.

Warrior: The Biography of a Man with No Name by Edoardo Albert is about the excavation of and history surrounding a skeleton dug up near Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. There's an overlap in the history with a book I read last year, The King in the North, but I enjoyed the details about the excavation of sites which came through from the co-writer, an archaeologist.

I finished The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer yesterday. It didn't take me long to read at all, and I couldn't put it down as I neared the end. It's about two brothers from 1348 who end up spending six days across the centuries - the first in 1447, the second in 1546, and so on. I loved the historical details and I especially enjoyed the questions raised about faith, such as exploring the shift from a Catholic to Protestant country.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Jan 30, 2020 5:06 pm

That's quite a list, Reepicheep775.

I have a list of the books I read and I listened to last year, but it's a bit long for the thread.

My reading goals for this year are less about numbers (page count and total books) as they have been in the past, and more about content. In 2020, I hope to read (or listen to) a number of nonfiction books (mainly theology) and reread fiction that I own and haven't read for years.

In January I have read...
*Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge - 4 stars, great thriller.
*The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steven Lawson - 5 stars, interesting read on Calvin's preaching style.
*Shifty's War by Marcus Brotherton - 4 stars, second time reading this one, first time in over 5 years. It was good.
*Too Far Down (The Cimarron Legacy #3) by Mary Connealy - finally finished this, it was okay.
*Sidetracked by Brandilyn Collins - 4 stars, great thriller.
And a few short kids books and two 2020 Christian fiction releases that are not worth mentioning.

I'm currently reading One Perfect Life by John MacArthur, commentary on Mark by Michael Card, and The First Wave by Alex Kershaw. I have set Writers To Read by Douglas Wilson aside for the time being, and I am focusing on reading the Mark commentary and The First Wave of which I've read about a fifth.

I'm also listening to Boo Who? by Rene Gutteridge, The Man In The Dark by Douglas Wilson, and The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, what I'm listening to depends on what I'm working on at the time.

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby ValiantArcher » Feb 02, 2020 6:43 pm

It's been a long time since I posted in here :ymblushing: but I thought I would stop by. I'm about halfway through Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens currently and really enjoying it. I'd forgotten how well-drawn Dickens' characters can be, and how humourous his work can be. There is a lot of sorrow and injustice in the book too, but I think it makes the understanding of human nature - and the occasions for joy and humour - even brighter.
I'm also wondering what the reaction was to reading it installment by installment when it was first released. Even now, the lost Heir and Son with Walter's presumed death (he CAN'T be dead; that would be too much) has me on edge. ;))
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Wunderkind_Lucy » Feb 04, 2020 2:16 pm

I just finished randomly reading PC and VDT, but I need to reread them along with the others in publication order and in chronological order. I think I will probably start my annual reread of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings next.

SnowAngel wrote:My reading goals for this year are less about numbers (page count and total books) as they have been in the past, and more about content.


I had tried to read from my list of 25 books several years ago, but it didn't go so well. Not that I don't enjoy reading, but so many things got in the way. So this year, I set a little bit more realistic of a goal. I'm trying to read more classics. I had read Evelina by Frances Burney and plan to read Cecilia and Camilla. Her books are sort of precursors to Jane Austen's novels which made, at least, Evelina quite interesting.

ValiantArcher wrote:I'd forgotten how well-drawn Dickens' characters can be, and how humourous his work can be. There is a lot of sorrow and injustice in the book too, but I think it makes the understanding of human nature - and the occasions for joy and humour - even brighter.


I know what you mean. That's definitely why I enjoyed Martin Chuzzlewit so much. I really need to read more Dickens. Shockingly, I've never read A Tale of Two Cities. I think that's one that most people end up reading for school. I've watched adaptations of Little Dorrit and Bleak House but never read them, although I managed to start Little Dorrit.

My other goal is to read all of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Marple mysteries that I haven't read as well as to finish Dorothy Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.

Does anyone else have reading goals for this year?

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Courtenay » Feb 04, 2020 5:11 pm

Those sound like really good reading goals to me, Wunderkind_Lucy! :) I'm not into murder mysteries myself, but my mum is a huge fan of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers.

I don't really set official reading goals for the whole year, but I do have a few at the moment. I am currently re-reading all the Chronicles of Narnia in publication order, but taking my time with it. I started with LWW over Christmas and am now up to Chapter 3 of SC.

Meanwhile, I'm also doing a year-long day-by-day reading plan for a new version of the New Testament with the Psalms and Proverbs, called The Passion Translation. It's a paraphrase version rather than heavily literal, but there are a lot of footnotes explaining the translator's choice of wording and it's certainly one of the most readable and engaging Bible translations I've ever encountered. I'm really, really enjoying it and finding it very deeply inspiring.

On a completely different note, just the other day while I was dropping off two bags of my excess books at the Oxfam charity bookshop in Sevenoaks (lovely town near where I live), I spotted a copy of Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin, which is considered "the definitive" biography of Jane and I haven't read it yet. I have read two other excellent ones (Paula Byrne and Lucy Worsley), but this one looks really worthwhile as well. So that's another one I'll be starting soon — and some time in the next few months, when I can fit it in, I'm going to visit Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, which I have been to several times, but not for a few years now, so it's high time for another pilgrimage! ;) (To my fellow Austen fans here, if you haven't been there and you ever get the opportunity to go, it is an absolute must.)
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby fantasia » Feb 06, 2020 10:47 am

This is a bit of an odd post for this thread ;)) but I've been on the hunt for a while now for a modern set of Encyclopedias. And I found one! The Houston Public Library was selling their hardback World Book Encyclopedia set from 2016 at a steeply discounted price. :D (Like, just over $100. Normally they sell for $1000.) So I got them. ;)) The first installment arrived earlier this week and now I'm just waiting for the rest that are supposed to arrive tonight or tomorrow. So excited....

Isn't it amazing how things come full circle? Encyclopedias were out of vogue for so long, kind of still are, but I think they're coming back. Or maybe I just think that because I'm in the homeschooling community now and they think encyclopedias are cool. ;) :P ;))
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Reepicheep775 » Feb 09, 2020 6:45 pm

Looking at the books I read in 2019, I'd like to say that my reading goal for 2020 is to read more nonfiction. I'm surprised I only read one nonfiction book cover-to-cover last year. Realistically though, I have so many fiction books on my to-read list, I'd be glad if I just got through all of them. I would like to finish up the books preceding the New Jedi Order in my post-Return of the Jedi Star Wars Expanded Universe chronological re-read (try saying that ten times fast), so that I can start that series at the beginning of 2021 at the latest.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby fantasia » Mar 11, 2020 6:58 am

I've been on a reading kick lately, due in part to my local area catching all the various diseases circulating around (no, not coronavirus), so I've been holed up at home because I don't want the flu (still had a couple of my kids catch the stomach flu, blegh). :P

I read all three books in the Wilderking Trilogy. :) Not bad! Interestingly enough, the first book was probably my least favorite as it was a fairly close allegory to a certain famous Bible story, but the problem was that when the author chose to go a different direction, I took "issue" with it because "that's not how the Bible story goes!!!" :)) But books two and three were not nearly as strongly tied to the Biblical version, so I enjoyed them a great deal more. :)

Also, by recommendation of many here on Narniaweb, I finally got my own copies of the Ashtown books. You all will laugh at me though because when I finished book three, I was like, "Wait, what??? This doesn't fully resolve?!??! :-\ " I was soooo confused because I thought it was a trilogy as well, but the I looked online a day or two later and saw that due to issues with the new publisher, book 4 has been in whatever the book version of "production hell" is, and is just sitting in the nether. :P But that made me feel better because I was really thrown off by the ending of book three. :)) The good guys "win", but the bad guys didn't die.
I can see why most, if not all of you, liked it better than the 100 Cupboards series. I would probably agree that it's better written, particularly the character development (one of my biggest issues with Cupboards), but I think Cupboards still speaks to me on a personal level more. :) ;)) And it ends! :P

Question for you who have read The Door Before, is that supposed to be a prequel for both 100 Cupboards AND the Ashtown Burial series?
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Cleander » Mar 11, 2020 7:06 pm

I've been trying to rid a bit more lately, despite being assaulted weekly by various college assignments.
Last week I started In the Hall of the Dragon King, first book in Stephen Lawhead's Dragon King Trilogy. I've mainly just enjoyed it for its medieval/fantasy worldbuilding elements, though I must say that I like the fact that Lawhead took a more realistic approach to religion, instead of keeping the equivalent of Christianity in a place somewhat beyond the definition of religion. His characters aren't hugely deep or relatable, but they're fun to read along with as you explore the world.
I also am reading The Medieval Reader, which is basically a compilation of all kinds of original medieval writings from across centuries and continents. AND I'M LOVING IT! :D
I recently finished Perelandra, and am now reading HHB for the 100th time. :D
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby ValiantArcher » Mar 11, 2020 7:20 pm

Wunder, I haven't read A Tale of Two Cities either. ;)) Nor have I read Martin Chuzzlewit, though I have read Little Dorrit and Bleak House; I enjoyed the former especially.
That sounds like a great reading goal! I don't have any for this year, but I suppose it's not too late to make some.

Hurrah for the encyclopedias, fantasia! :D I always liked looking at our old copies growing up, though I usually went to my favourite sections instead of reading them through. ;))
That's funny about the first Wilderking book; I would probably have a similar reaction. ;))
I'm glad you enjoyed Ashtown! :D Funny story - Mel and I read the third book around the same time, and she had thought it was a trilogy and I had thought it was a five-book series, so we were both a bit confused. ;)) Yeah, I'm rather disappointed that Book 4 is still in limbo. And I understand 100 Cupboards being nearer to your heart. ;))
I haven't read it, but The Door Before IS a prequel to both series.

Cleander, I hope you enjoy the Dragon King trilogy. I read it years ago and have fond memories of it. :)

I forgot that I hadn't come in and mentioned that I finished Dombey and Son. :ymblushing: I enjoyed it and was pretty happy with how it ended. I was amused by the fact that there were an unusual number of weddings, and especially the number of well-matched ones.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Meltintalle » Mar 16, 2020 7:27 am

In the Hall of the Dragon King was one of my favorite books when I was a teenager! I lost count of how many times I read it. We only had the first one, so finding the second book was exciting, and finding a copy of the third was like a treasure hunt. I didn't enjoy the third one, though, because I had expectations of how the story would go--and it didn't. :ymblushing: ;)) I should reread it sometime and see if I was fair in my critique back then, or if I just didn't want the story Lawhead wrote, because looking back I think he did do something interesting with the characters in the final book.

I read Dombey and Son several years ago, and I remember almost nothing at all about it, except that I enjoyed it and it was a red clothbound book. ;))

I do remember the ending of Empire of Bones, however. Like Valia said, I thought it was Ashtown Burials was supposed to be a trilogy and on one hand, I was like, YES WOW JUSTICE AND SYMBOLISM and golem statues. I have no idea how book four can top that, just for visuals. On the other, of course, were all the unanswered questions.

Ditto Valia on The Door Before. I have read it, and it's a neat little story. It has my favorite character (Caleb) and that's nice; but on the other I think it tried too hard to tie the two series together.

After seeing AJAiken's recommendation of The Outcasts of Time, I read that about a month ago and I also really enjoyed it! It was interesting to think about what changes and what doesn't in an hundred years, and also what you can see and do in just a day.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby fantasia » Mar 20, 2020 4:52 pm

For those who might be interested, Andrew Peterson is reading On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness tonight, live on FB.
https://www.facebook.com/andrewpetersonmusic/
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Mar 21, 2020 11:36 am

Two of my siblings are reading The Ashtown Burials for the first time, they read The Dragon's Tooth this past week. I am currently trying to decided how long they should wait before reading The Drowned Vault. With the local library currently closed, I am more glad than ever that I purchased all three books last fall. However I don't want them to rush through the series then not have new books to read for a while. Also I really want to reread them myself. :)

I'm currently reading Where Eagles Dare by Alastair MacLean, I read it several years ago and enjoyed it very much then. There's more language than what I remember, but overall I am having fun reading it again.

I'm also reading Why I Still Believe by Mary Jo Sharp, I had been rushing to finish this one because it need to be returned to the library, but then the library closed and since then I have only read one chapter.

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby johobbit » Mar 31, 2020 10:04 am

fantasia from June 23, 2019 wrote:I finished up The Man Who Was Thursday, and like you all mentioned, the last chapter was well beyond me. If I have some time I'll have to research into the meaning behind it.

Been meaning to comment on this for nearly two years now. :))
Did you ever look into this more, fantasia? I have been meaning to, as well, but have not yet.
:ymblushing:

fantasia from August 2, 2019 wrote:My four-year-old daughter just LOVED Charlotte's Web (which I just finished last week). I started Homer Price this week and my six-year-old son can't get enough of it. ;))
For those who have read it, there's a chapter in there with doughnuts so we had to go get some doughnuts this afternoon to eat while we finished that chapter up.

Cleander from August 8, 2019 wrote:Homer Price is the only book I know that has the ability to give me an insane craving for donuts! What I wouldn't give to get my hands on that donut machine]

So glad A. loved Charlotte's Web, fantasia. :D Has she seen any of the films?
As for Homer Price ... indeed! :D Such a fun book, which always seems to induce a donut-craving.
;))

Cleander from August 8, 2019 wrote:Just finished my speed-read of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.

Niiice! I need a re-read soon. My dad is such a Dickens fan that some of his inanimate/non-sentient objects in his apartment are named after beloved Dickens' character, with his computer and email being related to Mr. Samuel Pickwick, himself. ;))

Valia from Feb. 2 of this year wrote:I'd forgotten how well-drawn Dickens' characters can be, and how humourous his work can be. There is a lot of sorrow and injustice in the book too, but I think it makes the understanding of human nature - and the occasions for joy and humour - even brighter.

Hear-hear! I know some folk find the long descriptions very arduous, but to me, they only enhance and make more real these superb tales.

fantasia from Feb. 6 wrote:I've been on the hunt for a while now for a modern set of Encyclopedias. And I found one! The Houston Public Library was selling their hardback World Book Encyclopedia set

I smiled big-time when I read this back in February. Encyclopedias are wonderful, indeed (especially at a discounted price!). And there is something about picking up that big volume that is filled with a world of information. They usually smell great too. ;))

fantasia wrote:For those who might be interested, Andrew Peterson is reading On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness tonight, live on FB.

I am catching these every evening and enjoying the re-read so very much ... and by the author, himself, no less, who is just such a down-to-earth, fun guy. B-) I think tonight's the 12th night of readings, and we are more than halfway through the first book. Thing is, when life picks up again, we are all going to want AP to continue live readings until he completes the series. He'll just have to cancel everything (concerts, etc) again to keep on going. ;))

My reading has certainly not decreased since the start of home-staying. ;)) I can't recall offhand all the books I have gone through since I last posted here (way too long ago), but a few selections are:

*Agent Jack:The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter So confusing; so good ;))

*a biography of Fanny Crosby: I always love hearing/learning more about her

*Every Living Thing by James Herriot (a delightful re-read)

*The House on Garibaldi Street: The First Full Account of the Capture of Adolf Eichmann. A fascinating read, made even better by the fact that it was written by the then Chief Executive of the Secret Services of Israel and director of Operation Eichmann.

*Daddy Long-Legs, by Jean Webster ... a childhood favourite

I am about to start re-reading The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman, a very hard (emotionally) autobio of his life as a Polish Jew through the horrors of WW II.
Also, a re-read of The Holiness of God by a man I have highly respected for years, R.C. Sproul. And The Horse and His Boy, 'leftover' from my Narnia re-read late last year. Just TMN and TLB to go after that, and before I begin my biennial re-read of The Lord of the Rings. :)
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Apr 01, 2020 3:52 pm

I've been meaning to do a post detailing some of the books I've read over the past several months, but I'm tired at the moment, so that will wait for now. ;))

johobbit wrote:
fantasia from June 23, 2019 wrote:I finished up The Man Who Was Thursday, and like you all mentioned, the last chapter was well beyond me. If I have some time I'll have to research into the meaning behind it.

Been meaning to comment on this for nearly two years now. :))
Did you ever look into this more, fantasia? I have been meaning to, as well, but have not yet.
:ymblushing:


This reminded me — I had seen a tweet in the past few weeks relating to just this topic. Did some digging and finally turned it up, and that led me to an article by Michael Ward of Planet Narnia fame: Chesterton and the Seven Heavens.

I found it quite insightful! It makes me want to read the book again. I've wanted to recommend The Man Who Was Thursday to my brother because I think he'd enjoy most of it, but I was pretty sure he'd have a lot of questions about the strange ending that I wouldn't be able to answer; maybe having this link handy will help with that. ;)) (Come to think of it, some of Chesterton's other stories have an odd ending — the rollicking adventure The Ball and the Cross turns rather dark and dramatic and eerie in the last chapters, for instance. Maybe I can find an article making sense of that, too. :P)
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby ValiantArcher » Apr 04, 2020 8:46 am

A friend just emailed me that there's some news on the fourth Ashtown! In a very odd but creative turn of events, we're back to subscription serial novels. ;)) Information - and some explanation of why there's been no book for years - on The Silent Bells are on the site.

In other news, I'm reading Death by Living by N.D. Wilson and almost finished; I read most of it in a huge chunk last weekend, but have made myself wait until this weekend to finish. I'm also still reading Last Letters from Attu by Mary Breu, about Etta Jones, who was taken from the Alaskan island Attu as a prisoner of war by Japanese troops during WWII. Otherwise, I'm trying to make a dent in my reread-and-decide-if-I-want-to-get-rid-of-them book shelf. ;))
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