January books

I’ve decided to embrace my inner slackerness when it comes to posting about the books I read, and change my intent of writing about them right after they’re read to writing about them at the end of the month. I’ll feel less existential angst this way. (Or something.)

I’ve read 4 books so far this  month, and should have another finished up by the end of the month. That puts me solidly on my way to my goal of 50 for the year.

The House of Lost Souls by F.G. Cottam was a total impulse grab from the library. The blurb about the book included a haunting and a “decadent party in the 1920s”, and well, if I’m anything, I’m a sucker for the 1920s; decadent parties from then even more so.  The story was interesting, hinging on a house possessed of such evil that it makes anyone who visits insane (and ultimately suicidal)  from continual haunting after they leave the house. Only one man had successfully “gotten away” from the house, but he realizes he’s still embroiled in its evil after he’s called upon to help some college students who were lured to the house.  As the story progresses we learn how he was originally involved in the mystery of the house, and as he tries to help the girls, he discovers the truth of the house.  (It all started with said decadent party in the 1920s. )  Anyway, overall it was quite good, with some very well drawn characters. It’s only flaw for me was a rather sudden and surprising resolution that left me wanting far more information. (Let me be clear- there was enough information given, it wasn’t confusing or anything, I just wanted more.)

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne with Lisa M. Ross is one of the best parenting books I’ve read in quite a while. Payne maintains that kids are being overwhelmed by too many toys, too many activities, too much information, too many choices, and that that by simplifying in all of those areas, they will do better and be happier. There’s seriously so much in this book that I can’t begin to summarize it all; all I will say is that I HIGHLY recommend it, and it’s one I’ll go back to over and over again.

Iorich by Steven Brust was everything I wanted and more. I adore Brust’s Vlad Taltos series, and this episode returned to his trademark wit.  There was a good section of 10 or so pages in a row where I just cracked up on every page. This installment sees Vlad trying to help his falsely (but kind of rightly, because she did what she was accused of, but that’s not why she was actually imprisoned) imprisoned friend while negotiating his way through the political machinations of the powers that be (who are also his, and the imprisioned’s, friends, but are bound by duty to do their jobs) and solving a conspiracy.  Getting to see Cawti and Krager again, as well as meeting Vlad Jr. was fantastic as well.

We’re reading Persuasion by Jane Austen for book club this month, and I started reading, and then it looked like I was going to miss book club, and I had so many other things to read that I stopped reading, and then book club got moved to my house and so I had to finish it frantically this last couple of days. I’m glad I did, it’s the first Austen I’ve actually made it all the way through ( I KNOW, I KNOW. Don’t you have some book you should have read? Actually I read an article about people who lie about having read books and why they do, and I’ll admit that I lie about having read Austen just to avoid the incredulous reactions.) and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I kept wanting to slap various characters, but I’m fairly certain that was the point, so it was ok. What was odd, though, was that I kept thinking throughout what a different book it would have been had it been written by Virginia Woolf or Evelyn Waugh. I think the thought came up because they’ve all written about similar subjects- a good person ignored, a group visiting the country – and my mind wandered. If Waugh had written it the story would have been similar but the absurdity more pronounced, if it had been Woolf there would have been a death and more inner turmoil and torment. Anyway, it was an interesting thing to think about as I read. But that shouldn’t be taken to mean that I wished it was written differently, it was wonderful as it was. And true to report, the love letter toward the end is paralyzingly lovely.

I’m in the middle of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Wendy Watson Nelson, which is incredibly good and about the power of questions in our dealing with ourselves, others, and God. She has a 30 day challenge wherein you take a question to the scriptures every day for 30 days, which I’m excited to try. There are some great insights and thought provoking ideas in here.

I’m also in the middle of A Charlotte Mason Companion and Charlotte Mason Study Guide. I’ve got school on the brain.

I also have to get to Alice In Sunderland by Bryan Talbot, which I have from the library and will need to return soon. I’ve been meaning to read it for literally YEARS now, so I’m glad to get to it.

Anyway, that’s what I’m reading. What are you reading? Anything I should add to my list? Fill me in!

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