Through taking a break from these posts in 2018, I realized I remember what I have read much better if I write it all down. This month brought a pretty wide variety of books, and there are some real gems here.
- It’s Always the Husband, Michele Campbell, thriller ⭐️⭐️
The first half and second half of this book feel like entirely different stories. I didn’t particularly enjoy either. The book opens with a woman being urged to jump off a bridge on her fortieth birthday, then goes back to freshman year of college and the story develops from there. I found the story boring and predictable, the writing below average, and the characters flat and underdeveloped.
- Bringing Up Bébé, Pamela Druckerman, parenting ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I loved this so much. Pamela Druckerman is an American living and raising her children in Paris. This is part memoir and part observations on the differences in typical American and French parenting. There are so many principles that I love in the French style of parenting, specifically the assumption that children are, indeed, people and are thus capable of learning things. This perspective seems to mesh well with the Charlotte Mason style of education that I love. The author is also really funny and I found myself wanting to be friends with her.
- Broken Beauty, Sarah B. Smith, memoir ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Sarah’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in her early sixties. This is Sarah’s memoir of her family’s experience with the disease, and ultimately it’s a story of hope and redemption. Sarah’s son Elijah is in my class this year, and it was such a privilege to read this book and become more familiar with their lives outside of school. It is heartrending to read about the experiences they have had, and I so admire Sarah’s courage in writing this book to support others going through the same heartbreak.
- Becoming, Michelle Obama, memoir ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I so thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It was fascinating to read about Michelle’s childhood, her romance with Barack, and the path to the presidency. I loved the inside look into what it’s like to live in the White House. I think I enjoyed this more than I would have from a president’s point of view. I appreciated her candor and her unique perspective.
- Parents & Children, Charlotte M. Mason, education ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is the second volume in Charlotte Mason’s “Home Education” series. The focus of this book is parents’ responsibility in educating and relating to their children. She was an English educator at the turn of the twentieth century, and much of what we do at my school comes from her educational philosophy. This book was a little more philosophical as opposed to the more practical nature of the first volume. Some of what she says is outdated or not applicable to our context, but there are so many worthwhile thoughts and ideas throughout the whole book. My favorite aspect of her philosophy is her assertion that “children are persons,” and if you believe that, it will affect every aspect of how you relate to them. One of my favorite quotes from the book: “We believe that children are human beings at their best and sweetest, but also at their weakest and least wise.”
- Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen, classic literature ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was, I believe, my third attempt to read Pride & Prejudice. I don’t think I was ready for it until recently. I first tried to read it when it was assigned in high school, and neither understood nor appreciated it. I tried again in college because it felt like something I should read, but I don’t think I made it more than halfway through before giving up. I read Emma about a year ago and adored it, so I thought it might be time to try Pride & Prejudice again. This time was a completely different experience. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading this novel. I am absolutely delighted with Elizabeth and with Darcy and wish that I could know them in real life. I love the understated humor (I’m tempted to write humour because I feel English now) and wit. Everything about it was delightful, and I am thankful that I gave it another go.
- Middlemarch, George Eliot, classic literature ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was recommended on several different reading lists in Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson. It is long – nearly 700 pages. It was a bit daunting and I started out by listening to it. I finished the last 200-ish pages in an actual book. I loved the writing and insights into human nature throughout the whole thing. I started listening to it while I was also reading Pride and Prejudice, and I think I was so busy being in love with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy that I didn’t have enough emotional bandwidth left for the Middlemarch characters. Even with 100 pages left I wasn’t sure how I felt about the story, but the way it all wrapped up was so satisfying it won me over.
- The Awakening of Miss Prim, Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera, fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This has been in my TBR pile forever, and I’m so glad I finally made time for it. Prudencia Prim accepts a job as a librarian for a family in a unique community – I can’t say much more than that without giving the story away. She spends six months with them and learns quite a bit in the process. It was a very unique story, delicate and whimsical and delightful. The ending came a little too quickly for me, but I highly recommend it.