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Well, it is suddenly December and my head is spinning at everything that seems to need “doing.” This morning, before the sun has risen, with the Christmas tree lights on and Lilly snuggled on the couch watching cartoons (don’t judge, it’s too early to parent!) I suddenly remembered I should stop and take stock of how I did on my New Year’s Resolution for this past year. The goal was to read a book a month and half of those should be non-fiction.

One thing I learned about myself after writing a post about “Catherine the Great’ is that I’m not a book reviewer. I had no interest in reviewing every book I read. So I didn’t. 🙂  But since I took the time to announce to the world what my goal was I thought I would at least follow up at the end of the year with how I did. I hope it’s not “cheating” but since deciding to homeschool Trinity I found myself drawn to books from my childhood and I reread a couple of them looking forward to the time she will be ready for them.

Anyhow, looking for something to read? Here’s what I read this year:

‘Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie – Loved it. You can read my review if you want to know more.

‘1776’ by David McCullough – Loved it. A documentation of American history throughout that year and it truly reads like a novel.

‘Candide’ by Voltaire – I remember enjoying it in highschool so I took it up again. This satirical work is a quick read and just as absurd and horrifying as I remember it being. I still remember which parts my AP English teacher found particularly hysterical. It’s funny what we remember!

‘Carry on Warrior’ by Glennon Doyle Melton – This was a total change of pace. She is so funny my sides hurt at times! But by about 3/4 of the way into the book I tired of her style and never finished it. So I’m not sure if this counts in my book count?

“Johnny Tremain” by Esther Hoskins Forbes -This was one of my all time favorite books in 4th grade. Its about a talented, haughty, and impetuous boy whose life takes an unexpected turn for what he thinks is the worst but ultimately brings him to involvement in events leading up to the Revolutionary War. He also goes through a journey of self-discovery along the way.  An absolute MUST read for every American child.

“The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare – Another of my 4th grade favorites. A carefree girl raised by her grandfather in Barbados finds herself living with her puritanical relatives in pre-revolutionary war Connecticut.  The comfort she finds in the friendship of a quiet Quaker woman who is rumored, by locals to be a witch, brings further suspicion upon Kit which culminates in…well…you’ll have to read the book to find out!

‘A History of the World in 6 Glasses” by Tom Standage – Looks at human history through the rise and fall of beer, wine, tea, coffee, spirits, and coke. Want to know the true roots of the American Revolution? The reason the Brits were nicknamed “limeys?” The reason we raise our glasses in toast before we drink? I wouldn’t say I couldn’t put it down but it was an interesting read with a different perspective on history.

“Nicholas and Alexandra” – by Robert K Massie – I enjoyed ‘Catherine the Great’ so much that I thought I would read his book on the last Tsar of Russia. Loved it. Despite how tragic this story is (and already knowing how it ends!) I found myself desperately hoping there would be a successful rescue attempt for the family I came to care about through this book. It also sheds light on the world climate surrounding World War I.

“The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin – Loved it. I think I first read this in 7th grade during a “mysteries” unit in school. It’s just as fun the second time around. A seemingly random group of potential heirs are called to the reading of the will of multimillionaire whose later years were shrouded in mystery. Through his will he calls upon them to solve the mystery of his murder – offering strange clues to get them started and dangling his sizeable fortune as the reward. Oh- and one of THEM is the murderer!

“One for the Murphys” by Linda Hunt – Loved it. It’s teen-fiction but is a beautifully written story about a foster girl dealing with horrifically tragic events and struggling to feel worthy of being loved. In life with the Murphys (the foster family that has taken her in) she is thrust into the foreign world of a loving family life. Her fight to hold on to her protective barriers eventually gives way and her thick exterior begins to erode. The ending of the book has an unexpected twist. I love the quirks Carly has  – one of which is finding words within words  – like meeting her foster mother Julie and realizing that the end of her name is “u lie.” This book is definitely a worthwhile read.

That brings us to ten books. I am in the middle of two books right now but will almost certainly not finish either before the end of the year. Too much going on! But I count the year a success because I did make the time to read far more than I have in the past couple of years and fully half of the books were nonfiction. Considering we had the enormous life change of deciding to home-school last February, I’m quite pleased I fit ten books into the year!

While it won’t be part of my New Year’s Resolution for 2014, I do intend to continue reading. I have about five books waiting to be started. If you have a favorite book to recommend, I’d love to hear it! And if you want to give any of the above a try, Happy Reading!

***Later update*** I did end up finishing two more books before the end of the year. “Ella Enchanted” and “How to Raise Selfless Kids in a Self-Centered World,” So, Woo Hoo!!! I officially finished the goal.

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