Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chari's Book List of 2011 here it is, that list of books that I read.......last year.

Yes.  I am that slow at getting posts out.

My number of drafts is shameful......, here it is.......almost in its entirety

2011 Book List

by Alssandro Manzoni

I read this at the beginning of the year and wrote a blogpost about it in February. Please go read the post.......I want every literature-loving Catholic I know to read this book! 
Please do read it...and get back to me! Highly recommended! 
I still miss the characters so much!

Have any of our readers already read this book?

I know Willa read it after me......

Just a heads up, you will learn a lot of history of this part of Italy, in the 1620's....
....think Victor Hugo.......

by Magaret Yeo

Inspired by reading about the good Cardinal Federico Borromeo, cousin to Saint Charles Borromeo, in the book listed above, I chose this biography to read for Lent of 2011.  Loved it!  His life is so inspiring! St.Charles B. was so important in the history of the Church during his lifetime.  I had no idea.  Highly recommended!

I have a post written about this, almost finished.......I will get it up soon!

by Father Francis Finn

My family are great Father Finn adorers!  He is an extremely fun writer, who weaves the Faith in and out of his stories wonderfully in a way that pleases all my kids, at all ages. The descriptions of this series at this link is quite good.  This book is the third of a series of three know as The Tom Playfair Series.  Wonderful set of books.  I will eventually need to write a review of them! Highly recommended! If you have never read this series, you must! 
Especially for boys, it is an excellent read-aloud.  There are a couple of parts where I edited as I read......where the description of a scene was a little too graphic.......but only for my very young. 
Not for my ten and up crowd. 

by  Rosemary Norwalk

This was a highlight of my reading list!  I "accidentally" got this book at a free book give-away at Mark Twain Days in San Diego the August before.  The story is a collection of letters the author wrote home to her family during WWII, from her stint in the Red Cross, as well as some of her journal entries.  It is an amazing inside look at this time of history.  These women were true heroes.....and sacrificed so much, especially comfort and sleep. Highly recommended!

by Oscar Lewis, a Landmark Book

One of my strengths, or to read up on whatever I am learning or wherever I am going.  I read this in preparation for our trip to Hawaii.  It was a fun read......but an old book, so it does not quite reach into the actual year of statehood.  A quick and easy read, for mom or kids, and a nice addition to any study of the Hawaiian Islands.  Of course, I was immensely amused to find two quotes form Mark Twain in the book!  He is everywhere!!  Most libraries would have this book.

by Theodore Taylor

Typical of my personality, I had to do reading research before I visited Pearl Harbor.  Of course!  This was an excellent book, written for young people, giving much detail of that infamous day.  I felt like I was there when I read it.....and it enriched my time at the Pearl Harbor very much.

by Albert Marrin

My family loves history books by Albert Marrin.  Again, I read this to enrich our visit to Hawaii and Pearl Harbor.  And, again, of course it did.  The boys and I are currently reading his book about WWI:  The Yanks are Coming and lovin' it.  Though non-fiction, his books about US history are wonderfully told stories.

by Marla Cilley

There was a time in the Internet world when Flylady was all the rage. This is her book, a quick easy way to learn her system without having to click on the next web page. I re-read it just for some inspiration...if there was any to be found.  I like the system and I think it works well, especially if you tweak it for yourself, if needed.  As for the book, it is very simple.  There are times when I wish I could have been her editor.......books that need editing are like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Ah, well.  No need to buy it or read it if you can have access to her website, which can be quite overwhelming. If you do get involved in her system...amazing things can happen. 
Just start slow.... and no guilt!  The shoes really do work!  What does that mean?  Go see for yourself!

by Cay Gibson

A Picture Perfect Childhood

I was visiting a dear friend, perusing her book shelves, and there was Cay's book! Cay, a dear online friend, had written one of the books that I was hoping to write one day........this one.  I was happy to take it home and read through it.  I am one person who does not need help with picture book choices.......Cay and I are on the same page. But it was fun to look through the book and "hear" Cay's thoughts, many of which I had "heard" before, having been online friends for over 13 years. This book is an excellent aid in helping parents or grandparents to find picture books for any occasion:  from apples to Christmas to seasons to historical events or personages to more.....this is an extreme picture book list.  You can find Cay at her lovely blog:  Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks

Mark Twain

I am literature crazy.....I carried dragged a fat volume of War and Peace (the longest novel of all-time, possibly) to Hawaii so I could read for a few minutes before bed....thinking this would be a good time to get started on the re-read I had been putting off for a few years. Ha!  I should have known that I would be distracted by Mark Twain on my travels!  On the very first full day I was on Maui, there he was....a quote on a sign, of his thoughts on visiting Haleakala .  It figured.  I had found his quotes in the Hawaii:  Gem of the Pacific listed above. Sooooo, a few days later, while visiting the seaside village of Lahaina, I found an adorable used book store......with a small share of new books.  And there, right in front as I walked in, was this book.  Of course I had to buy it.....and it is what I chose to read during the rest of my visit. It was great amusement to wander around Maui and Oahu with Mark Twain, both figuratively and literally.  He is hilarious.  This book is just another reason to make him my favorite American author. If you have ever been to Hawaii.....and you enjoy Mark Twain, you will love this book.  We traveled the islands via car....he by foot and horse or mule.  He thought Honolulu was crowded....ha!

 by Foster Cline, MD & Jim Fay

Lots of good parenting reminders in here!  Wish I had read about Love and Logic when all of my kids were younger.  Combining some of the logical advice with attachment parenting.....would have been nice.  I was able to attend a two day Love and Logic seminar last September...........I enjoyed it very much and found some good advice for parenting my current teens.  Even more interesting, my oldest went with me.....she wants to collect all of the information she can so she can teach well.  Well, I could not afford to buy the books......but I was inspired to stop by our local used book store......and there on the shelf was this book.  Perfect timing....and affordable....and with no shipping and handling costs.  Perfect!  Then, I went to our local charter school resource library for something else....and sitting there on a cart, waiting to be put away, were two more Love and Logic books....the original plus one more.  They had just been brought in.  Must have been for me!  Bottom line:  I think this is a good read for all parents, before your kids are teens, if possible.  Some people think this parenting philosophy is only about "consequences".  There is so much, I think most of it is common sense.....and part of "natural" parenting.

by Abby Johnson

"The true story of how Abby Johnson went from Planned Parenthood clinic director to leading voice for life and women in crisis. Abby Johnson made a courageous decision when she walked away from her job as the director of a key Planned Parenthood clinic…"  Although the writing was only fair to good, I believe the story is necessary for all pro-lifers to hear.  Please get a chance to read this if you can.  It is always good to get an insider's look at the "enemy's" territory.  It can help you to be a better fighter, prayer.  Thank you to my friend Leslea for lending the book to me, before she even got a chance to read it! Abby is on Facebook, too. It is nice to follow

by Susan Wittig Albert

A friend of mine at work, who loves to read.......mostly modern books......was sure that my kids and I would love this series.  I found the writing was good, but the story was fairly predictable....and a little slow.  I will not have my kids read these books because they have other book fish to fry.......but it was endearing and charming......and like being with Charlotte Mason Beatrix Potter in the Lake District.  And I love being in the Lake District.  I may read a few more of these.  Sweet.....and almost reminiscent of LM Montgomery's writings and characters.......though not quite to the same quality. 

by Graham Greene


I made a new friend last year.......who is a recent graduate of Thomas Aquinas College.  For some reason.......maybe because we are kindred spirits, in spite of our age difference  :)........she finds that she likes to recommend books to me.  This was just one such book.  This author was popular at the time of his writings, in the mid-1900's.  (That just sounds WEIRDI was born in the mid-1900's!)  It was an enjoyable enough read.......weird story.  Reminded me of some other book or author...but I cannot remember now.  Oh, yeah!  I remember now!  It was like Auntie Mame meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas......a  movie I will not watch....but a book I was forced to read in a college English class. NOT to hand to kids........kind of a 1960's psychedelic, druggy thing. 

by George Eliot

Now that I have an iPhone, one of my favorite uses for to listen to free books on audio.  I have been mostly using it for classic books.  I carry it with me to hang the laundry, clean my room, prepare dinner, do other chores. This was the second book I listened to on the phone. I have been wanting to read it for a decade when a friend lent me her audiobook...and I had it for a year and gave it back to her without listening to it.  I enjoyed it very much.  She found it extremely humorous.  I just found it any George Eliot novel.

by Austen

Of all of the Jane Austen novels, this was the only one I had read only once. I had to re-read it because when I tried to watch the most modern movie rendition of it.......and asked too many questions, my girls scolded me:  Go away and don't watch this movie till you have read the book again.  Well, I did. And although they loved the movie, it made me too sleepy.  Too slow.  But, I loved the book.  Of course.

 by Oscar Wilde

This book was the first one that I would read on my iPhone.  I had thought that there was no way I would read a book on that tiny little screen.  I was so wrong.  I gave it a chance.....and found that it goes so easily.  It is one of the reasons I love my iPhone......all of those books I can read and listen to......nice.  I love this book.  Wilde was so Wilde on the first third and third third of the book, with his wit, insights and amazing one-liners.  The middle third was so dark. Because I did not read it in a program with highlighting capabilities, I may have to read it yet again.  I only read now in the Kindle app for iPhone so I can "write" in the book.  I was following my kids and sometimes Willa....all over the house quoting from this work.  I need more Wilde wit. I cannot get enough.  Wilde is definitely on my short list of authors I can tolerate re-reading.  :)

 by Joan Howard
(read aloud)
This was a read-aloud for the little boys (they are not really little, just my youngest).  It was my second time to read it to a group of my kids, along with a RLS poetry study as well.  We all love this book!  His life is very interesting to children.....and all ages have adored this book.  My oldest kids have fond memories of our time together with this book.  Our family highly recommends.

 by Carolyn Keene
(read aloud)
This was a read-aloud to Malachy, his choice.  I inhaled all of these books when I was young.  In fact, we are reading the copies from my childhood. He is insisting on reading them in order. It was fun to try to predict "what would happen next" with him.  Every single chapter ends with a we would have to read the first page of each chapter so we could sleep.  :) 
The vocabulary of the book was quite impressive!

by Bram Stoker

This was the second book that I read on my iPhone.  I would have read it sooner, but my library did not have a copy.  What??? Not one copy in a million books?  Well, they did just recently get a copy and I grabbed it for my girls.  They are eating it up.  What a wonderful book!  It is so creepy.  It is the first vampire book I have ever read.....and it will be the last.  I never want to taint this story. I was going to refuse to see any Dracula movies.....but I have since found that Anthony Hopkins stars in a I have changed my mind about that now. The men in this book are brave and chivalrous.  The story definitely has some Catholic elements.  I highly recommend a read, if you have not had your chance yet.  Anyone else read this, and love it?  I just found out that my kindred-spirit niece loves it, too.  I do believe Willa will be at it soon, too.  I will need to remind her......

Mr. Hogarth's Will
by Catherine Helen Spence

I came across this title on Librivox, when looking for something new to listen to on my iPhone.  What a surprise treat!  I loved it!  Any lover of Jane Austen will definitely enjoy this story. There are two sisters (think Elinor and Marianne & Jane and Lizzie), who should be rich....were raised by a rich uncle, who educated the girls as men would have been educated in those days and then when he died, left in his will only a small amount for them, so that they could "go make their way" on their educated wits.  One of the enjoyable parts of this book was how it takes place in both England and in Australia.  I wish there was a well-made movie version...... I could not find a copy in my library, but it IS in the public domain.  I think Willa found a written version for her Kindle.....
You can find it at Project Gutenberg

 by Kathryn Stockett 

I enjoyed this book very much.  It took place during the early years of my life and I liked that connection.  Plus, with my mom's side of the family originally from the south, I found that another way to relate.  My great-grandparents never did move from the south so I was able to envision a community like the one I visited several times. I purposely read this book before I saw the movie.  Of course the book was better, but the movie is well-made.  I just wish they would not change so ruins the true feeling of the book.  My oldest daughter saw the movie first and then read the book.....and she states it worked well for this particular story.  I am so in awe of the authors who can write a "first novel" with such success.  I read several first novels in the last quarter of last year and the first one of this year.  All of them very-well written. Impressive.

I truly feel that some books have been left off this list.......but alas, this was all that I could remember. 

I am keeping better track for 2012. I think!

I liked how Willa separated her list into fiction and non-fiction.......maybe I will do that next year.......

.......maybe I will even post my list before the end of January......maybe.

I suppose, I should get started now........

Just out of curiosity, how many of these have you read, too?  Which ones?  Are you inspired to add any of these books to your TO-READ LIST.

Literature Blessings to all of you,



  1. Glad you're reading Graham Greene :)

  2. well.....just one book to start ;) By the way......I wrote almost all of this post in January.....I have fixed the part about that TAC senior.....

    Which makes me think: SHE should start her own blog RIGHT NOW!!!! Let's have a chance to follow her art career from the get-go.....and she can keep a permanent "memory book" of said career.

    What do you think, Kathryn?

    Yes. I DO think she should

  3. Phew, I'm glad you noticed that I graduated. That had me worried :) I'm a bit busy to compose a blog right now; but it has been suggested to me, by your eldest son, as a matter of fact. He thinks I should call it "What Kathryn Reads" and that he would be my main follower. This follows upon my getting him all those books for Christmas!

    As to my art career, I've already started posting pictures of works in progress on Facebook. That will have to do until I get my own website up and running :)

  4. I would read your blog, Kathryn, just because of the title! .... but if you don't have time, Goodreads is an easy way to log books!

    I really think I will read Dracula, soon. In fact, I may make Kieron read it, too, so we can talk about it.

  5. I'm reading The Betrothed right now! I decided to take it up after reading The Heir of Redclyffe. I don't know if you've read that, but the characters speak very highly of The Betrothed in the book. Come to think of it, I think The Betrothed plays upon the plot and characters of The Heir of Redclyffe.

    Oh, and by the way, your link to your post about The Betrothed is incorrect.

    I think Northanger Abbey is the only Austen book I have read once too. No, wait, that's not true. I have only read Mansfield Park once as well. And I enjoy Mark Twain too - although sometimes he falls a little flat for me. I was listening to a book of his short stories (30,000 dollar bequest and other stories) and I think I'd rather read them than listen to them.

    When I graduated from college I vowed to keep track of all my reading... and I did for seven or eight years. I lost my momentum a couple of years ago in the midst of baby #3 and building a house, but I'm doing it again this year. It is such a fun exercise!


We love hearing from our readers. Please share your thoughts or just say hello!