This year has been a comparatively light blogging year for me, with the arrival of my dear little Strawberry in February. She’s almost walking, she’s trying to talk, and she’s certainly keeping me busy. The two of us are finishing 2012 with a monster cold that knocked me out on Friday. The Poor Girl hasn’t had a sickness like this before, so she’s miserable.
I also began homeschooling my kindergartner (Raisin) in earnest this year. I started September and October as a schedule keeper and box checker, but I’m finding that we’re having a lot more fun when we take it easy, a little here and a little there. It is kindergarten, after all. I have enjoyed finding a number of fantastic picture books, both nonfiction and fiction, for his level, and he loves to learn. Yesterday after dinner we talked about veins, arteries, and the heart for a good twenty minutes. He could not feel his own pulse so we decided he must not be alive (he thought that was very funny). This kind of learning is much more satisfying to me and to him than following a check-the-box schedule.
As a result of these life changes, I’ve stepped back from the blogopshere in a series way, as well as stepping back from my blog. In past years of book blogging, I’ve had a craving to make charts of my reading progress: how much fiction versus nonfiction, how many classics versus modern literature, how much male authors versus female authors. This year I have no desire to do any of that reviewing. I’m just going to glance through my archives for the year and remind you of some of my favorite things.
In terms of classics, I enjoyed what I read but I didn’t read nearly as many as I have in the past. Some highlights included my Shakespeare reading time, which I enjoyed so much I’m doing it again starting tomorrow. I also loved reading about Dickens, and Bleak House was a masterpiece. I loved rereading Moby-Dick, and Vanity Fair was well worth the read. It is definitely one to revisit some day. Frankenstein was also delightfully surprising. I’m extra excited to revisit all of Jane Austen’s novels after reading John Mullan’s nonfiction book, What Matters in Jane Austen?
This year was definitely the year of nonfiction, especially history and education philosophy. For history, the following works are ones I found nearly unforgettable in their portrayal of history: Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, 1491, Founding Brothers, and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (I finished this weekend, and review is to come. It is simply fantastic.) I also loved the biography by Walter Isaacson about Benjamin Franklin and a few books for young readers by Sally M. Walker. Consider the Fork was also a fantastic historical book that home cooks would appreciate, since it looked at how cooking and eating have changed through history based on inventions and discoveries.
Since I decided early in 2012 to begin homeschooling, I’ve also found myself immensely interested in educational philosophy and parenting(-ish) books. Fantastic ones this year included a reread of Awakening Children’s Minds and Raising the Emotionally Intelligent Child. For homeschooling curriculum, I have most enjoyed Uncovering the Logic of English and the subsequent kindergarten curriculum as well as No More “I’m Done!”, an idea book for setting up writing workshops with young primary grade children.
For children’s book, I don’t even know where to begin! My most delightful reading time with my son was probably Sideways Stories from Wayside School, but we also enjoyed so many picture books during school time, I wouldn’t know which post to link to. I also have been Cybils fiction picture book judge again this year, which has once again been an exhausting and yet fun experience. I am planning on giving you a post with some of my favorites later this week (the finalists are revealed tomorrow!).
If there is one book I recommend you investigate this year I’d have to suggest it be……
Although from the title it suggests that it is a parenting book (and it is), it helped me see the reasons why some adults behave as they do! The future is in the hands of the rising generation, and I think it’s pretty important to help children learn to cope with emotions, even in a world where many adults have not yet learned to so do.
Was this year a rewarding one? Definitely.
If you had to select just ONE book you have read and posted about this year to share with others, which one would you select?