Reading Journal (23 December): Holiday Reading

Unlike some people, I am not planning on getting a lot of reading in this holiday week. My husband is home, and I never read as much when he’s home as I do when he’s traveling. (As much as I like to read, I’d much prefer to have him around more often.)

That said, I do think I’ll finish the Cather and my monthly project (Talmage) this week. Then I’ll focus on the really old classics (Shonagon and Sir Gawain). Although I got a number of new books this week, I probably won’t get through much of them before the new year. (I’m having a hard time resisting library books lately.)

The biggest change in my reading plans this week is that I gave up on the Wharton I started and chose a different one for my upcoming Circuit visit. Since I started the Circuit, I was feeling obligated to read something no one else was reading (I selected Son at the Front). But I found myself dreading it and wishing I was reading The Touchstone. It’s not that Son at the Front was bad for the 25 pages I read – I just didn’t feel like reading a novel about Paris in August of 1914. I ultimately decided I had every right to read what I want to read. I’m glad I changed, because I enjoyed reading The Touchstone very much. It was a New York Wharton story.

Are you going to get more or less reading time during the holidays?

Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it!

Finished Books

These are the books I finished this week.

  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (about 150 pages, from Project Gutenberg; children’s fiction). For My History of Children’s Literature Project.
  • Growing a Reader from Birth : Your Child’s Path from Language to Literacy by Diane McGuinness (250 pages; nonfiction). It focuses on the essential skills of language development as a key part of learning to read; some flaws in the end.
  • The Touchstone by Edith Wharton (120 pages ; fiction). For the Wharton Classics Circuit.

Abandoned Books

I returned unread or partially read a few books this week.

  • A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton (25 read of 220). For the Wharton Classics Circuit. I really dreaded reading this book, so I changed my mind for the upcoming Circuit.
  • Brain Games for Babies, Toddlers & Twos by Jackie Silberg
  • Hooked on Learning. Colors, shapes and more
  • Phonemic Awareness by Lucia Kemp Henry

Currently Reading

Each week, I list my progress so I can see how my reading compares week to week. I did make a little progress on some of these.

My Books

I’m going to add some other books of mine in the coming week.

  • Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and Their Messages by Karen Lynn Davidson (100 read of 455 pages; nonfiction).
  • Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage (695 read of 735 pages; nonfiction). My December priority. I’m making steady progress and I was right: it’s perfect for immersion during the month of December!
  • The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon (55 read of 350 pages; fiction/really old classic).  I didn’t read as much as I expect this weekend beyond Talmage’s volume, so I still haven’t begun yet!

Old Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (40 read of 300; fiction). For my January book club.
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation trans. Simon Armitage. I haven’t begun yet.
  • Raising a Reader: Make Your Child a Reader for Life by Paul Kropp
  • Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book Leonard S. Marcus
  • The ABCs of Literacy
  • How to Teach Reading by Edward Fry
  • Story Stretchers for infants, toddlers, and twos by Shirley Raines
  • Children’s Book Corner by Judy Bradbury
  • The Story Road to Literacy by Rita Roth
  • Phonics from A to Z : a practical guide by Wiley Blevins

New Library Loot

  • School Starts at Home by Cheri Fuller
  • Cotton candy on a rainy day : poems by Nikki Giovanni
  • The collected poems of Langston Hughes
  • Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Weatherford
  • Jam! : the story of jazz music by Jeanne Lee
  • Louis Armstrong : the offstage story of Satchmo by Michael Cogswell
  • Jazz : a history of America’s music by Geoffrey Ward
  • Cane by Jean Toomer
  • Jazz by Toni Morrison
  • A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman
  • Golden Slippers, an anthology of Negro poetry for young readers
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf


A few books were recommended in the comments to my Medea post:

  • Aeschylus’ play Agamemnon
  • Oresteia by Euripides
  • Lysistrata by Aristophanes
  • Prometheus Bound, and the Prometheus Unbound by Shelley

And then you bloggers added a lot to my lists in the past two weeks!

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Jackie)
  • Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, a Graphic Novel by Michael Keller and Nicolle Rager Fuller (Nymeth)
  • The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (Jenny)
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (Daily Words and Acts; Nymeth)
  • Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill (aka The Book of Negroes). (Eva)
  • Emma, a Manga novel (Eva)
  • The Help by Katherine Stockett (Melissa; Natasha)
  • Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman (Kim)
  • The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Jenny)
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (Valerie)
  • Song for Night by Chis Abani (Eva)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Emily)
  • A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (Claire)

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. Good luck with To the Lighthouse. I read that in 2001 and couldn’t understand a word of it. I might understand it better now, but of all the Woolf I’ve read, that one was by far the most difficult.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. I’m flying tomorrow and given the weather I might have some waits at the airport. I’m bringing four books for a five day trip “just in case” including Death Comes for the Archbishop.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Have a happy holiday Rebecca.

    I think I will get about the same reading as normal. We are having a quiet christmas as my husband has to work from Boxing Day for 10 days so I will read when my boys are napping as I normally do.

  4. You’ve got quite a few items on phonics there! But glad to see you don’t have the LeapFrog DVDs (or maybe you do, but didn’t mention them because they’re not books!). They drive me insane, even though kids seem to love them and actually learn sounds from them! I wish I could temporarily revert to an age-appropriate age to evaluate stuff for kids, because sometimes they just don’t cut it for adults!

  5. That is an impressive list of books that you’ve added to your TBR pile. I didn’t realise that Someone Knows My Name was also called The Book of Negroes – I’m keeping an eye out for that one too.

    I’m not going to be reading anything for the next few days either, but will probably make up for it in the few days after that.

    I hope you have a great Christmas!

  6. I think it’s good that you picked what you wanted to read for Wharton! 😀 I really enjoyed To the Lighthouse, but is’ my least fave of the Woolf books I’ve read (she’s one of my fave authors though, so that doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means!).

    Have fun spending extra time with your husband! And Merry Christmas! 🙂

  7. Glad you liked my The Color Purple review, Rebecca! I haven’t read either of those two Whartons, but judging from Hermione Lee’s descriptions of them in her Wharton biography, I don’t blame you for switching. A Son at the Front sounded like some of her most blatant, low-quality war propaganda…but maybe peoples’ Circuit posts will change my mind about that. 🙂

    I’m hoping to do LOTS of reading this coming week – my partner is traveling to the East Coast on the 27th, so the dog & I will be left to our own devices.

  8. During the holidays I hope to get more reading in and hoping to finish “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters, which I really like so far. I did enjoy “To the Lighthouse.” A little difficult, but a good read in the end. Happy Holidays!

  9. Yay for setting down the Wharton and choosing another one. I don’t know much about the Touchstone, so I’m looking forward to your review. I’m getting excited about reading some of her short stories for the classics circuit!

  10. Amanda, I was hoping reading it along with the Woolf in Winter group would make it easier. Now I’m getting scared!

    Suzanne, I hope you have a nice trip! And enjoy Archbishop!

    Bella, happy reading!

    Lezlie, what a fun plan!

    rhapsody, oh no! My mother-in-law sent one for Christmas! Too bad it’s going to be very annoying….

    Jackie, happy reading!

    Eva, I realized after I picked it up that Mrs. Dalloway is the first Woolf in Winter read, not To the Lighthouse. So maybe I’ll try that first.

    Emily, no one else is reading Son at the Front for the Circuit, so that’s why I picked it up. But, um, I just didn’t feel like it. So maybe there is a reason no one else chose it! Happy reading!!

    Kimberly, I hope I can feel the same about To the Lighthouse!


  11. Merry Christmas Rebecca! Enjoy the holidays with your hubby. My husband doesn’t travel but he works crazy hours and he is on vacation with me this week. I’m not reading as much as I had planned but that’s ok because it’s wonderful to be able to spend so much time with him. So I know exactly how you feel.

  12. Stefanie, it has been nice having him around!

    Ladytink, thanks!

    Kailana, and yet we wouldn’t have it any other way, huh?!

    Marie, yeah, I’m glad I changed to a different book — not that the other was bad… I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

    Care, thanks!

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