Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice holiday. I did, and yet my reading time has been rather cut short lately. We’ll see how January progresses!
In December, I reviewed a huge number of children’s picture books. I felt like my reading was rather light, especially at the beginning of the month, even though it adds up to a lot of books read! I certainly enjoyed my time with Dickens’ classic Christmas novellas, even though I didn’t actually like each story, and I enjoyed reading other Christmas-y things. It was a good reading month overall.
I shared my 2009 goals and “challenges” here and here. In January, I have lots I want to read, but I know I won’t get to it all! I have a number of personal things that will eat away at my reading time this month, but we’ll see how the reading goes in the end.
Fiction and Nonfiction Reviews
In December, I reviewed a few things I finished reading in November:
- Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (200 pages; fiction)
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (125 pages; fiction/novella)
- Anthem by Ayn Rand (105 pages; fiction/novella)
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (500 pages; fiction)
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (110 pages; fiction/novella)
I also read a number of things.
- The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens (120 pages; children’s)
- Gay-Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (200 pages; children’s fiction)
- Christmas Poems, Everyman’s Library Edition (220 pages; poetry)
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (110 pages; children’s fiction)
- The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens (90 pages; fiction/novella)
- The Chimes by Charles Dickens (110 pages; fiction/novella)
- The Haunted Man and The Ghost’s Bargain (140 pages; fiction/novella)
- The Battle of Life by Charles Dickens (90 pages; fiction/novella)
- The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (190 pages; children’s fiction)
- Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn (220 pages; nonfiction)
- Possession by A.S. Byatt (555 pages; fiction)
I got a bit carried away with the Christmas children’s books I read and reviewed. And it took forever. But I did most of that during the beginning of the month, so when I got swamped with the holiday, I still had those posts I could share. I don’t see myself reading so many picture books in the coming months! Here’s the list of all the children’s books I’ve reviewed this month (in alphabetical order):
- Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins and illustrated by Richard Cowdrey
- Hand Hand Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins
- Here Comes Santa Claus by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman, illustrated by Bruce Whatley
- Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks
- How Do Dinosaurs Clean Up Their Rooms? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
- How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
- How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
- How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
- My First Story of Christmas by Tim Dowley
- My Very First Book of Numbers by Eric Carle
- Nine Days to Christmas by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr
- Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert Lewis May, illustrated by David Wenzel.
- Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
- The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
- The Christmas Story, from the Bible, illustrated by Gennady Spirin
- The Friendly Beasts by Tomie dePaola
- The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, illustrated by Carol Heyer
- The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell and illustrated by Paul Micich
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore, illustrated by Ruth Sanderson
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore, illustrated by Mary Engelbreit
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrated by Tim Jonke
- White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
- The Nutcracker by Michael Hague
- The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by John O’Brien
The list includes eight Caldecott winners. I also read some other children’s literature, as noted in the review list above. None of my reading related to my Children’s Literature: Reader’s History project; I’m in the middle of Pilgrim’s Progress, which does.
- I did not finish any HTR&W short story authors; I began Borges (in the original Spanish) but still have a ways to go.
- I read a number of novellas by an author on my favorite author list (Charles Dickens).
- I reviewed one Pulitzer Prize novel that is also a written by a Nobel Prize winner (The Old Man and the Sea).
- I reviewed one book from the Martel-Harper challenge list (Anthem).
- I read one Newbery Award winner (Gay-Neck).
- I reviewed a number of Caldecott Award winners.
- I read one winner of the Man Booker Prize (Possession).
Whew! Is that enough for one month?
January Reading Journal
I’m feeling pretty ambitious with the New Year. Because I’m sure I’ll change my “plan” during the month, I’ll just share what I’m in the midst of reading right now.
- I’ve started reading Borges’s stories in Spanish; it takes twice as long for me to read in a foreign language. This is part of my HTR&W challenge. I have ordered the English translation from the library; I think I will try the English. I’m not enjoying it at all.
- I’m almost finished reading Pilgrim’s Progress (as part of my Children’s Literature: Reader’s History project). It is very slow reading as well; it was written in the 1600s. I’m struggling.
- Because I had insomnia and didn’t want to turn on the light, I also began reading Grimm’s fairy tales, thanks to the public domain Project Gutenberg text on my handheld device. I have the complete stories in print, and I may go back and make sure I’ve read them all.
- My husband and I have been reading The Silmarillion together over the past six months. We finished the book except for the appendices, which contain some more stories I want to read. If we finish, I may review it this month.
- My husband got us The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters for Christmas. I don’t know if I will review it this month; we’re going to go through some recipes together as we read it and I’ll share it when I feel I’ve actually used it. So far, so good!
- I’m in the middle of reading Fundamentals of Photography by Tom Ang, which I picked up thanks to this review. It is very technical, and because it is new, it is a 14-day library check out. Hopefully I can renew it for a second 14 days; it is slow reading for me but quite interesting.
What are you planning on reading this month, to start off the new year? Have you read any of these books too?