December in Review

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

I don’t think I’ve ever ended a month with so many recently read books still waiting to be reviewed! I intend to get to most of them in the coming weeks. My problem is that I have been wanting to read in my limited spare time – and that means I haven’t been writing reviews as much!

I will have a separate post for the year in review and the plans for the future months.  One part of 2010: My Year of Reading Deliberately (details to come) is that every month I will have one intimidating book that is my “project” book. In December 2009, it was Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage, a book that at 700+ pages I’ve always been intimidated by. By making it a priority, I got through it with a few days to spare!

January’s project book is Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking People, in one volume. Yes, it is an abridgement of Churchill’s 4-volume set. But at about 500 pages, it’s still intimidating to me. I don’t know much about English history, and I feel I should know more. Besides, I loved Churchill’s writing style when I read his speeches in 2008, so it’s about time I revisit another of his works, even if I do go for the abridged version!

At any rate, there are a few new challenges listed below – details to come soon.

Fiction and Nonfiction Reviews

In December, I reviewed a few things I finished previously:

I also read the following:

  • The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule (215 pages; nonfiction).
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (190 pages; children’s fiction).
  • The Harlem Renaissance edited by Harold Bloom (300 pages; nonfiction/essays). Background info for the upcoming (February) Classics Circuit.
  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Fenyman by Robert Fenyman (10 discs, about 11 ½ hours total; nonfiction/science).
  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (about 150 pages, from Project Gutenberg; children’s fiction).
  • Growing a Reader from Birth: Your Child’s Path from Language to Literacy by Diane McGuinness (250 pages; nonfiction).
  • The Touchstone by Edith Wharton (120 pages; fiction).
  • A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman (105 pages; poetry).
  • Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage (735 pages; nonfiction).
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (350 pages; fiction).
  • The ABCs of Literacy by Cynthia Dollins (250 pages read; nonfiction).

Other Posts

Not all my posts were reviews this month. In fact, because I wasn’t reviewing much, I may have had more non-reviews than reviews!

Challenges Update

I have more info about the new challenges in the next few days.

Past and Ended Challenges

Everything Austen Challenge [ended 31/12/09] 5/6. I never did watch another movie. The novel Sense and Sensibility is on the list for February, though!

New Challenges

Other than My Year of Reading Deliberately personal challenge projects, I’m going to be joining a few other challenges. Details and book lists to come.

Graphic Novels Challenge [ends 31/12/10]) 0/4. The Intermediate level is to read between 3 and 10. My personal goal is 4, one a quarter.

Black Classics Challenge [ends 31/12/10]. 0/7. I’m aiming for the “Experienced” level, not because I am experienced but because I need motivation and a challenge to read these books I should have read before!

Our Mutual Read [ends 31/12/10]. 0/8. I’m aiming for the second level.

Scottish Literature Challenge. Amateur Reader hasn’t given details or dates yet, but this is to read one book pre-1914 written by someone in Scotland.

Challenge Progress

Some projects appear on more than one list because part of the challenge is timed, but the overall project is not. I’ve made a note if I’m currently reading a book that applies to a particular challenge.

See the list of books I’ve read and what I’m planning on reading for each challenge on my Current Challenges page.

Timed Challenges

The Japanese Literature Challenge [ends 30/01/10]. 0/1 (In Progress: The Pillow Book. .)
Really Old Classics Challenge
[ends 28/02/10]. 2/4 + 0/1 retelling (In progress: The Pillow Book).
Women Unbound
[ends 30/11/10]. 2/8
Black Classics Challenge
[ends 31/12/10]. 0/7
Graphic Novels Challenge
[ends 31/12/10]. 0/4
Our Mutual Read [ends 31/12/10]. 0/8
Scottish Literature Challenge

Personal Projects

HTR&W project: poetry. 1/21 poems
Nobel Challenge
. 15/101 authors
Pulitzer Challenge
. 11/82
Newbery Medal
. 28/88
Caldecott Medal
.  47/72
My History of Children’s Literature Project
. 6/15 chapters (I’ve finished the book, but I am reading novels from chapter 6. In Progress: Swiss Family Robinson)
U.S. Presidential Reading
. 2/44 presidents
Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
. 1/15 presidents
My Short Story Author Project
My Poets Project
Favorite Authors to Read

Classics/Must Read Lists

Beowulf on the Beach Challenge . 15/50
101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers
. 43/101
Martel-Harper Challenge19/59

Reviewed on January 1, 2010

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.

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  1. Your plan of reading a book each month that’s intimidating to you sounds like a great idea! One of my goals is to try and read at least one “classic” a month. I’m trying to get over the intimidation that comes with the label for me.

    I hope you enjoy Sense and Sensibility when you get to it in February. I just finished watching Masterpiece Classics’ movie version on PBS not 20 minutes ago, and I immediately pulled the book off my bookshelf for a read. My Antonia is in the stack on my nightstand, and I’m hoping to get to it before I have to return to school and it has to be returned to the library.

    Happy New Year, Rebecca!

  2. I’m not “officially” participating in the Year of Reading Deliberately stuff, but I am sort of doing it on my own. Actually, I planned to before I even knew there was something going on, making sure I put stuff in for poetry, short stories, studying world cultures, and reading/watching plays. it’s been fun to make personal challenges, and to challenge myself to read more books in translation, by POC, and GLBT books.

  3. I picked up a volume of Churchill’s book at a used book sale many years ago and since then it has been sitting on my bookshelf. Since you are brave enough to tackle it I may take it off the shelf and try it myself ….

  4. I love the idea of reading a book that intimidates you every month. How do you keep up with your personal challenges, reading challenges, and the Classics Circuits?

  5. Christina, I hope that reading classics will help cure you of the intimidation for you! I, as you know, tend to enjoy them very much! My Antonia is a love it or hate it book — some people are horribly bored. So it might not be a book for you….you’ll have to see!

    Amanda, I can’t figure out where it is “official” either. But I like the title and concept, and it helps me put in to words just what I wanted to do anyway! Have fun in 2010. It sounds like you have great goals.

    Toni Gomez, thanks!

    Eva, so far Churchill is fun — it’s not academic though, so it might totally bother you. Footnotes to support the history he gives are are few and far between, I think.

    Kailana, thanks!

    Suzanne, I was very excited when I got it used somewhere, but yes, it has been about 18 months now…

    Vasilly, I have lists and I try to plan out what I’m going to read when in a spreadsheet. I know, it sounds crazy. I think, sometimes, that I am crazy. I want the freedom to read what I want when I want to read it, though, so I’m working on balance…

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