June was baby month around here (Christopher arrived on June 20th). In addition to getting everything ready for his arrival and resting up for the big day, I managed to get in a decent amount of summer reading as well. I love the extra time I generally have in the summer for reading.
Here’s what I read in June:
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
I heard about Agatha Christie era mystery writer Josephine Tey through Cindy Rollins. These are fun but also well written and clean mystery novels (occasional mild language).
The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey
This is the first of Tey’s short series featuring Detective Alan Grant.
A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey
This is the second Detective Alan Grant installment.
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace [re-read] [read-aloud]
I’m reading through this series aloud to Kate, but I love this sweet series (which I first read as an adult) even for myself.
Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace [re-read] [read-aloud]
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace [re-read] [read-aloud]
The Woman Who Was Chesterton by Nancy Carpentier Brown
This was an excellent biography of Frances Chesterton, wife of author G.K. Chesterton (several of whose works, incidentally, are on my summer reading list). Frances was very private, wanting to take a backseat to her famous husband, so until now not much has been known about her life. (For instance, she worked for Charlotte Mason as the secretary of the P.N.E.U. for a number of years before she married.) The back cover matter/forward drew me in, “This is a love story. But it is also a detective story. And best of all, it is a true story, told here for the first time.” It didn’t disappoint.
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, translated by Tiina Nunnally [In-progress]
I’ve put off reading this one for awhile, even though it comes highly recommended (even by men–like Anthony Esolen and Dr. George Grant), because it’s 1124 pages, and that’s a big commitment. However, I finally checked it out from the library to give it a try, and I’m loving it. It’s actually three volumes in one: The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross, and I’m getting through the saga surprisingly fast. If I’m not done when my library renewal option is up, I’ll buy it. I’m currently finished with The Wreath and have started The Wife. Be sure to get the Nunnally translation, as I’ve heard it’s much better than the other, more archaic translation.
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski [In-progress]
This is part biography part literary criticism, interwoven in a well-written narrative, of the lives and works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams. It’s a little lengthy at 512 pages, but it’s not a difficult read, and I’m finding it fascinating. Another book that I kept hearing about over and over until I finally just bought it. I believe I first heard about it through the CiRCE Institute (and I always pay attention when they recommend books).
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody [In-progress] [read-aloud]
I’m reading this aloud to the kids in the evenings as we get a chance. (It’s usually the evenings they work on a puzzle with Dad.) This is the first time I’ve ever read it, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s got some great character-building scenes. There is occasional mild language, which I edit out while I’m reading. This series has been recommended by so many trusted sources that I’ve lost count. (I know Cindy Rollins is one.)
Father Brown: The Essential Tales by G.K. Chesterton [In-progress]
I would just read through the complete tales (and I still may), but this is a volume we happen to own. This was on my list for the summer anyway, but I’m reading ahead of the tales included in the Father Brown Reader: Stories from Chesterton, which is at the top of our read-aloud pile, so that I don’t spoil the endings for myself when I read them to the kids!
July…was a little harder in terms of reading. A newborn schedule, including interrupted sleep, and six weeks of welcome house guests who came to help out and dote on the new baby didn’t leave too much time for reading. We also suspended most of our family read-alouds for July because of all the grandparents and aunts and cousins to play with (in the pool). However, I managed to finish a couple of books and start a few more.
Here’s what I read in July and am working through:
The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey
Another installment in the Detective Alan Grant mysteries, though he doesn’t play a huge role in the story. This was my favorite in the series so far. (They really don’t need to be read in order, by the way.)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
This book was so, so interesting. It’s another Detective Alan Grant mystery, but he’s laid up in the hospital with a broken leg, so he decides to solve a mystery from history. He settles on the mystery surrounding Richard III of England and the Princes in the Tower. I dare you to read this without grabbing a history text or Googling Richard III, especially with the discovery a few years ago (long after Tey’s book, incidentally) of the bones of Richard III under a parking lot in England and the subsequent re-investigation of this mystery. This book has a totally different flavor than the other Tey mysteries, but it was great!
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald [In-progress]
This classic children’s book has long been on my reading list. I’ve read The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie with the kids, so I’m excited to be reading this one. George MacDonald is such an excellent writer. (He influenced Lewis and Tolkein.)
Exploring the History and Philosophy of Christian Education by Michael Anthony and Warren Benson [In-progress]
This is, I’d say, an easy college-level book. Nothing deep here, but a nice survey of the influences on Christian education throughout history, beginning in the Old Testament period.
Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve Foster [In-progress]
This is a pre-read for our upcoming homeschool year. (We’re studying the Romans this fall in history.) I have three excellent living (non-textbook) histories of the Roman world, including this one, so I’m pre-reading to decide which will be read aloud and which will be independent reading for the kids. This particular book is very well done! I like how it follows the life of a person rather than events in a country, and I was surprised by the good amount of text while still being in child-friendly language. Even though I had excellent history teachers, I always learn things from my kids’ living history books.
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski [still In-progress]
I didn’t make too much headway this month in here. I’m about 3/4 of the way through, but it’s not one easily read while being constantly distracted by a newborn. I’m looking forward to finishing it though (and some of these others).