This was an amazing reading year. I couldn’t choose just one favorite book, so here are my favorites in a few different categories. Maybe you’ll find the perfect book to get the New Year started right!
Fiction—Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. How is it that I made it into my 40th year without reading P&P? What I mean of course is how did I miss the Colin Firth movie version?! But really, I loved this book. I listened to a Librivox recording every night for a few weeks as I made dinner. Then I would re-tell the story to the children, finding the best scenes to read out loud. Excellent!
Homeschooling—The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater. I got this book for my birthday, and read it during the summer. I had no idea how much I would like it. Bestvater’s prose is evocative and lush. And she’s writing about a topic close to my heart; I went to the cafe today with 5 different notebooks!
The Urban Bestiary by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. If you are looking for a way to incorporate more (or better informed!) nature study into your homeschool, then you should definitely check out this book. Thought not a homeschooling book per se, Lyanda’s easy, conversational manner is as engaging as it is informative. As with the Jane Austen, I read the book, and then told it back to my children. We started seeing patterns and animal sign immediately!
Drawing–This has been an expansive year for my drawing and journaling. First, two best of the year resources that aren’t books at all: Lisa Congdon’s drawing class at Creativebug and Lori Pickart’s Journaling class. These two classes were game changers for me. I am excited to read Congdon’s 40 Ways to Draw a Tulip in 2015. For some strange reason, our library doesn’t own it, so I have to wait to request an interlibrary loan.
In December I finally got the chance to read Syllabus by Lynda Barry. It’s a book about drawing, but really it’s about teaching and learning. So engaging + inspiring. I have pages and pages in my notebooks filled with quotes from this one. We also spent quite a long time The Sketchnote Workbook by Mike Rodes. Again, not a homeschooling book at all, but with plenty of applications especially in relation to keeping notebooks and The Living Page.
Spiritual–But if I had to choose just one book to be my favorite from this last year, I’d choose The Monk’s Alphabet by Jeremy Driscoll. He is a poet and Benedictine monk from Mt. Angel, the monastery we visited in October. This book is a miscellany, short reflections on a variety of topics organized alphabetically. The strange way that topics flow into each other is one of the pleasures of the book. I have read it completely at random, just opening the book and starting to read for a few pages. But I don’t get far before I find an arresting idea or image. The poet and the monk are perfectly entwined in Driscoll’s writing. This small book is not to be missed.
What books made all the difference in your year? I’d love to hear + add them to my 2015 list!