After only reading 26 books during the first half of the year, I was afraid I wouldn't make my goal of reading 60 books this year. But July - December were good to me (I think summer break and a nursing baby helped), and I read a total of 38 books during the second half.
Here's a brief recap (titles are linked to the full reviews):
1. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, 9/10
Since finishing this, I have learned what a divisive book it is. I happened to love it. It's just the kind of moral dilemma I love (and yes, despite what you haters say, and despite what Isabel should have done, it is a dilemma).
2. All About Sam by Lois Lowry, readaloud, 5/10
Despite many fond memories of this book as a child, it didn't hold up for me as an adult (my kids loved it though).
3. Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, AUDIO, 10/10
LOVE. If pressed, this might be my favorite book in the series. But there are several close seconds.
4. A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith, readaloud, 7/10
After the boys and I read Babe, we were happy to discover many more books by Dick King-Smith. This darling story was one of them.
5. Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins, readaloud, 8/10
Not your rehashed toy book--not by a long shot.
6. Mostly Monty by Johanna Hurwitz, readaloud, 5/10
I have to admit, I was mostly bored by this book (but my kids weren't).
7. Dangerous by Shannon Hale, 6/10
Whoa, aliens and space and sci-fi? Not my usual book fare at all. But I'll try anything if Shannon Hale writes it.
8. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, AUDIO, 10/10
Lovely, just lovely. I could read Laura and Almanzo's courtship over and over again.
9. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, AUDIO, 3/10
This book was never meant to be the final book in the series, and I resent the person who made the decision to tack it onto the end.
10. West of the Moon by Margi Preus, 8/10
A lovely melding of genres and featuring one of my favorite folk tales.
11. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards, readaloud, 9/10
A fanciful tale with such vivid descriptions, it does very well without pictures.
12. Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock, 9/10
I suppose you could say this book is full of too many issues, but I found it heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
13. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, 8/10
I especially appreciated the way this book helped me to view anger in a more constructive light.
14. Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider, 10/10
I enjoyed every aspect of this book (except for the title).
15. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick,AUDIO, 8/10
Really eye-opening and shocking--I still can't believe this level of brainwashing happened during my lifetime.
16. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, readaloud, 8/10
The intrigue of four kids living alone in a boxcar did not wane in the 20 years since I read this book for the first time.
17. Toy Dance Party by Emily Jenkins, readaloud, 8/10
This book confirmed it: we are devoted fans of StingRay, Lumphy, and Plastic.
18. Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary, readaloud, 10/10
Four months later, Max is still making up his own tales of catching a 30 lb. chinook. This was one of our favorite readalouds of the year.
19. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith, AUDIO, 8/10
I liked this book much better than the first one in the series (and I didn't hate that one).
20. The Art of Flying by Judy Hoffman, 6/10
A fun autumn read.
21. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, readaloud, 10/10
You'd be hard pressed to find another book my kids and I enjoyed more than this one.
22. The Trouble With Magic by Ruth Chew, readaloud, 4/10
It wasn't meant to be creepy, but Harrison Peabody creeped me out nonetheless.
23. Strong Mothers, Strong Sons by Meg Meeker, 8/10
Takeaway message: Love is unconditional. Duh.
24. The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson, readaloud, 2/10
I begged my kids multiple times to let me stop reading this book. I hated it that much.
25. Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart, 8/10
Suspense, danger, and an elegant (but foreboding) house = the perfect October read. Why have I not read anything by Mary Stewart before?
26. The Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton M. Christensen, 7/10
Loved all the personal stories that went along with this.
27. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, AUDIO, 9/10
28. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, AUDIO, 8/10
Gave this book a second chance. It was worth it.
29. The Trouble With Chickens by Doreen Cronin, readaloud, 5/10
I read it to my boys, and the change in viewpoint halfway through confused us all.
30. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, readaloud, 8/10
Wacky and bizarre--and we loved it.
31. The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma, 8/10
About a father who read to his daughter until the day she left for college. How could I not love it?
32. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, 10/10
I'm not sure if I'm just a sucker for verse novels or if this one was truly exceptional, but I loved it.
33. The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, readaloud, 6/10
My kids were not fans of the coal gas or fire episodes, but other than that, we liked this book.
34. Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith, 8/10
Written in 1963 about a marriage in the 1920's, I was surprised how much it reminded me of my own early days of marriage in 2005.
35. Fire in the Bones by S. Michael Wilcox, 6/10
It deepened my appreciation of the Bible, no question, but it was a tediously long read.
36. Greenglass House by Kate Milford, 8/10
A cast of unusual characters all on a quest to discover the secrets of Greenglass House. A perfect winter read.
37. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, AUDIO, 7/10
The food descriptions were tantalizing, but I felt like Molly and I had almost nothing in common.
38. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, readaloud, 6/10
I think I would have liked this book a lot more if I could have nailed the Peruvian and British accents. As it was, I think I just confused my children.
Hoping 2015 is full of just as many good books! Have you read any of these?