This second half of this year of reading felt … strange … to me. For the first time in ten years, I had very little pre-reading to do. This meant that I could choose books. I know it sounds amazing, but I floundered at first. All that choice paralyzed me.
In addition to this, we had some big life changes, including my husband’s new job, which threw off my schedule. I had to find a new normal, including a new normal for reading. I feel like I’m finally there, but I also feel like this year’s reading list is evidence of the transitions!
This post contains affiliate links.
The main rule I have for myself is that I have to finish a book for it to be a contender. Because I love to start books, this is a form of self-discipline that has been very helpful for me. How many books did I finish this year? 31. That really surprised me because it was only one book less than I read this year. Of course, the ones I read were mostly “easier” than last year, but I think I needed to be gentle with myself for a few months.
If anything, it proves that having a habit (and a habit tracker! — not too late to get yours here!) helps quite a bit.
Now, on with the awards! (Book of the Year is always given at the end….)
Best Read Aloud
My read aloud titles are listed here and aren’t part of my total of 31. I count them separately; I guess I like to know what I’ve done on my own.
Best Parenting Book
The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud is one I highly recommend. In many ways, it is simply Charlotte Mason’s concept of masterly inactivity applied to today’s world.
Other contenders in this category: Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child was a re-read for me, which is why it didn’t win. With that said, I like it so much I wrote a group study guide on it that will be coming out in 2019!
Best Government/History/Economics Book
One of my favorite categories!
This was the first time I’ve ever read On Liberty, and I certainly loved it!
Other contenders in this category: The Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Arguing about Slavery by William Lee Miller (this was definitely second place), and The Great Democracies by Winston Churchill.
Best Geography/Nature Lore
The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman, Jr. was fascinating. I just loved it!
Other contender in this category: Walden by Henry David Thoreau was interesting, but I found Thoreau himself a little obnoxious.
Best Theology/Church History
On the Holy Spirit by St. Basil the Great was, sadly, the only book in this category that I finished this year. I started a number of titles, though, so I have hope there will be an increase in contenders for this category next year!
I can honestly say that The Graves of Academe by Richard Mitchell won because it made me laugh out loud. It was profound, yes. A worthy read, also yes. But funny, too, and that was important to me this year.
Other contenders in this category: Beauty in the Word by Stratford Caldecott, How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, On Writing Well by William Zinsser, How Children Learn by John Holt, and Awakening Wonder by Steve Turley.
Best Other Nonfiction
Atomic Habits by James Clear is hands down a new favorite of mine, mainly because it answers the burning question of how to habit train yourself.
Here it is: everyone’s favorite category! This was my first Louis L’Amour and I regret not reading him before. It was pure delight to read a story that takes place near where I live. I plan to read this aloud to my children sometime soon. It can double as California history!
Other contenders in this category: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry, Silas Marner by George Eliot (this was even better than I expected), The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Fenollera, and The Rector of Justin by Louis Auchincloss.
Book of the Year!
It might sound a little over the top to say “Fact #1: miracles do happen” at the top of your book, but not if i you are Dr. Nemechek. To say this book is changing lives is an understatement. I keep promising to write about it in detail — and really I will one day. But I’m not quite ready to share. For now, all I can say is: if you are concerned about yourself or one of your children, buy this book and do this protocol. By “concerned” I mean things like memory function, attention problems, etc. By “do this protocol” I mean go all in, even when it asks you to do things that sound radical, like dropping all your supplements.