10 Mar 2012

February in books

Image from here
So, if this is the month to read the books you've always meant to read, what are you reading?

I'm reading a Murakami book of short stories, R. C. Ryle's Practical Religion, a book that has been sitting on my shelves for many years, and which I really have meant to read for such a long time, and lots of things with Jemimah. But enough about March, you'll remember that this is the year that I'm actually recording the books I've read? It is interesting, actually. Knowing that you are watching what I'm reading is actually making me more conscious of what I chose. You're making me accountable, some how. Anyhow, here is my list of books for February. I hope you approve.


Since I posted last month I have noticed that others who post lists of reading books also post what they're reading in the Word as well. I'm reading Revelation. It is the first time that I've read this traditionally difficult book since we studied in in depth at our homegroup Bible study, and I have really enjoyed understanding it so much better this time through.

Hidden Lives by Margaret Forster

A family memoir tracing three generations of women - Forster's grandmother, mother, and Forster herself, and looking at their experiences, circumstances, and opportunities in Carlyle in Northern England.
Let no one say that nothing has changed, that women have it as bad as ever.
Worth reading.

February Dragon by Colin Thiele

A Free Read in Jemimah's Australianised AO5. I chatted about this one here. A marvellous book.

A Song for Nagasaki by Paul Glynn

The biography of Japanese radiologist and author Takashi Nagai, who died in 1951 from radiation disease. A Catholic convert, Nagai was an incredible man who was working in pioneering radiology work at Nagasaki Nagasaki Medical University when life was changed forever with the dropping of of "Fat Man", the atomic bomb, on August 9, 1945. Despite the loss of his beloved wife in the blast, and suffering with leukemia caused by radiation exposure, Nagai devoted the remainder of his life to improving the lives of his fellow survivors.

A story of love and peace, acceptance and forgiveness in the face of amazing adversity, this is a must read for all, but especially for Catholics.

The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanazaki

A beautifully gentle story by Tanizaki Jun’ichirō about a Japan that no longer exists. The story tells of the four Makioka sisters in the lead up to WWII, as they attempt to find a husband for the shy and conservative third sister, Yukiko before the rebellious younger sister does something to blemish the impeccable Makioka name. A poignant glimpse into lost customs and a past time.

This film clip gives you a little idea of the story:

The Story Book of Science by Jean Henri Fabre

One of the books in the newly revised AO4 book list, we started reading this last year in school, and finished it as a family read-aloud. Originally published in 1917, The Story Book of Science introduces the mysteries of God's creation through the eyes of French Uncle Paul in conversation with his nephews and niece. It is delightfully written in a chatty, colloquial style, but the science is dated and inaccurate.

We didn't like it much, but the glimpse into the life of bees at the end held us enthralled.

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by Jon Baxter

A stroll through the literary Paris of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce, Baxter introduces us to Shakespeare and Co. and Sylvia Beach, to literary cafes where he reflects upon Hemingway at the Brasserie Lipp, Picasso at the Cafe de Flore, and Shirer at the Brasserie Balzar. Then there's the flâneurs of the late-nineteenth-century; the secluded "Little Luxembourg" gardens beloved by Gertrude Stein; and the allées where a Revolution was born. This is a splendid armchair journey to one of the great literary cities of the world. I'll be heading to Paris later in the year. Expect to see more books upon this theme.

Can you imagine how much I love this shop? It is as good as it appears. Truly.

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara

A must read book for every Australian, this was my bookclub selection for the month. Doris Pilkington Garimara writes about how her mother, fourteen year old Molly, led her two young cousins from the Moore River Native settlement in Perth on a 1600 kilometre trek north following the Rabbit-proof Fence all the way home to their home country near Jigalong. The book is a personal account of the girls' experiences as 'Stolen Children' during the early 20th Century.

I read it aloud to Jemimah and it was interesting to hear her opinion. We had just covered the settlement of the Swan River area in Australian history, so the story flowed beautifully from what we already knew.

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say

As stunning autobiographical graphic novel of the life of Caldecott medalist, Allen Say, this is the story of his earlier YA novel The Ink-Maker's Apprentice told in pictures. The two books complement each other perfectly and I recommend them both. If you want to read them aloud to your kids, a bit of judicious editing would be in order.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

I blogged about this one first here, and then a little later here. Some great family discussions arose out of our reading of this novel, read as part of our Newbery Challenge. You can see what we're currently reading in the right sidebar.

Kokoro by Natsume Sosuke

A Japanese classic written in 1914, Kokoro is a starkly bleak coming of age novel about the friendship between a young man and an older man he calls "Sensei". It is a story about the Japanese idea of honour, of life, and death, and friendship all entwined. Sosuke is to Japan what Dickens is to England, and his writing is spare and beautiful. This is not a cheery book, but it is a wonderful read and would be a good introduction to Japanese literature for those who are interested.

Well, that's it for February.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are these posts useful or interesting or something?


  1. I think I am caught between a rock & the deep blue sea. ☺ I can comment at the risk of being controversial or not & become a non~commenting reader! lol

    Thiele ~ not one of my favourite Aussies though I have read most, if not all, his work. I think I must conclude that in general I prefer female writers. New realisation. The blokes seem to get my dander up lol

    Not read any of the Japanese authors though I will tuck both these on my *check the library* list.

    Rabbit Proof Fence? *sigh* I was mad keen to see this when it came out on film & was soooo infuriated by the bias I never got around to reading the book ~ whose auther was also infuriated by the film. Liddy did this one in SOSE & was the only child to score an A+ because she made the mistake of running her ideas past me & I hit the roof because she spewed back the propoganda & never even knew there was another side to the story. She did by the time I was finished with her! lol Always 2 sides & having people at Bamaga & Kowanyama I have heard multiple viewpoints over the years. When I get over the white drivel put about by whites I might actually be able to read & enjoy this one. ☺

    And you know what I think about Wrinkle.

    You do get me wound up. Good thing if you can handle the fallout. ;P

  2. I loved Rabbit Proof Fence (the movie). I hope Ganeida will forgive me on this one. I will confess I am completely ignorant of Australian history, culture, and politics.

    I haven't read Wrinkle since I was little, but I've had a hankering for a reread since I read your post.

    We just finished reading The Plain Princess, and are reading from Blinky Bill (I snagged it from a bookshop after seeing it on your shelf in one of your pictures), Redwall, and Little House on the Prairie. I'm also reading a TinTin book with my son. For myself, I'm reading (over and over and over) Deuteronomy and Leviticus (my bible study teacher says it is hopeless to understand the Bible without having a firm understanding of the Law) and Alfred Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, an absolutely fascinating read. I just finished rereading Chaim Potok's The Chosen, and am deep into One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My current bathroom book (doesn't everyone have one of these?) is a book of sermons by A.W. Tozer.

    I'm so sorry I never comment. I guess I'm just afraid that if I start typing I'll end up monopolizing the comment section and be ostracized as a comment hog. I seriously love reading your blog.

  3. There is no such thing as a comment hog. Seriously.

  4. B4B: You are forgiven, ☺ I just have a bee about the white grovelling taking place over the Aboriginal issue when often children removed were half~castes, poorly treated by their full blood relations & with no real place in either society. The facts of history get obscured by political correctness & I get het under the collar. lol My problem

  5. Ganeida
    Thank you for coming back and explaining more what you meant, I was about to ask what you meant. You had me hooked.

    I LOVE the Fr Glynn books (you do know he wrote more?) of course part of my love is he is a Lismore boy (my hometown). Absolutely learnt so much from his books.

    Rabbit Proof Fence, wow, powerful movie.

    Februrary Dragon I loved but then I'm a big Colin Thiele fan. Highlight of my trip to SA when a teen was to spend a day on the Coorong like Storm Boy and stay for a week in the Barossa Valley.

    Have Fabre's Insect book.

    Well I'm on a mystery run with my own books at present (keeping track at goodreads which is rather interesting http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5798304-erin72)
    and the children have many books going, actually I've been thinking maybe I should do a booklog at the end of the week. but didn't want to bore anyone, but then I'm not bored by reading yours.

  6. Well, I was glad to hear your opinion of the story book of science:) I'll tuck that one Away for later:)
    Currently reading "great expectations" as I'm watching the new series on tellie on Sunday nights.
    I am using our iPad these days and the spelling and grammar check is weird on it! Forgive me for it please:)
    P.s. how do I sign up for follow up comments ? Any hints?thanks.

  7. Does the 'subscribe all comments' button in the left sidebar not work for you? It does for me...

    Otherwise, I have no idea - I am a luddite. Perhaps someone cleverer than I could help perhaps?

  8. Hi Jeanne,
    I haven't read much other than the Bible this year - a good thing for me I think. I have been in rut with my Bible reading for years, not real routine going, but this year hubby and I have started the 3650 challenge by Grant Horner. We are reading 10 chapters a day each from different books. It is great. We just finished Revelation. Did you use a study guide when you did it with small group?

    I did finish Olga's Story by Stephanie Williams - highly recommended, and a great story of a girl growing up in Siberia during the revolution.
    I'm also reading several of Richard Maybury's books which we bought for the big girls to read but they are so good I'm reading them too. The most well-known would be Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, all about Economics.

  9. We are about to finish Revelation tonight. :o)

    I have a number of books on the run for reading out loud to the children. Anne of Green Gables is proving to be particularly liked, as is Charlotte's Web. We very recently finished 'Augustus Caesars World' of which I really enjoyed. Who knew I would just LOVE horizontal history?

    I also have one book that I'm simply reading for myself - Susan Wise Bauers 'The History of the Medieval World'. I am nearing the end and have 'Great Lives, Great Deeds' in mind as a replacement.

  10. Thanks Jeanne! I didn't even see that:) I usually subscribe in the comments box after writing my comment but that seems to have changed for yours and some other blogs I follow but not for all of them which is what confused me:) Ok, will try to figure out how to get the comments from now on:)

  11. This month I'm reading The Vicar of Wakefield. I've heard it was a novel that influenced Jane Austen and was mentioned in a Dickens novel. Anyway, I've been curious and now am going to read it. Yea!

    Many of your books seem good to me--they are definitely going on my library list. I can't wait!

  12. Always love seeing your reading selections! Right now I am reading my Bible and I'm working my way through Kisses from Katie as well as They Call Me Mzee. I have a bio waiting in the wings on Amy Carmichael as well as some journal writing of Lilias Trotter's.

    Glad to see your post today! Come follow me, I'm back online (a little, at least!)

  13. I've only read, A Wrinkle in Time from your list! I'm glad to see that there are others out in the world who read A LOT. ;) My friends are always amazed at how much I read! I think they think I'm weird or super reader or something. :P I've been reading a bit more "fluff" than your list...

    A Village School by Miss Read
    one title by Emilie Baker Loring...don't remember which one
    Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry
    10 Ways to Destroy Your Child's Imagination by Anthony Esolen
    The Book Thief by Markus??? (very good!)
    I also want to start the novel The Tehran Initiative by Joel Rosenberg...

    The kids and I just listened to The Phantom Tollbooth this week. We really enjoyed it! The kids and I are also reading Alice & Wonderland and The Hobbit before bed.

  14. So many interesting books, but "Hidden Lives" and "Song..." are going straight to my "to read" list. I'd love to read so many of the Australian AO stories you've listed over the years if I could just find them!

    I love to see what friends are reading, I've just gotten distracted away from blogs by PINTEREST--it's a fad, I'll get over it!


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