Friday, June 22, 2007

Spring Reading Thing wrap-up

Summer is here, and with it the end of the Spring Reading Thing. Many, many thanks to Katrina for hosting it. This is definitely one of my favorite bloggy events of the year, and I'm looking forward to her next challenge in the fall.

My original goal was to read nine books this spring, along with more planned reading to Jonathan (we've started going to the library every week!) My books included three parenting books (one of them a re-read), three new-to-me fiction, two classic fiction, and one non-fiction. Since I was being purposefully thoughtful about my choices, I figured I'd try to span a more broad range of choices than I typically do.

I actually did fairly well with the challenge. And in the process, learned a few things about myself and my reading habits! I finished six of the nine books. Two of the parenting books, all three fiction, and one classic. I almost finished the third parenting book, but just couldn't make myself muscle through it. I started the non-fiction but didn't come close to finishing, and I chose not to even start Demons, my second classic novel.

Ok, I'll break that down a bit.

Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman
I didn't like it very much. You can read my review in the last half of the post here.

Bringing up Boys by James Dobson
Just couldn't make myself finish it, although I came close. I felt like those parts which were good were also somewhat obvious. Perhaps that is because my parents did a good job raising my brothers. Perhaps it is because I've already done a lot of thinking about raising boys, since I now have two of them. Perhaps I just didn't like his writing style (it did feel rather directed at a low-level reader). I also thought that he was woefully wrong in some areas. That has always been my reaction to Dobson - sometimes he's right, but sometimes he's wrong, and when he's wrong I think he's REALLY wrong and his opinions can be harmful to children.

A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot (re-read)
Every time I read this book I find more gems to help me in my vocation. I plan to continue reading it every year or so, to refresh and refocus myself in my goals for motherhood.

Straight Up by Lisa Samson
Loved it! I generally steer clear of “Christian fiction” because, frankly, so much of it is bad writing. Lisa Samson breaks that mold in a well-constructed story about two deeply flawed women who encounter God in two completely different ways. I can’t tell you too much more about that without giving a lot away, but I can tell you that the characters make you care about what happens to them. And the book includes the best conversion I have ever read. It makes you want to stand up and cheer. (If you thought you recognized that last bit, it is because you've read it before in my multi-review post here. I'll do the same thing for the next two books.)

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
Decent. I didn’t particularly like or dislike it. And I can’t think of much interesting to say about it…so no real review on that one. Sorry! :)

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
A lot of fun. Suspend your disbelief and embark on a ride through time, space, reality and fiction. Jasper Fforde has lots of fun with idiosyncrasies of the English language, and I laughed out loud quite often. Sarah, you should read it – you will love the bookworms (yes, worms) who read/eat Mansfield Park and poop apostrophes. :)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
I rather wish that I hadn't tried so hard to finish this one. It was hard to do, and unpleasant, and I was a grumpy person most of the time I was reading it. Gabe kept telling me that I didn't have to read it, but I thought that I needed to because, you know, it was part of my challenge! And what kind of person would I be if I didn't succeed at my challenge? Ok, so it was very silly to think that. And I learned my lesson. Read about it at the beginning of this post.

Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Lesson learned - didn't even open this one. Someday when I don't have small children underfoot I do intend to read it.

A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature by Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt
As much as I intended to get through this one, it just didn't happen. I enjoyed the first part, and I have no doubt that I will enjoy the rest of it someday. It is just that it takes concentration to read and understand it, and thus did not lend itself to being picked up and put down multiple times a day. Since that is generally how I read books now, I found it a very frustrating endeavor. Extra frustration does not lend itself to good mothering, so I gave up.

I think that I made good decisions about the books to finish (or not finish, as the case may be). While I find myself somewhat regretting A Meaningful World and Demons, I'm pretty certain that I just need to try them at another time of my life. And I will! (Remind me!) :)

One of the neat things about this kind of reading challenge is finding other good books through other bloggers' lists and reviews. I read quite a few new books (not originally on my list) because of this, and really enjoyed most of them. You bloggy people are a treasure trove of good book ideas! I didn't keep track of all of them, and I didn't review most of them, but a couple can be found here and here. I apologize for the fact that both reviews are of books that I didn't like...I find that often it is easier for me to get "fired up" enough to write reviews about books I didn't like than about books that I did.

I will definitely be participating in more of Katrina's challenges, most likely for as long as she keeps hosting them!

If you want to check out everyone's wrap-up posts, head over here and read away!


Jessica said...

I've NEVER been able to get through Dorien Grey, and I've tried a couple times. Ick, ick, ick. I'm impressed you managed it, but your report doesn't make me want to try again anytime soon!

Katrina said...

Good for you for being able to decide when to finish a book and when to just put it down. I really liked Straight Up, too. And I had to read Dorian Gray in high school and have no desire to revisit it! Thanks for being part of the Spring Reading Thing!

gail@more than a song said...

I've not read anything by Lisa Samson yet but want to after reading so many good things about her books!
Thanks for stopping by.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I like your style!

allegra said...

I like your wrap-up. You've inspired me to try The Eyre Affair again. I must have been in the wrong mindset when I tried to read it a few years ago, because I've heard nothing but raves ever since.