Sunday, January 31, 2016

2015, in Books, and Happy New Year!

*This is what happens when I save an unfinished post as a "draft," planning to get right back to it, just as soon as I've finished the dishes/grading horrible math papers/walking the dog/etc.  I started this on January 2nd. I should just hit "delete," but I like having a list of each year's reading in one place, so...

I delayed the start of 2016 because I wanted to finish Les Miserables in 2015. It took until last night (January 2). Or, really, the very early hours of this morning. At any rate, I've Finished, so now we can all start the new year. Sorry for the hold up.

So, now for the list.


The Fall of Arthur, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
Rogues (a short story collection)
Divine Comedy, Vol. 1: Inferno, by Dante
Ascent to Love, by Peter Leithart
The Romance of Tristan and Iseut by Joseph Baedier
Divergent, by Veronica Roth
Post Captain, by Patrick O'Brian


Divine Comedy, Vol. 2: Purgatory, by Dante
An Ideal Husband, by Oscar Wilde
City of Stairs, by Robert Bennett
Divine Comedy, Vol. 3: Paradise, by Dante
The Rule of Saint Benedict, by Benedict of Nursia
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, by Douglas Adams
Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories, by Diana Wynne Jones
Gentlemen of the Road, by Michael Chabon
The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams, by Phyllis Lee Levin
Tokens of Trust, by Rowan Williams
Selections from the Canzoniere and Other Works, Francesco Petrach
H.M.S. Surprise, by Patrick O"Brian
Promise of Blood, by Brian McClellan
The Book of Common Prayer, A Biography, by Alan Jacobs


The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
When the Circus Came to Town, by Polly Horvath
The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli
The Mauritius Command, by Patrick O'Brian
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (Did Not Finish)
Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe
William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope, by Ian Doescher
March Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine, by Erika Janik


King Henry V, by William Shakespeare
Desolation Island, by Patrick O'Brian
Philo Gubb: Correspondence School Detective, by Ellis Parker Butler
H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
King Lear, by William Shakespeare
The Crimson Campaign, by Brian McClellan
The Tempest, by William Shakepeare
Macbeth, by William Shakespeare
The Fortune of War, by Patrick O'Brian
The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan


The Autumn Republic, by Brian McClellan
Pagans:The End of Traditional Religion and the  Rise of Christianity, by James J. O'Donnell
Loki's Wolves, by K.L. Armstrong
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson
Tartuffe, by Moliere
Dry Storeroom No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum, by Richard Fortey
Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
A Preface to Paradise Lost, by C.S. Lewis
The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper


On the Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World, by P.J. O'Rourke
The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery, by Sam Kean
Revelation for Everyone, by Tom Wright
The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot
Paradise Lost, by John Milton
Dove Descending: A Journey Into T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, by Thomas Howard
The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography, by Richard H. Davis
The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna's Counsel in Time of War
Satan in America: The Devil We Know, by Scott W. Poole
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett


Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
Redeeming Time: T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, by Kenneth Kramer
Four Quartets, by T.S. Eliot
Meet Me in Atlantis, by Mark Adams


Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting, by Scott W. Poole
How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend, by the Monks of New Skete
How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With, by Clarice Rutherford
The Wonderful O, by James Thurber
The White Deer, by James Thurber
The Thirteen Clocks, by James Thurber
Small Favor, by Jim Butcher


Further Fables for Our Time, by James Thurber
The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What You Should Know About Politics, but Don't, by Jessamyn Conrad
Twenty-five Books That Shaped America, by Thomas C. Foster
The Victorian Internet, by Tom Standage
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, by Philip Zaleski
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, by David Eagleman
The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete


Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Young Romantics: The Tangled Lives of English Poetry's Greatest Generation, by Daisy Hay
Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain, by Charlotte Higgins
Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living With Books, by Michael Dirda
Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture, byu Bill Ellis
Pigs Have Wings, by P.G. Wodehouse
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, by Neil Gaiman
Keep It Fake, by Eric Wilson (I don't think I finished this. Very dull)


And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, by Oliver Sacks
A Time to Keep Silence, by Patrick Leigh Fermor
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789, by Joseph Ellis
Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers, by Matt Kaplan
Evil and the Justice of God, by N.T. Wright
Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir, by Penelope Lively
Something Fresh, by P.G. Wodehouse
Comet in Moominland, by Tove Jansson
Inventing Hell: Dante, the Bible, and Eternal Torment, by Jon M.Sweeney
The Homeric Hymns: A Verse Translation, by Thelma Sargent


Retribution Falls, by Chris Wooding
One Nation, Under Gods: A New American History, by Peter Manseau
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard Thaler (Did Not Finish)
Year of the Griffin, by Diana Wynne Jones
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Aunt Dimity's Death, by Nancy Atherton
Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads, by Paul Theroux (Did Not Finish)
Christmas Is Good!, by Trixie Koontz
The Chimes, by Charles Dickens
The Black Lung Captain, by Chris Wooding
Exeunt Demon King, by Jonathan L. Howard
Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day, by Johnathan L. Howard
A Long Spoon, by J.L. Howard
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

Now some opinions. The Divine Comedy was memorable. The Inferno was particularly good, but the whole thing was awesome enough that I plan to read it again. And the Patrick O'Brian books, which my parents have been raving about for years, are fabulous. Definitely planning to read further in that series. Michael Chabon was a nice find this year, and also Brian McClellan, Chris Wooding, and Jonathan L. Howard, who all write fantasy of various sorts.

I wasn't wild about The Wasteland, but Eliot's The Four Quartets was fascinating (especially with Jeremy Irons reading. Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett, and Something Fresh, by P.G. Wodehouse, were also among my favorites. 

This year I have Loads of wonderful books in the line-up. Very exciting. More mysteries than in previous years, which is fun, and a little more fiction than usual, but still lots of history and oddball stuff.

I hope you'll let me know of any amazing books you've recently discovered, and I wish you happy reading in 2016!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Today is my lovely mom's birthday! Happy birthday, Mommy! We messed around with math and other such stuff all day, but in the evening my parents came over and we celebrated with roast chicken with stuffing, green beans, etc., and ice cream sundaes for dessert. The sundaes were my mom's idea (well, actually all she wanted was a little chocolate ice cream with blueberries, but we got a little carried away), and they were Very good!

Many happy returns of the day to the very best of mothers!

Monday, January 25, 2016


We're still here!

And Finny is still cute. And he Loves snow. Leaps in it, skids in it, eats it. Brings it back in the house with him. He's a lively, happy little boy!

The rest of us are okay too, if not so energetic. 

Katie and I brought out the tunnel again today for Finn to play in. It had been a while, and he was doubtful at first, but it wasn't long before he was chasing racing through it again.

Emma still does not approve of Finn.

He knows her favorite chair and visits her every chance he gets. And she wallops him in the nose.

Eventually she despairs of his taking the "hint" and abandons her soft chair for the basement. Finny is timid about steps, and the basement steps are, so far, too terrifying for him to follow her down. Thank goodness for that, anyway!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day!

A lovely Christmas here. I hope your holiday has been wonderful as well!

My parents came over for a midday dinner and Bananagrams, and aside from that we've opened presents, played with games and toys, and nibbled on sweets. Oh, and taken the goofy dog for a walk at the park, where he indulged repeatedly in his game of "flounder" (This involves throwing himself down in the grass, beside the trail, and refusing to get up. He evidently finds it amusing to have me pull him along over the grass, bumpity bump, until I give up on any idea of discipline and bribe him with a treat to please get up and stop embarrassing me. He leaps up and goes along nicely for a little while, and then repeats the move.).

Finny's first Christmas was a Very "presenty" one. He will have high expectations next year!

A new drawing book!

Cool light-up gloves. They change colors!

Crepes. The new tradition.

Don't know how we've managed so long without a dippy bird, but Santa has now remedied this lack. I hadn't realized that the dippy bird is a Science Toy. Very educational. At least, that's what the packaging says!

Finny is Very grateful for the winged piggy Travis and Katie gave him! Kisses!

Katie wrapped this gift in many layers. Many, many, many layers. Funny girl!

Totally worth it, though. Now I have this excellent bracelet, which will protect me from demons! (It's a "Supernatural" thing.)

And an awesome Minions mouse pad!

Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Kim give cool gifts.

The ultimate coffee mug!

Carrot cake m&m's. Wow!

A dalek and Sauron!

Amazing chocolates from Darcy and Paul. We so enjoy their world travels!

And Darcy and Paul also gave Emma this awesome catnip toy. At least, I'm assuming it's catnip. She won't let it go, anyway!

My sweetie gave me Arthur, King of the Britons! So Sauron and the dalek will have to mend their ways!

Between Arthur and the Tenth Doctor, I think the Forces of Evil have met their match!

Oh my word. This kangaroo. It repeats everything it hears, but with a very odd accent. It is very funny (though it makes Finny a bit unhinged!).

Katie made this for her Granny. It came out nicely, don't you think?

Travis's gift from Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Kim. So techy that I have No idea what it is (fortunately Travis is much cleverer than I am!).

And in case the bracelet isn't enough, I now have Supernatural socks! My feet will be toasty warm and demon-proof!

Finny is now Very keen on opening gifts. He got a lot of practice.

Happy pup, with a new hedgepig, alligator, and chew bone!

Merry Christmas!