A Year In The Life (Let’s Talk About Books Baby)

Happy New Year!

If 2016 can be remembered for anything, homeschooling wise, it probably will be known as the year of reading.

I just had back surgery toward the end of 2015, so 2016 was my year of recovery. Besides adding in more physical activities like yoga, walking, and swimming,  I discovered BookTube.

Since the girls are older now, and able to discover their own interests without help from me, frees up all kinds of time to devote to my own interests, like reading. Yes, I love big books and I can not lie. Don’t believe me, the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series alone, so far totals about 4223 pages. That is not including A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms short stories either. When it comes to books, size does not matter (sorry, I am on a roll, and maybe a bit of a sugar rush from over the holidays).

Before I start going into my favorites reads from 2016 though, I want to write about our favorite homeschooling reads first. (Papa has a pretty interesting list too.) This list does not include the girls’ favorite independent reads like the Pretty Little Liar series or the Monstress graphic novel. This post would be way too long if I included everything.

What I will add though, Sky is my visual reader. Her favorites are geared more toward graphic novels and movie scripts (visual art). She has her favorite movie review tubers like I have book review tubers. Little Sis is my romantic/ thriller reader. Though our preferences differ, we both enjoy the written word. We internally visualize. I am actually going to hold my tongue about how one is not better than the other, or how unfair the “one size fits all” education only benefits one type of learner. I have written lots about this already, and honestly, I am going to try being a little bit more positive this year. We are homeschoolers. 🙂

With all that being said, in 2016 we read a total of 63 stories (9 of them being non-fiction), 25 individual poems and 1 book collection of poems. So, what were our favorites, what stories do we wished we never read, and what stories were just okay?

First up, is our favorites as a whole. If you have read any of my posts before, you already know how hard it is for me to find a book that both girls agree on. So when it does happen, I literally dance a little jig which the girls have labeled as my happy dance.

The first book that we all enjoyed reading was: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. Others were: The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the Princess Dairy: Marie Antoinette, the Dear America Diary: A Picture of Freedom, The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, and the short story: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Favorite folktale/fairy tales were: Beauty and the Beast and The Song of Tam Lin.

Sky’s favorites (16): The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, The Ogre of Olglefort by Eva Ibbotson, “This was a different story in a sea of same.”, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Little Sis’s favorites (11): Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and she loved all the fairy tales we read. *Note to self* I need to include more stories that Little Sis will enjoy this year.

There were lots of “okays”, and the “I don’t ever want to see these books again” goes to The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and The Jungle Book by Kipling.

Favorite poems (We read poems from World, British, and American literature): How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Little Sis, she enjoyed learning about the true love story of Elizabeth and Robert Browning too, she is such a romantic.), Ghosts by Emily Dickinson (Sky’s favorite), both girls enjoyed the Poisoned Apple collection by Christine Happermann, poems by Langston Hughes,  and Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl.


Mama’s Reads

At the start of 2016, I was still reading from A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. I read a total of 30 books. I added 3 new authors to my all time favorites list, one of them being a complete surprise.

I love the Game of Thrones book series, the show is just “okay” to me. I am glad that they made it, and I enjoy watching it, but it is the books that I love. I talked about them so much, that Sky decided to pick them up and read them too. Little Sis, is to the point of eye rolls and leaving the room whenever the topic is brought up because she knows we will discuss them for hours. Thank you, George R.R. Martin, for making medieval history interesting and for the hours of discussions between my teenage daughter and me.

After finishing, and waiting for the next book in the series to come out, I didn’t know what the heck I was going to read. I mean, where does one even start after reading a series like Game of Thrones? Then, I discovered The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. She made me eat all my negative opinions about the YA genre. I loved this series, at times I could feel goose bumps rising on the back of my neck. After being so disappointed in the horror genre, she gave me hope and the creeps. This was probably the spookiest series/ story I read all year, without shedding one ounce of gore.

Other favorite reads of 2016: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Room by  Emma Donoghue, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (even though I didn’t care much for The Shining), Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin, and Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane.

Honorable mention: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. Though this book wasn’t a favorite, I am glad to have read it overall.

Books that I would have liked, if not for the ending: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I mention them only because, though I didn’t like them, they still made me think. I will never forget characters from these books (Amy, may be the most terrifying villain ever.), and whether or not they were favorites, that makes reading them worthwhile. They entertained me, and sometimes happy endings can get predictable.

I read a lot of: “they were okay” books, even started to worry if I would find another “great” one before the end of the year. However, I did read some that I just didn’t like. Whether it be the writing style/ prose, or the plot, they were just not for me. Nightwoods by Charles Frazier, Horns by Joe Hill (sorry Joe), and Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

So, that wraps up our year of reading. I would love to know what your favorite reads of the year were. I could talk books for hours.

Peace for the journey.


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