Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Bookish Year in Review

An old familiar and dependable blog post, the review of books and my tedious rating on the blog. It would probably be much easier on myself to just link you all to Goodreads and leave it at that. But I find such pleasure remembering all the books I read, and mostly compiling them all in one place to look at see just how many I actually read. Bliss. Right, review. Ok. For anyone new to my neck of the internet, here's my rough rating system as follows, and I should note I'm generally pretty generous and rate highly. If anything gets below a 3 it must be pretty awful. Ha.

scale of 1-5 (Subject to change upon my own whim and will).

1) being, complete waste. Why did I finish it?
2) being, minimally thought provoking/entertaining. Won’t read it again.
3) being, borderline useful, mild usefulness in instruction about the faults in it/mildly entertaining; Enough good to be challenged, grow a little in thought. Might read it again.
4) being, a really great book, useful to instruct, thought provoking/good entertainment, very challenging, growth as a reader, way more good than bad, would recommend. Worth reading again.
5) being, found enjoyable, challenging, useful in many ways, would highly recommend with no holding back, over all EXCELLENT book. Need to read again!

A 3 1/2 star is not as harsh as a 3, but not quite deserving of a 4 (a really great book), but a good book none the less.

Did I even have a book list of some sort? I seem to be getting lazier with my book goals as the years progress, compared to my 2013 rigid reading plan

Reading List 2016
Non-Fiction 6-12

Health Book
Gardening Book (need to soon lol)
Political Book
Rushdoony Book (I've been reading his IBL Volume 1 for 3 years, I count this as worthy of a cross off)
Gary North Book
Hospitality Commands (le sigh, maybe this year?)
R.C. Sproul Book
A Chance to Die (Maybe this year?)

Considering I exceeded 12 books, I give myself a pass for missing 3 specified books. *Slow Clap for self*

Fiction 6-12

Jane Austen Book Look, I read several Jane Austen Spin offs, I count that worthy of a satisfactory crossing off!

The Scarlet Pimpernel

It counts. It really does. However, I am interested in actually reading Jane Austen 2017.

I'll have 3 Sections: Non Fiction, Fiction, and Children's.

Non Fiction

  1. Nourishment From The Word - Kenneth Gentry 5 Stars
  2. 75 Bible Questions Your Instructors Pray You Won't Ask - Gary North 5 Stars
  3. Jim Elliot: He is No Fool - Irene Howat 5 Stars
  4. The Expository Genius of John Calvin - Steven Lawson 5 Stars
  5. Super Immunity - Joel Furhman 3 1/2 Stars
  6. With Liberty and Justice For All - Dr. Joe Morecraft III 5 Stars
  7. The Sovereignty of God - A.W. Tozer 5 Stars
  8. The Christian and the Magistrate: Roles, Responsibilities, and Jurisdictions - Pierre Viret 5 Stars
  9. Awe: Why it Matters For Everything We Think, Say and Do - Paul David Tripp 5 Stars
  10. Rediscovering Catechism: The Art of Equipping Covenant Children - Donald Van Dyken 4 Stars
  11. Defiance: The Bielski Partisans - Nechama Tec 3 1/2 Stars
  12. Hiding in the Light - Rifqa Bary 5 Stars
  13. Unholy Spirits: Occultism and New Age Humanism - Gary North 5 Stars


  1. Death Comes to Pemberly - P.D. James 3 1/2 Stars
  2. The Doctor's Are In: The Unofficial Guide to Doctor's Who's Greatest Time Lord - Burk Graeme 3 1/2 Stars
  3. Mr. Darcy's Diary - Amanda Grange 3 Stars
  4. Smith of Wooten Major and Farmer Giles of Ham - JRR Tolkien 4 Stars
  5. The Three Colonels: Jane Austen's Fighting Men - Jack Caldwell 2 Stars
  6. Captain Wentworth's Diary - Amanda Grange 4 Stars
  7. The Maze Runner - James Dashner 2 Stars
  8. Hostage Lands - Douglas Bond 5 Stars
  9. The Scorch Trials - James Dashner 1 Star
  10. The Death Cure - "" 1 Star
  11. Hammer of the Huguenots - Douglas Bond 5 Stars
  12. The Scarlet Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy 5 Stars
  13. UnDivided - Neal Shusterman 3 Stars
  14. Cheaper By The Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. 4 Stars
  15. The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey 2 Stars
  16. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell 4 Stars
  17. The Forgetting - Sharon Cameron 3 Stars


  1. The King Without a Shadow - R.C. Sproul 5 Stars
  2. The Donkey Who Carried a King - "" 5 Stars
  3. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray - "" 5 Stars
  4. The Truck Book - Harry McNaught 5 Stars
  5. Curious George and the Pizza - Margret Rey 2 1/2 Stars
  6. The Money Tree - Dave Hunt 3 1/2 Stars
  7. The Priest With Dirty Clothes - R.C. Sproul 4 1/2 Stars
  8. The Knight's Map - "" 5 Stars
  9. A Fly Went By - Mike McClintock 3 Stars
  10. PJ Funny Bunny in the Great Tricycle Race - Marilyn Sadler 2 Stars
  11. Mother Goose and the Sly Fox - Chris Conover 2 Stars
  12. The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable - Janet Stevens 2 Stars
  13. My Autumn Book - Wong Herbert Yee 3 Stars
  14. The Lightlings - R.C. Sproul 5 Stars
  15. The Prince's Poison Cup - "" 4 Stars
  16. The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales - Heather Amery 3 Stars
  17. The Complete Brambly Hedge - Jill Barklem 5 Stars
  18. The Magnificent Amazing Time Machine: A Journey Back to the Cross - Sinciair Ferguson 4 Stars
  19. How Far is Faith - Amy Parker 5 Stars (board book)
  20. How Big is Love - "" 5 Stars (board book)
  21. How High is Hope - "" 5 Stars (board book)
  22. How We Learned the Earth is Round - Patricia Lauber 3 Stars
  23. John Calvin - Simonetta Carr 5 Stars
  24. John Owen - "" 5 Stars
  25. John Knox - "" 5 Stars
  26. Come Ye Children: A Bible Story Book for Young Children - Gertrude Hoeksema 5 Stars
  27. Athanasius - Simonetta Carr 5 Stars

And here is my take away from my Non-Fiction, I am happy with the selections I did read. It was a nice spread of theology, history, health, biography, and political. Also bonus when any of the aforementioned cross over with theology! I can't choose a favorite. I just can't, too many good ones. Plus, they are such different topics it is hard to compare.

As far as fiction this year was definitely filled with some severe disappointments. I pick up YA Dystopian after seeing a movie preview or seeing the movie and I'm expecting it to be good and entertaining and it's just a waste of my time. And not very much of it, fortunately. YA Dystopian I can breeze through in a couple hours. There's nothing great about the writing or literature, the story lines are always disappointing, and yet I kept going back to read more. It's like a tootsie roll...candy and yet always kind of gross yet you still kind of eat it anyway. This was a mistake. First off, I am not a Young Adult, lol, secondly, why waste time reading lame story lines and sub par writing? They make for an entertaining movie. But as far as worldview, zilch. So, I was unwise with my time reading several. The only redeeming one this year was to complete the Unwind series by Shusterman. Now that has quite an interesting moral story to tell, and though he lacks great writing, I can forgive him for his choosing a sacred cow to write a good story about, albeit a little lacking (comparing abortion/murdering babies to murdering/"unwinding" troubled teens and donating their organs/body parts). My favorite Fiction of the year? North and South hands down, no debate. It's not that Douglas Bonds books were not fantastic (which they were), but North and South stirred the book lover in me and I admired her writing style, skill, and story. The kind of good that makes me want to read it once a year or more realistically, every other year or so. 

I absolutely read 3948750293586702439875x more children's books than I reviewed. Well, maybe not quite that many, but I did read more than I can count, and read the same books more times than I can count even in one day. So these were just new books I read for the first time and actually gave the time to post on my Goodreads account to review. How can I possibly choose a favorite when I read everything R.C. Sproul AND read Jill Barkem's Brambly Hedge books?! These will definitely be all time favorites for forever. I am slightly obsessed with the mice of Brambly Hedge. I love the pictures, I love the writing, I love the story, I love how clever everything is. It's fantastic! But then you have a whole slew of Sproul books which beef up my children's story collection with wonderful Christian Children's books with good theology. I mean that right there is worth million bucks! Get the Brambly Hedge books and get all the R.C. Sproul books. I don't quite own all the Sproul books, but anticipate we will this year.

Here is my rough idea of new goals, as I am still in the process of creating my reading goals for 2017. I want to read better fiction. I think first up will be Ben Hur. I will not pick up another YA book. There, I said it. Now I can't review one next year out of shame, heh. Next, Sometimes I feel guilty for owning so many books that I have not read yet. I am toying with the idea of mostly reading books off our bookshelves. Maybe if I am diligent I can read a sizable portion. I hesitate to say all, because that's a lot of reading. Plus, I will still probably borrow books too. And buy them. Who am I kidding this is why I have so many books that have yet to be read. But just maybe I will. If I do, I'll note next year review about which came off my bookshelves as a special matter of satisfaction.

If you made it thus far, thanks for reading my rambling. I mostly just post this for my own delight reveling in the friends I made this year in the form of books. :) I linked to several reviews on my Good Reads page, but just the few I remembered writing a review for, I may have missed a couple so feel free to check out my GoodReads Account. It is on that page I try to record my thoughts on the actual book as opposed to only a numbered rating system.


  1. Leah, can you say a little more about *The Christian and the Magistrate: Roles, Responsibilities, and Jurisdictions* - Pierre Viret? Thanks.

    1. Thanks for commenting!

      My quick thoughts are as follows: It's actually not a book of his, R.A. Sheats translated selected works of his, so it is from several books of his she read, chose, and then translated. They are various excerpts on the aforementioned topic. If you are at all familiar with the Westminster Confession of Faith you will find the theology very similar. I personally found the chapter where he is expounding thoughts upon the 10 commandments, which in this book was only on the 5th commandment, to be of immense value because it really was an "aha" moment connecting my understanding of WHY the WCF says that honoring parents has to do with honoring superiors, inferiors, and their equals, I never understood why or where that came from honoring parents. His explanation was fantastic. I wish there were more of his translated works, and Sheats has a couple of other things I need to read now that she's translated!


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