Category Archives: Book Club

Reading to Dream – July Online Book Club wrap up

Dream Destinations is the theme for the July version of the online book club. I didn’t get this written last week because we took a couple of days away while our girls were at camp. But, I did want to share a quick wrap up with you.

If you read my July opener post, you saw the list of books for England. I highly recommend those, even if you don’t get to go. The walking tours, in particular, taught me a lot about the local history of places and there were a lot of unique little things you won’t get in the big tour stuff. This is the list of the books I am keeping track of for that future trip:

  • Lonely Planet has a guide book simply titled Great Britain that is on my travel stack.
  • I also have a lovely book called Walking London by Andrew Duncan. It has some really interesting walks to take and the stories to go along with them.
  • Another walking tour book that has tons of interesting information is Turn Left at the Pub:Twenty Walking Tours Through The British Countryside by George W. Oakes and Anton Powell.
  • The final book on the stack for that dream destination is titled Curiocity: An Alternative A-Z of London by Henry Eliot & Matt Lloyd-Rose. This link is for the Instagram post of the cover of the book from a year and a half ago, when I got the book.

I finished the book on following the dream of performing a solo on French horn. I thoroughly enjoyed this read of A Devil To Play by Jasper Rees. It was full of fun and packed with history. I learned so much about the history of the instrument I enjoy playing, even if I haven’t done so for a while. It wasn’t a flying-through-it kind of read like fiction stories often are but I truly, truly enjoyed it and was thrilled to read that he was able to accomplish his goal.

The Wild & Free Book Club book was not what I had hoped for with my youngest being 12. It had lots of ideas but they just weren’t all that advanced. They seemed like they would have lost the interest of my daughter at about 12, though many of these books are not read alone books until about age 10 or 12. I did feel like it was a super good book with ideas if you need some, though. I grabbed a photo of the table of contents in case you are looking for some book ideas or want a set of activities prepped for you.

Did you read anything of interest this month?

My other books this month included:

The Quilter’s Apprentice and The Round Robin Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
Help Your Kids Learn & Love The Bible – by Danika Cooley (read the review)
Prague Counterpoint – by Bodie Thoene (fiction)

I know there are others but since I have loaned them out, I can’t remember them!

I’d love to know what you read. Please share in the comments and take a moment to visit the other bloggers participating.

Hopkins Homeschool
At Home: Where Life Happens
A Net In Time

Every Bed of Roses
Homeschool Coffee Break 

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Online Book Club – July is Dream Destinations

Does July have you dreaming of vacation times? Maybe you get to take a vacation of sorts this year? I know many of us are still dreaming of that one special vacation. At Home Dad and I had planned to take a trip to England last year to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Like so many other things, it did not happen and it may be a while before we get to head off to that dream destination. So what can I read that will help curb some of those desires that can’t be indulged right now?

I am going to be reading some of the vacation books that we had for England.

Lonely Planet has a guide book simply titled Great Britain that is on my travel stack.
I also have a lovely book called Walking London by Andrew Duncan. It has some really interesting walks to take and the stories to go along with them.
Another walking tour book that has tons of interesting information is Turn Left at the Pub:Twenty Walking Tours Through The British Countryside by George W. Oakes and Anton Powell.
The final book on the stack for that dream destination is titled Curiocity: An Alternative A-Z of London by Henry Eliot & Matt Lloyd-Rose.

But, since you are reading up on book club, you understand that some dream destinations are intentionally in your head through stories. I picked up this book at the library that caught my attention as I was walking by one of the stacks

Wild & Free Book Club: 28 Activities to Make Books Come Alive is going to be a lovely way to read up on some possible destinations. My youngest may be 12 but she is still very much a hands-on learner and so this may help me introduce a few new books to her with fun activities to boot. And that type of thing really transports you to the place of the book, thus how I see this one fitting into the dream destination idea.

Finally, I am going to read A Devil To Play: One Man’s Year-long Quest To Master The Orchestra’s Most Difficult Instrument by Jasper Rees. This one is a skills destination but a dream one just the same. I love the French horn. It is my instrument of choice and I hope that very soon I can rejoin the community band and play with them. Until then, I will read about one attempt to hit the destination of playing the horn well.

That’s my plan for the next 3 weeks or so. Do you have any dream destination reading you are doing?

Be sure to visit the other participating in the online book club –

Hopkins Homeschool
At Home: Where Life Happens
A Net In Time

Every Bed of Roses
Homeschool Coffee Break 

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Online Book Club – end of June wrap up for Beach

You know, June kind of flew by and I don’t know where it went! Actually, I do – church camps and dance. A lovely time but here we are and June is now done. So, what did I read that hits the theme of “Beach?” I’ve got two for you and neither were planned, which is kind of fun.

Sprinting Through No Man’s Land: Endurance, Tragedy, and Rebirth in the 1919 Tour de France by Adin Dobkin

This was a Kindle book I grabbed when it was free. I thought it sounded sort of interesting. It is. I am really enjoying it but it is a slow read for me so I’m not quite done with it. I thought it sort of hit the brief for the theme of beach because the beaches come up several times as they travel around France.

This is the story of the 1919 Tour de France. Most, if not all, of the cyclists were straight off the battle field. No training, little to no time for family, poor bicycles, and lots of hardship. These men were willing to do this not for the prize money but for the strength of the country. France needed this and these men were doing more of what they had done as soldiers – stay strong for the good of the country. This is the story of their hardships – they were lied to about what the conditions of the road were; they were supposed to have tires provided and did not; they had strict rules to follow that made horrible conditions worse; and much more.

I did not know that they ran the Tour that year but this is a whole new look at it. I have enjoyed this story and will enjoy it to the end. It is a tough narrative to read as it isn’t the exciting retelling that you might expect but it is written with as straight-forward a telling as possible so that you are not swayed with emotion – good or bad – for the riders or the organizers or the people along the way. It does bring to light the condition of so many in the year 1919 as the war ended. I can definitely recommend this book.

The Wildwater Walking Club by Claire Cook

I found this a quick and fun little book to read about getting one’s life back on track after a shift in your plans that you can’t plan for. Noreen is sidetracked by a layoff, losing everything that she thought defined who she was. In trying to get herself back to, well, herself, she makes some new friends and they start walking together. This builds a strong friendship and they all help each other through life transitions, difficulties, and the joy of day to day living. This is the kind of book that you want to read just for fun and you sort of fly through.

So, why is this a beach read? Well, they spend a large part of their walking time on the beach. So, there you go. 🙂 Living close to a beach made it possible for them so it plays into their story a bit.

I just found out that it is technically book 1 of a series so maybe I’ll look for the others just for the fun of it. I loved that it was a beach read that was about friendship, not romance. That is a bit unusual. Yes, there is a smidge of that but it is all a part of the friendship/getting life back together stuff, not the whole book.

Other books read, non-beach-themed include:
These Tangled Vines – by Julianne Maclean (fiction)
Immerse – by Dale Jenkins (non-fiction, Biblical)
Vienna Prelude – by Bodie Thoene (fiction)
Hey Ranger! – by Jim Burnett (non-fiction)
Help Your Kids Learn & Love The Bible – by Danika Cooley (non-fiction, review coming up in July)

That’s the wrap-up. What did you read this month?

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Online Book Club – Migrations

Migrations was a tough theme for me since we aren’t in the homeschool time where a theme is easy to incorporate. Also, I couldn’t think of any good books just for me to read for the theme of migrations. My personal reading came through, though, to my surprise.

Walking The Bible: A Journey By Land Through The Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler

Walking The Bible is the story of Mr. Feiler’s journey to follow the footsteps of the people in the first five books of the Bible. This truly is an epic journey, employing walking, driving, camels, rowboat, and more. It took more than a year on the path and more in planning. But it brought him to where he was wondering if he could come – to an understanding of God and man’s relationship with God.

Mr. Feiler is a Jew and there is much in here about the history of the Jews, not just in the Bible, but in time. Keep your Bible close while reading this one, as you’ll want to keep up with the stories they are following and double check the facts and stories. I found new details from the accounts that I didn’t know. I learned a lot about the Jewish culture, as well as the bedouin, Egyptian, and other peoples from the Middle East. I learned much about the land itself while Mr. Feiler and Avner, his guide, traveled and talked to people.

Learning more about other culture’s beliefs and understandings helps me see more about the truth of the Bible and the God of the Bible. It made me search more in the word of God to understand where others got their belief from and how it aligns or doesn’t with God’s word. It was really quite interesting.

So, how is this a book about migrations? Well, I could state the obvious, since these men traced the paths of Adam and his sons, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the Israelites. These men migrated from one place to another as God directed them.

But it is also a personal migration for the author of the book. He went from a Jew who barely believed, to one who was proud to call himself a believer in God and a member of the people that were brought out of Egypt. He understood more about God, the relationship of God and His people, and the land to which they were brought.

Please note that this book is a Jewish man searching for more understanding of the Jewish beliefs, not a Christian book, though Christians do believe in the truth of the first five books of the Bible. Just note where their belief differs from Christianity. This book is still a fabulous study of the first five books and how archaeology will support the truth of the book.

This is one I had tried to read a few times previously but got stuck in the significant study that I wanted to do to go along with it. It is a fascinating book and I am glad that I had the head space to be able to read it through now. This “migration” of understanding is wonderful and I would definitely recommend this book for strengthening your understanding of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

As I was working on this, I found a video on the book by the author. It might be worth viewing. I’ll be watching it soon.

Please visit the others who are participating in the Online Book Club, hosted by Hopkins Homeschool.

Hopkins Homeschool
The Life We Build
A Net In Time
Homeschool Coffee Break 

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Online Book Club – March Wrap-up

March means Irish and green and fresh and new for me. I enjoyed rereading a novel about an ancestor from my past. Honor O’Flynn: a search for the True Will of God, by James P Bailey, is the story of Honor and how she came to be in America. I had forgotten a good bit of the story line so it was good to read it again.

In the book, Honor was kidnapped off the coast of Ireland when she was a young teen. During the horrific days that followed in the hollows of a nasty ship, she is friended by a kind woman and a teenage boy. The woman sold herself as an indentured servant so she could provide for her children, hoping to bring them to America before long. The boy came to make a better life than he could have had in England. Honor was going to be sold as a “tobacco wife” to the highest bidder. These friends helped her more than she could imagine.

Honor had thought she was meant to serve God as a nun in her hometown teaching children. This new turn of events had her perplexed and she was seeking to see God in her new circumstances. She learns that things are not always what we plan and that God can be served where you are.

Spoiler***
Honor does marry, willingly, William Logsdon and goes on to live a long life in America. These two are actually in our family line, though this is a novel. It was unclear by reading the notes in the book how much of this is created and how much is based on fact. It is a fun read, nonetheless, and is a good story, indicative of the times.

I didn’t search for any other books for the theme this month.

Please visit the other participants to see what they read this month. There has been a variety of books this month.
Hopkins Homeschool
The Life We Build
Homeschool Coffee Break
A Net In Time

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

March Online Book Club

The theme this month is St. Patrick’s Day. Honestly, with older kids, this is a harder theme for me. When they were younger, I would have just grabbed a bunch of books. I mean, just look at what we had in our March book basket a couple of years ago. Now, I’m. thinking Irish and Ireland. But I can’t find anything here at the house. How do I have this hole in my book collection?

I have one book in mind but I can’t think of the title and I can’t find it in my Kindle books, though I feel certain I bought it. It is the story of a family member who was kidnapped on the coast of Ireland and brought to America to be sold to be someone’s wife. We are unsure about how much of it is accurate, though we know this girls existed and is in our family line. (My mom found the title of the book for me and I do have it on my Kindle, though I don’t know why I couldn’t find it! It is called Honor O’Flynn: a search for the True Will of God.)

Do you have any suggestions for books related to St. Patrick’s Day or anything Ireland, Irish, or related? I need some ideas! Maybe some travel books. I enjoy those.

Check out what others are planning for the month.
Hopkins Homeschool
The Life We Build
Homeschool Coffee Break
A Net In Time

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

February Online Book Club Wrap-up

So, as much time as we had at home, I didn’t read nearly as many love-themed books as I had planned. I was unable to get to the library to see if they had a print copy of the CS Lewis book The Four Loves, which I had really wanted to read. I’ll keep it on my radar and maybe I can get it before long.

The book on theme that I did read was My Mother’s Quilts. I treated it as a devotional book, reading three or four thoughts per day. Each of the thoughts was based on a quilt one of her family members had created, running all the way back to the Civil War era. The thoughts focused on family but also on lessons the Lord can create from daily encounters or common items. This is a highly recommended one. Just beware – you may want to start quilting. I know I do but my machine isn’t working right and I can’t find anyone to fix it!!!

I read a couple of others books that hit on the idea of love in a different way:

Animal Days by Desmond Morris – This book shows how much the love of learning or a profession can drive your life and make it something you are really proud of. This is the story of a zoo keeper and how he ended up there, where the zoo life took him, and many of the lessons he learned from it. I really liked this book and would recommend it.

When I Was Yours by Lizzie Page – This is a novel about a family who takes in a refugee from London during WWII. It jumps back and forth between the years of WWI and WWII, tying memories and choices to their current day situations. It highlights how choices affect others and how we can make one choice that will change the course of our lives for the better. This is one I enjoyed (there was a scene or two that I wish weren’t included – the shock value is useless and it cheapens the book to me).

I also worked on the series of Hamelin Stoop by Robert B Sloan. It is a review for the 3rd book that will post early next week on the Facebook page.

What did you read this month? Do you recommend it?

Be sure to visit the other members of the Online Book Club to see what they are doing this month for the theme of Winter.

Hopkins Homeschool
The Life We Build
Homeschool Coffee Break
A Net In Time

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Online Book Club – February

Trying to find where to head with the theme for this month – love.

Seems sort of cliche for the month, doesn’t it? And we don’t really do Valentine’s Day in our family. Never have, really, as it seems to be more of the infatuation sort of “love” that is focused on for the holiday. But we do want to acknowledge that love is important and part of what we need in life. Really, though, we need to be focusing on God’s love and that is where I hope to show my heart to my girls.

With that in mind, I have been wanting to approach the CS Lewis book The Four Loves once more. We listened to it a few years ago on audio, with Lewis doing the reading but I would like to see if I can find it in print for a reasonable price.

The next one I have on my reading list this month is a daily devotional called My Mother’s Quilts: Devotions of Love, Legacy, Family, and Faith by Ramona Richards. I have read this one before and really like it. The quilt has always represented a showcase of love in my mind as I saw my great-grandmother and grandmother work so hard on them during their lives. So, this one is a sweet devotional focused around the quilt.

The last book I have in my stack for this theme is another read-through of Keep A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot. This lady stands as an embodiment of showing the love of God to others throughout her lifetime and her writings bring that through well. I have read this one out loud with my girls before and I want to read it on my own now. I enjoy the writing of Elisabeth Elliot and if you have read her writings, you should. Through The Gates of Splendor is an amazing look at the work of herself and others in the jungles of Central America.

I am sure I will find others to pick up along the theme during the weeks of February and there are tons of children’s books that fall here but these are where my mind is at this time of the month, so here you go.

Blessings,
At Home.

Winter ~ Online Book Club January Wrap-up

For the winter challenge, I chose some books that had wintery themes or scenes in them. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, in particular. Their books are fiction but tell of real life that they experienced in one way or another.

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a semi-autobiographical account of a winter that was harsh and hard. They, and many others in the area, almost did not survive it. From the stories of bravery to the recounting of the daily grind stuck in a small room while preserving heat and food as much as possible, the family must survive. They depend on Ma and Pa and each others as they all try to work together and encourage one another through the long days and dark nights of blizzard after blizzard after blizzard. I had forgotten some of the parts of this story and it really helped me appreciate my blessings and material possessions even more. Those were some tough folks who settled the prairie!

Young Pioneers by Rose Wilder Lane was joy to reread and was a short read. She follows in the footsteps of her mother well. This book tells the story of two young (teenagers, really) pioneers as they journey west and settle into a dugout. After what promises to be a prosperous yield of crop, the prairie does what it does best – throw up obstacles. Between the locusts and the lack of jobs, leaving the area is the only option. But if they leave their homestead, others will move onto it while they are away for the winter and take it from them. What to do? One leaves and one stays. This is the tale of their lives.

These were the two main ones that I read, though I did also pick up Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink. I had a book from childhood, Caddie Woodlawn, that was a favorite. A couple of years ago, I saw Winter Cottage at a used book sale and grabbed it but hadn’t read it. I did this month and really fell in love. A family of a father and two daughters are trying hard just to survive. Their car breaks down on a trip through the woods and they take shelter from the weather in a winter cabin. They don’t know the owners but need something and so choose this option. This is the story of their time at the winter cabin and the adventures. While I don’t love the taking over of a house that isn’t their, I adored the way this story took unexpected turns and showed that open hearts and honest hearts can go a long way towards making wrongs right.

Be sure to visit the other members of the Online Book Club to see what they are doing this month for the theme of Winter.

Hopkins Homeschool
The Life We Build
Homeschool Coffee Break
A Net In Time

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Winter – Online Book Club

The Online Book Club is enjoying books on Winter this month. I love the stories of winter from Laura Ingalls Wilder. We watched a documentary on her a week or so ago and it was lovely (just move on past where they read some current day issues into what was culturally correct for Laura). It made me want to pull out stories by her that reflect the idea or the time frame of winter. So, I’m going to be doing that. Obviously, The Long Winter must be read. 🙂

I also pulled out Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Family Collection to look through. I also grabbed the cookbook that Melissa Gilbert created that has some great memoirs of hers regarding playing Laura on the TV series. The other book for this that I picked up was by Rose Wilder Lane and is her Young Pioneers.

I am a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her writings, as well as writing about her. I have a good collection that I enjoy going back to once in a while so I am glad to share her writing with this theme.

Be sure to visit the other members of the Online Book Club to see what they are doing this month for the theme of Winter.

Hopkins Homeschool
The Life We Build
Homeschool Coffee Break
A Net In Time

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

%d bloggers like this: