Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

2013 Book Awards and Reading List

Happy New Year, everyone! Those who have read my blog for a while know that at the beginning of the year I list all the books I read in the past year and pick my favorites. Remember, these are books I read last year, not books that were published last year. It's not like the Academy Awards. Also, if I read a book last year for the second or third (or fourth, etc.) time I don't consider it eligible. I'm only rating books I read for the first time in 2013. This year, there were a couple of ties.
Here's the list:

Best Fiction Book I Read This Year: TIE 
Possession by A.S. Byatt
The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco


Best History Book I Read This Year: TIE
The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Alfred the Great: The Man Who Made England by Justin Pollard


Best Nonfiction, Nonhistory Book I Read This Year:
Quiet! The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain


Most Difficult Book I Read This Year:
The Early Greeks by R.J. Hopper



 Best Children's Book I Read Out Loud to My Kids This Year:
The House of Arden by E. Nesbit



And just for kicks, here's the list of books I read this year:

  • Medea, Hippolytus, and The Bacchae  by Euripides (Philip Vellacott, trans.) 12/13
  • Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault 12/13
  •  The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman 12/13
  •  The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken 12/13
  •  The Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer by Alfred J. Church 11/13
  •  The Early Greeks by R.J. Hopper 11/13
  •  Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi 11/13
  •  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 11/13
  • Greece and Babylon: Early Contacts Between the Aegean and the Near East by Edwin M. Yamauchi 10/13
  •  The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman 10/13
  •  Pure Water: the Beauty and Mystery of Baptism by Chase McMaster 10/13
  •  Merlin by Stephen Lawhead 10/13
  • The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan 10/13
  • The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery 10/13
  • Hood by Stephen Lawhead 10/13
  • The Complete Peter Rabbit Library by Beatrix Potter 10/13
  • Death by Living by N. D. Wilson 9/13
  • A Companion to the Iliad by Malcom Willcock 9/13
  • Crossing the Threshold of Hope by John Paul II 9/13
  • The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius (Robert Graves, trans.) 9/13
  • Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity (Margaret Warker, ed.) 9/13
  • Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer 8/13
  • Emma by Jane Austen 8/13
  • The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco 8/13
  • The Death of King Arthur (James Cable, trans.) 7/13
  • Alfred the Great: The Man Who Made England by Justin Pollard 7/13
  • Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome 7/13
  • Richard II of England by Jacob Abbott 7/13
  • The Viking Tales by Jennie Hall 7/13
  • Life of King Alfred by Johannes Asser (Albert S. Cook, trans.) 7/13
  • King Alfred of England by Jacob Abbott 7/13
  • The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers 7/13
  • Heimskringla by Snorre Sturlason (A. H. Smith, trans.) 6/13
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain 6/13
  • Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo by Jeffrey Tucker 6/13
  • Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson 6/13
  • Divorce and Remarriage in the Church by David Instone-Brewer 5/13
  • The House of Arden by E. Nesbit 5/13
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt 5/13
  • Between Babel and Beast by Peter Leithart 4/13
  • Uncle by J.P. Martin 4/13
  • In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible by Alister McGrath 4/13
  • The Histories: The Landmark Herodotus (Robert Strassler, ed.) 4/13
  • The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder 4/13
  • Hans Brinker; or, The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge 3/13
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket 3/13
  • Damn! A Book of Calumny by H. L. Mencken 3/13
  • The Postmaster General by Hilaire Belloc 2/13
  • The Little Flowers of St. Francis (Thomas Okey, trans.) 1/13
  • All I Survey by G. K. Chesterton 1/13
  • Beowulf (Seamus Heaney, trans.) 1/13
  • The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett 1/13
  • The House of the Wolfings by William Morris 1/13
  • The Box of Delights by John Masefield 1/13

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