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The Books I Read in November and My Reading Goal for 2019

Oddly I didn’t really take any pictures of the books I read in November, so here’s a photo of a library in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands instead. Add that to my to-travel list . . .

I’ve been thinking a lot about goals for 2019 and I one of my reading goals for the year is actually to read less books.

Whenever I watch You’ve Got Mail I always get hung up on this one line:

So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?

I actually think about that line a lot. That really is a big fear of mine. I’m afraid of living most of my life in my head or through books rather than living the life I am actually living in real life. It is this very thought that is in my head as I contemplate my word for 2019.

Before I get into the books I read for the month, I actually had one I did not finish – The Tale of Beatrix Potter. I read the first couple of chapters and really wanted to like it but it was so terribly written it was like stabbing my eyeballs with toothpicks. I wouldn’t recommend it (the book or stabbing your eyeballs with toothpicks).

Okay, on to the books that I DID finish!

House of Dreams

This is a biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life written for teens. I wrote a full review on my homeschool blog but I was very surprised to read how dark L.M. Montgomery’s life was. The book was very well written even though the subject matter was quite depressing.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Maud who adored stories. When she was fourteen years old, Maud wrote in her journal, “I love books. I hope when I grow up to be able to have lots of them.” Not only did Maud grow up to own lots of books, she wrote twenty-four of them herself as L. M. Montgomery, the world-renowned author of Anne of Green Gables. For many years, not a great deal was known about Maud’s personal life. Her childhood was spent with strict, undemonstrative grandparents, and her reflections on writing, her lifelong struggles with anxiety and depression, her “year of mad passion,” and her difficult married life remained locked away, buried deep within her unpublished personal journals. Through this revealing and deeply moving biography, kindred spirits of all ages who, like Maud, never gave up “the substance of things hoped for” will be captivated anew by the words of this remarkable woman.

The Valley of Fear

I’m still working through my huge volume of Sherlock Holmes. I only have one more story left that I hope to read in December.

The deadly hand of Professor Moriarty once more reaches out to commit a vile and ingenious crime, but a mole in Moriarty’s criminal organization alerts Sherlock Holmes of the evil deed by means of a cipher . . .

When Holmes and Watson arrive at a Sussex manor house they appear to be too late. The discovery of a body suggests that Moriarty’s henchmen have been at their work. But there is much more to this tale of murder than at first meets the eye.

Letters to the Church

My favorite book of the month and will definitely go down as one of my favorite books of the year. Francis Chan is always so honest and leaves me feeling convicted in a really good way.

Sit with Pastor Francis Chan and be reminded that you are a part of something much bigger than yourself, something sacred.

In his most powerful book yet, Chan digs deep into biblical truth, reflects on his own failures and dreams, and shares stories of ordinary people God is using to change the world.

Chan says, “We’ve strayed so far from what God calls Church. We all know it. We know that what we’re experiencing is radically different from the Church in Scripture. For decades, church leaders like myself have lost sight of the inherent mystery of the Church. We have trained people sitting in the pews to become addicted to lesser things. It’s time for that to change.”

When Jesus returns, will He find us caring for His Bride—even more than for our own lives? Letters to the Church reminds us of how powerful, how glorious the Church once was … and calls us to once again be the Church God intended us to be.

In His Image

I am going through this book with a number of ladies from my church. We are meeting once a month to discuss a chapter but I went through and read the entire book in November because I don’t like leaving books half finished if I am going to finish them (all or nothing!). Now I will just re-read the chapter each month.

Sometimes we ask What is God’s will for my life? when we should really be asking Who should I be?The Bible has an answer: Be like the very image of God.

By exploring ten characteristics of who God is―holy, loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise―this book helps us understand who God intends for us to be. Through Christ, the perfect reflection of the image of God, we will discover how God’s own attributes impact how we live, leading to freedom and purpose as we follow his will and are conformed to his image.

The Keeper of Lost Things

This was the book for the month for the book club at my library. I didn’t enjoy the book but we had a some really good discussions about it so it leaves me with a better impression of the book than it really deserves.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

God’s Smuggler

If you haven’t read Brother Andrew’s book I would highly recommend that you do, he’s got an amazing story of how God’s hand has been working in his life.

The harrowing account of a young man who risked his life to smuggle Bibles through the borders of closed nations. Now, sixty years after Brother Andrew first prayed for God’s miracle protection, this expanded edition of a classic work encourages new readers to meet this remarkable man and his mission for the first time.

Working undercover for God, a mission that continues to this day, has made Brother Andrew one of the all-time heroes of the faith. His narrow escapes from danger to share the love of Jesus will encourage and embolden believers in their own walks of faith.

Better Together

I skimmed most of this book about morning time but I did appreciate the general idea of the book.

Have you fallen into a routine of checking boxes? Do you wonder why you don’t have time to focus on building your children’s character and love of learning?

That can change.

Better Together teaches you how to design a part of your homeschool day where the entire family can learn together. This time, known as “Morning Time,” has exploded in popularity since its inclusion in Sarah Mackenzie’s bestseller Teaching From Rest. Now homeschool mom and former teacher Pam Barnhill breaks down the practice for every homeschooler.

Jesus, Yoga Pants, Homeschool

This was a quick and enjoyable read. The author has a very similar homeschooling philosophy and sometimes it is nice to read that you aren’t alone.

What was once considered counter culture is now bordering on trendy. Everyday, more and more parents are making the choice to invest in their child’s school years by keeping them home. If you are answering God’s call to homeschool with fear and doubt, you are not alone. In addition to providing encouragement, this book will give you guidance and direction on how to build your homeschool, including topics on: 
– curriculum and learning objectives 
– exposing your child to learning opportunities 
– developing a schedule 
– how to homeschool your high schooler 

These next few books are all middle grade books. I really enjoy reading middle grade and it felt like it had been awhile since I read them. There were a few good ones this month. 

Harbor Me

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat–by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them–everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

The City of Ember

The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues before the lights go out on Ember forever!


One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART– and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever. 

Tilly & The Book Wanderers

This is a book I REALLY enjoyed! It’s a fairly easy middle grade read but I loved the idea of getting to meet some of your favorite book characters. Plus, there were so many good quotes about reading that I wrote down. This will probably be one I purchase for Raeca in the near future.

Since her mother’s disappearance, eleven-year-old Tilly has found comfort in stories at Pages & Co., her grandparents’ bookshop. But when her favourite characters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Wonderland, appear in the shop, Tilly’s adventures become very real. Not only can she follow Anne and Alice into their thrilling worlds, she discovers she can bookwander into any story she chooses.

I read a lot in November, most of them were good, a few were not great and a couple were amazing. This will probably be my last monthly book round up though I do plan on writing a post soon about the best books I read in 2018 so stay tuned for that in the new year!

What have been some of your favorite books you read lately?

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