Books, Books and more Books to Read!

There is a reading list floating around Facebook that purports to be connected to the BBC. The idea is that you copy and paste the book list to your notes and then bold the ones you have read and use italics for the ones you started but never finished. I decided I wanted to do more with the list so I’m making a it a blog post instead of an FB note.

Some of these are collections.  I don’t think a person should be forced to read a collection to get credit for reading “a book.”  No, those are multiple books. For collections that I have read or started to read some but not all of the books, I am going to list out the individual titles. Except Shakespeare. That’s too many! Also for me I think I’ll use pretty purple font to denote those books that I want to read or have started but intend to finish.  So purple is “I want to read,” and purple and italicized is “I started reading and someday I intend to finish.”  Regular boring italicized is started and never finished. I’m not sure if I have any of those.

How many books have your read from the BBC 100 Book List_
“Stacked Books Isolated" Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 So here is the list of 100 Books and some comments from me:

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

    • Fellowship of the Ring
    • The Two Towers
    • Return of the Kind

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte ~ Boobear loved this book.  I struggled with it. I started reading it and had to stop and then I finally finished it. Not one of my favorites.

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible ~ There are 66 books in the protestant version.  27 in the New Testament. I’ve read all of those multiple times.  I’ve read most of the OT but not all of the prophets and only one of the books that is included in the deuterocanonical books. (Tobit, in case you are curious.)  I have every intention of reading all the books.  2015 might be the year!

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte ~ I know I’ve read this but it’s been so long I don’t remember it at all. I’m leaving it bold and black but I did just download a free copy to my Kindle in case I decide to read it again to refresh my memory.

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George OrwellI keep thinking I have to read this one but then I realized I haven’t. I own it. Maybe someday I’ll put it on my to-read list.

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman ~ I have never heard of this one.

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hard ~ Everyone keeps telling me that I should read this because my name is Tess.  Is that really a good reason to read a book?

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare ~ Seriously, the complete works? I can’t swear that I’ve read every single play. I have read all the sonnets and many (if not most) of the plays.  But Shakespeare plays were not meant to be read; they were meant to be watched. I’ve not come close to seeing them all. Maybe I’ll get around to reading the plays I haven’t read yet.

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell ~ I have seen the movie so many times. I think I started this years ago (like in high school) and never finished but I’m leaving it like this.  Maybe I’ll read it but it’s not a high priority.

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy ~ I think this is one that I should read.

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams ~ I might have to try reading this one just to see what all the fuss is about.  I think it is important for cultural literacy.

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy ~ I just added this to my Kindle Fire.  Free version. Maybe I will tackle it someday.

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis ~ Of course I’ve read this if I’ve read the Chronicles of Narnia! It’s part of the collection!

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding ~ I wish I had not read this book. I found it so disturbing when I read it. Maybe I was too young? It was 9th or 10th grade I think. Maybe? I have not made my girls read this one.

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens ~ I read this because my 9th grade teacher introduced us to Charles Dickens and I wanted to read the book since I had learned the quote.

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley ~ Two of my girls have read this one. Turtlegirl says it was “kind of disturbing.” Since I made them read it, I guess I should read it.

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fieldin

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville ~ I have no desire whatsoever to read this book. None.

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante ~ It is possible I read this but I don’t remember.

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad ~ I own this and at least one of my daughters have read it. Maybe I will read it someday.

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas ~ Turtlegirl has read this and we’ve watched a couple of different movie versions. Someday I will finish reading it.

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare ~

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl  ~ The movie with Gene Wilder scared me. I haven’t seen the Johnny Depp version. I’m not sure I can get past the movie to read the book.

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

For another list of Books that Everyone Should read you can check out GoodReads.  How many of these have you read? If you have posted about how many you’ve read please leave me a link in the comments. I’d love to check it out!


Random 5 on Friday ~ January 23nd Edition

#randomfive January 24th Edition with review product preview at Circling Through This Life

I don’t know if Miranda will have a link up this week or not but I really like doing these little random 5 things so I’m going to try to keep doing them even without a link up! And as seems to be so often the case, I start this on Friday and finish it on Saturday.

1.  Have I mentioned Build a Menu?  Several crew runs ago I reviewed eMeals. I liked it well enough to purchase a 6 month subscription!  Well, I needed meal planning help again, but eMeals just wasn’t going to work.  I needed more flexibility.  So I found an awesome coupon code and got a one year subscription to Build A Menu.  I might just have to blog about it!

2.  Thanks to Build a Menu I have discovered that I really like cottage cheese with strawberries. I’m not a fan of cottage cheese unless it’s in something like lasagna but wow a dish of cottage cheese with some sliced strawberries is really refreshing.

3.  I’ve been craving biscuits and gravy.  I found a biscuits and sausage gravy “side dish” in the “breakfast” category of Build A Menu.  We tried it and it was good.  Not nearly as good as my gravy but definitely low carb with almond flour biscuits and almond milk with heavy cream instead of regular 1% milk and some half and half or heavy cream. I think the family all voted to try it again and I’m thinking the almond flour biscuits can be used for cheddar garlic biscuits or sweetened a bit and served as a dessert or breakfast pastry. I’m also thinking the biscuits would pair nicely with sausage patties for breakfast sandwiches. Maybe I can do this low-carb/no grain thing after all.  Maybe.

4. I get to review some Emu oil and Shampoo and Conditioner from Koru Naturals. The Review Crew isn’t just about great home school products. Sometimes we even get to review products for mama.  I will, I think, share these with the girls but I’m tempted to keep them for myself!

Koru Naturals review coming soon at Circling Through This Life

5. I do plan to blog more frequently. I’ve got several post ideas and recipe ideas some just swirling in my head and some in draft form but I’ve been consumed with trying to understand these new medical issues and find a new normal for us with all the dietary changes.


Random 5 on Friday ~ January 16th Edition

So here we are half way through the first month of 2015!

Random Five on Friday from Tess at Circling Through This Life

1.  The review Crew is back in full swing! I just got my first product to review, an audio drama adventure based on G.A.Henty’s In Freedom’s Cause. The Crew reviewed Under Drake’s Flag last year but I wasn’t assigned to that one. I am excited to listen to this production of In Freedom’s Cause.  Look for my review in late February!

In Freedom's Cause Audio Drama Adventure ~ Review coming soon to Circling Through This Lfe

2.  I’m participating in 34 Weeks of Clean hosted by my friend Michele at Family, Faith and Fridays. Our first assignment was to clean up and organize Christmas Decorations. I never did get around to posting about decorating for the holidays but I did post Christmas Decorating {But in Reverse!}.  I think Boobear did a great job organizing our Christmas stuff.  This week I’ve been working on the pantry.

3. I finished reading The Man who Was Thursday: A Nightmare.  I actually finished it nearly two weeks ago but just didn’t get around to marking it complete until today. It was good. I really liked it. I had never read anything by C.K. Chesterton before. I think I want to read more.  Somewhere around here I have some of his Father Brown mysteries.

4. I also finished Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. I don’t know if I’ll try any of the recipes in the book. Well, maybe the sauerkraut one but the first part of the book was full of good information that is really helping me to understand how important balanced blood sugars are and how that process works in the body. And just for the record this book does not promote a no-carb diet. It promotes a grain free diet but Ms. Sanfillippo makes it clear that the body needs carbs. It just doesn’t need them from grains but instead from items like sweet potatoes. It’s worth reading if you can get the book at the library or free/cheap on Kindle.

5. I anticipate blogging more about health and nutrition and I’ve got lots of recipe posts in draft mode. I just need to make the time to finish them up and get them scheduled. I did just get a subscription to picmonkey royale and I want to take the time to play with the photos for my blog posts.

The Pebble Pond


Christmas Decorating! {But in Reverse!}

I do not decorate for every season, nor do I decorate for every holiday. I decorate for fall/Thanksgiving and am starting to do more decorating for Pascha (Easter) but Christmas?  Well, I love decorating for Christmas. Many, many years ago I gave away all of our Christmas decorating stuff because we were in our “Christmas is Pagan and we don’t celebrate it phrase” (You can read a bit about our journey back to celebrating by reading my Christmas: It’s Not a Birthday Party blog post from last year.) I’ve been re-building our Christmas collection over the years. I still haven’t convinced my husband that we need outdoor decorations but that’s ok.  He lets me have at it with the inside of the house!  This year we did not do as much decorating as I have in the past.

Christmas Tree and Mantel all decked out ~  Circling Through This Life ~ Saying Good-bye to Christmas for another year!


But this post isn’t about putting up decorations.  It’s about taking them down.  When to take them down and what to do with them between now and next Christmas. When I was growing up we always kept the Christmas tree up until the weekend after New Year’s. My mom worked so it had to be a weekend as we were all too tired with work and school to take it down in the evenings during the week. Other than the Christmas tree we didn’t have much else up for decorating.

When my family became Orthodox, we decided that we would keep the tree up until January 6th.  In the West January 6th is Epiphany while in the east it is Theophany. Some years the tree stayed up until the weekend after Theophany cause homeschooling is a work-at-home job and sometimes we just don’t want to do stuff like that at night.

This year we decided to take the stuff down on Sunday January 4th.  “Normal” (notice the quote marks) life needed to begin on January 5th and having the tree still up would interfere with getting home school back on track.

BooBear is my natural born organizer.  I put her in charge of dismantling the Christmas tree as well as gathering and packing all the decorations. I asked her to take pictures as she and her sisters worked but more importantly I asked her to do some decluttering and organizing of our Christmas things.  This is the first Clean Home Challenge of 2015!

The cat investigates Christmas deocrations ~ Circling Through This life ~ Taking Down the Christmas Decorations

The cat, George, – yes, he was named after that curious monkey – had to check out everything. He had to be right in the middle of the action as BooBear gathered decorations, went through boxes, cleaned up ornaments and packed the plastic storage bins.

Boobear did not work alone. Tailorbear and Daddy worked together to pull down the garland. Then we had a discussion about whether or not we needed to get a new garland next year.

Now the Garland Comes Off ~ Taking Down the Christmas Decorations at Circling Through This Life

This year we found some boxes to store ornaments and then placed those boxes in the plastic storage bins.  Boobear also created inventory tags to tape to the bins so that we would know where to find the movies and the books without having to dig through every container!

Boxing up the ornaments ~ Circling Through This Life ~ Christmas Decorations get organized!

  Ornaments Neatly packed ~ Circling Through This Life ~ Putting Chrismas away in an orangized way!

 Christmas all packed up ~ Circling Through This Life ~ Now we'll know what's in each bin!

Thanks to the work that Boobear did, we know that we might want to replace our garland and that we need a new string of white lights. We also know what is in each of the Christmas bins and the bonus?  We got rid of 3 sets of colored ball ornaments that we never use anymore because we have so many beautiful, sentimental and handcrafted ones.



Random 5 on Friday ~ The first edition of 2015!

So here we are in 2015!  I never did a final Random 5 so some of these not-always-so-random thoughts are from longer ago than just this week.

1.  My husband and I got to go see the Nutcracker. The Pacific Northwest Ballet production with choreography by Kent Stowell, and costumes and set by Maurice Sendak.  This production has been running for 31 years. Well at Christmas time, not all the time.  This year though was the last and we were there for the final performance of the final year. Thank you, B, for the tickets.  We had a lovely time.  I snapped this picture while we waiting for traffic to clear from the parking garage.  Seattle is a beautiful city.

The Space Needle ~ From the First 2015 Edtion of  Random 5 at Circling Through This Life

2.  We were blessed with tickets to the Zoolights display this year.  John took the girls. With lots of plans for the holidays I needed to be careful of my spoons. So I didn’t go.

3. Speaking of spoons, did I mention I have fibromyalgia? No? It ended up on my list of “current health issues” just before Thanksgiving. I have good days and I have bad days and I am still learning things. What I find ironic is that it explains so much.

4. I did not meet my Reading Goal Challenge with GoodReads for 2014. I read 38 out of 40 books but I refuse to feel guilty.  Two of the books I did complete, When Christ and His Saints Slept and Timeline were both over 700 pages so I think they each count for two books which would make it 40 books total right? I think so, anyway.  What I do feel a bit bad about was I didn’t even come close to completing the reading I wanted to do during the Nativity Fast.  Well, I’ll get another chance very soon as Great Lent is early this year!

5. We have had a lovely 12 Days of Christmas with lots of great holiday food.  Technically there is still a couple of days left but we’ll be going back to regular life starting on Monday, January 5th though we will be celebrating Theophany on January 6.

Come join us over at the Pebble Pond for this week’s Edition of Random 5 on Friday!


Good-Bye 2014! Hello 2015!

A new year means a new beginning.  Or rather that’s how I like to think of it.  A new year is the chance to start over. But it’s also bittersweet for me. I don’t like endings. I don’t like change, really and I don’t like the reminders that time moves so swiftly and our lives are but a blink in the cosmic realm of eternity.

I’m still pondering what my goals and dreams are for 2015.  I haven’t chosen a focus word. I don’t know that I will.  Mostly I’m still reeling from the unexpected diagnosis that my husband received: Type 2 Diabetes.  Here’s to a healthier 2015!

Happy New Year 2015