Book Challenge Update


Earlier this year I posted about the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Book Challenge that I was going to try and accomplish.  I figured that I’d give an update on how I am doing and how I realize that some of my choices were not the best ones to pick!

A book published this year.  My pick:  The Nest by Cynthia DAprix Sweeney.  Completed!

I finished this book last month and I really enjoyed it.  It was one of those light reads that you could easily get through.  The characters all had some big flaws, but their stories were interesting.  I think that this is going to be one of the bigger books of 2016, but I don’t think that it will win any prizes for the writing.

A book you can finish in one day.  My pick:  Night by Elie Wiesel.  Completed!

I was able to finish this book in a couple of hours with some minor interruptions.  It was a very quick read and a short 120 pages.  It feels like almost everyone has read this book and I see why.  It is an important book to read about the holocaust during WWII.

A book you’ve been meaning to read.  My pick:  Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.  Completed!

This was the first book that I read for this challenge.  It was an excellent book that examines how we deal with people that are old and dying and people with terminal illnesses here in America.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough because I am sure all of us are going to deal with this at some point in our lives.

A book recommended by your local librarian.  My pick:  Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain.  Completed!

I think that out of all of the books that I have read for this challenge this was my least favorite, but I still enjoyed the book.

A book you should have read in school.  My pick:  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  

I still have to read this book and I’m not quite sure when I’ll get to it.

A book chosen for you by your spouse.  My husband’s pick:  Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

My husband really enjoyed this book and he raved about it, so I figured why not?  I happened to be at the library one day and I saw the book on the new release shelf and my mouth fell open.  Why did it fall open you may be wondering?  The book was huge!  It is 880 pages.  What was I thinking letting him pick a book for me :)?  I’m still going to try and get through it.

A book published before you were born.  My pick:  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

Here is another book that I didn’t realize was so huge!  I wanted to read this book because it’s been on my to-read list forever and then some blogs I follow both mentioned this book and how good it was, so I decided to add it to my challenge.  I should have looked at the page count.  It is about 1,200 pages!  This will be my longest book.  I just started reading it.

A book that was banned at some point.  My pick:  In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

I have not read this book yet, but at least it isn’t a long one!

A book you previously abandoned.  My pick:  The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

I still need to get to this book and I am looking forward to reading this one because from what I read it was really good & funny.  Plus, the movie is one of my favorites.

A book you own, but have never read.  My pick:  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.  Completed!

I really enjoyed this murder mystery.  It was my first Agatha Christie novel and I found that I couldn’t put the book down and felt like the book still holds up well to other murder mystery books these days.  I definitely will be reading more of her novels in the future.

A book that intimidates you.  My pick:  Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

I picked this book because I had heard great things about it and the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are really good.  The reason that it intimidates me is that it clocks in at 995 pages!  I thought that this book would be my longest book for the challenge, but at the time I didn’t know how long the Count of Monte Cristo is.

A book you’ve already read at least once.  My pick:  A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.  Completed!

This was the last book that I read and I am so glad that I chose this book as the one for me to reread.  I love Irving and in fact he is my favorite author.  This book wasn’t my favorite of his, but I think it is his highest rated book.  I wanted to give it another shot because I thought that this time around I would appreciate the book more than when I read it years ago (over 10+).  I remembered the most basic outline of the book (my memory of books tends not to be that great after years), but many of the plot points I didn’t remember and one of the book’s biggest mysteries I couldn’t remember the outcome, so I was surprised when the answer was revealed.  I enjoyed this book and probably more the second time around, but I still like some of his others more.

And that is it!  I have read six books and we are just getting into May, so I am one book ahead of schedule.  As you can see though I have three books that are L-O-N-G (all together they clock in at around 3,000 pages).  I’ve started the longest of the books now and hopefully I get through it quickly!  If you want to check out what else I am reading and get some longer reviews you can find me at here at Goodreads.

Happy Reading!

p.s.  All of the links above are affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase one of the books through the link I get a small percentage back, which goes into our homeschooling.

Our Favorite Series of Books to Compliment Schooling


The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne is a fantastic series of books for elementary aged students that compliment schooling really well.  It is about Jack and Annie, two kids that find this magic tree house that takes them to different points in time where they have a mission that they need to accomplish before they return home.  The kids are both respectful and there are some nice moral lessons that are prevalent throughout the series.  The best part about the series is that it actually teaches you something about the time period that the kids go to.  Mary Pope Osborne puts in factual information and at the end of each book there is a section that gives you more facts about the story in the book.  You can tell that Mary Pope Osborne put a lot of research into each book.

Many times when we are learning about history there is a Magic Tree House book that complements what we are studying.  For example we were reading about George Washington and then we happened to read one of her books that had him in it.  I don’t plan to read her books to correspond with what we are learning, but many times it just happens to work out perfectly.  The books are just long enough to keep the boys’ interest, but not too long that we all get bored with the story (one book can be read in a sitting).  I have found on multiple occasions that the boys will remember factual information about a time period easier from these books than from other books.  Mary Pope Osborne makes the information interesting and having a fun story behind it makes it more memorable.

There are 53 books in the series so far.  We get all of our books from the library, but we are thinking of buying the set because the boys love them and I am sure that once they are reading independently these will be books that they turn to.  The books are also available in audio format and Mary Pope Osborne is the reader and we all enjoy listening to her read the books.