Books in italics were not read in their entirety.
-A Mother’s Rule of Life – Pierlot, Holly - I reread most of this at the beginning of the year, when I was thinking through my New Year's Resolutions. It was helpful. You can read a short quotation from it here.
-Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon’s Grande Armee – Elting, John - I read only about half of this book That might sound pitiful, but the book is almost 800 pages long. This was novel research for me, and the most fun research I did, I think. Elting peppers his history of Napoleon's army with anecdotes about individual officers, and didn't mind giving his opinion either, though, as a good historian, he made it clear what was opinion and what was fact. This was a fascinating book, and I'd be glad to go back and finish it sometime. I think anyone interested in the era, the military, or just the oddities of human behavior would quite enjoy it.
-Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual – Pollan, Michael - This was short, but couldn't hold my attention, because there wasn't much in here that wasn't in In Defense of Food, which I'd recently read (and enjoyed).
-One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned About Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular – Pogrebin, Abigail - This book was splendid. I'd been looking for over two years now for a book about parenting identical twins, and this is the best I've found so far, even though that's not its aim. Most books about twins seem to assume that you have fraternals (probably because they're the most common), and while they can be helpful in teaching you logistics (e.g., what do you do when they're both hungry at once?), they don't address the question of how you parent two children who are genetically identical. (They all say: make sure you treat them as two separate people. To which all of us parents of identical twins say: well, duh. Thanks a lot, Captain Obvious.) This book helped answer my questions just by exploring the question, "What does it mean to be an identical twin?"
I came away with the impression that being an identical twin means you have a primary relationship that most people don't have. A relationship that's as strong as the parent-child or husband-wife relationship, and that can be just as good or just as detrimental as those two types of relationships can be, depending on how it's approached. It was good to be confirmed in my suspicion that having an identical twin could be a great treasure for my two youngest daughters, and also good to be reminded that there were pitfalls to watch out for as well. It's an extra relationship, a rare one, one most people don't have . . . but it's a relationship like any other: it can be good or bad, and there's probably a lot I can do as a parent to help get it off on good footing.
-The Holy Bible - This I started last year, and finished early this year, so it goes here.
-The Fellowship of the Ring – Tolkien, J. R. R. - This I listened to with my husband as we did the evening chores, after the kids were in bed. It's still so good.
-El Dorado: Further Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel – Orczy, Baroness - Oh! this book amazed me. It is about the Scarlet Pimpernel, that is, about Sir Percy Blakeney. But Orczy doesn't bring him on stage till almost a third of the way through the book! Okay, maybe a fourth. But still! I was so glad when he showed up. It was hard work getting to his entrance. But when he did show up, I was carried away into the adventure. How can you not love Sir Percy?
-A Devilish Dilemma – Lansdowne, Judith - Lansdowne is fun. This was fun. It's a little ornate, but fun.
-7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child – Steiner, Naomi, M.D., with Hayes, Susan L. - This was informative, but it was aimed much more at parents who are themselves bilingual than at those (like me) who are trying to learn alongside their children.
For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School – Macaulay, Susan Schaeffer
Marrying the Captain – Kelly, Carla - I like Carla Kelly so much. I like how her characters fall in love in such an "oh, of course" sort of a way. They recognize that they fit well together, and after that - though the plot leads them through many external obstacles - there isn't a lot of doubt that the love between them exists. I like this so much more than the sorts of stories where the hero and heroine hate each other in the beginning, but I think it's a lot harder to pull off. Kelly pulls it off well. (If you want to read this, I should warn you that it does have one explicit scene, but it is A) easily skipped and B) takes place after the hero and heroine are married.)Perfectly Fitted: Creating Personalized Patterns for a Limitless Wardrobe – Garner, Lynne - I didn't read every word of this, but I'm looking forward to trying out this method for making clothes exactly my size. What a concept!