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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Books I've Read: August 2014

There may be an extra book in this stack, because I thought I might get ambitious and read it.  Didn't happen, but I plan to read it during September!  But look, actual paper books!

Eve by Anna Carey. I read this book on my phone using my free trial of Scribd.  This was a pretty quick read, another dystopian fiction story.  Ninety-eight percent of the world has been wiped out by a virus, one that was not really explained well - where did it come from? how did it stop? was it cured, or did the surviving people just hide for long enough that the virus died? Girls are basically made into breeding machines to repopulate the earth, and Eve finds out soon enough to escape.  She started out really naive and by the end of the story she got better, but overall she was a little dumb.  The book kept me interested enough to want to find out what happened in the next two in the trilogy.

Once by Anna Carey. I read this book on my phone using my free trial of Scribd.  Stop the presses! I actually liked the second book in a trilogy the best!  I think a big part of this was that there was a twist in the story about a quarter of the way through that I wasn't expecting.  I love when books surprise me!  This moved the story along pretty well, although there were a few slower parts in the middle.  Overall, a good book though.

Rise by Anna Carey.  I read a paper copy of this book from the library.  This was an okay conclusion to the trilogy.  I kept waiting for something to happen, and it finally did in the last two pages of the book.  I wish that thing would have happened sooner.  (Is that vague enough to be spoiler free?)  This one got a little bit long for me in the middle, and then the end felt really rushed, like the author was just checking off everything that needed to be wrapped up without talking about any of it too much.  Overall, I enjoyed this trilogy though.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  I read the paper copy of this book that we bought from a local bookstore.  I've heard a lot about Dave Ramsey's methods over the past few years, but this is the first time I actually read his book.  We started our total money makeover on 8/20/14.  We are hoping to have our $1,000 emergency fund saved within a month, from leftover money from Jesse's paycheck and from selling stuff around the house.  Right now I'm excited about doing this, and Jesse is too, but I know it will be a long way to the finish line, so I'm glad that this book has success stories interspersed with the steps, because we'll need the reminders during the hard times.

Sugar, Salt, Fat by Michael Moss.  I read the paper copy of this book that I got at the airport on our Paris trip.  I finally finished it! This book was divided into three sections, one for each subject in the title.  Each chapter focused on a specific company or product, while also expounding on problems with the category as a whole.  I liked the combination of stories and anecdotes with facts.  Like in the chapter on Lunchables, in the fat section, I learned that "nearly one in four American adolescents may be on the verge of developing type 2 diabetes or already have it."  Scary facts, but facts nonetheless.

I think one of my favorite quotations was this one though: "There is a class issue at work in processed foods, in which the inventors and company executives don't generally partake in their own creations."  If that doesn't tell you something is wrong with our food systems in this country, I don't know what does.

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. I read a paper copy of this book from the library, but I plan on buying my own copy at some point.  (And technically, I only finished the first two sections, but the third is high school, and as of now we're not planning on homeschooling for that)  This has been called the "homeschool Bible" by some, and I understand the distinction after reading it myself.  While this book doesn't say "do this for this amount of time for this year", it does provide several options for curriculum, as well as numerous supplemental sources, plus examples of schedules, examples of methods, and suggestions for how to include different things in the homeschool year.  It also weaves in a basic understanding of what it means to classically homeschool, which is more or less what we're planning on.

I like that this book was broken down into three sections (grades 1-4, 5-8, and high school) and spoke to what should be learned during each period.  I liked that there were several options for curriculum given for each subject/grade level, with enough of a description that you can still control what and how you learn, but you don't have to wade through the endless possibilities that exist from starting an online search when you know nothing.  Overall, this was a really good resource, and one that I'll be re-reading probably every year when I'm planning what to do next.  My only wish is that I had had more time to read, budget, and plan for this year, but I think we'll still do okay, and I have lots of ideas for next year!

Book Total for this month: 6 books read. Total this year: 19 books read.

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