Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Best Of + 2014 Booklist


Every year the Lord gives me another rich experience of reading and writing. I have been a bibliophile for as long as I can remember. But only in the last few years have I actually chronicled the books I read, the thoughts I have while I read them, and the discussions I enjoy with other bookworms. Having this blog to think through books is key--otherwise I would just gulp them down and move on. But taking time to slow down, to pray, and now today, to remember the path I have walked, is a continual source of awe and encouragement. I hope you all enjoy this look back as much as I have.

Top 8 Articles
The Accessible Gospel
Let Us Fix Our Eyes on Jesus 
Shock Value in Literature (Part One, Part Two)
One Thing Every Book Reviewer Needs to Remember 
The Doctrine of Fantasy (guest post by Elisabeth H.)
What Every Author Needs From Every Bibliophile 
Tall Tales: Comfort With Sin Equals Maturity 
"It's Like the Great Stories, Mr. Frodo." 

Top 8 Book Reviews 
One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
A Cast of Stones, by Patrick Carr
The Children of Hurin, by J.R.R. Tolkien
A Place of Quiet Rest, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
The High Deeds of Finn MacCool, by Rosemary Sutcliff
Warwick the Kingmaker, by Paul Murray Kendall
Middlemarch, by George Eliot
Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

2014 Books I've Read
I aimed for 52 books, and while I did not reach my goal, it would be silly to fixate on the 6 I did not read and ignore the 46 I did. I will not deny that I am sad for not quite reaching the finish line, but there is always next year. And this year, the books were so good. So good.

1. Against the Tide, by Hope Irvin Marston
2. A Cast of Stones, by Patrick Carr
3. The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges
4. One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
5. The Shield Ring, by Rosemary Sutcliff
6. The Birth Order Book, by Kevin Leman
7. Pendragon's Heir, by Suzannah Rowntree
8. The Pilgrim of Hate, by Ellis Peters
9. King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, by Roger Lancelyn Green
10. The Hero's Lot, by Patrick Carr
11. The Lost Baron, by Allen French
12. The Draw of Kings, by Patrick Carr
13. Doctors in the Great War, by Ian R. Whitehead
14. The Kaiser and His Court, by John C. Rohl
15. Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
16. The Children of Hurin, by J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Folkestone During the Great War (1914-1919) by Reverend J.C. Carlisle
18. The Red House Mystery, by A.A. Milne
19. The High Deeds of Finn MacCool, by Rosemary Sutcliff
20. Demolishing Contradictions, by Ken Ham
21. Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell
22. High Fences, by Grace S. Richmond
23. Demolishing Contradictions Volume 2, by Ken Ham
24. Queen Sheba's Ring, by H. Rider Haggard
25. War Games, by Suzannah Rowntree
26. The Rosary, by Florence L. Barclay
27. How Could a Loving God? by Ken Ham
28. The Lady of Blossholme, by H. Rider Haggard
29. At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon
30. Warwick the Kingmaker, by Paul Murray Kendall
31. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, by Andrew Peterson
32. Answering Your Kid's Toughest Questions, by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
33. Anon, Sir, Anon, by Rachel Heffington
34. Behold the Dawn, by K.M. Weiland
35. The 39 Steps, by John Buchan
36. Mr. Nary, by Roo Charmichael
37. The Thunder, by Douglas Bond
38. Tidings of Comfort and Joy, by Davis Bunn
39. The Shadow Things, by Jennifer Frietag
40. Greenmantle, by John Buchan
41. Plenilune, by Jennifer Frietag
42. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
43. The Patmos Deception, by Davis Bunn
44. Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
45. The Rakshasa's Bride, by Suzannah Rowntree
46. On Writing Well, by William Zinsser

Nonfiction of the Year



 One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp 

Honorable mention goes to American Phoenix, by Jane Hampton Cook.

Fiction of the Year 




Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen 

Honorable mention goes to Middlemarch, by George Eliot.

Author of the Year:
Suzannah Rowntree. Indie author of  War Games, The Rakshasa's Bride, and the up-and-coming Arthurian epic Pendragon's Heir, Suzannah has demonstrated that she has the grit and grace it takes to write well. I love her adventurous writing, I appreciate her conservatism in all the right areas, and I can't wait for the day (soon!) when I can fangirl in public about the characters I have so dearly come to love.

We have had many discussions about books both on and off the blog, and Suzannah's thoughts on writing, boldness in telling the truth, and excitement for the dominion of the fiction craft are a continual challenge to me. Be sure to check her out at Vintage Novels.

Honorable mention goes to Rosemary Sutcliff. Through her Finn MacCool legends and The Shield Ring, I greatly enjoyed making her acquaintance for the first time!

Do you have a favorite book review from My Lady Bibliophile or elsewhere? What books have you read this year? Were there any articles here that especially impacted you? I'd love to hear about them. :)

Blessings,
Schuyler

12 comments:

  1. My favorite article from this year was "Tall Tales: Comfort with Sin Equals Maturity". I think the most interesting/unique book review you did was the book by Andrew Peterson; I didn't know he was a writer in that sense, and his book sounds most interesting. ;)

    You did a great job with your book list this year! I'd really like to read One Thousand Gifts soon, and I'm looking forward to hearing about Pendragon's Heir.

    The top three books from my list this year were Wrestling Prayer (Ludy), Wrestling with God: Prayer that Never Gives Up (Greg Laurie), and The Upper Room (MacArthur). And some of the most enjoyable reading this year has come from your book, short shories, and snippets that you've written and shared with me. ;)

    Congrats on another great year of reading, Lady B. <3

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    1. That article was one of my favorites as well. I'm glad you liked it. And I'm really looking forward to reading more of Andrew's series. From what I've read they get even richer and better as they go along.

      I'm hoping to read Wrestling Prayer this year. It sounds really, really good. And Collin got me a special book for Christmas which I'm going to read and review as well--John MacArthur's 12 Extraordinary Women. :D

      I'm so glad you've enjoyed the books and snippets. Your prayers and encouragement mean so much. It is a joy to share with you, and know that you get the deep heart of what I'm saying. <3

      Can I see your book list for the year sometime?

      Love you!
      Schuyler

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  2. Hmm...**goes to look back through blog posts**

    My favorite articles are The World of Faerie, What Makes a Good... (series), and The Best of Unlikely Heroes.

    My favorite book reviews would include A Bear of Very Little Brain, The Shield Ring, and The Lady of Blossholme.

    There are lots of others, but I shall not bore you with the telling of them. ;)

    You've read so many good books this year! :) I love your list. Thank-you for posting every week--I enjoy reading your posts. :D

    Love,
    Carrie-Grace

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    1. I loved the Best of series. That was so fun. :) It was originally going to be a 2014-only theme, but I have a couple of more I'd like to do, so I'll stretch it out a little bit.

      And The Shield Ring. <3 We both loved that.

      Thank-you for commenting every week! I love your perspective and your hugs and our sister chats. Ever the best of friends, Pip old chap. ;)

      Love,
      Schuyler

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  3. Two best fiction books of the year: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Giver by Lois Lowry. Best non-fiction book: Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. The latter book is about building strong relationships with people, and the awesome thing is, it's all from a Biblical perspective. The authors take passages from the Bible which I never thought could have anything to do with relationships, and applied them so wonderfully.

    I remember that "It's Like the Great Stories, Mr. Frodo" was an article which I really enjoyed. I have to refresh my memory about it.

    Also 46 books is amazing. I don't think I've read that many ever in a year. But I will keep on aiming high. ;)

    I can't wait to see what new books cross my path this coming year, and what new posts will arise on your blog. ^.^

    ~Victoria

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    1. I have heard very good things of The Giver. I'd like to read that sometime. Have you ever heard of Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Tales of Goldstone Woods series? It's a fantasy series that Christians are saying is really good, and I have it on the list for next year.

      Look forward to fellowshipping more with you on the blogosphere this year! And Lord-willing, perhaps our paths will cross in person again. :)

      ~Schuyler

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    2. The Giver indeed is a wonderful book. I would love to trade thoughts on it if you read it. =) Actually I have indeed heard of it; a couple friends recommend that series very highly. Unfortunately our local library does not carry it, so it may be a while until I read it.

      I do hope our paths will cross again, Schuyler dear. Have a wonderful New Year's. <3

      ~Victoria

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    3. Sorry, Schuyler, to spy on this conversation, but I got so excited when you mentioned you plan on reading from The Tales of Goldstone Wood series in 2015, Lord willing. YES! :) <3 *this makes me so happy* I will, by the way give Patrick Carr's trilogy a try. . . though I don't know how willing I will be about the let-down of the final book. But I still have "A Cast of Stone" on my kindle so I ought to read it!

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  4. Ooo, all those books make me drool :P
    I've always wanted to read Cranford, how was it? Anything like the book?
    Thanks!

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    1. Cranford is hilarious, charming, small-town gossipy goodness. I love the book. I have never seen the movie, but in it they combined several of Elisabeth Gaskell's books into one story, so Cranford book would be slightly different. But you would find a lot of the same characters, especially the Cranford group of old ladies and Mary and Captain Brown with his daughters. :) And the Miss Jenkins.

      I wrote a review here: http://www.ladybibliophile.blogspot.com/2014/04/cranford.html

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  5. Ohh, what a beautiful and rich combination of literary material you've read this year [I should say this past year now], Schuyler!

    First of all, about my favourite articles of yours. Hmm, there were many that I think struck home deeply to me, and that I especially enjoyed. A few of your friends have already mentioned "It's Like the Great Stories, Mr. Frodo", and to be honest, though I didn't have the time to comment at the time, I have to agree, that it is probably my favourite of your year's blogging. It was beautiful, and something I have felt very similarly about. It was a refreshment and encouragement to read it.

    I think the "Tall Tales" series you did regarding "Shock and Maturity" was very thought-provoking, and something I needed a good advice about, because I've been on both ends of the spectrum, and struggled with knowing there is an importance in having age/experience and maturity before embarking on some very good, deep books; while it doesn't want to make me laugh to scorn anyone (including myself!) who feels a certain work is not something I could cope with at my level of maturity, and growth. I found that post really helpful!

    Also, anything Tolkien related made me happy. Your "Children of Hurin" review made me feel much better, since I had read the book and wondered if I was the only one who felt so conflicted about its utter tragedy and horrible grimness, and yet felt so captivated and moved by the emotions of the tale, the poetic way Tolkien wrote, and such characters as Beleg :'( *sniff*. I liked how you helped point out some of the theological Christian-themes in it. Helped me appreciate it so much more.

    I think my favourite reviews of yours were: The Shield Ring, Plenilune, The Shadow Things and I enjoyed our discussions after reading "Anon, Sir, Anon" review ;). That was good.

    Best of all, I loved your "War of Loyalties" posts, I think. They were a delight to read!

    I hope to make a similar list of the books I read in 2014, as well. That should be interesting. I think I failed to scrap it to the 40 number, but oh well! It was a good reading year, anyway :D.

    I love your blog, Schuyler. Very much!
    God bless and a very Happy New Year to you!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Joy,
      It is always encouraging to know the posts/reviews that have most impacted people, and thank-you so much for sharing yours. They were ones that were near and dear to my heart, and that I wrote with a great deal of love and passion. Finding that reciprocated in others is a huge blessing. :D

      I love talking to you about books and such, and our discussions in the comment sections. It is no-end jolly. :) And I'm so glad you loved War of Loyalties snippets! It has been wonderful to debut them on the blog, and I am tickled by their warm welcome.

      God bless you, too!

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