Sunday, December 3, 2023

Read-at-Home Mom Report: November 2023 Wrap-Up

November Favorites

I had a great reading month in November, and a lot of favorites. All of these were five-star books. 

Unleashed by Amber Kirkpatrick

My friend Amber wrote this fantasy romance, and I read the ebook from Hoopla before my paperback pre-order even shipped. I love the characters and the setting, and most especially the dialogue. There is some real sadness and brutality in the world of the story (many of the characters have superpowers and are persecuted for it), but the love story between grumpy, wounded Fen and bright, young Sara manages to be sweet and cozy even against such a backdrop. I also love the friendship between Fen and Marcel, and the fact that Marcel and his family are Catholic. I'm really excited for book two of the series! 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 

I already knew I loved Fredrik Backman's writing, and this book just further confirmed that opinion. This is such a hopeful story, despite how broken Ove is, and it points out the importance of community without becoming saccharine. 

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

This is a fascinating Catholic science fiction novel that I know I will need to read again to fully appreciate. I especially loved the first and last sections. 

Crowns anthology edited by Brittany Eden and Brigitte Cromey

I have a story in this collection, which is full of unique voices and beautiful prose, poetry and artwork. It's an honor to be included. 

Essays of E.B. White 

I listened to this essay collection, and I was just blown away by White's writing. It was interesting to view the issues of the day (1950s to 1970s) from his point of view, and also to hear his reflections on nature, farm life, and New York City, as well as on William Strunk. 

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders

This was on my winter TBR, but I didn't pick it up until mid-November. I listened to the audiobook and read along in the hardcover, marking all my favorite passages with post-its and book darts. It was like taking a creative writing class, and made me feel inspired for my own writing.


Times Three by Phyllis McGinley 

I found this Pulitzer prize winning vintage collection of light verse by Catholic housewife Phyllis McGinley at the used bookstore, and it turned out to be such a gem. I love the author's wit, and her poems about saints were among my favorites.

Faking Christmas by Kerry Winfrey

This was my first Christmas romance of the season, and it was delightful! Just like this author's Very Sincerely Yours, this felt like it was written just for me. I laughed out loud multiple times listening to the audiobook, and I fell in love with the characters. I really want to own a copy of this one. 

Mind of the Maker by Dorothy L. Sayers 

I read this with the Literary Life podcast, and I loved the way Sayers thinks about the creative life in light of Christianity. This is one I would like to read again and annotate next time.

Read-Aloud and Homeschool 

  • The Ancient Near Eastern World by Amanda H. Podany (4 stars)
  • Mist on the Mountain by Jane Flory (4 stars)
  • Bread and Butter Journey by Anne Colver (3 stars)

Series Books

  • Fourth Wing  (The Empyrean Book 1) by Rebecca Yarros (4 stars)
  • The Parfit Knight (Rockliffe Book 1) by Stella Riley (4 stars)
  • The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia Book 5) by C.S. Lewis (4 stars)
  • The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia Book 6) by C.S. Lewis (5 stars)
  • The Firm (The Firm Book 1) by John Grishman (4 stars)

Stand-Alone Books

  • Awake, Not Woke by Noelle Mering (5 stars)
  • A Slipping-Down Life by Anne Tyler (4 stars)
  • Hey, Hun by Emily Lynn Paulson (4 stars)
  • Tenth of December by George Saunders (5 stars)
  • And So This is Christmas by Brian Bilston (5 stars)
  • The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass (5 stars)


  • Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
    I just couldn't sign on for more of this series. The book was so long, and I couldn't handle all the sexual content. 

Family Reading Lists 

M. (girl, age 10)

  • My Family and Other Skaters by Fiorella De Maria
  • Staying Nine by Pam Conrad
  • Journey of the Eldest Son by J. G. Fyson
  • Hittite Warrior by Joanne Williamson
  • The Lost Queen of Egypt by Lucile Morrison
  • Fog Magic by Julia Sauer
  • Boy of the Pyramids by Ruth Fosdick Jones

C. (girl, 8 years, 2 months)

  • My Family and Other Skaters by Fiorella De Maria
  • This New Land by G.Wisler
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
  • Ghost Light in the Attic by Pat Thomson
  • The World of Captain John Smith by Genevieve Foster 
  • The Puritan Revolution by C. Walter Hodges
  • Witch Dog by John and Patricia Beatty 

E. (girl, 6 years, 1 month)

  • Hickory by Palmer Brown 
  • Beyond the Paw Paw Trees by Palmer Brown
  • The Silver Nutmeg by Palmer Brown
  • Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne 
  • Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary
  • Carbonel, The King of the Cats by Barbara Sleigh

R. (boy, 3 years, 8 months)

*R has started sounding out words and has begun reading the Hooked on Phonics readers.

  • Rag by Barney Saltzburg 
  • Dad and Sam by Leslie McGuire 
  • The Animals' Santa by Jan Brett 
  • All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes
  • I Love You, Little Shark by Jeffrey Burton 
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  • Truckery Rhymes by Jon Scieszka 

A. (girl, 3 years, 8 months)

  • All About Alfie by Shirley Hughes 
  • Truckery Rhymes by Jon Scieszka

My husband

  • Mist on the Mountain by Jane Flory 
  • Heartsease by Peter Dickinson 
  • The Blood-Red Crescent by Henry Garnett 
  • The Winged Girl of Knossos by Erick Berry (read aloud)
  • The Winged Cat and Other Tales of Ancient Civilizations by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

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