First, What Are You Reading? Volume 30

Here are the questions I ask and answer on the first of each month (yes, faithful blog readers will notice I didn’t do this on February 1!). The questions, as always, are:

first, what are you reading?
what do you like best about it?
what do you like least?
what’s next on your list to read?

As always, I hope you’ll consider your current reads on your blog and/or sharing here in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. Happy reading!

First, what are you reading?

I recently finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.


The younger kids and I are listening to the Jim Weiss audiobook version of The Young Carthaginian.


What do you like best about them?

I wrote on GoodReads about Quiet love. this. book.

I took copious notes as I read this book and I think it is a must-read for so many people. I understand myself, my husband and members of my family and others much better now.

In looking for an image of the book cover for this post, I came across this wonderful graphic review, “Drawn & Read,” that basically sums up my praise of this book.  If you click on the image, it will bring you to this fun and worthwhile summary/review.


My nine-year-old son is loving listening to the very military G.A. Henty classic, The Young Carthaginian.  This book was one of the suggested additional resources in The Story of the World, the history program we use.  We’re on Volume 1 (for the second time, many years on), which is ancient history, and there are terrific picture book and chapter book suggestions for additional reading.

Jim Weiss as always does an excellent job with reading aloud this 19th century work and archaic language.  I am enjoying the nobility of certain characters, such as Malchus, the title character, and his boy-to-manhood story.

What do you like least about them?

Curiously, Cain’s chapter  in Quiet on introversion in children does not mention home education as an option.  She’s really incisive about how introverted kids can flounder in school, or just not bloom as well as they could.  In fact, she mentions that the reason many introverted kids do better as adults is because they can choose the type of work they want to do, how often they want to interact with others, and their environment.  Um…that’s home education, pretty much.  So it was kind of surprising to me that she suggests rather families seek out school environments (such as Montessori, etc.) that are welcoming to introverts, and never mentions the option of home education.

I’m not at all against school and we have had good experiences when we have chosen that route, but reading this book makes me see the value in the possibility of the home education route for introverts.

I just noticed that Jim Weiss’ audiobook is an abridged version of The Young Carthaginian, and I now express my shock at that, because it feels really, really long to listen to.  I think it’s maybe a 9-hour production.  Normally I am a complete snob and refuse to listen to abridged audiobooks, but if I had a choice of listening to a full-length version of this, I would choose Jim Weiss without a second thought.

We love listening to audiobooks, and had just finished (and all loved, by the way) this audiobook of Eleanor Porter’s Pollyanna, so I thought something boy-friendly would be a good alternative, especially to the very active and battle-loving boy in our house.  And it truly is–the story is noble and good, and we have been able to have some discussions about how this has a “Victorian” feel since it was written during that time.

At the same time,  the fact that it is so focused on battles makes it just exhausting for me.  Also, the body count is really high, whether soldiers (Roman, Spanish, or Carthaginian, or in charmingly or alarmingly Victorian writing, “natives,” in this case Gauls), bears, wolves or other creatures. I’m thoroughly ready for a Jane Austen chaser next and am seriously considering having us all listen to Emma.

Still, it is good to stretch in our reading and our listening, even for Jane-Austen-loving moms, and I am happy for the chance to do so with this book.

What’s next on your list?

I have been a bit haphazard about my Lenten reading, but as we are nearing the mid-point of Lent, I hope to make more time for adoration, prayer, and reading.

We are still working our way through me reading aloud The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  We just last night finished The Two Towers. (Oh! what an ending! Poor Sam!)  I have a noble goal of trying to finish it before Easter.

I am going to explore a new review copy I received recently of The Catholic Guide to Depression.  A recent encounter left me considering the need to consider books along these lines for review.

I gave a talk earlier this week to a group of Catholic leaders.  I focused on Catholic memoirs (I have a Pinterest board for that), and my review of Therese Borchard’s Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Best of Bad Genes inspired the most after-dinner discussion.  There are a lot of people struggling with mental health issues, and a sensible Catholic approach and guide would be welcome.

What are you reading this month?  Anything good to share?