What's on My Nightstand? {August}

This month may have been a record breaker for reading.  Though I love to read, I don't always take the time to do so.  I guess this month was a bit different.
The Magician's Nephew, by C.S. Lewis - Very enjoyable to get back to the introduction of Narnia.  Fuller thoughts here.  I read this one on my own instead of as a read aloud back in July.

All the Way Home, by Ann Tatlock - Last month I read my first Ann Tatlock book and loved it.  Having thoroughly enjoyed that I'll Catch the Moon, I was thrilled to find this (and another, too!) for free for my Kindle.  Journalist Augie travels to Mississippi during the Vietnam War.  She remembers a time when she lost loved ones due to war.  Part One focused on World War II, and the love of a Japanese-American family by Augie, as a white girl.  Part Two moved to the civil rights movement and different racial tension.  I couldn't put this one down after getting to Part Two.  (I say that, but I am a mother of three with many responsibilities.  I should have said I didn't want to put it down!)   I thoroughly enjoyed this book, too, and can't wait until next month when I read more from Ann Tatlock.  (I'm spreading out my reading of her since I can't put them down once I begin.)*

An Old-Fashioned Girl, by Louisa May Alcott - For those who enjoy the innocence and style of Little Women, LMA wrote a book totally unrelated to Jo and the March family.  This was an enjoyable read.  Polly is a sweet country girl who has a visit of nearly two months with her much more mature and "cultured" (and rather rich) city friend, Fanny.  During this initial visit, Fanny is shocked at just how simple Polly is.  Even when given teh opportunity, she doesn't borrow finer clothes or jewelry.  Polly understands who she is and the value of hard work, though few understand her.  The reader understands that she visits annually and becomes like part of the family.  She returns as an adult to work as a music teacher.  Polly lives in what some consider poverty, and yet she is happy.  She brings sunshine and joy to those around her.  And the rest I won't share due to spoilers, but it was a good book with a solid reminder that our attitude and not just our riches can bring more good to others than we can know.  This book was once my mother-in-laws.  I found it when we were visiting the family in northeastern PA.  It's sweet to know that she once read it, even if she does not remember it.

Wildflowers of Terezin, by Robert Elmer- Was my favorite fictional book of the month.  It's another World War II book, with a look at the Danish underground this time.  Steffen is a Lutheran pastor, who until now, has been one to just let things be, blinded by his own naivety of what was happening with the Nazis and the Danish Jews.  I read this one blindly...not knowing anything about the author, but it was a great book!*

The Girl Who Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Boat of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente - This one was read for the Reading to Know Book Club.  It's a children's (tween and up) book about the adventures of an ordinary girl named September.  She is taken to Fairyland one day because her help is needed.  She finds plenty of challenges and meets interesting characters...some are trustworthy.  I think this book has great potential!  However, I read it in bits and pieces, and it was a bit hard for me to follow.  So though I enjoyed it, I didn't enjoy it the way I could have.  (And actually, I am not finished with it yet.)

Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy   -     
        By: Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Choosing Gratitude, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss- This was my favorite non-ficiton of the month.  A full review is coming, but for now I will just say that Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote to my heart and convicted me much about the ingratitude I display and "give" to God as my thankfulness for all of the grace he bestows upon me.  Loved it!  Highly recommend it! Updated: Complete Review.

Churchill and Roosevelt: The Alliance That Saved the Free World, by Charles Rivers Editors- This was an overview of both Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt's lives and how they worked together during WWII.  I read to be informed, since I knew so little.  I enjoyed, though I did find the frequent word-for-word repetition to be annoying, though I think at least some of the repetition was due to lack of editing for this Kindle book.  It was free...I shouldn't complain.*

Loving the Little YearsLoving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, by Rachel Jankovic- This was also a book that spoke to my heart.  It was real and honest about the being a mom of multiple young children.  What I appreciated the most was how she would take child-related situations and turn it into a lesson for ME to remember as it relates to God.  The chapters were so short (3-4 pages mostly) that even a very harried mom could find the time to read...even if it meant locking the door to the bathroom while the children begged to be let in.  Definitely recommend for any mom who has two or more children under the age of five.  I bought myself a copy after this review.

The Kite Runner- I really don't like the main character in this book, so it's hard to enjoy, but I've certainly learned a bit about Afghanistan.  (I borrowed it from the library because I noticed that Amazon kept suggesting it along with books that I really enjoyed/were recommended like The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Unbroken).  Still worthwhile though.  Just a little caution: very brief, strong language is included and a rape of a boy.  I listened to 5 of 12 CD's.  Can anyone suggest that I finish or stop listening altogether?  I feel it is a waste of time.

Chapter Books with the Children (ages 5 and 3):
The StormBetsy-Tacy and Tib- Loved reading it with my kids.  Those girls are delightful and innocent...though sometimes a wee bit naughty!  Such fun!  Maud Hart Lovelace is one of my very favorite authors!  The next book was already requested, but I suggested we wait a bit.

The Lighthouse Family: The Storm- This was a longer Cynthia Rylant book.  Both of my children really enjoyed the animal characters as they tackled problems and became a family.  Though my main library does not have the rest of the series, my other county library does!  My oldest is especially thrilled...and so am I!

By the Shores of Silver Lake and The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder- This time The Long Winter doesn't seem as hopeless as it did in the past...but then again, I have not completed it yet.  These were with the children. (Audio CD)

Friends According to Humphrey and Trouble According to Humphrey, by Betty G. Birney- Oh, how I wish I had known about these books when I was teaching!  A great choice for school-aged kids.  Before reading, I warned my children we would NOT be getting a hamster, but Humphrey almost changed my mind!  Great choice! (Audio CDs)

Next month I know I will be reading Band of Sisters (Cathy Gohlke), I'm Outnumbered (Laura Lee Groves) and  Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes Day (Garry R. Morgan) for review.  I also will finish The Long Walk (Slavomir Rawicz).  I'm very excited to join Liz Curtis Higgs in a walk through the book of Ruth with The Girl's Still Got It with a chapter a week beginning September 5th on her blog!   I also began my first P.G. Wodehouse book called Something New.

* Was a free book on my Kindle Fire.

I'm linking up with What's on Your Nightstand this month.  I have to say, I really like keeping track of what I am reading in this way.  I had tried to create a list previously, but had trouble keeping up with it.

If interested, take a look at my giveaway for children...a great gift to stash away for a rainy day or needed gift!  Water Magic Giveaway.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}


  1. Yet another glowing review of Wildflowers from Terezin--I think I'm going to have to bump that one up on my TBR list.

    What a delightful collection of read-alouds!

  2. I've got Wildflowers from Terezin and one of Tatlock's books on my Kindle app. May have to get to them sooner rather than later! I think I read Old-Fashioned Girl a long while back. I'd like to revisit it some time. I haven't read that book by DeMoss but I have enjoyed what I have read from her.

  3. Wow! You did do a lot of reading! :-)

    Wildflowers for Terezin sounds wonderful. I'll have to seek that one out. Actually, quite a few of your picks appeal to me. Thanks for the reviews!

    Can't wait to see what you'll share for RAT in the future!

  4. Wow! Lots of reading! I've never heard of Wildflowers from Terezin but it sounds really good. I'll have to give it a try. I love Alcott but have not read anything outside of the Little Women series. Definitely need to remedy that at some point! :)

    Unfortunately, I can't say anything about The Kite Runner. I've heard it's really good and it's on my TBR list but I haven't read it yet. Sorry! Hopefully someone else chimes in with a better opinion.

    Happy reading!

  5. I read Kite Runner and I personally think it's worth finishing. It's hard and the main character is almost unforgivably selfish--yet, I don't want to spoil it, but he does grow and change. I actually love that book, although I wish I could forget the child rape scene. There's another by the same author, 1000 Splendid Suns, which is also excellent.

    Alcott wrote several more books. I used to have them as a child. I remember 8 Cousins off hand. I've never heard of Wildflowers from Terezin but it sounds really good!

    Thanks for participating!
    Elizabeth @ 5MFB

  6. I LOVE THE WAY you wrote up your Nightstand post this month! That was really cool to read your abbreviated thoughts and to see which was your favorite fiction and your favorite non-fiction. Really, really fun post to read! And what exactly do you mean that you do not read as fast or as much as I do?!!? I think we're pretty even. You read a lot! A whole lot!

    I'm really glad The Lighthouse Family was a hit in your household. I'm also glad that you liked Loving the Little Years. (haha about the kids trying to get into the bathroom)

    Just smiling. :)

  7. Wow! You had a very impressive month. Mine was absurdly slow. You have several great looking books up there, too. Louisa May Alcott sounds especially appealing right now!

    I'm with you on "The Girl Who...". If it wasn't for the fact that it was MY pick, I never would have had the motivation to finish. I had to do some major skimming of the last 50 pages in order to get my thoughts down in time. Despite all that, I did end up liking it. I think I probably would have enjoyed it more on audio, though. I'd love to see it as a movie! :)


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