The Dutch Rush

They're Dutch and Life's a Rush

Another year went by.

It was busy.

I read some books.

I thought about reading a lot more than I actually read. But still, it’s fun to look back at what I read. (I know, if you’re not a big reader, it’s just so nerdy. I get it.)

I see that while I am late for an “end of the year book recap”, I have beat last year by not waiting for April. So really, I am ahead of the game. 

I read through a few books on repeat, as well as the Bible and the Charlotte Mason series through the year, so those are not included in my list.

Here we go:

* Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (This was a re-read, very interesting perspective each time I read this one. Such a great book.)

* Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (Oh my goodness. This was so funny to me. He’s Scottish, so you have to love the dry humor. I think twice about my behavior in a used bookstore now.)

* The Rosemary Tree by Elizabeth Goudge (This is a good one. I am on my way through it again. So thought provoking, I definitely recommend for Goudge fans.)

* Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss (I do not know what I expected this book to be, but that was not it! It was quite challenging. I would recommend. But…it’s one of the weirdest books I’ve read!)

* Advice To a Young Wife From An Old Mistress by Michael Drury (This is a fascinating book to me. I have read it every few years since I found it in the library at about age 22, when I had a newish husband and baby. It made quite an impression on my young wife heart, and though some of her “truths” are ridiculous, and so wrong, it has given me much food for thought over the years. So, just, read at your own risk, and don’t blame me if you hate it!)

* Many A Green Isle by Agnes Sligh Turnbull (I had a hard time getting into this one. But I do really love her books. Another good one.)

* You And Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan (If you’re married or planning to be someday, I’d read this book. Looking at marriage through the eyes of eternity. Sobering.)

* Home Education by Charlotte Mason (This is an incredible book. I wish every parent could read this to see the depth and breadth of their duty as parents. I wish I could have read and understood this at the beginning of my parenting journey, but thank goodness I have it now. This is gold. I read it very quickly this year and learned even more about my work as a mother and teacher.)

* City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge (A re-read, for Amy. 😉 And yes, it was much better the second time around!)

* For The Family’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Okay, I love this book. I’ve read it several times, but this time was truly amazing. I was on a trip with no internet, and that helped me settle down and focus on this book. Our families desperately need us mothers to read this and put it into action.)

* The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge (I can’t help it, I think I read this every year. It’s just that good.)

* The Woods Were Full of Men by Erma Lee Emmerson (Love this memoir about a girl who went to work as cook in a  Coos Bay Oregon logging camp in the 1940s. It just flows perfectly! It had been years since I’d read it, and it was just as good as I remembered.)

* The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch (I really like this book. This is my second time reading it, and I saw many things and important perspectives that I had missed the first time. Life experience has also widened, and I could agree with a lot more of what she was saying. Also, I just like bookstore books. :))

* I see that C.S. Lewis is not making the list this time. But that is because I am in the middle of reading FOUR of his books with my students. So every week has some Lewis. Those four are currently: The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Letters to Children, and That Hideous Strength. Of the four, I have been repeatedly dumbfounded at Screwtape Letters, and his very accurate view of our struggle as believers. His message comes through loud and clear: This earth is not our home. Satan will throw every distraction possible at us to make us forget what is actually important. Do not become distracted from the true faith of living for Jesus, never stop serving the lost, the broken, the refugee, the neglected and abused child. We must not be obsessed with safety, because this is not our home, we are just passing through!  So, obviously, Screwtape Letters gets my pick for favorite book this year.

In her book Formation of Character, Charlotte Mason reflects on reading novels, and the pros and cons of being educated through them.

“Excellent help is to be found in novels. Here is the very knowledge of life the young person craves; the personages of the novel play their parts before him, and he is admitted to greater intimacy with them than we often arrive at with our fellows; there is no personal attack upon the reader, no preaching. If the novelist moralise a little here and there, it is but to relieve his own feelings. He is not preaching to the young reader, to whom the lesson of life come home with illustrations never to be forgotten.”

-Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character, p. 373

There is also a plug for continuing to re-read books through life. Since I read so many of my books over and over again, I loved this.

“Novels are our lesson books only so far as we give thoughtful, considerate reading to such novels as are also literature. The young person who reads three books a week from Mudie’s. or elsewhere, is not likely to find in any of them ‘example of life and instruction in manners.’ These things arrive to us after many readings of a book that is worth while; and the absurdity of saying, ‘I have read’ Jane Austen or the Waverley novels should be realized. We do not say “I have read’ Shakespeare, or even Browning or Tennyson…”

-Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character, p. 374


As someone who reads all of those authors each year (and many more), I can attest to the fact that no matter how many times I read those authors, new ideas constantly grab me. I find a lot of joy in this, new discovery is a thrill. It keeps life interesting, even when you spend each day at home with small children…or medium/large children!

Anyway, happy reading!

Book posts from the last few years:

A Booklist (2017)

Crazy Mary’s Booklist (2016)

The Book Extravaganza (2014)


17 thoughts on “So Many Books, So Little Time

  1. Janel Comeau says:

    I’ll have to add some of these to my TBR list, they sound good! Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. Mary says:

      Thank you! 🙂

  2. camillasnartoose says:

    Oooooh love this list! Thank you so much!

    1. Mary says:

      Thank you! Glad you liked it. 🙂

  3. WONDERFUL list, Mary. Haha! Thank you for rereading it JUST for me. 🙂 My oldest and I are discussing Mere Christianity and I’m just starting a reread of Weight of Glory. Loved reading this so much!

    1. Mary says:

      Thank you Amy 🙂 I haven’t read Weight of Glory yet. Let me know how it is!

  4. Oh and PS – I’m still not sure what to think of Stepping Heavenward either. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it, but I remember so many people loved it and I wasn’t sure what I thought.

    1. Mary says:

      Right? I could definitely relate to things in that book. Which is also a little horrifying?!

  5. I could use “funny” this time of year. Dry humor cracks me up. It’s been known to force a delayed chuckle out of me upon reflection – quite out of the blue. A nice surprise. Therefore I’m going to look for The Diary of a Book Seller by Shaun Bythell.

    1. Mary says:

      Thanks Karen, I hope you enjoy it!

  6. Nancy Kelly says:

    What a wonderful, rich list! I agree, reading For the Family’s Sake every year is a grand idea. I will have to try The Woods and The Bookseller. Thanks for enabling me!

    1. Mary says:

      Thank you Nancy! And thanks for starting this fun tradition of book posts, I really enjoy looking back on what I read. 🙂

  7. Betty says:

    Love this Mary! You read a lot of books considering! Stepping Heavenward I related to because hubby is in the medical field and I had some similar delusions of marriage. Then I had a miscarriage and then father in law moved in with us and I re-read it and it spoke to me so well. I’m a better person when I’m reading it.

    My daughter is listening to Diary of a Bookseller on audio and laughs out loud she loves it so much!

    For the Children’s Sake and For the Family’s Sake are both so inspirational.

    C.S. Lewis is always a feast for me.

    I’ve just re-started Scent of Water and hoping to finish it this time. I do love Goudge but my life is a bit crazy so I have trouble sinking into it in the few snippets of time I have.

    And I have a Turnbull book I read by seasons that I really enjoy.

    1. Mary says:

      Thanks Betty! Glad your daughter is enjoying that book, I’m reading through it again too, and it is making me laugh. 🙂

  8. Nancy Palm says:

    Hi, Mary, It is always fun to read your thoughtful blog entries. This week my mom, a retired nurse for whom Marie is named, turned 101. She is losing her vision but still loves to read and for now she can with a Kindle app on an iPad. The question is always, “What book might she like?”, so I read your most recent reading list with interest. Port Angeles, where I grew up had many loggers. Back before there was such a thing as an intensive care unit, she would often “special” injured loggers at the hospital. Basically she would be like a private nurse. “The Woods Were Full of Men” sounded like it would be a winner. She is reading it as I write, and I just heard her chuckle about something. Thanks for the recommendation. “The Diary of a Bookseller” sounds like a good one, too. Hope all is well with you and your busy family. Nancy

    1. Mary says:

      Hi Nancy, thanks for sharing that story about your mom! I’m so glad she’s enjoying the book. 🙂 I bet she has some crazy stories of those days!

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