Books Read in July

Here it is almost September, and I’m finally posting my July book list. Ah, well, such is life. The vacation time helped my tally this month!

Mystie’s Books Read

Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs

Own. Recommended by Mental Multivitamin and Dawn. I know I read other raving reviews before I bought it last November, but I don’t remember where.

He picks up the theme of technology altering our brains, making us unfit for sustained, linear reading, but he doesn’t fall into depression or anxiety over it. Instead, he offers humble and unpretentious advice for those who wish to keep their ability to read books, but who have a number of obstacles.

More than advice, though, he offers a number of meditations on the reading life, but again without pretension.

It was, appropriately, a pleasure to read.

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Own. Recommended by Ambleside Online, and all those who use AO’s booklists. :)

Understood Betsy is a charming children’s novel full of subtle wisdom and insight of how environment, atmosphere, and assumptions shape a child’s conception of herself and the world. It is the story of a girl’s growth from weak, overprotected, unobservant child to a confident, self-reliant, resourceful contributor.

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton


We took this along for the drive over to the coast. I think audio was the right choice for this book. Not only did it mean the British tone was read with the proper British accent, but we were forced along the drift of Chesterton’s writing without even the option of stopping to try to untangle a particular sentence or thought. Chesterton is more about painting a big and broad picture than getting each sentence precise, so keeping the prose rolling along was the right approach. For all his good qualities, which are certainly present, he is wordy and repetitive, which are pet peeves of mine that tend to drive me crazy. If I had been reading it silently, I might have been tempted to use the verb “slog,” but with the cadence and wit and imagery carried along by a proficient [British-accented, let’s not forget] reader, it was a fascinating “read.” It was particularly fun to hear the many familiar quotes in context instead of alone as pithy statements.

Orthodoxy is not a book on systematic theology in the slightest. It is rather Chesterton’s testimony, if you will, of how he set out to figure out the world after modern philosophies left him dissatisfied. As he nailed down what he intended to be original philosophy, he continued to find that it was not original, but actually orthodox (Anglican/Catholic). When he bent the knee and accepted Christ, philosophy clicked into place like so many gears coming together. The book is quite idiosyncratic, funny, and often mildly confusing in places. But it is a worthwhile read, for sure.

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic

Own. Reread.

I took Loving the Little Years with me on vacation for a little cheerful pep talk. Atmosphere has been slipping in our home of late, being somewhat less than convivial. I needed a perspective adjustment. Rachel states her purpose is to open the windows and let the fresh breeze through, and that is precisely the effect.

What have you and yours been reading lately?

One Response

  1. dawn

    That’s a pretty good month of reading! I like the tip about listening to Chesterton. We own Orthodoxy, but I haven’t read it (shocking, no?) Maybe I need to listen to book club books.

    I’m glad you liked Jacobs. I knew you ranked it well, but was curious about your thoughts. :) And I knew you’d enjoy Understood Betsy.