March Reading Update

After the Great Homeschool Convention earlier this month I was inspired to get back to reading more. I think the only way to do this in my busy homeschooling, work-at-home life is to actually schedule it. So I have been making a point to read every morning when I first wake and then once again at night before I go to bed.

What I'm Reading March 2016

It has been working so well. I am getting caught up on some older titles I had started and needed to finish, and I have started some new books that I have been enjoying as well.

I thought I would share these here and then update each month with a few thoughts, what I had finished, and future reading plans. And the nice thing is, posting here monthly makes me accountable.

What I finished this month

Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator — This book was so good. Very readable, interesting, and some good take-aways for my co-op and homeschool. It has made a David Diener fan of me and I am trying to talk Brandy into having him on the Scholé Sisters podcast. Take this bit about what to study:

In fact, he [Plato] was explicit that the subjects he thought should be studied were selected not on the basis of their content per se but rather because of their ability to turn the soul away from darkness and toward goodness and truth.”

How’s that for criteria for a course of study?

What I am reading

Yes, it is a long list. I have way too many books started, which kind of makes me want to break out in hives. My goal is to finish some of these before starting more.

Raising Kids Who Read — I am a Willingham fan from Why Students Don’t Like School. He throws a ton of data at you, but in a completely readable way and with action items. My kind of read.

Consider This — I am enjoying this argument for the “classical-ness” of Charlotte Mason so much.

Steal the Show — Public speaking is going to be a major goal of mine in my business next year. This is how I am getting ready.

Rediscover Jesus — A good Catholic would have finished this during Lent. I guess we know what that means. Ahem.

The Lonesome Gods — I love Louis L’amour? Who would have thunk it? I was turned on to this book by an online book club, and I haven’t been able to put it down. I grab it, a glass of wine, a piece of dark chocolate and head off to my bubble bath each night. My husband is shaking his head.

Norms and Nobility — So after reading the Plato book I think I could go back to the first couple of chapters of this one and it would make so much more sense. I am going to pick it up again.

A Morbid Taste for Bones — Cadfael is a favorite of Jessica’s. I really do want to finish this one.

Poldark — Started this one a couple of months ago because I enjoyed the miniseries so much. I just need to buy my own copy. I was perfectly content to read it before it had to go back to the library.

Hannah Coulter — Listening to this one on Audible. It’s good.

 Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life Rediscover Jesus The Lonesome Gods: An Epic Novel of the California Desert Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael Chronicles) Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 Hannah Coulter


Current read aloud

The kids and I are about half-way through Begin, the first book in the Growly Adventures.

We are enjoying this delightful tale of a bear on a journey, and I have no doubt that the sequels, including the soon-to-be-released Haven will be added to our read aloud pile.

My to-read list

Seriously, I have a major list to work through. But when those are done, these are the next ones on my list.

 New Seeds of Contemplation Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath (Penguin Classics) The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life Understood Betsy Hornblower: Beat to Quarters (Hornblower Saga)


OK, what are you reading? Because as you can tell, I obviously need more books to read.

Linking up with Wednesday with Words over a Ladydusk. Now you can see what everyone is reading.



  • Ashley says:

    Cadfael is one of my favorite characters; BBC 4 extra has some great radio dramas of the books. Consider This gas been a great book that has definitely helped me understand Charlotte Mason more.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      Radio dramas of Cadfael sounds cool. There is a TV show too, I think.

      • Dana says:

        Hi Pam! Awesome read “Why Grace Changes Everything” by Chuck Smith! It is a super simple and quick study about why we don’t have to be “good” anything! God loves us just where we are! So refreshing and helpful when we need to extend grace to others… Spouses, kids, etc. very refreshing and quick!!

  • Kate says:

    Ooh, I think we have similar taste in books. I picked up Steal the Show at the library last week, and it’s really helped me see how I can share my work authentically and in a way that’s true to who I am. Hope you find it useful, too!

    Hannah Coulter is already on my list, and I’m adding the Willingham. I find his insights from “Why Students Don’t Like School” often popping into my head, so I’m curious to hear his thoughts on reading.

    Understood Betsy is wonderful. it was my kids’ favorite read-aloud from last year, but I love to reread it on my own, too, when I need some comfort reading. 🙂

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      See it is like a cheering section for my reading! Great encouragement. And we DO have similar tastes.

  • dawn says:

    Man I have all those CAP books on my shelves. You are giving me major guilt that I haven’t cracked them open. I have got to finish Awakening Wonder, though.

    Love the Plato quote; introducing the means to help students turn from darkness to light. Maybe dusk isn’t such a good name after all :p

  • Jessica says:

    The Poldark series has been fun. I just finished the 4th and 5th… kids were sick so I spent quite a bit of my sudden “free” time reading.

    I started Consider This but it had to go back to the library. Of course my number came up when I was busy. I am going to have to get back on the list.

  • Carol says:

    Some weighty reading ther! I’m also reading Consider This & would love to read N & N but the cost of buying the book plus shipping it to Australia is exorbitant. Really enjoyed the Cadfael book & is one of the series that I thought was suitable for the younger set – some of his others have more adult themes.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      Good to know about the future Cadfael. And the price of N&N with free shipping in the US was a bit much. I think it will be worth it, though.

  • Candy says:

    Daughter and I just read Understood Betsy last week. Sweet read!
    I tried Till We Have Faces, but that was 23 years ago, when I was home with my first child. Too disturbing at that emotional time! However, this 23yo recently read my copy of The Awakening of Miss Prim and loved it! Win!

  • At this exact second, Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare, but you know that ten hours ago it was something different and ten hours from now it will be something else! 😀 As to what those are? You’ll have to wait and read it on the ol’ blog.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      I just picked up his Notes from A Small Island on sale on Kindle. Was the Shakespeare good?

  • Mary says:

    I just finished Me Before You… it was an excellent book! Now I am starting What She Left Behind – which has also received high praise!

  • Jess says:

    I’m reading John Muir right now… Fascinating.

  • Camille says:

    How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature. Highly recommend! I have to be talked into liking nature and this book is helping.

    Diary of Sr. Faustina for my church book club. Deep.

    I think it is time to reread Chatlotte Mason’s Volume 1.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks for the tip on the nature book. I am similar to you in that I need a little help in that area. I’ll look it up now!

  • I am binge reading everything written by Laura Moriarty. I haven’t loved an author this much since Margaret Atwood.

  • Cyndy says:

    I just recently finished Sleep, it does a Family Good by Archibald Hart. Great and informative read! I am currently reading The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma and loving it! Our current read aloud is The Prairie Thief.

  • Sarah Ronk says:

    My current reads are Emily of New Moon (on audio), Roots and Sky (on kindle app), and Moon Over Manifest (hard copy). My goodreads page say I’m “currently reading” a bunch more 😛 but these are my active ones. 😉

    Plus Widewater (Growly book #2) for our current read aloud. (We are all loving this series! I’m at the homeschool conv. in Cincy now and just met the authors and bought book 3!)

    Oh! I have to mention, bc it was so good and mostly unheard of I think, I just finished A Town Like Alice for my IRL book club. Such a surprising good story!

  • Sarah says:

    I just picked up Little Women again- its been a couple of years- and I’m reading a silly book about John Hughes and the Brat Pack (fluff for relaxing). I’m listening to Harry Potter, Order of the Phoenix at night when I go to sleep. I would LOVE to read the Poldark books, that series is fantastic!

  • Heather says:

    I just finished reading The Book of Margery Kempe and now I’m headed into a little lighter reading, “How to Cook a Moose.”

  • Christine says:

    What a great list! Thanks for sharing, Pam! I feel convicted to beef up my list after seeing yours, lol. On my nightstand currently are: Let Us Highly Resolve by David and Shirley Quine (of which one of your podcast guests, Carole Joy Seid, says “my heart in print”); The Two Towers; At Home in Mitford, and The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson.

  • Lori says:

    Thank you for your inspiration! Our family just finished The Count of Monte Cristo–the long, unabridged, 1462 page version! We listened to it on audio and I followed along in the book. That keeps me from getting distracted. Craig Black, the narrator, was fantastic! (Blackstone Audio)

  • Michele says:

    I loved Hannah Coulter! Currently reading Jane Eyre for the first time and really enjoying it! I’m trying to get to all the classics I missed growing up. I also recently finished Go Set a Watchman and Love in a Time of Homeschooling. I definitely recommend both!

  • Shari says:

    I’m all about biographies right now. Just finished one about Mary Slessor and yesterday started one about John Wesley. ❤️❤️❤️ biographies!

  • Sara says:

    As a family we’re currently reading Harry Potter. I’m also in the midst of Pride and Prejudice with my daughter. For my own reading I just finished “The Time in Between”, which is about a seamstress who becomes a spy in WWII, and “My Brilliant Friend” which is part of a series written under a pen name and the true author is unknown. It was an intense, but rewarding read. I saw another reader suggested “Me Before You”- I loved that book! Happy reading.

  • Kim says:

    Well, I didn’t finish Rediscover Jesus yet either…!

    With the death of Mother Angelica, I was prompted to read an older book of hers – Mother Angelica’s Answers, Not Promises. Her fiery personality and straightforward way of speaking and writing is refreshing.

    I just finished God or Nothing by Robert Cardinal Sarah. What a man. What a holy man.

    Now, I’m just cracking open Clarence Thomas’s My Grandfather’s Son.

    As we’re expecting baby #6 in a few days, I thought it appropriate to pick up Cheaper by the Dozen for our next read aloud.

  • Beth H says:

    I just finished “The Awakening of Miss Prim,” which was excellent and am reading “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” except I am not sure where it is at the moment. I will have to find it soon, as it is a library book! Since the Major is currently in hiding, I am reading “A Stranger in Olondria : being the complete memoirs of the mystic, Jevick of Tyom” by Sofia Samatar. It’s a fantasy book that was recommended on a list of good fantasy books with heroes who are other than caucasian. I don’t know if that’s important, but I’m enjoying it so far, and it’s a new experience for me. I’m also reading “The Narnian,” by Alan Jacobs, as I’m attempting to focus on CS Lewis this year, and I keep staring at my John Adams book by David McCullough, and it keeps staring at me, because I don’t want to read it and it’s daring me to pick it up.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      My husband said the Adams book is good and we love the miniseries based on it. I also enjoyed Pettigrew. Will have to check out The Narnian.

  • Sasha says:

    I am currently reading The Core as we are beginning to dive into classical education. I recently finished Teaching from Rest (which is how I found you!) I am also currently reading The Gift of Dyslexia as we are figuring out how to teach my middle son who we believe is dyslexic. Also on my list is Your Morning Basket! 🙂 Our current read aloud is By the Great Horn Spoon, my kids are loving it!

  • Amy says:

    Great list! I’m currently reading the book of Exodus, The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy and Kathy Keller, The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle, Gospel-Centered Parenting by Rosemary Miller, The Life-Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson, Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth aloud to my boys. I recently finished Watership Down by Richard Adams and one of Louise Penny’s murder mysteries. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Till We Have Faces by Lewis as well are up next!

    • Ashley Lande says:

      I loved the Meaning of Marriage! Timothy Keller’s books are generally very good.

  • Ooo we loved the Poldark miniseries too! Also, Hannah Coulter is on my to-read list too.

    Right now I’m reading “Show Your Work” “A Rule Against Murder” and “Wild in the Hollow.”

  • Marilyn says:

    I am almost finished reading “Killing Reagan. It is an eye opener to say the least. i intend to read the “Elsie Dinsmore” series next, since I never read them as a youth. I do like to reread some young adult books at times, when I feel like a quick read. Enjoy your books!

  • Colleen says:

    I’m so happy to see a Louis L’Amour book on your list. I think I have read every single one of his books, but have always been afraid to admit it. Looking at other blogs and what people are reading leaves me quite intimidated.
    I am currently reading When Children Love to Learn and The Harbinger. I’m listening to Killing Reagan on cd.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      My father-in-law (who I never met) was a L’Amour fan. I am surprised at how much I am enjoying his work.

  • Emily says:

    At the beginning of the year I mapped out my reading list for the whole year. I’ve never done this before but so far it’s working really well. I chose at least 2 books per month and both books are along the same “theme.” In the past I just had a massive running list and I actually read very little of them because I never knew which to read next; just too many choices! Having a pre-written “schedule” forces me to tackle each one in turn. Anyway, I just started Understanding the Bible: A Guide to Understanding Each Book of the Bible by Fr. Kenneth Baker. I’m only on Leviticus so far, but enjoying it. 🙂

  • Chelle says:

    Posts on books lists for mum, are my favourite ones to hang out on 🙂
    Off to check out some of the titles you’ve mentioned. Thanks for your list!!
    (Cadfael books are appreciated greatly here; but, since we’ve been through that series, we’ve just started going through other works that Ellis Peters writes as she is so skilled with words!)

  • Sarah says:

    I am currently reading The American Patriot’s Handbook by George Grant…brushing up on my American History for my son’s 7th grade curriculum next year.

  • KB says:

    What a fun post!

    My books:

    -Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
    -Charlotte Mason’s Volume I – Home Education
    -The Secrets of Life in Children’s Literature – Mitchell Kalpagkian
    -The Bible Compass – Edward Sri

    I am sticking firmly to a four book rotation thus far, but I am thinking of adding a fifth…a nature themed book. We shall see!

    Family read aloud:
    -Watership Down – Richard Adams
    -The Prairie Thief – Melissa Wiley (one of my emerging readers is reading this aloud to me)

  • Michelle Caldwell says:

    My reads-
    How To Read A Book-Mortimer J Adler & Charles Van Doren
    For The Children’s Sake-Susan Shareffer
    Charlotte Mason Volume 6
    Family Read aloud-The Wizard Of Oz-L Frank Baum

    • Michelle Caldwell says:

      Mispell!! Ugh!!! ^^^ 🙂

  • Jenn says:

    What a super fun post!

    I love love love your idea about reading a little in the morning and a little at night! It’s perfect and it goes right along with Mystie’s recent post about tackling big projects in 15 minute spots of time.

    I have a stack of books I want to read that is taller than I am (literally) — off to choose one or two to start with. 🙂

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Leisa says:

    I am currently reading “Switched On” by John Elder Robison. I love his books. They give me so much insight in to how my daughter might be viewing and processing the world, they help me have more empathy and understanding with her.
    I’m also reading “Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn. It’s really interesting and thought provoking.
    I’m in the middle of about 10 other books too. I really need to be better about finishing the books I start.
    I’m about to start “Grace For the Good Girl,” “Dear Mr. Knightley,” and “Big Magic.” I enjoy reading multiple books at a time because then there is always a book I am in the mood for.

    By the way, I am loving your podcasts! I know Mystie Winkler (a chance meeting at the library park over a year ago) and following her blog led me to you and others. Thank you for all you do!

  • Crissy says:

    Fasting by Jentezen Franklin. We’ve had it for years and I’ve just gotten around to reading it. I’ve got a few chapters left to go but it’s been encouraging and enlightening. Particularly I’ve been impressed with the blessings it can release.

    Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young. Eye opening. Great perspective on how boys/men perceive themselves in the world. Some things make much more sense to me now as a woman and mother.

    Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. Immensely helpful in reorganizing how I think about schooling and planning our days.

    A Treasury of Prayer by Leonard Ravenhill. Insightful thoughts regarding the power of prayer.

  • K. Cooper says:

    If you need help with the Ignatian book, Discerning Hearts has a great app. Fr. Gallagher talks through his books on Discernment of the Spirits. Also there is a great series with Joseph Pierce, which discusses the Classics. It prompted me to read (or reread) one Classic per month (I’ve gotten through The Scarlet Letter, Pride and Prejudice, & Jane Eyre thanks to him).

    Listening to a River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay & reading The Black Count by Tom Reiss, How am I Smart, by Dr. Kathy Koch, Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons, & Play by Stuart Brown

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      I have been meaning to check out some of Pierce’s works. Need to add those to my list.

      • Elizabeth says:

        The Quest for Shakespeare by Joseph Pearce is AMAZING!! It’s what finally kindled a love for Shakespeare’s works in me.

  • a. borealis says:

    Home Education – Charlotte Mason
    Dakota – Kathleen Norris
    Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    Read Aloud: Black Beauty – Anna Sewell

    I’ve been following the idea of Mother Culture since last June and have been so pleased with the progress I’ve made. I’ve really, really, REALLY missed reading these past few years. It is nice to commit to an idea that actually works. Sure, it took me 4 months to get through Pride and Prejudice, but shoot, I read it. It felt so good. I’ve particularly missed fiction.

    I’m coming out of the woodwork as a fan of your podcasts, Pam. I’ve really appreciated all the thoughts and ideas that have well up out of them. Thanks for all the work you put into it! (Now I’d better hustle my buns over to iTunes and finally leave a couple of reviews. 🙂

  • April says:

    Mine is from the talking book and braille library of WI. It is a book about the ice man skeleton found in the alps in real life. I love Archaeology and History.
    DB-Fowler_ Brenda Iceman_ life of a prehistoric man found in an alpine glacier DB51820

    I am also reading a book about a girl named Esther Grace Earl who died at age 16 of cancer called “This Star Won’t Go out”.


  • Tara Vos says:

    I’m currently reading Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. (I think that she hits the delicate balance of encouragement and challenges.) I am going to have to get a copy of Consider This. See CM as an form of classical education has been so helpful to me this year! It’s going in my Amazon cart 🙂

  • Katie says:

    A mother’s heart by Jean Fleming (for the 5th time) Love.

  • Georgette T. says:

    Reading your list, I now have a lot of good book suggestions. ? I am currently reading Give Them Grace, a parenting book, and just for fun I am reading The Painters Daughter by Julie Klassen.

  • Debbie says:

    So. Many. Books! Great ideas here, ladies!

    I am about to crack open Elijah in Jerusalem by Michael O’Brien (the author of A Landscape with Dragons). It’s the sequel to Father Elijah, which I absolutely loved. Very excited about that one. I will also start Dante’s Purgatorio soon – doing a year-long book club with my brother, trying to get through the whole Divine Comedy.

    • Kim says:

      Michael O’Brien is one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed both of those books. His recently released Voyage to Alpha Centauri, however, I found superior to Elijah in Jerusalem. But, anything by him is worth reading!

      • dawn says:

        I was a different person after reading Island of the World. Fantastic book.

        • Kim says:

          Yes, Island of the World is so beautifully written. It was an emotional read for me. I almost had to quit it, because of it’s intensity, and am glad I didn’t! It is good that there are others out there reading O’Brien too!

  • chelle says:

    I’m enjoying seeing what others are reading (great post!) and realised I’d omitted sharing my own reading selections:
    1: The Book of James (KJV Bible)
    2: Catharine ~ Jane Austen
    3: The Lifegiving Home ~ Sally & Sarah Clarkson
    4: There’s a Sheep in My Bathtub ~ Brian Hogan
    5: Honey for a Woman’s Heart ~ Gladys Hunt
    6: Tramp For The Lord ~ Corrie Ten Boom
    7: Weapons of Mass Instruction ~ John Gatto
    8: The Nickle-plated Beauty ~ Patricia Beatty ( a bit young for my teens, but still a fun R/A)

  • Uffda…there’s a ton of good suggestions here! I have fond memories of reading Understood Betsy with my dd when she was younger.

    I’m just finishing up Robinson Crusoe and need to get going to finish Oliver Twist. Our 5th/6th grade Socratic Book Group will be reading The Secret Garden for April. Our Charlotte Mason study group is also finishing up her 20th principle using Brandy Vencel’s study and A Philosophy of Education. Then we are taking time this summer for some Schole, planning to read Anna Karenina together. I also hope to possibly re-read The Grapes of Wrath this summer.

    My list of teacher training books is growing by the day. I get so many great ideas from listening to your podcasts as well as Schole Sisters. I also just returned from the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention with a list to read that’s a mile long….so many books, so little time 😉

  • Tammy says:

    So so so many books in our house. I just finished His brain, Her Brain by Walt and Barb Larimore. It’s a great scriptural take on all the “new” brain science. For fun, I have Anne Hillerman. Spider Woman’s Daughter, and Rock with Wings pick up the Navajo mysteries her dad wrote for so many years. And because I’m an obsessive knitter, I just downloaded Seven Centuries of Lace from And that’s just this week.

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