Thursday, December 30, 2021

Mama Squirrel's Reading List: Books Read in 2021

These are the titles that Goodreads says I read to the end this year. A number of them, especially the mysteries and other fiction, were rereads. There are also books that I haven't officially completed...they'll have to go on next year's list.

As always, just because a book's on the list doesn't mean I recommend it, but only that I got through it.

What were my top five new-to-me books for 2021?

1. Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher

Munroe, Jeffrey

2. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

Esolen, Anthony

3. How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds

Jacobs, Alan

4. Why French Women Wear Vintage: And other secrets of sustainable style

Guinut, Alois

5. The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done

Adachi, Kendra 

Faith, Thought, and Education

The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks With Charlotte Mason

Bestvater, Laurie

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child

Esolen, Anthony

Seeking the Kingdom: Devotions for the Daily Journey of Faith

Foster, Richard J.

How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds

Jacobs, Alan

Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis

Lindvall, Terry

Book of Hymns

Manser, Martin

School Education, and other volumes

Mason, Charlotte

Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher

Munroe, Jeffrey

Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman

Ortlund, Anne

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

Smith, James K.A. 


The Griffin Poetry Prize 2013 Anthology

Buffam, Suzanne

The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems

Collins, Billy

The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things

Crozier, Lorna

The Victorian Triumph and Other Poems

Rogerson, Isabella Whiteford


Rogerson, Isabella Whiteford

Laurentian Lyrics and Other Poems

Bourinot, Arthur Stanley

Pattering Feet

Bourinot, Arthur Stanley

Among the Millet and Other Poems

Lampman, Archibald

Lyrics of Earth

Lampman, Archibald

Lifestyle, Simplicity, Finance, Organizing

The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done

Adachi, Kendra 

Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More

Boyle, Erin

Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More

Carver, Courtney 

The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good

Cline, Elizabeth L.

The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less

Dalton, Tonya 

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life

Kondo, Marie 

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

Kondo, Marie 

Living with Less: How to Downsize to 100 Personal Possessions

Lambert, Mary

The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living: Save Money, Plan Ahead, Pay Off Debt & Live Well

Luther, Daisy 

An Edited Life: Simple Steps to Streamlining Your Life, at Work and at Home

Newton, Anna 

What to Do with Your Money When Crisis Hits: A Survival Guide

Singletary, Michelle

Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff

White, Dana K.

Clothes, Style, Home Decorating, Sewing, Crafts

Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon

Apfel, Iris

Wearing Vintage

Bardey, Catherine

New from Old: How to Transform and Customize Your Clothes

Emerson, Jayne

The Style Strategy: A Less-Is-More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart

García, Nina

Why French Women Wear Vintage: And other secrets of sustainable style

Guinut, Alois

Love the House You're In: 40 Ways to Improve Your Home and Change Your Life

Rien, Paige

Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching

Ross, Heather

Small Space Living: Expert Tips and Techniques on Using Closets, Corners, and Every Other Space in Your Home

Sandenbergh, Roberta

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Home

Todd, Pamela

The Arts and Crafts Home

Turgeon, Kitty


The Crime at Black Dudley (Albert Campion Mystery, #1)

Allingham, Margery

Mystery Mile (Albert Campion Mystery, #2)

Allingham, Margery

Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion Mystery, #4)

Allingham, Margery

Flowers for the Judge (Albert Campion Mystery, #7)

Allingham, Margery

The China Governess (Albert Campion Mystery, #17)

Allingham, Margery

4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple, #7)

Christie, Agatha

The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle, #1)

Christie, Agatha

Murder Under the Christmas Tree: Ten Classic Crime Stories for the Festive Season

Gayford, Cecily

Law & Disorder (Camilla MacPhee #6)

Maffini, Mary Jane

The Dead Don't Get Out Much (Camilla MacPhee #5)

Maffini, Mary Jane

Little Boy Blues (Camilla MacPhee #3)

Maffini, Mary Jane

The Devil's in the Details (Camilla MacPhee #4)

Maffini, Mary Jane

The Virgin in the Ice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #6)

Peters, Ellis

The Devil's Novice (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #8)

Peters, Ellis

The Pilgrim of Hate (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #10)

Peters, Ellis

An Excellent Mystery (The Cadfael Chronicles, #11)

Peters, Ellis

The Raven in the Foregate (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #12)

Peters, Ellis

The Holy Thief (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #19)

Peters, Ellis

Brother Cadfael's Penance (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #20)

Peters, Ellis

Unnatural Death (Lord Peter Wimsey, #3)

Sayers, Dorothy L.

Fer-de-Lance (Nero Wolfe, #1)

Stout, Rex

The Man in the Queue (Inspector Alan Grant, #1)

Tey, Josephine

The Singing Sands (Inspector Alan Grant, #6)

Tey, Josephine

Children’s Books

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story

Park, Linda Sue

Chagall: My Sad and Joyous Village (Art for Children)

Loumaye, Jacqueline

The Long Way Home

Benary-Isbert, Margot

Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep

Farjeon, Eleanor

Fiction, General

The Tryst

Hill, Grace Livingston


Hill, Grace Livingston

At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years, #1)

Karon, Jan

A Light in the Window (Mitford Years, #2)

Karon, Jan

These High, Green Hills (Mitford Years, #3)

Karon, Jan

Out to Canaan (Mitford Years, #4)

Karon, Jan

A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Mitford Years, #6)

Karon, Jan


In This Mountain (Mitford Years, #7)

Karon, Jan

To Be Where You Are (Mitford Years, #14)

Karon, Jan

The Dean's Watch

Goudge, Elizabeth

A City of Bells (Torminster, #1)

Goudge, Elizabeth

The Sister of the Angels (Torminster, #2)

Goudge, Elizabeth

Perelandra (The Space Trilogy, #2)

Lewis, C.S.

Sarah's Cottage (Sarah Morris Book 2)

Stevenson, D.E.


Thúy, Kim


Uhlman, Fred

To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel #2)

Willis, Connie

Books I wrote or worked on (because those count too)

Canadian Companion to the AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology: Arthur S. Bourinot, Isabella Whiteford Rogerson, Archibald Lampman

AmblesideOnline Educational Foundation 

AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology Volume One: Beginnings (AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology, #1)

AmblesideOnline Educational Foundation 

AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology Volume Two: Walter de la Mare, Eugene Field, James Whitcomb Riley, Christina Rossetti (AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology, #2)

AmblesideOnline Educational Foundation 

AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology Volume Three

AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology Volume Four: Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth (AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology, #4)

AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology Volume Five

AmblesideOnline Educational Foundation 

AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology Volume Six

 AmblesideOnline Educational Foundation 

Minds More Awake (Revised): The Vision of Charlotte Mason

White, Anne E. 

Ideas Freely Sown: The Matter and Method of Charlotte Mason

White, Anne E. 

Everything Else

Zen in The Art of Writing

Bradbury, Ray

The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future

Carroll, Ryder

Serious Creativity: How to be creative under pressure and turn ideas into action

de Bono, Edward

How to Have Creative Ideas: 62 Games to Develop the Mind

de Bono, Edward

Stranger Planet (Strange Planet, #2)

Pyle, Nathan W.

Do What You Are : Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type

Tieger, Paul D.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Smile, Darn Ya

 From this Side of the Pond

1. How young is young? In the past, according to various organizations who decide these things, age 60 was the 'border age' to old. The World Health Organization has done new research recently and divided up the categories as-0-17 (underage), 18-65 (youth or young people), 66-79 (middle-aged), 80-99 (elderly senior), 100+ (long-lived elderly). Your thoughts on this particular breakdown, and also your thoughts as to where you land?

Well, it's nice to be called "youth," when I occasionally get asked now if I want the seniors' discount.

Is there really a point to making a separate category for those over a hundred, when we have high schoolers lumped in with retirees? It sounds a bit like the pirates in Muppets' Treasure Island: Old Tom, Real Old Tom...

2. TIME magazine has declared Elon Musk person of the year in 2021. What say you? If you want to know more about how they choose you'll find that info in the link here. If you were choosing, who would be your person of the year? 

I'm staying away from that one!

3. I read here ten habits of extremely likable people which include-they greet the world with a smile on their face, they ask questions, they're consistent, they put the phone away, they remember names and use them, they keep an open mind and don't pass judgement, they're authentic, they're kind and generous, accountable for their mistakes, and they send thank you notes.  

So, are you likable-lol? Which one of these habits could use some further developing in your own life? What is one habit/quality you'd add to the list? 

I know some extremely likable people who reserve their grins, who don't ask too many questions, and (yes) who can't always remember names. I happen to be one of the last group, and it's deeply embarrassing, I want to be one of those legendary people who "never forget a name," "never forget a face," but the reality is that I can't always put the two together, so I hope you won't find me too much less likeable if I need a quick kickstart. After that I'll probably also remember the name of your dog, what class we had together in high school, or where you used to sit in church.

4. One non-holiday related task/job/goal/dream on your to-do list that you hope/plan to make happen before the new year rolls in? 

Finish a writing task that got postponed several times and is now dragging out, even though it's not such a big job--it's just gotten shelved so many times that now it feels bigger than it is. Like cleaning out a room that isn't really that big a deal, but that makes you shudder and procrastinate before you jump in and do it.

5. Share with us some of your holiday plans. 

Mostly at home. But that's not so bad.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

How about a random I-wish-I-could-travel wardrobe? This week's Treehouse post.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Winter Travelling Wardrobe: A Little at a Time

We don't go travelling much in the winter, but the opportunity might present itself. And of course there are the times you don't expect to have to go anywhere, but suddenly you do.

A recent Vivienne Files story showed how one might build a travel wardrobe as necessity requires and time permits, starting with a travel outfit of a heavy Fair Isle-patterned sweater, turtleneck, and black cords. (We will assume that the person would also be wearing an outdoor coat, hat, and gloves, and that if the snow or slush were anything much, that she'd switch the short boots for something more durable.)

Crocheted beanie, handmade. Gloves, gifted some time back.

I don't have a Fair Isle sweater, but I do have this Arnold Palmer pullover. (I found it in the men's section at the thrift store.)

And here it is having its Vivienne Files moment, with a turtleneck and pants. All my cords were worn out by the end of last winter, but I do have some grey pinstriped jeans that would work. Also in the photo (as in the original story): short boots and a smallish purse.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge: The Imaginative Sense of Christmas

Welcome to this week'sWednesday Hodgepodge. Click the graphic to join the rest of the Hodgepodgers at From This Side of the Pond.

From this Side of the Pond
1. 'Tis the season to be are you? 

I'm working on it.

2. Do you trim a tree this time of year, and if so is yours all done? What's something in your home-closet-life that needs to be trimmed in the new year? 

We did that yesterday.

Our tree skirt is a thrifted tablecloth. Other years we've used an afghan.

3. Are you 'dreaming of a white Christmas'? Is that a possibility where you'll be celebrating?

Almost for certain.

 According to this site the top ten places in the US you can count on for a white Christmas are- North Pole Alaska, Crater Lake Oregon, Yellowstone National Park, Winthrop Washington, Aspen Colorado, Ketchum Idaho, Mt. Washington New Hampshire, Whitefish Montana, Duluth Minnesota, and the Lake Tahoe town of Truckee California

Of the snowy spots listed which would you most like to visit? 

None, thank you. I like warm weather.

4. December 8th is National Brownie Day...will you be celebrating? How do you like your brownies-chewy or cake-like, frosted or plain, nuts or no nuts, a piece from the middle or give me the corner? As a child were you a member of a brownie troop? 

Last question: yes. 'Nuff said.

I like brownies, but cinnamon rolls are good too.

5. Share a favorite line or two from a Christmas carol.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence

And with fear and trembling stand;

Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
For with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I was reading something about how we understand poetry, especially poetry that has a lot of literary allusions or seems generally difficult or obscure. Is it enough just to say that if it sounds good, then it is good even if it's essentially meaningless, because poetry isn't supposed to have "meaning?"  In poetry, are we limited to either something like Anne Shirley's "I'd just feeeeel a prayer", or Marilla's "learn your catechism?" At Christmas, should we settle for wall decorations and throw pillows that bleat a vague "Believe?"

George S. Williamson, who wrote a book on T.S. Eliot's poetry many years ago, put a plug in for a third option, saying that "Neither an emotional nor a musical effect, if it is really such, can be founded on incoherence. This study assumes that poetry as meaning is neither plain sense nor nonsense, but a form of imaginative sense... Indeed, we can speak of the meaning of a poem as its mode of apprehension or as a synthetic principle controlling the elements in which its feelings take shape. On a lower level it is no more and no less than the metrical syntax of the poem. Without it a poem will function at random; without its consideration any discussion must be aimless, at best peripheral. Without it a poem cannot have an apprehensible being." (A Reader's Guide to T.S. Eliot, by George S. Williamson)

Poetry must certainly have meaning; just a different sort. It's not nonsense, it's imaginative sense.

Just like mystery and angels and the Incarnation don't have to be fully understood or brought down to everyday terms to be real.

Wishing you all a considered and coherent Christmas.