Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Open Book January 2021 Books

 Another month has begun, so it's time to chat books! 

While I enjoyed reading a tremendous amount of books last year, I am hoping to read fewer new books this year. I want to dive into some hefty books that I keep neglecting, and I want to re-read some of my favorites from the past couple years. It feels strange to intentionally read fewer books, but I'm excited for my present TBR list. Today, I'm joining in with Carolyn Astfalk's Open Book linkup to chat about literature. Let's dive in!

The Well-Educated Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer.

The author of this book is well-known for her work on Classical Education, so I was excited to pick up this book. I really loved the beginning, where she walked through the value of and aspects of Classical Education (I finally have an idea of why chronology and timelines are such a big deal!). The bulk of the book discusses methods for reading Great Books in different genres, and how to keep a literary journal; the author also provides synopses for numerous Great Books to assist the reader with picking them up and reading them. This book is intended for adults to give themselves the Classical Education they never had, and I gleaned some really good insights. However, while I liked reading through some of the synopses, and while I was able to add some books to my TBR list, this book wasn't necessarily what I was hoping it'd be. I could have easily found synopses for books online, so I didn't need a 400+ page book for that. This author is knowledgeable, and I've heard that her history books for kids are amazing, so I'll probably look around at her other writings and leave this one alone. 

Mike: A Public School Story, by P. G. Wodehouse.

This story follows Mike, a kid obsessed with cricket, as he goes off to attend Wryken, a public boarding school. Mike's adventures at Wryken are quite amusing, as he deals with cricket, the other kids, and having an older brother at the school (he has several other siblings at home). Mike leaves Wryken for another school, and here is where the story really takes off-because he meets Psmith, a classmate who turns out being a Socialist (hence, he calls everyone "Comrade") and quite the distinguished student. The first part of this book, at Wryken, was very tedious in areas (SO MUCH CRICKET), but there were still amusing scenes and it was good to learn about the characters. However, the second part was amazing and so, so funny. 

On Writing, by Stephen King.

I've seen this book recommended by countless writers, so I figured I'd finally read it! Part memoir, part how-to, King draws from his immense experience to discuss the writing life. I really enjoyed reading about his life and how he pursued life as a writer, and I learned some great things. I found his ideas about writing fiction without first outlining the story intriguing, and I want to try out his ideas if and when I work on fiction projects. Parts of the book were a bit more crude than I prefer, but overall, I am glad that I read this! 

Psmith, Journalist, by P. G. Wodehouse.

This book is later in the Mike/Psmith series, and it follows these two as they journey to America. Mike has lots of cricket matches, so while he's off with his team, Psmith grows weary. There doesn't seem to be much going in NYC to capture his attention...until he finds himself working as sub-editor for a newspaper. Suddenly, Psmith & his new friends and coworkers are exposing corruption and becoming targeted by gangs. This book was hilarious, with a certain amount of intensity and seriousness. Psmith is so much fun to read about, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book! (note: this and the other Mike/Psmith book contain a couple of racially offensive lines-mostly through dialogue of other characters, so parents whose children read these might want to be aware of these instances so they can discuss them). 

Thanks so much for joining me! If you have any recommendations, please drop them in the comments-I love to add to my list!


  1. Good for you for reading so intentionally! More isn't always better. On Writing may be my favorite writing book though I'm not a huge fan of King otherwise. A lot of sound advice is in there. Thanks for linking up!

    1. I think you were one of the people I heard about King's book from, so thank you for the recommendation! There was so much good material in there, and I find myself wishing that some of my writing classes in school touched more on what he presented in his book. And thank you for hosting the link-up! I always look forward to these :) It was so fun to meet you "in person" during the online CM event the other week!