Ruth at A Great Book Study shared a fun little book game called “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, where a book is used to fit the lyrics of the song. She did a Little House on the Prairie spin! I had to try it out.
A Partridge in a Pear Tree — a book that involves agriculture
The Unsettling of America, Wendell Berry
2 Turtledoves — book about a long-lasting relationship
Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry.
3 French Hens — a book that takes place in France
A Far Better Rest, Susanne Alleyn. (A retelling of Tale of Two Cities from Sydney Carton’s perspective.)
4 Calling Birds — a book where people talk on the phone
Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws who Hacked Ma Bell, Phil Lapsley
5 Golden Rings — a book with multiple romances
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. In Scarlett’s case…her husbands, Ashley, and herself.
6 Geese A-laying: a book with a birth or that features babies
The Lost Gospel of Mary, Frederica Mathews-Green.
7 Swans A-swimming: a book where someone goes swimming:
Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
8 Maids A-Milking — a book with cows
Cattle: An Informal Social History, Laurie Winn Carlson
9 Ladies Dancing — a book with a dance scene
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
10 Lords A-leaping — a book about athletes
For the Love of the Game, Michael Shaara. An aging pitcher who’s about to be put out to pasture has one last game to prove himself.
11 Pipers Piping — a book with someone playing a musical instrument
Frank: The Voice, James Kaplan
Feeling the words, and remembering how Billie could tell you her whole life story in the glide of a note, Frank began to sing the lyrics as if he really meant them, and something happened.
The girls, dancing with their dates, began to stop mid-step and stare at him.
12 Drummers Drumming: a book with characters in the military
Sharpe’s Eagle, Bernard Cornwell.
This looks like great fun.
I only know three of these titles, but some of these unknowns look interesting — like Unsettling America and A Far Better Rest. How do you choose your books to read?
Also, my sister just asked me last night if I want to have a Frank Sinatra Christmas? I told her: Yes, I was already playing Sinatra for Thanksgiving!
I think Marian asked that question once and it involved a paragraph or two! It’s a mix between structure and serendipity. I’m endlessly curious about everything, so whenever I see books — anywhere — I’m reading their titles, throwing their subject around in my head to see if it rings any bells. There are so many interests bobbing up and down in my head that I don’t know from week to week which ones will rise to the top and stay there long enough to inspire reading. Sometimes random chance means that a whim will turn into a book: last week, for instance, I checked Amazon on a whim to see if there was a book on such-and-such, and there was — and it was on sale, for $2! There are some subjects I constantly and actively seek books for: history and science, for instance, and while in history’s case I’ll hoover up almost anything, with science I’m more methodical. I have a ‘science survey’ with twelve different categories that I try to fill. I want to have a general science knowledge, not just obsess over a pet topic or two. I also deliberately seek out books that will feed my soul, and they needn’t be explicility religious — Alain de Botton is an example here. Many books I discover through reviews, or through their being cited in other books, or through podcasts. The older I get the more structured my reading becomes — the Classics Club is one example, but this year I was able to devote December to mostly RE-reading. Re-reading particular titles on a regular basis is a discipline I want to take on to more fully digest authors who have left their mark on me.
I hope that answers your question! What’s your approach? BTW, if you have some time, check out Brad Birzer on youtube. I was looking for a lecture by him to go to sleep by (he has a soothing voice) and discovered he has his own channel, with lots of lectures from this past year when he was forced to teach his college courses online. They’re on subjects like “The Christian Humanism of Willa Cather”, etc.