Saturday, August 06, 2016

July's Reading Report

So much reading this month. July is a good month for that around here.

It's hot - reading is a great indoor activity.
It's hot - reading is a great poolside activity.
It's hot - reading is a great cheap activity.

I'm sure you get the point. : )

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This is most of what I read this summer. There were also several library books that I read that have since been returned (both hardback and Kindle).

This month I finished:
  • None Like Him by Jen Wilkin. I've mentioned one or a hundred times how much I love her book Women of the Word and at the beginning of the summer I worked through her 1 Peter study on my own. This book is another great addition to your library. A great book on the attributes of God and one I will revisit.
  • The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase by Wendy Mass. The sequel to The Candymakers. I handed this off to my 12 year old when it arrived (along with the first book that she had missed reading) and she spent several days happily curled up with these).
  • Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs. I enjoy reading Annie Downs' books. She is very personable and easy to relate to through her writing. Is she as meaty theologically as a Jen Wilkin? No. Which is why I think her books are excellent for younger girls (both in age and faith).
  • The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah. I don't remember where I saw this book mentioned other than it is the only book with Agatha Christie's beloved Poirot character that has been signed off by her people. I enjoyed this mystery. The author did a great job imitating Agatha Christie's writing, though you can tell a slight difference. I missed the inclusion of Hastings and Inspector Japp.
  • The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Chronicles of Prydian #5) Our one and only read aloud we have finished this summer! (We are still plugging away at the BFG). I am so glad that we read this series out loud together and highly, highly recommend them.
  • Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes by Kristen Welch. This was a title I read on Kindle on loan from the library. Good reminders that my kids don't need everything they (or I) think they do, and that small battles now are greater victories down the road.
  • Crispin, The Cross of Lead by Avi. This is one of the two books that my rising 7th grader needs to reading for her Challenge A / Classical Conversations class that we haven't read as a read aloud. The story of a boy with uncertain parentage who finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Very good.
  • The Firefly Code by Megan Frazier Blakemore. Another one I was interested in reading and checked out via my Kindle from the library. Her book The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill was one of my favorites a few years ago and this one was just as interesting as it discusses what it means to be human through the lives of some middle school students.
  • Village Diary, Village School, and Storm in the Village by Miss Read. Pure comfort reading! I discovered Miss Read when Jan Karon said she was one of her favorite authors. Miss Read's small English village of Fairacre reminds me of Mitford with it's colorful characters and gentle inquisitiveness in everyone's lives.

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We start school on Monday so I thoroughly expect my reading level to go down. And, while I didn't knock out everything on my summer reading list, I did make progress on several "to be read" books that I had had sitting around for much too long. I call it a win. : )

Any great books that knocked your socks off this summer? It's time to start thinking about a fall reading list! : )

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June's Reading Report

UntitledUntitledThe pressure is on when all the Kindle books I've checked out from the library are about due. I read this one yesterday and it was a sweet, sad story by the same author who wrote the Clementine series. Thoroughly enjoyed diving into it after such a busy wI've spent a good chunk of my morning reading through this book this morning with the library webpage open so I look at books. Super excited to use this as a resource for what I'm envisioning our history/geography to be this next year!

June has been a good reading month. I read a couple monster books that were on my summer reading list and several others that I knocked out in an afternoon. A good mix of heavy and light over the last thirty days or so!

I finished:

  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker. This story is told from the perspective of the two main characters, Pax (a fox) and his boy, Peter. They are separated when war comes to their area and Peter's father has to leave and fight. The book is the story of how the two journey back to each other and the growth of each character along the way. I thought this story was ... different ... not bad, but not something I loved and will gush about. The war and separation aspect was well done, but dark and I think that weighed me down when reading, if that makes sense.
  • The Two Towers and The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien. I'm going to list these two together as they really were the bulk of my reading this month. I loved, loved, loved finishing this series. I had said last month that The Fellowship had dragged for me a bit, but The Two Towers definitely picked up the pace and continued in to the last book. I loved that the books went more into the characters of Eowyn and Faramir and Samwise Gamgee. I am a Sam fan forevermore.
  • Giddy Up Eunice by Sophie Hudson. This book was delightful. It was not the memoir feel of Sophie's first two books, but a look at women mentoring other women, how we see it modeled in the Bible, and how we put so much pressure on each other to do it just right. An encouraging book Biblically and with several laugh out loud moments thrown in for good measure. Her writing is some of my favorite.
  • Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin. I am listing this here, although to be clear, I don't think that this is a book that you technically read. The first three - four chapters are really where the text of the book is. After that, it is just chapter after chapter of book suggestions as you read your way around the globe. I'm looking forward to using this as part of our geography / social studies this fall.
  • 1 Peter study by Jen Wilkin. Also listing this here just to note that I finished it, but over the course of nine or ten weeks. Jen Wilkin is becoming one of my favorite Bible teachers. (Her Women of the Word is excellent if I haven't said that quite enough here). You can watch a session she did from 1 Peter at the recent Gospel Coalition women's conference if you have never heard from her before. Highly highly recommend if you are looking for a study for yourself or a group of friends.
  • The Negotiator by Dee Henderson. Also another I'm hesitant to list here because I don't know that I really read this, but more skimmed it. This is the first book in a series of books by a Christian author that I used to read quite a lot of when N1 was little. I borrowed it from the library on my kindle and scanned through it the other day while I was doing a ton of cooking and was kitchen bound for several hours. It was interesting rereading this bit of Christian fiction with older eyes, and realize that I have kind of lost my taste for it.
  • The Blythes are Quoted by L.M. Montgomery. A book that I finally bought for myself on kindle after eyeing it on Amazon forever. This last book in the Anne series was written right before LMM passed away and was only recently published in its entirety. It's made up of short stories (that have references to the Blythe family scattered throughout) and in between those are sections of poetry supposedly written by Anne and Walter and read to the family with some discussion. A book detailing which Blythe child married whom and how many kids they had, this is not (sadly). But I will take fresh short stories from a favorite author in its stead and enjoy it for perfect summer reading when I have time to read one or two and set it down.
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. Anther book from my summer reading list that I finished this morning. (Nothing like being told by the library that you have to return it because someone else has it on hold to light a fire under you). An oddly endearing book about a robot that is marooned on an island and has to learn how to survive and eventually befriends the wildlife on the island. Sort of futuristic, sort of a nature story and it worked. Definitely different that a lot of other juvenile fiction I've read.
You will note that there isn't a single read aloud listed on here, which is a little sad, but shows where life is right now. Life is at the pool and running around the neighborhood riding our bikes with friends. Life is at camp for the next several weeks as the girls go in shifts. We are about half-way through with The High King, the last book in the Prydian Chronicles and we plan on finishing it in July when all are back home under one roof. We've actually read the last couple times with a handful of neighbor girls along with us (which, bless their hearts, has got to be so confusing to come into the last book of this series and not even at the beginning of the book with us). That's been a fun surprise to have our extra friends interested in listening along!

Off to July and more whittling away at my summer reading list!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sparky! (A Book about a Sloth)

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A certain boy has developed a small obsession with sloths. It started with a harmless documentary we watched one day when I needed a break as part of our science curriculum. Then we watched the recent release of Zootopia and there is a sloth scene in the movie that had us all rolling in our chair. (We also loved the rest of the movie, but the sloths were our favorite part). It just so happened that I had grabbed this new release at the library and it was about ... sloths!

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The story is about a young girl that wants a pet. Her mother's conditions are that she could have any pet she wanted "as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed." After some research help from the school librarian, she discovers the sloth, a special animal "known to sleep more than sixteen hours a day ... hang upside down in trees, barely moving, for long periods of time." Perfect!

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Without giving too much away, it's a sweet story of a girl loving her little pet with the qualities he comes with, even if he's not as exciting as her friend Mary Potts' pets - "her cat can dance on her hind legs and her parrot knows twenty words, including God and ice cream."

A high flying adventure story? No. But one that was a little wistful and smacks of childhood sweetness.

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Two thumbs up from our sloth loving fans in this house. : )

Monday, June 13, 2016

Of Tales and Adventures

First pool read of the summer. (And yes, I'm in clothes. The temp just hit 80* and I don't get it for another 5-6 degrees, minimum. 😉)First jump of the summer.Officially a graduate! Proud of you @thejayweezy!!!!! 🎉🎓🎉Back at the pool after about a week off with #classicalconversations Practicum and other busy-ness.Untitled

Thinking of how our days and weeks and months move along. While I think they are slipping by, mostly meaningless, I remember that that is not truth. Even the most mundane of days, where the most exciting thing that happens is a new scent of laundry detergent, add up into a great story that we are part of as we live life one with another. A reminder to me to slow down this summer and live the adventure that I'm in right now instead of always wondering what I'm missing out on.

'The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to that they were things the wonderful folks of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually - their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on - and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same - like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into?'

'I wonder,' said Frodo. 'But I don't know. And that's the way of a real tale. Take any one that you're fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don't know. And you don't want them to.'


-- The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien


The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;you hold my lot.The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

-- Psalm 16:5-6

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Reading Report

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Last day of May. Sneaking in with a reading report in the last hour here before the month gets away from me. May was a good reading month - I'm predicting that a couple of the books I got to this month will make my best of 2016 reading list by the end of the year ... and that's with six months of the year left to go!

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This month I finished:
  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. The story of a small black community in North Carolina during the depression and how they band together when the KKK starts to make its presence known. Stella is the unlikely heroine in this story and she is a small voice that helps her community fight back. This is one that I checked out from the library and immediately turned around and ordered a copy for our personal library. So good. 
  • The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. A magical story about four children who discover a magic ring and what happens when the wearer makes a wish while wearing it. It was not our favorite Nesbit story (try The 5 Children and It or The Railway Children for one of our favorites), but we still enjoyed it. I think we just had a rough start to this book with a very poorly formatted Kindle book that made it quite difficult to read, as well as very long chapter. I think it would have been more enjoyable if we hadn't read it aloud, and I don't say that about many books.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien. The first time reading this classic. I found parts of the book a little dry to read through, probably because I've seen the movies so much, and felt like I was slogging through parts of it. I did like it enough to move on to The Two Towers, which I must say is progressing much quicker!
  • Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson. Another N.D. Wilson book that we had on our shelf that I hadn't read yet. This is a modern story (unlike all his fantasy which I have read lately) and it was full of mystery, murder and escape from great peril. I loved it, and if you have a young reader (I'd say ten and up) that likes adventure and thrilling danger, this is a great pick.
  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I have stopped and started this book a half dozen times. I was a little worried it was going to be a "name it and claim it" type of book, but having read as much Sally Clarkson as I have, I shouldn't have been worried. A wonderful (WONDERFUL) book about applying Scripture to your life and redeeming areas where you to see the Lord grow you and where you want to move out and serve him with confidence. I can't wait to read it again.
  • Taran Wanderer, book 4, Chronicles of Prydian by Lloyd Alexander. We are determined to finish this series this summer! Book 4 of the series finds our hero, Taran, on a quest to figure out his parentage. This one doesn't have as many colorful characters as the first three books, and it misses the character of the spirited Princess Eilonwey and the noble Sir Gwydion, but none-the-less, we wrapped this one up just today and are headed into book 5 to find out if our assistant pig keeper does get the girl in the end.
Short and sweet this month. I posted at the end of last week my optimistic list for the summer so we'll see where I end up on those books by the end of June! Book lists and goals are one of my favorite things ... almost as much fun as actually reading the books. :)