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. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Big Summer Plans of the Bookish Sort

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School's out!

We finished our year as of last week (though one girl still has a little math to do, but we won't mention any names). We are assembling summer bucket lists, seeing how many days in a row we can get to the pool, and young people are enjoying staying up past a sensible person's bedtime. Not me. I'm enjoying going to bed at the same time, and everyone else sleeping in a little longer in the morning. : )

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One of my resolutions this year was to read more of the stuff sitting around on my shelf. With that in mind, I've put together a summer reading list of several that I've been wanting to read for just forever, several that I've been wanting to re-read, and ... let's be honest ... there are a few new goodies in there as well.

Re-reads include:

From the shelves that I've put off for way to long include:
  • The Question by Leigh A. Bortins. N1 starts Challenge A this fall and I should have probably read this last summer!
  • For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaffer Macaulay. 
  • Prayer by Richard Foster.
  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Because this is a classic and because I have a Betsy.
  • C.S. Lewis' Miracles. Because I keep saying that I want to read more C.S.L. and this is what my husband said I should read next. So far, I've only read Screwtape Letters, twice, and Mere Christianity, once. I should probably reread that one as well.
  • The Two Towers (which I'm about half-way through) and The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read The Fellowship of the Ring in May as part of a Facebook book club I am in and I'm continuing the series. The Fellowship dragged quite a bit for me, but thankfully The Two Towers has picked up the pace a bit!
From the shiny, bright, and new pile:
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. I admit, I checked this out from the library based on a description on Amazon and because I liked the cover. : )
  • None Like Him by Jen Wilkin. Her Women of the Word is excellent, and I'm working my way through her 1st Peter study right now, so buying her new book was a no-brainer.
  • Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman. Everything I've read by Gloria I've also enjoyed, but strangely enough, I've never actually finished one of her books. Hoping to rectify that this summer.
  • Sophie Hudson's newest which comes out next week - Giddy Up, Eunice. I have read Boomama's first two books multiple times and laugh out loud and am moved with every reading and so I have great hopes for this one as well. She gets me.

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. πŸ˜‰)

If you are reading anything fun in your neck of the woods, I'm all ears! Happy summer!

Friday, April 29, 2016

April Reading Report

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We are so close to the end of the school year - you can definitely tell in my reading choices! Lots of our read alouds are winding up (and we are starting a couple new ones) and lots of kidlit in my stack.

  • Dandelion Fire (100 Cupboards, Book 2) by N.D. Wilson. I've been on an N.D. Wilson kick this month, with my goal of finally finishing his 100 Cupboards series. The 2nd book was the hardest for me to get through, and I definitely slowed down. 
  • Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. You really can't go wrong with reading Roald Dahl and this was one that none of us had read before. I had picked this one for reading aloud after it was gushed about during a Read Aloud Revival podcast with Greta Eskridge. We enjoyed it, but it wasn't my favorite Dahl by far. (Give me Charlie and all the chocolate, please).
  • The Chestnut King (100 Cupboards, Book 3) by N.D. Wilson. Book 3 definitely picked up for me! A satisfactory conclusion to this series. N2 (age 10) has jumped into book 1 of this series after we listened to the Read Aloud Revival podcast episode with N.D. Wilson - an excellent listen.
  • Book Scavengers by Jennifer Chambliss Bertram. If you liked Mr. Lemoncello's Library, you will probably enjoy this one as well. A bookish mystery with lots of literary references. N1 (12) finished it and we have already noted when it's sequel comes out in January.
  • Story of the World, Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer. Our history spine for the year. 
  • Outlaws of Time: the Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson. Wilson's newest book (which came out last Tuesday) and features heavily in the podcast linked above. I haven't decided if I loved it or not. Definitely creative - a science fiction western - but I had a hard time keeping up with the time travel elements and what was going on. I may be to old to appreciate this one. : )
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This was a very well-written story. Ada is trapped at home by a physical disability. Abused physically and verbally by her mother, she and her brother escape London during the air bombings on WW2. They are placed the home of a single women who is grieving the loss of her dear friend and companion and their time together is healing for all three of them. 
  • Pages of History by Veritas Press. Another of our history read-aloud that we wrapped up this month. This was an excellent fiction walk through much of ancient history, but man, those chapters were long. There is a sequel (renaissance through modern ages) and I'm eyeing it for our read aloud basket next fall.

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Currently in my queue or am reading:

  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper. This one keeps popping up as a recommended title on Amazon based on what I look at so I snatched it up at the library. 
  • I'm looking at the Lord of the Rings trilogy for next month. I'm reading through the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge with some folks via Facebook and next month I'm to tackle a banned book. While perusing lists online, I found out the LoTR books were banned and am totally using that as an excuse to dive into them. I'm fairly ashamed that I haven't read them yet because I love the movies so much.
  • I've also got Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry laying around her if I need another banned book option. Amy gave a great review of it recently and piqued my interest.
  • To much non-fiction that I'm meandering through to mention. I need to finish something!
And with that, it's May in two days! We have about two more weeks of school, I'm about 6 days away from B turning 9, and our summer break is just around the corner. Which just means more time for reading, right?


Saturday, April 02, 2016

March Reading Report

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What I read in March. Not pictured: Ella of All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, and Devonshire Scream By Laura Childs (a tea shop mystery and a totally frivolous read for me). Both read on my Kindle.

  • Fervent by Priscilla Shirer was good. Worth re-reading good. I read through it faster than she intended and I'm hoping to go through it again soon in the near future. 
  • All the Light We Cannot See was absolutely beautifully written. Painful at times because of the WWII subject matter but never gratuitously or sensationally. Anthony Doerr has a gift with words and I would like to read more of him sometime. 
  • All of a Kind Family Uptown and Ella of All of a Kind Family were two of our read-alouds. The girls talked me into finishing the series together and I'm glad we did. I enjoyed them both with the caveat that Ella is comparable to the older, high school Betsy-Tacy books. Not inappropriate in any way, but would probably be enjoyed more by a middle school girl. 
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne was my April bookclub choice for a Facebook group that I'm part of with local friends. The challenge was to finish a book that you had abandoned and I don't know how many times I tried reading this as a kid and set it aside. I did managed to make it to the end (and then realized I was reading an abridged edition to boot), and enjoyed the adventure of it. Not so much like the movie version which our family enjoys but a fun read just the same. 
  • The 100 Cupboards series by N.D. Wilson. In that same April theme I decided to go ahead and finish this series. I had read book 1 before, had never finished book 2 for some reason, and 3 is sitting on a shelf forever untouched. I'm halfway through book 2 now and have got some momentum going so I don't think I'll abandon it this go round. Thanks to the Read Aloud Revival podcast and Carolyn from A House Full of Bookworms (episode 41 specifically) for reminding me of this series. 
  • that same podcast episode is the same reason I picked up The Sword Bearer by John White. This is book one in the Archives of Anthropos. As a kid I had only read the third book, The Tower of Geburah, and never knew there was a whole series! I'm making up for lost time and passing them on to the kids. 

On to April! Several books are in my currently reading pile: Own Your Life and The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson, as well as Dandelion Fire (book 2 in the 100 Cupboards series). We are also about two chapters away from finishing Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl and contemplating our next read aloud. Always a tough decision when there are so many good choices. :)

Starting a new read aloud today and attempting to read outside! (Historically this doesn't work well for us but I bought Popsicles that will hopefully hold their attention!) Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. This one is new to all of us and

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

February Reading Wrap-up

Saturday sweetness: third cup of coffee, kids snuggled up watching tv on my bed, slowly reading and underlining through Roots and Sky by @christiepurifoy. A delightful calm before the ordinary Saturday chores of groceries and errands and other family thin

2/2 The Twenty One Balloons by William Pène de Bois is our new after lunch read-aloud and if the rest of the book is a quick paced and interesting as the first two chapters were, we will enjoy this one. And at only 10 chapters and around 150 pages, it wil

We finished one of our morning read alouds that we have been looping through. I must say, I'm glad to be through this one! #readaloudrevival

We started a new read aloud yesterday. #readaloudrevival #itssimplytuesday

February was an improved month for reading - maybe all the snow days helped! We flew through several read alouds this month and I read three books for pleasure / at the request of the girls.

This month (or at the tail end of January) I finished:

  • The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1) by Rick Riordan. Read at the request of N1, this was a Norse knock-off of the Percy Jackson series. Same scenario - underdog human finds out that he is of mythical decent (Norse gods this time v. Greek) and manages to save Earth from destruction. I think I'll stick with Percy. 
  • Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by E. Nesbit. We finished one of our books from our morning circle time / read aloud loop! We definitely loved some of Shakespeare's tales more than others - there is a reason why some of them are obscure I think. : ) That said, as a mama who spent a lot of time in high school with just MacBeth and Romeo and Juliet, I enjoyed the peek at some of the other plays. We are going to give Shakespeare a little rest, and then I think we are going to read through Charles and Mary Lamb's overview of the Bard's work
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. In January, our main school-day read-aloud was Anne. It took us almost six weeks to finish, but I think I've securely captured their hearts with her. N2 (age 10) went on to start and has almost finished Anne of Avonlea on her own ... we toyed with the idea of going on with Anne as a group, but I just don't think that B (age 8) is ready to appreciate it, nor is the boy. : )
  • Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy. This was recommended to me by a friend and was just a beautiful, beautiful book. Christie tells the story of her family's first year at Maplehurst, an old estate house on what used to be a large farm. Her writing is wonderful and I felt like I spent the year with her and her family in this house as they struggled and grew. Loved it, and I predict I will read this one again. (She blogs here).
  • Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein. Another book that N1 handed off to me after she finished and told me to read. I had read the first book in this series, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, and loved it so she didn't have to twist my arm too hard. Lots of little literary jokes and mentions that I loved.
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois. Another read-aloud we flew through in a week. Ten short chapters and an excellent adventure. I foresee reading this again when the boy is older because I think he'll love it.

Happy World Read Aloud Day. Apparently it's a thing. I'm cool with that. πŸ˜‰πŸ“š #readaloudrevival

Our next read-aloud - the third in the All of Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor. #readaloudrevival

Currently in process:

  • The Life-giving Home and Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I'm going back and forth between the two books and enjoying them both though this probably isn't the recommended way of reading them. : ) I need the message of both so I'm sticking with my unorthodox approach right now!
  • All of a Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor. Our post-lunch read-aloud.
  • Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn. Our evening read-aloud, when it fits. Specifically reading this one for the boy since he missed our first go round with this one.
  • I'm having a dreadful time getting into anything fiction right now. I read about 1/4-1/3 of the way into The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr. but it wasn't hitting the spot for me. I'm setting it aside for now. 
  • I've recently been added to a group of friends on Facebook that are reading through Modern Mrs. Darcy's yearly reading challenge. Next month (if' I'm correct) I'm supposed to read a book that I own but have never read. I think I'm going to tackle All the Light I Cannot See. My friend Amy recommended this to me last year, and (to my recollection) she's never steered me wrong! 
I think that's it. Anybody else read anything interesting lately? I'm spending most of my online time on Instagram, and posting more current pics and thoughts on what we are reading lately ... I hesitate to say that I'm abandoning this and moving to more microblogging over there, so we shall see. : )

Happy Thursday!