We have had a good month of read-aloud here but a less impressive month of personal reading. Report in for November, I finished:
- The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (read-aloud). I wrote more about this book last month, but it was a winner for us. The story of a young boy, recently orphaned and forced to live with his abusive step-brother. He longs to be a gold smith, but because of his brother's cruelty he is forced to be apprenticed as a stone cutter. He starts to suspect that his brother is up to something evil and with the help of two friends, another apprentice and an old man and his donkey, he decides to do something about it. A wonderful story depicting early Egyptian life and how their society works, as well as bravery and courage.
- The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder (read-aloud). We have FINALLY finished our read-aloud of the Little House books. This short tale of Laura and Almonzo's first four years of marriage is hard to read and truthfully just not as much fun as pretty much any other book in the series. In looking on the bright side, I will probably start the series over with the boy in the next year or so.
- The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. I read Kelly's first book about Calpurnia Tate several years ago when it won the Newberry award and really enjoyed it. Her observation of nature, and in this book it spreads to other sciences like weather, is not understood by her family (especially her mother), but Calpurnia uses her pluck and ambition to find herself assisting the local vet on his calls and helping her brother hide and train and half dog/half coyote stray.
- Still Life, A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery by Louise Penny. I've seen multiple recommendations for Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series so I finally read the first book, Still Life. It was just meh for me. Here's the thing: it wasn't overly gory, I liked the main detective, and the characters, and I didn't figure out who did it (bonus). However, I don't know if it's the fact that I just finished a Sherlock Holmes and have recently read some Agatha Christie's that I had a hard time relaxing into this mystery set in our modern age of cell phones, Internet searches, etc. I'm not sure that I'm going to write off Inspector Gamache just yet, because there was something about it I liked. But I think what I wanted was another old-fashioned mystery story. This wanted to be, but it had a few things in it that made it ... not.
Currently we are reading The Secret of the Old Clock as our pre-Thanksgiving break (not a history-related) read-aloud. I hate to say it because we aren't done with the book but I'm not sure that Nancy makes a good read aloud. (I hate saying that out loud!) We are still enjoying it - especially my 9-almost-10 year old who is the PERFECT age for Nancy. Maybe she'll gravitate to the series finally! I'm at a run to figure out something to pick up next. I have started and discarded several books this month that I did not like: the newest Rick Riordan set among the Norse gods (didn't enjoy in general), The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (weird and creepy), and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (too much bad language in a teen book, an not appropriate bad language but just sloppy and crude). Ugh. It has been a bad month for fiction choices around here!
I'm toying with an idea of a challenge for myself for 2016 to help my reading selection be a bit more focused ... this needs a little fine tuning and a few parameters so stay tuned, but there is the faintest flicker of an idea there that I need to fan. : ) (I felt very Anne Shirley as I said that last remark).
Happy Thanksgiving to you all and happy reading!