Wednesday, February 24, 2010

{book}worm wednesday

We were socked in by fog today. Moist, dripping, and blurred, like a sheet of ethereal cotton had been draped over the city and wrapped the coast in its vaporous fibers. I thought it was quite pretty (can you tell?) in the way it stilled the landscape and made everything a bit vague in the flat, monochromatic light. Fog also makes it a good day for a book, and a warm cup of tea. We made an apple cake and set to work plowing through our pile of books for the day.

It started with a few hundred rounds of I'll-plop-down-on-your-lap-for-a-30-second-read of Goodnight Moon and Sandra Boynton with the Busy One. In between making peak ascents of the bunk bed and window sills, and sabotaging her brother's Lego masterpieces (really just a one-walled jail for a captured pirate, but you'd think from the reaction it was the Taj Mahal), I was pretty pleased with the improvements she is making towards sitting still and diving into the world of toddler literature... stimulating stuff I tell you.

Though my eyes may start to glaze over somewhere around the 45th round of "and a red balloon, and a cow jumping over the moon...", it's nice to know I have a variety of reading (or listening) levels under my roof. We moved on and spent the afternoon tucked under a blanket with a few stories that brought us from the world of the Great Green Room and into the minds of children finding their way through life. Bedtime brought the highly anticipated  debut of the next installment in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Series. Then, finally with three little heads dreaming peacefully, Lewis and Berry, Steinbeck and Paton were allowed to come out to play.

what i'm reading...
Surprised By Joy by C.S. Lewis
I know, more Lewis. I can't help it. If you want to find something critical said about the man or his writing, you must look elsewhere. I'm really enjoying this book in a different way than his others too. It's autobiographical and it's impressive to me how well he can remember and sift through the events of his childhood and how they have shaped him; once again, with humility, clarity, charity towards others, and an eye that sees through a glass darkly, but to the glorious light on the other side.

Too Late the Phalarope by Alan Paton
He's another of my favorite authors and if ever I was to be a real writer, I would wish to write like him. He makes the lives and souls of his stories from the South African Apartheid sink deep in your blood and stay there; moving, chilling, warming and churning it so that (for me anyway) it is never the same. 

The Lost Daughters of China: Abandoned Girls, Their Journey to America, and the Search for a Missing Past  by Karin Evans
A friend loaned me this book and I have only recently begun to read it. A journalist who herself had adopted a girl from China sets out on an exploration of the culture behind the families in the East and West and the way it is shaping the lives of these displaced children.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A'Kempis
It's Lent. I'm trying to read something meditative... and it's kicking my butt (Thomas probably never imagined, nor hoped someone would refer to his book in this way when he wrote it but that tells you where I'm at).

the husband list...
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The classic tale from the dusty, weary-worn roads of the Depression and the families who traveled them. And surprise, surprise, it's about a farmer.

the kids corner...
Snow by Uri Shulevitz (Caldecott Honor)
I was first turned on to Uri by Honey For a Child's Heart, a great resource on giving the gift of reading and books to children, with excellent lists, and have not been disappointed. He is magical, breathtakingly simple (is there a book as quiet and beautiful as Dawn?) but always interesting in the way that I can imagine only a Russian must be. I always read Snow in my best Russian accent...

Sector 7  David Wiesner (Caldecott Honor)
This is a new one for the kids and I. It was picked up from the library at school and is an imaginative story of a boy who is whisked away from the top of The Empire State building by a friendly cloud... who takes him to where clouds are designed and made, Sector 7. The boy has some creative plans of his own that make a lasting impact on the city. It's a fun book, but what is surprising (and for me, the one downside of the book) is that it is purely pictures, though aimed at an older age group. This has some benefits I'm sure but I wouldn't make it regular fare.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Yes, it was on here last time... and it remains. 

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I thought tonight was to be the big debut but apparently the library records say it is "missing," as in "lost." Both copies! How sad, I can't tell you my disappointment. Hopefully it will turn up, and I sure hope so because I can't imagine moving on to Plum Creek with an entire era of Laura's life missing. It wouldn't be right. So, we wait.

Family Huddle by Peyton, Eli, and Archie Manning
So, it's not going to win any Caldecott medals anytime soon, but it does have many references to football plays, brothers playing together in their backyard, and the number of Walter Payton's jersey. So, in the lives of my two boys, that makes it a winner. And it has set a precedent... "Mom, can we be a football family? Pleeeease??"

The Illustrated Picture Atlas of the World by Nicholas Harris
I can't say that I've done even a fair bit of shopping for a children's atlas, but I will say I like this one a lot. I learn from it (as I could from most likely any atlas I chose to read), it is beautifully illustrated with all kinds of cultural and historical tidbits bordering the pages (obviously not exhaustive information), and pictures the countries in a variety of forms like topically, economically, and geographically. We (as in, an age group ranging from 3 to 33) like to sit and look at it together for long lengths of time, with lots of talking and questions going on... if that tells you anything.

keepin' it real (wherein I literally scoop all the books off our coffee table and give you the as-is list)

As in, the game. Sorry, we cleaned today so all the books are back in their happy home on an actual shelf, for a few minutes at least...

Let me know what you're reading (and I'm missing!) these days.


  1. we sound like kindred reading spirits. i may have to do a bookworm wednesday post on my little blog.
    i am reading:: Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough...Teddy Roosevelt is so interesting and David McCullough has a beautiful way with his life.

    my husband::The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

    my 3 boys:: The Firehouse Cat by Esther Avervill My 5 year old loves it. and is very into...
    Skippy jon jones Lost in Spice by Judy Schachner. giggles pour from him each time this is read.

    All Creatures Great and Small by James Harriot Perfect for my 15 yr old budding vet. Filled with humor and delight and some great procedures!

    Cavelier in Buckskin by Robert M Utley
    The life of Gen. Custer and the western military frontier. Though my 16 yr old is a history lover, this is mostly dry, boring peppered with some exciting scenes....he does not recommend.

    On my table
    The Front Pages of the New York husband's. very interesting
    The Bible

    Thanks for sharing. Your list was great!

  2. I have John Adams, 1776, Truman, and Mornings On Horseback all on my shelf! We LOVE D. McCullough. Miss the paper copy of NY TImes...