Wednesday, July 7, 2010

{book}worm wednesday :: Kipling and Shakespeare and Other Strange Tales

I'm not quite sure what happened to all the other Wednesdays between this one and the last time I posted a {book}worm. But nevertheless here we are again with another round of books that we are savoring, or enduring (in some cases), gobbling up or chewing slowly... or just working our way through.

You may wonder if it even seems realistic that I have more than one book on this list, and if I'm being truthful by sharing them here. I'll tell you that most of our reading happens in bits and pieces of time. With early waking hours these days we usually spend some time on our back patio with toast and coffee and pillows before the rooster or any other reasonable creature has cracked open an eye. If boredom or squabbles set in midmorning, we'll break for some book time. There's usually a story or two before naps, and then while the two younger ones sleep, Skills and I read a more advanced story that's just for the two of us. Keeping little feet out of the kitchen before dinner often lends itself to a couple more minutes on the couch, battling toddler legs that want to get up and down while two more attentive boys wish she would just sit quietly. And then before bed is when our chapter books get chipped away at. There are other moments of solitary "reading" which is more like flipping through picture books, though the older they get the more they can work at sounding out the words, etc.

For me, most personal reading is done in the evening or during a nap if that time isn't packed with something else like cleaning, shopping, cooking, you name it. My husband is somehow blessed with the ability to read while children scamper wildly at his feet or even over top of him, as well as while perched beside the bath while water splashes wildly about. I am somehow not blessed with his ability to focus.

What the Kids are Reading

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the heels of Little House on the Prairie, which sang of golden prairies and the lure and mounting tension of the Indian Territory, we head into the Ingall's family new venture in a small dugout on Plum Creek. I continue to be amazed at what Pa can do, at what the girls can be entertained by (days locked in the house, they sat by the hearth and amused themselves), at the lack of information about Baby Carrie and how in the world they did all they did with a toddler around (it's a small point, unimportant to the story... and I need to get over it)

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
We curl up on my bed and get lost in the world of a boy and his hound pups. Every time I read it I have a teary moment. We took a break from this book for a little while but just got back into it and I notice my son has begun to do what seems natural for every young child... pine for a pet. He even has his two dogs named, and lists of what to do to train them (jumping through hoops of fire somehow seemed important). One thing I love about this story is how much is revealed about this young boy's character... and none of it is spelled out for you so it's not preachy, something even kids can pick up on.

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
A very exciting arrival. Last week we received a couple books I had been wanting for a long time. This was one of them. The kids were into it right away and don't seem put off by the slightly accelerated language. The stories are fun and imaginative, all recreations of things like "how the leopard got his spots" or "how the rhinoceros got his skin." Every time I read something by someone I admire, it seems they grew up on Kipling's stories... so I'm just trying to cover my bases- but enjoying it immensely in the meantime.

Hamlet (for kids) by Lois Burdett
A truly delightful and easy to read, easy to follow rendition of the Shakespeare plays. Honestly, they're good for me regardless of whether the kids like them or not. But they do like them. They can follow the story and of course his stories are riveting. The poetry is readable, but reflects the style and prose of Shakespeare, to the point that many original quotes are able to be included. This series comes pretty well acclaimed and recommended. I'll be getting more!

Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar by Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno
A simple book about multiplication but it is fun and helpful for counting too. It's really dealing with factorials in a fun and interesting sort of way... lots of good illustrations and ways of explaining things with words. This is a bit old for my kids, but the oldest likes to think through the math equations and copy them down. He's kind of a type A personality in that way. The rest of us just think it looks pretty.

Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton
Have to include our twenty-times-a-day little feature. Sandra has a great way of talking about things and belly buttons are included. Now our little Scout runs around poking people's tummies yelling "bee bo!" and giggling infectiously every time you poke her back. What is so interesting and humorous about a belly button?... I wish I could remember.

What I'm reading

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
A spell binding story. A heartbreaking tale. A book full of questions, and characters who are slowly but carefully unwrapped. Definitely worth reading and pondering over. Everyone I know who has read it could not put it down.

Love in Hard Places by D.A. Carson
Isn't that the crux of it all? Love is all lovely until it gets hard. D.A. Carson... he is the man. I always learn from and appreciate the way he deals brilliantly with the exposition of the Scriptures, but thinks and works through it so enmeshed in the stuff of life-- which is what it is for. He's a genius scholar, but he doesn't get unnecessarily wrapped up in the scholarly aspects for their sake alone. He is after the gripping, life-altering Truth.

The Husband List

Modern Times by Paul Johnson
Lots and lots of history from the 20th century. A lot.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
All I know about this book was that he "read it in Beijing.

The Murder Room by P.D. James

The Last Best League: One Summer, One Season, One Dream by Jim Collins
Apparently the most important summer league known to any aspiring baseball players. All the big prospects go there. Kind of like playing at Rucker Park in NYC. Jim Collins went and spent the summer there in 2002 and then wrote about it.

And as always, I'd love to hear what you're reading, or what you're doing to make the reading happen!


  1. Ok. I am reading only three books simutaneously which I thought was a lot. They are:
    1) The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet - Colleen McCullough.
    2) What's So Amazing About Grace - Philip Yancey and
    3)The Fellowship of the Ring - J R Tolkien.

    My 7 yr old daughter is reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain.

  2. Hey, Vivi and I read big books out loud together. We just finished The Wizard of Oz. We also have read Pippi Longstocking, PEter Pan, and The Little Prince. Wondering if you want to do a temporary trade? I would love to read Hamlet and also Little House with her.

  3. Wow, a 7 year old reading Mark Twain! I love it.

    Kiley, I would love for you to borrow Hamlet. The Little House book is on loan from the library. Peter Pan... I can see my boys getting into that.