Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Round Up, Late-March Edition

Elisabeth has been requesting a lot of books lately. I have to say, it's somewhat heartwarming to note that two of her current go-to books are Beatrix Potter books that were mine when I was a child. Her favorite stories of Potter's right now are The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Two Bad Mice.

Another heartwarming favorite of Elisabeth's is The Little Red Hen out of a storybook called The Better Homes and Gardens Storybook, which belonged to my mom when she was a girl. I remember her reading it to me when I was Elisabeth's age and having her tell me about how she remembered her mom reading it to her. I wonder if someday Elisabeth will read the tattered copy of The Little Red Hen to her daughter?

Joe and I are about this close to hiding Elisabeth's copy of P.B. Bear's Christmas; we are that sick of her pulling it out and asking us to read it. For Pete's sake; there really isn't any story, just a bunch of--admittedly cute-- pictures. Argh!

As a family we are reading Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. It's slow going because Joe has been working a lot lately and when he has been home we've been playing lots of games; the kids are really into Charades and Guesstures. But on the nights when we've all settled in with blankets and pillows, we've enjoyed it.

To correspond to our history readings, the kids and I have read, or will read shortly, Peter the Great by Diane Stanley about Peter the Great of Russia, which is a great, easy to read book with engaging text and pictures about one of Russia's most important tsars. This week, we'll read another picture book called The First Tulips in Holland which is a fictionalized account of how the first tulips were taken from the Middle East into Holland. This book is only loosely related to this week's study of the Ottoman Empire. Next week we'll work through a couple of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories.

With the warm weather, Hank has given up reading for fun. (Argh! Someday he'll realize reading is fun... right?!) He read Tippy Lemmey by Patricia C. McKissack for school and Hank said he thought it was really good. Now he's reading Tornado by Betsy Byars which he also says he really likes. But, like usual, no matter how much he's enjoying his book, once he's finished with what I've suggested he read that day, he closes the book up and announces, "I finished my reading!" (Argh! Someday he'll realize reading is fun... right?!)

Joe's been busy the past few weeks. Madeleine insisted months ago that he read The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and he finally acquiesced. He enjoyed the adventure, just as Madeleine and I did. Now he is working through The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul and before that it was American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by Joan Biskupic, which he enjoyed.

I remember days when I could finish a book in under a week. Heck, I remember days when I could keep my eyes open at night for more than twenty minutes at a time. Bob introduced my to these DK Illustrated Biographies at Christmas and I just love them. Madeleine read the one about Helen Keller awhile back and I just finished it. How fun to get a brief glimpse into such an extraordinary life with all those wonderful photographs interspersed. Now I am reading Emma by Jane Austen. It's been years since I first read it and I can't remember it much at all so I am enjoying it almost as if I had never read it before.

I also did finish up Out Stealing Horses shortly after my last book post. *Sigh* I really, really loved it. The story and all its subplots were engaging and the writing was just so lovely. I wish I hadn't finished it and could have stretched it out.

Madeleine is still working through Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. She loves it but I've noticed she'll read a large chunk and then take a break for a day or two from it, almost as if she needs to let Anne's words settle in so that she truly understands what is going on. When she's not reading about Anne, she's been tearing through the American Girl dolls books for the 147th time, Betsy Tacy (third time through? Fourth?) and one of the Jake Drake books that Hank checked out of the library. And, finally, for school she's almost done with The Seventeenth Swap, which she still says is dumb.

I'm struggling with what to read next. Everyone under the sun tells me how much they loved The Help so I requested it from the library but I didn't realize it was still new enough to only be a seven-day loan. Pathetically, there's no way I can finish a book in seven days anymore, so I'm going to return it and wait until I can keep it the full three weeks. I am thinking of starting David Copperfield by Dickens since I've never read it, but gee whiz, at the rate I've been reading lately, I won't finish it until 2011! We'll see.

What have your must-reads been these past few weeks?


Schenley said...

I recall hating David Copperfield when I read it for school, but then, I never was a big Dickens fan.

I can't find time to read anything, so you're ahead of me.

Sara said...

I highly, highly, highly recommend "The Weeping Chamber" around this time of year. It covers (via historical fiction) the life of Christ and the man who carried his cross for the last week of Christ's life. It's out of print, but still available on Amazon. Plus, you can start it months in advance next year (or read it any time this year). It's not a great literary work, but it's message is very powerful (and I love how the author attempts to get inside the heads of the various personalities).
In case you're wondering who I am, I knew Joe in law school and found you off of Ocean's blog. :) I always get sort of freaked out when random people comment on my blog.

Cate said...

Well that's not a ringing endorsement, Schenley. ;) By and large I like Dickens and he said DC was his favorite of his books, so I feel like I should read it if I like Dickens... but it's just so long...

Thanks for the recommendation, Sara! I'm adding it to my list right now; it sounds like a book I would enjoy. (Have we met? My memory is horrible and I'm much better with faces than names, so forgive me if we have and I just don't remember exactly... :o ).

Sara said...

Cate, I don't recall if we ever met, either! :) I wasn't in Joe's small group, but ended up being friends with lots of the people in it. And, I think I started doing things outside of law school with some of them when you were pregnant.

As a disclaimer to my previous recommendation, I just finished the Weeping Chamber, and it does have several paragraphs in the end "blaming" the Jewish people (Sanhedrin, etc) for the death of Christ, which can be rather controversial. Overall, though, it's a very powerful book for the Easter season.

Cate said...

Oh, small group; thanks for the memory jog! I miss Joe's law school days. And now when I read the book you recommended I'll remember those fun days even more (I'm sure it was much more fun for me watching you all go through it than it actually was doing all that studying, taking tests, etc. :) ).

So you started socializing with Joe's small group when we finally, once and for all, had no social life? ;)

Mrs. Bombie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Bombie said...

Hi Cate, I'm a former Martin Looper homeschool mom. After 21 years of homeschooling I have no more kids. I got here via Vieth's Cranach blog.
I loved the post the other day about your daughter asking you to stop your son singing... brought back many good memories!
Today I see your daughter love BetsyTacy... I have read those dear stories probably 100 times, starting in about 3rd/4th grades (1966) : )
I found the later books esp. Emily of Deep Valley to have been helpful for our early teen girls, way back when...
Enjoy these days! Our years of homeschool were great and over all too soon!
Brenda Bomberger in OR