Monday, February 2, 2015

January Reads

I'm breaking my strict no-blogging-while-kids-are-awake policy to throw up an underwhelming post about the few things I read in January.  I can't go to the bathroom without chaos & calamity all but setting my house aflame care of three sweet boys named seenoevil, speaknoevil, and hearnoevil (middle name dotheevil for each of them), so blogging whilst the children are awake should be interesting. Stay tuned.

So, fun lame story... I kept talking big game like I read a lot of great stuff last year.  And then at the beginning of January I looked on Goodreads at all of what I read in 2014, and it amounted to funny memoirs, Walking Dead comics, and a few classics which I was embarrassed for having not yet read. Whoops.

Message received.  I was more intentional about Thomas's reading than I was about my own.  Of course, considering it was a year of recovering from baby twins, funny fluff was welcomed with arms open and beer fresh out the can and in a tall glass.

So I'm thinking just a bit more about what I commit my time to this year when I am sneaking away from the family and running away with my secret lover, Allthebooks.

No worries yet.  Kids are "shooting" each other with multiple Lincoln logs at once.  Onward.

For my eyes only...mostly:

1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad

     I wish I could say I knew everything that was in this book before reading it, but no.  My middle class background shines through and through, so explanation of financial concepts familiar to the rich did have me scratching my head a teeny tiny bit.  No, it wasn't tough to understand, just tough to swallow that there is a much, much different way and that I've largely been oblivious.  The writing is mediocre.  The concept novel enough.  The advice and explanations easy to whip through in a few days or less.  Author = likable (and that counts for something!)

2. Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

     I love Sarah Mackenzie.  She's a wealth of generosity for those taking an active role in the teaching of their children, homeschooling or not.  Her podcast, The Read Aloud Revival, is one of my absolute favorites.  Her bubbly joy of reading and her strong convictions are severely contagious.  This book was everything I read online that it would be: a warm cup of tea, the encouragement homeschoolers need, a friend welcoming you in to set you straight, with love.  However, I was just a bit bummed that it was so very, very short.  I think my disappointment is a compliment though to the value of what Sarah brings to the table.

3.  The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything

     Ah, so that's what Jesuits are about! I kid, mostly.  Martin does a marvelous job of being hospitality to all readers; the book is much more about you than it is the Jesuits or even Catholicism.  There have been times in my life where I wanted a specific, magical guide.  Namely, when I was a first year teacher or when I transitioned to staying at home.  I wanted to google "guide for ____", order it, read it, and have the answers for what to do next and feel good about it in the process.  Tada! Enter the Catholic version of such a book.  [Or at least the most useful and yet meaningful one I've ever read].  This definitely won't be the last book I read by Martin.

4.  Gone with the Wind  [.... still working on it & I blame all the painting projects I took on this month.]

    I've been meaning to read this for the longest time and so glad that I finally have it in my hands.  Last week Paul traveled and I let Thomas's bedtime stretch later so I had someone to talk to even if it was the random smatterings of an imaginative 4 year old.  He asked me to read the book to him every time he saw it in my hands, and my reward was being asked a lot of questions about the Yankees coming to Springfield, MO.
    After a long passage about Sherman's impending fiery takeover of Atlanta and Prissy's wild incompetence,  Thomas declared, "Mom, Rhett Butler better hurry and get to Scarlett and Melanie and get there quick.  The Yankees are coming and he's their only hope!"  Very cool.  He listens.  Looks like he can join in on my adult reads anytime he wants as long as I'm awake enough for a bit of creative editing.

  I love the interplay between books and movies.  It's far too simplistic to say that books are better than movies.  Often directors envision something better than what we had in our mind's eye.  Sometimes the visual symbolism offered in a movie is so incredible as a beautiful complement to the original source, a book every bit as brilliant in its own medium.  However, the symbolism of the South pre and post war bound up in the characters and their differences was lost on me in the movie in contrast to how Mitchell weaves it together in the book.  Ah, so good.

Kid update:  Thomas has been "guided" to the sunroom.  Emerick is using all his brainy bits to open (unsuccessfully) baby lotion bottles..."c'mon, mom. winter skin!" And Alistair is feverishly wrapping towels around a table's legs and yelling yay for his curious accomplishment.  Interesting but safe enough. Continuing.

And for the kids:

Let's roll through this quick.  But first, I want to tell you that Thomas woke up from a nap a couple weeks ago and the first thing he said was, "Mom, would you like to go on a date... with me.. to Barnes & Noble tonight?" It was the sweetest thing, but not the sweetest thing ever.  That was when he went up to the Starbucks counter and said he was buying a coffee for me with his own money and then proceeded to dig in his pocket for the money for a fat minute.  Adorable.

1.  the 1st & 2nd Unfortunate Events books ... generously loaned from my little sister, Amanda, who isn't so little but still has these awesome books in her possession from when she was

    These books are great for Thomas for so many reasons right now.  He's been going through a developmental interest about death for the last six months, and I think that the way death is handled in this book is healthy for kids.  In addition, I like that the ongoing themes of unfairness and misfortune are so overt and that the smart, small actions of the characters are ultimately rewarded.

2. the 1st Boxcar Children book

    Woah.  Paul and I read these when we were kids, but I was amazed at how different it was than what I remembered.  I'm not sure if we will read more in this direction.  The language and vocabulary was a big dip below meh.  However, I would definitely recommend these to Thomas in a few years when he is needing the reading volume to practice and reach greater proficiency and confidence.

3.  Where the Sidewalk Ends

   We just started reading poetry at lunch and the kids enjoy it.  I can't overemphasize the increased effectiveness of reading to toddler twins who are STRAPPED INTO A CHAIR. Yeah. I read this book to Thomas so much last year that I'm surprised I can't recite it at this point.  I'm ready to spring for another poetry book and my money is on a Prelutsky collection that we checked out from the library four times last year.

4.  a couple more that we started but you will have to wait on the edge of your seat to hear about
     until the end of February because we all have nothingnothingnothingnothing to do or think about on a Monday morning when our to do lists are one mile plus a hundred long.

I love book recommendations.  If you have something in mind that you think I might like, let me know in the com box below.  And if you have any questions, considering my limited and shallow reading history, about the books I have read or would recommend, feel free to ask that too and I will do my best to help a dear friend out. 



  1. I am so glad you wrote this out! I love reading about what others are reading, especially you!

  2. I am so glad you wrote this out! I love reading about what others are reading, especially you!

    1. I love getting a glimpse at what other people are reading too. One of my very favorite can't-ever-quit-it blogs is Modern Mrs. Darcy. I love how succinct yet helpful her posts are and that she has such a good balance of topics related to reading.

      I truly want to be more intentional this year about the books I read. As a SAHM, I have the luxury of time to read and yet I don't. It's a really tricky business. I want to look back on this year and know that each of the books I read were purposeful and fruitful in some way.