Early May is a special time in my family. The family often gathers to celebrate the birthdays of my brother and of my father who would have been 97 years old on this birthday. We also celebrate Mother’s Day (a little early this year) and honor our amazing Mom who is still so strong in intellect and spirit, although increasingly unsteady physically.
So our visit meant a road trip for Hubby and me, which we are enjoying very much, especially after this long and confining winter. We, of course, brought our Kindles with us. When it was my turn to drive, Hubby read The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, by Anthony Gottlieb. And while he drove, I read my current mystery: Death in La Fenice, by Donna Leon.
We stopped for an overnight visit with my brother and sister-in-law, both voracious readers, so we left with this extensive list of books to read:
- Dark Money, Jane Mayer
- The Emperor of all Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee
- The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholtz
- Nobody Cares About Crazy People, Ron Powers
- A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
- A Deadly Wandering, Matt Richtel
- The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
- On Immunity, Eula Biss
- Lab Girl, Hope Jahren
- At Home, Bill Bryson
- The Zookeeper’s Wife, Diane Ackerman
And when we arrived at my mother’s place, I found that she had just finished reading Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart, for her book club . I also thought you might be interested to see some of the books on her shelf so I took some photos for you.
With the family together (minus one brother and sister-in-law), we talked a lot about the current state of affairs in this country and the world, but we also talked a lot about books. It’s so nice to come from a family of readers!
February was a good reading month for me! It was not a month of “escape,” however. I took on some very powerful reading experiences with The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood; and March, Book 2, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. I thought that In the Wet would be a wonderful old romance by Nevil Shute, but it was much more than that. It turned out to be a story of political intrigue in an England of the “future.” The book was published in 1953, the story takes place in 1983.
I finished The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien, which I read slowly and enjoyed very much. Being so familiar with the story, I was able to notice and focus more on the writing itself. That was a real pleasure. Founding Gardeners, by Andrea Wulf was an interesting view of the founding fathers as gentlemen farmers. And Death Without Company, by Craig Johnson, was another enjoyable Walt Longmire mystery. I do love a good mystery!
All in all, a good reading month for me, and I’m looking forward to my March reads.
Looking through some of my old notebooks the other day, I found an extensive bibliography of a book that I vaguely remember reading: Images of Women in Fiction: Feminist Perspectives, by Susan K. Cornillon. It was a library book, I remember that, and I was particularly interested in the extensive bibliography the author included. At that time I was a young stay-at-home mother with a 2-1/2 year old, so I must have been very Impressed because I took the time to copy it down, filling 5 pages in my notebook. With my cell phone, I took photos of those five pages to share with you because it’s a terrific book list! And it was fun for me to realize that over the years since 1974, I have read many of those books even though I hadn’t looked at that list in years! Do you keep notebooks? They really do turn into treasures after a few years…
Note: You can stop the slideshow and then click on the page to enlarge it if you want to look more closely at the list.
My reading January was very enjoyable this year. I started the month with determination to get back to both my reading and my blogging. I’ve let many things interfere with both activities recently so the recommitment was important to me. i figured that if i could post a photo each day on Instagram, that I could certainly put a little more energy and time into reading and reflecting on my reading life. I am delighted to report that I read eight books in January and posted on my blog almost every day.
I didn’t set any specific reading goals at the first of the month, but there are a number of directions I want my reading to take in 2017. I’d like to read some of the books published in my birth year, 1949. I am also starting to read books that I am calling my “resistance reading” — books that help me as I try to understand this current political climate in my country, and books that help me better define my own beliefs. I was pleased to discover that the book I checked out of the library last week, 1984 by George Orwell, fit into both categories! Also, I would like to read, or reread, many of the classics on @roofbeamreader’s Classic Book-a-Month challenge list.
It is lovely to say that I am really enjoying my reading at this time. I loved the books I read in January, and I’m looking forward to seeing where February takes me!
Here are the covers of my January reads:
There’s nothing better than getting books for one’s 68th birthday! Hubby and I are heading for the ocean today so I’m taking these with me!
“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yesterday, this country said goodbye to an intelligent, compassionate, decent, hardworking President and First Lady. For me, the end of his administration is a profound loss, and I am deeply concerned about what this incoming administration might do to our country and the world.
This week I read a couple of articles about how reading was so important to President Obama during his time in office. How wonderful to have a president who found both guidance and solace in reading during the most difficult job in the world!
So today, instead of watching hours of inauguration coverage of a man who relishes the attention of others above all else, I am going to READ. I’m not hiding my head in the sand. I will be very active in my responses to these new challenges for all Americans. But I will follow the lead of My president, Barak Obama, and read for guidance and solace at this very sad time.
2016 has been a good reading year for me. I was “back to my books,” so to speak, and that’s a lovely feeling! Here are the covers to my top ten 5-star reviews on my Goodreads challenge page this year. Although I really enjoyed all of the books I read, my favorite of the year was one I have read numerous times in my life: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I will tell you the story of WHY it was my favorite in a separate post.
I hope that you enjoyed your 2016 reading. Happy New Year to each of you and best wishes for a wonderful reading year in 2017!
Three-and-a-half years ago, I retired from teaching. I am enjoying my retirement very much. My husband and I love getting up each morning and “setting our own agenda,” as I have said numerous times on this blog. But there are days when I miss (very much!) my students and colleagues and the world of my classroom. Reading together was the most joyous part of my teaching experience, so I’d like to share with you this post I wrote in November 2012 about the reading we were sharing and loving in my 2nd Grade classroom.
FALL SHARED READING
Our Reading Rug…where we sit to share all these wonderful books.
When I say that I haven’t been reading very much recently, it’s not exactly true. My own reading has slowed down for many reasons, but I am still reading every day and going through books like crazy! Here’s why…
This is my 27th year of teaching, and this year I have the world’s sweetest class of Second Graders. They love to read and love listening to stories, so we are compiling quite a list of books shared (our Read Aloud books). We have a Read Aloud time every morning after recess, and it’s amazing how many books you can read in just 20-30 minutes a day! Here’s our list of the books we have shared during our Read Aloud time on our Reading Rug so far this year:
- Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola
- Strega Nona: Her Story, by Tomie dePaola
- Big Anthony: His Story, by Tomie dePaola
- Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons, by Tomie dePaola
- Big Anthony and the Magic Ring, by Tomie dePaola
- Strega Nona Meets Her Match, by Tomie dePaola
- Strega Nona Takes a Vacation, by Tomie dePaola
- Strega Nona’s Harvest, by Tomie dePaola
- The Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting
- Tomie dePaola, by Eric Braun
- Mercy Watson to the Rescue, by Kate DiCamillo
- Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, by Kate DiCamillo
- Akimbo and the Elephants, by Alexander McCall Smith
- Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen
- Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
- Blueberries For Sal, by Robert McCloskey
- Squanto and the Pilgrims, by A.M. Anderson
- Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson (Thanks, Mrs. Lux, for reading this to us at our Halloween party!)
- Gooney Bird Greene, by Lois Lowry
- Catwings, by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Catwings Return, by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Jane on her Own: A Catwings Tale, by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Currently reading: Helen Keller, by Margaret Davidson
October just flew by this year and here it is November already. As the days grow shorter and darker, I spend more time reading and listening to audiobooks while doing winter knitting projects. Right now I am reading a number of different things. My current library book is Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler. This is my first time reading her work and I’ve found that I really like her writing. My current Audible listen is J.K. Rowling’s The Silkworm. My current Kindle book is Rules For a Successful Book Club (The Book Lovers, #2), by Victoria Connelly. And a friend loaned me another Kindle book to add to my annual holiday reading project. It’s called A Cornish Christmas, by Lily Graham. There’s no shortage of books to light up these shorter darkening days!
I must admit that I am an escapist. The national election scene in September and October has been an awful place to hang out. Yes, I watched all three presidential debates. Yes, I did my homework on local issues and candidates. And yes, I have voted. But it all left me feeling breathless, cold and shaken as if the Dementors have been hovering nearby!
So my reading list for September and October reflects my need to close out that crazy ugly world of politics and find more uplifting places in which to spend my time. I search for those kinds of books and appreciate so much the ones I find with kindness in them.
There. A kind word, a word of encouragement or admiration, could shift the heaviest, most recalcitrant baggage.
~from Precious and Grace, by Alexander McCall Smith
So, my September and October escapes…