Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What I Read in March

Well, whether I'm on a blogging break or not, I can't help but share the books I read every month; this month being a good one for reading. I'm also going to start including the novels I read aloud to the kids every month as well to help keep track of them. Some of them are classics and some of them are simple chapter book series that they enjoy. I generally have a running list of 1-2 books I want to read them in advance, so we're never without a book per week. Sometimes, like the current book, we take longer than a week to finish it, but that's generally the amount of time to finish a novel since I read it while they eat breakfast and lunch. Library picture-books are saved for bedtime and on their own reading during quiet time.

My books

*Yes, Please, by Amy Poehler /  I finished this book in March and although I loved the packaging of the book (color! shiny! random sectional pictures of Amy in drag!), the prose itself was a solid 3 out of 5. Not a bad mark, certainly, but not a great one. Her lists were my favorite part, but the whole thing felt very disjointed and hard to follow, like a book on ADD. I don't know much about Poehler, but I do know I really want to start watching Parks & Rec.

*Blue Horses by Mary Oliver / When I listened to the interview between Oliver and Tippett on NPR's On Being, I heard mention a new book of poetry that I hadn't heard of before, so I tracked it down and read it in one sitting. I really loved some of these poems, and some of them I found confusing in the series. It was like Oliver, who now lives in Florida after a lifetime in Provincetown, has changed her voice with the changing of her location. Some of the poems felt strained, an awkward growing pains from a new place, while some were like she was standing back on the New England coast, waiting to disappear into the trees for the day.

*The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion / This novel was an entertaining and quirky three day read that I'm pretty sure I am the last person on the planet to get into. I rarely read fiction so I want to make sure I will love it before I start it. I'm looking forward to the movie and just at my local Indigo bookstore last night, noticed the second in the series (what? series?) is already out: The Rosie Effect. I thought the ending that could have been an entire chapter was crammed into about a page and a half, and other than that, a great story to get lost into.

*Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham / Well. Hmm. What to say about this one. The creator of the HBO series Girls, which I have yet to see, wrote a memoir and it is...not for everyone. I'd say a good many people tried to steer me away from this book, but with one comment--the fact that it's like reading a female David Sedaris (and then seeing his name cooing its praises on the back cover) sealed the deal that I needed to read it. The first section is all about Sex and there are some pretty ridiculous stories thrown in your face right away. I laughed out loud a few times reading this whole book, but I wished Dunham would have tactfully placed this section perhaps, third or fourth, not straightaway in your face, coloring the rest of the book. Some of these stories are good for a laugh, and some are downright dangerous, embarrassing, irresponsible and gag-inducing. Proceed at your own expense after being warned!

(edit)*Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner / I love to follow along with InCourage's Bloom Book Club every Spring and Fall, and even though I'd seen this book all over blog-land, I wasn't going to read it until I found out it was the book chosen for the weekly virtual book club and video series, so I caved. I generally don't read time management books but oddly enough I've read two now so far this year. Aside from Fringe Hours I read 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam, though I liked Fringe Hours better. It seemed a fresh perspective on getting more time for oneself, and a few more ideas and helpful websites that I didn't have in my arsenal before.

Family Read Alouds

*A Whale Tale by Frieda Wishinsky / This story is a Canadian Flyer series, which is similar to The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne. I love having these short novels available as a home-schooler who knows virtually nothing about Canadian history. These stories take two kids, Emily and Matt, back in time via a sled with a maple leaf on it (not kidding), to places and times when Canadian history takes place. This particular book is about a Pacific Northwestern First Nations people group holding a potlatch and going whale hunting.

*A Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon / This novel is illustrated by Garth Williams (Little House series and E.B. White's books, for reference) and I hate to say it but those pictures were the best part of this story. This book comes in the curriculum core for 2nd graders from one of my favorite homeschooling curricula providers, Sonlight. Their book lists are incomparable but this was a total miss for me. I mean, the writing was well done, but the story itself was boring and very slow. It's a sweet tale of friendship, but (yawn) there are plenty out there that are better.

*Lost in the Snow by Frieda Wishinsky / This is another Canadian Flyer series, about  the habitants and seigneurs who lived in New France.

*The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (still reading) / If you choose to read this classic, please get the 100th Anniversary edition with all the original illustrations. They are fantastic, on nearly every page, and really bring the story alive. My kids are loving this book and I'm enjoying reading it for the first time. A lot of what is in the novel is not represented in the classic film (surprise) which means cutting things from novels to screen happened even with the first color picture. This is a long novel if you're reading it to kids (250+ pages) so take it one chapter a day. We'll finish it more than likely at the end of next week.

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