Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I Read in September

Third Beach selfie

I'm away from home right now visiting friends and family, but I would never miss a Book Report at the end of the month! I may have to update this when I get back, though, because who knows how far I'll get into my plane-ride book!

*Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman -- I've waited many months for Emily's new book, Simply Tuesday, and I really enjoyed it. I read it in two days, and I read her books just like I read her blog, Chatting at the Sky, slowly and while savoring. This 4th nonfiction book of hers talks about why she chooses to hush instead of hustle, and why her soul needs the Tuesdays to breathe--the regular, ordinary, and small. This book is lovely and I enjoyed it, but I won't keep it. I'm passing it on to a friend who I hope will enjoy it as well.

*The Martian by Andy Weir -- This book is a science/space nerd's dream come true. It's a fiction book written mostly in diary entry form, of a man who is stuck alone on Mars, and his struggle to survive. I can't give too much away but it is such a popular book it's becoming a movie with Matt Damon playing the main character, Mark Watney! I finished the last half of the book in ONE DAY because of the action and the story that happens. The science behind Weir's book got a few things right says NASA and the best quote for this book comes from one of the first few pages, "I'm gonna' have to science the shit outta' this thing". Read it.

*Rising Strong by Brene Brown -- I was blown away by this one. I felt the way I felt when I first discovered Brene's first two books (Daring Greatly was, in my opinion, a summary of all her material beforehand), and I learned a LOT and thought a LOT about what this new information implied in my life. I wanted to highlight it throughout. I wanted to share a lot of it while reading. That's a mark of a good book. I highly recommend this book, but do think you need to read at least some of her books or know her work beforehand, or a lot of it might not make sense. Excellent read.

*Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesteron -- I don't think it's an exaggeration to say this was the most confusing book I've ever read by a 'father of the faith'. I don't know if it was a mood I was in (it was one of my study books-books I choose to intentionally go slowly through, over the course of a month or so), but my word, I barely caught anything from this book. It was full of cultural references that were before my time, twisty-turny sentences that left me at the bottom of a dark rabbit hole, and flowery language throughout. Honestly, I may never pick up another book by Chesteron because of it.

*Taproot: WILD -- I consider this front-to-back reading to be likened to a small novella because of the length of this quarterly magazine, so I'm counting it here. This issue was all about wild things, from sea turtle rescue, foraging for food in the woods, an accidental overnighter on an Appalacian Trail hostel, etc. I enjoy this magazine and just renewed my (ad-free!) subscription for another year. If you love stories about homesteading, naturalist essays, and hippie-type DIYs you'll like it, if not, leave it at the Whole Foods checkout.

Read-Alouds with the Kids

*The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo - I often tell people Kate DiCamillo is my spirit animal. If I could write like anyone, it'd be her. Go here to see a full length review of her young adult novel.

*The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson -- This short book (120+ pages) was a classic Newberry Honor book from 1989, but set in roughly the 1940s Paris. It's a story about a hobo named Armand who gives away his heart to three poor'starlings' (children) somewhat against his will while their mother works all day. He finds them under 'his' bridge and although he tries to shoo them away-literally and figuratively-he can't help it, he must take care of these children, and find them a more permanent home. You'll need tissues for the last chapter.

*A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman -- This is a very short book that I found via Sonlight's amazing book lists (by age/grade), and we read it as an extended 'breakfast' read. The type is big, the pages are full of beautiful pictures, and the story has a great theme. The main character, Pong Lo, is a humble peasant who, through his cleverness, cheerful spirit, and incredible work ethic, becomes the most powerful man in China. Both my kids couldn't wait to get to the ending to see what was going to happen!

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