Friday, November 6, 2015

What I Read in October

Not the greatest photo quality, but one of our favorite places in town-the library

Well, November, how'd you get here so quickly and what did you do with your sister October? 

Last month we were gone for nearly 3 weeks traveling back to Nebraska to see family, friends, and church community we left there nearly three years ago. It was a wonderful trip. I've been trying to put together a photo-heavy post of our trip, but my ipad (yes, I'm the "weird tourist" who takes generally all photos on my ipad mini) is not forwarded them onto my computer for some reason, hence a grainy photo above that I took before we left. I spent nearly every waking moment talking with whomever was in my vicinity in Nebraska, so reading just did not happen until the 27 hour drive home. In the following two weeks left, I did manage to finish 4 books, though two of them were quite short. Enjoy!

*Psychedelic Shits by Kurtis James (i.e. my brother-in-law!) - When my BIL posted his poetry book cover on Instagram I promptly replied I wanted a copy for my Christmas present. Since he flew in for our October family time he was able to give me one and I knew there'd be some gems in there. I've been given gifts in the past in the form of his poetry and if read aloud it would really resonate in a SLAM event. I enjoyed the read, though psychedelic shits is an apt name, there were some poems I had no genre for and some I smiled throughout, like "o hair, o hair". Congrats, Kurtis! What an accomplishment. 

*More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell - This little apologetics book was a really refreshing read, one that I could do well with quarterly or biannually. It was published in 1977 and is still completely relevant today with clear and concise arguments for the historical data that proves Christ was a real figure who is still impacting lives today, 2,000 years later. I thought this tiny book would be a great book to pass on to someone who has a lot of questions about this Jesus guy and all the logistical hangups one has about Christianity. It's a quick read, but it's meaty. 

*Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy - I first heard of Lucy Grealy and her memoir by way of Ann Patchett's memoir of her friendship with Lucy, Truth and Beauty. That memoir is beautifully written and terribly tragic. It's about Ann and Lucy and their growing into their twenties and their writerly words before Lucy's untimely death. Lucy's memoir is about growing up with cancer and a facial deformity caused by her illness. She is a fantastic writer, though her words throughout are so very painful and raw. It's a beautiful book and I'm glad I read it, but I wouldn't recommend reading Autiobiography of a Face along with Truth and Beauty; it's just too heavy to read side by side.

*Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - I had no expectations for this book except that I really, really wanted to read it and knew I'd soak it up within a few days. I was right. This book was really inspiring, though some reviews I've read called it basically "woo-woo hippie magic fairy dust" type of writing, I really enjoyed it and wouldn't mind reading it again some day. It's about the Big Magic of finding your creative self, and doing it. Gilbert's creativity just happens to be writing, but she's speaking to all people as creatives, and letting the Big Magic happen. Speaking of Ann Patchett, there's a great anecdote with her in it! I get some sort of weird joy knowing that her and Brene Brown are good friends, and support each other in real life, and reading their newest books back to back was sort of fun in a cocktail party type of way. 

Read Alouds with Kids:
*Beatrix Potter's The World of Peter Rabbit (books 1-12) - These minature and fairly nostalgic books published in 1902 and thereafter still have quite a hold on children these days, as seen from my two kids, aged 6 and 8. I tried reading these small books to my kids earlier in their lives and it just didn't go well. The words and context too much for them, but at this age? It was jolly good fun for all of us! They loved the ornery rabbits and the hilarious stories about hedgehogs, mice, a fox and silly geese, and the illustrations just can't be beat. I found my pristine box set at a used bookstore years ago for a mere $20, and I admit I would have paid double. These books are some of my all-time favorite childhood stories and Potter's tales have had a trickle-down effect on children's literature ever since. 

Tip: If your kids loved the Peter Rabbit et al books, they might love the 25 minute episode series on youtube found here; nine episodes included. My kids have seen them all and really enjoyed them!

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