May was a very short reading month. The finishing of various kid-related activities, finishing 'formal' school stuff along with our portfolio, and traveling for three weeks in my (and the kids') home state of Nebraska. We had a fantastic trip: so many activities with both sides of the family, field trips all over, and tons of friend time and 'vacation' activities. You can see more HERE on my Instagram feed.
The kids and I did happen to finish a massive tome in May, but thank goodness, June has turned out better! Here's the books:
*Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by J.K. Rowling - It's funny, this used to be one of my least favorite HP books of the 7 book series. I distinctly remember calling it "filler" to a friend who wanted to know how I liked it. Although there is a LOT of backstory in #5, it is certainly one of my favorites thus far going through it a second time. I didn't remember hardly anything about it! Harry truly grows up in this book, and his friendships play a backseat to his inner story. No spoilers here, but I'm so glad I've been going through this with my kids. I truly love these books!
*On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder - One of our 'field trips' when we went to Nebraska was to drive up to De Smet, SD, and visit the Ingalls Homestead there for a day with my mom. It's quite a schlep; a solid 5 hours of driving, but it was well worth it (we also visited Ash Fall Fossil beds and Sioux Falls, SD on our 2 day trip). This book was Laura's diary as she and Manly (husband Almanzo) rode out to Mansfield, Missouri to buy a farm. Traveling through first South Dakota, Nebraska, and parts of Iowa I had to chuckle at the descriptions...it seems not much has changed in those places over 100 years!
**(didn't finish)** The Radium Girls by Kate Moore - This was my book club's read for our early June meeting, and although I had to give it back to the library before being able to finish it before our trip, I got at least 1/3 of the way through. This is a nonfiction story about the women who worked in the factories painting with radium (!!!) for watch faces, and the war effort. Little was known about the new element, and the horrific tragedies these women endured for the next 2-20 years was unbelievable. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this part of US history before. Absolutely fascinating and tragic. I thought the writing itself was rather dry, but the content was well worth it. I plan to finish it but perhaps not soon. I have too many summer reads on hold!
*Keeping Your Kids on God's Side by Natasha Crain - Not a huge fan of the title, the book was excellent as far as talking apologetics with your kids. Crain's is a blog I'm going to subscribe to, and hopefully read her next book, Talking to Your Kids About God. She's a gifted communicator, and breaks down 40 questions kids (and teens and adults) have about Christianity. I appreciate her writing as there is no 'woo-woo' answering, her 3-5 page spreads per question are full of data, fact, notes and an excellent bibliography at the back. Highly recommended as your kids get older if you're wanting to know how to talk to them about Christianity.
*The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie - I love the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, so of course I was going to read Mackenzie's newest book. Now here's where I try to say this in a slightly smaller voice so I can avoid the tomato throwing--this book felt like an oversimplification (although heartfelt!) summary of Jim Trealease's fantastic book, The Read Aloud Handbook, which she quotes in nearly every chapter. If you don't want something academic, but want to be encouraged to 'build your family's culture around books', as her tagline goes, then by all means read The Read-Aloud Family. If you're looking for the data, studies, excellent anecdotes; then skip this one and head for the original published in the early 80s. Still just as relevant today, and has gone through many updated editions. The last chapter--10 questions to ask your kids (teens) was worthwhile and helpful as far as how to get your kids talking about books.
*West from Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder - This was one of the other books I bought at the Ingalls Homestead gift shop--this one Laura's letters home to Almanzo when she was visiting her daughter Rose in San Francisco during the 1915 World Fair. I really enjoyed this one, too! These two are very quick reads--big font and few pages--though they give enough description (and Laura's blunt opinions) to get a real feel for how things looked, happened, etc. If you're an Ingalls fan, both of these books would make excellent companions.
*Creative, Successful Dyslexic by Margaret Rooke - This book was a super quick read about 25 men and women who struggled in school with dyslexia (and very few knew it at the time) and grew up to be very successful in their adult lives. I enjoy Rooke's books because they are by dyslexics, for dyslexics, and although I do not have that specific learning disability, I'm always on the lookout to learn more about it as I believe both of my kids have some severity of the condition.
*Lagom by Niki Brantmark - Ok, I'll admit, this is one of those trendy little Scandinavian books that have come into the limelight right after the Hygge one this past year. I knew what hygge meant, but when I saw the word "Lagom" on the front with the definition in the subtitle "not too little, not too much"... I was much more intrigued. Now, I'm not usually influenced by trends-it took me years and multiple books published before I'd read the first Harry Potter, and I have yet to put Marie Kondo's book on hold, but I did find myself intrigued by this word and specifically, how it relates to what is generally thought of to be a happy bunch of people. This nonfiction book is more of a guide (though I did read it straight through) and I just really enjoyed it. The last third (Lagom as it relates to others) I felt was not as strong as the first two parts of the book, but it gave me a lot to think about as it pertains to my own life. It's still percolating, and so with that, while this book clearly isn't for everyone (neither is decluttering with joy), I fully enjoyed it.
*Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan - This was probably my favorite book of the month. I'd never heard of Corrigan before but heard about this book either in a blog post or a podcast awhile back and immediately pinned it. I saw it on a friend's desk and asked her about it and with her recommendation I quickly put it on hold once back from my trip. Seeing as it was only 200 pages, and the content very interesting to me (subtitle: "Stories about the 12 hardest things I'm learning to say"), it was a fairly easy read. Really excellent writing and worthwhile 'for every human' type of book.
*Down A Sunny Dirt Road by Jan & Stan Berenstain - This is a kid's lit biography that is much more than a picture book (!). The book goes back and forth between Stan's and Jan's life, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the people behind some of my favorite childhood (and my own children's favorite) book series. It's about 200 pages, so it's not a picture book that one would come home expecting to read to their children per se. My children have no interest in me reading this aloud, which is just fine. Sometimes, it's okay to savor children's nostalgia as an adult!