Ani and I reading a giant comic book at the MOHAI about the uses of technology
September was a great book reading month, though I really really wanted to finish the final Harry Potter book, but alas, we're not even half way through it yet. I have one book club pick left this calendar year that I have yet to read, but reading 2 early was really helpful for me-so I could sort of 'get them out of the way' (even though I really liked them!) and go back to my own picks. I hope to do that in the Spring, as well, and not wait and read them in the month we meet. The two I finished this month were excellent picks, so that helped as well. Looking ahead to my calendar I think I'll have a decently slower-paced Fall than I did last year. The kids have a lot of lessons early on (late September through October) but our evenings are very free October-December; which I'm thankful for.
Educated by Tara Westover - Ok friends, if you never pick of any my recommendations from these monthly posts, pick this one up! It's an incredible true story of growing up in poverty somewhat off the grid, with a powerful bi-polar parent while also being Mormon fundamentalists and it is fascinating. Westover has a story similar to The Glass Castle. Her main focus is education and and grit from her childhood propels her forward. It's a memoir, but it reads like fiction (and honestly, some of it is crazy enough to be made up) and you just want her to succeed so badly. The hype was right.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - This was a book club pick that I read very quickly. It's a story about two characters, Roy and Celestial that marry and then go through something they never thought would happen to them-Roy is accused of a crime he didn't commit (that isn't a spoiler). The two of them have to work out a marriage while the other is incarcerated, and what happens inside and outside of jail will change their marriage and their future. It was a solid good and I enjoyed it, and it was an easy read. I thought it was a bit predictable but that didn't take away the enjoyment I got from it.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie- This tiny little 50ish page book is based on Adichie's TED talk of the same title. I read this book on the road down to Seattle, and I was fascinated to hear more about decisions that labeled her a feminist in Adichie's childhood through present day, and the cultural context of feminism in North American and also her homeland, Nigeria.
A Higher Loyalty by James Comey - A friend let me borrow her copy and although it took a long time to read because I was getting those book club picks done, I was really glad I picked this up. I knew very little of Comey's history as a lawyer, US Attorney for NY, and then Director of the FBI, but I do remember him being fired--and not even really knowing until it was national attention!--and wanted to hear the backstory. This is his story of how all of those things happened, what the day-to-day looked like in those jobs, a bit about his family life, and a lot between the Obama and Trump presidencies. I found it fascinating. He's an excellent communicator and so the book read well and wasn't stiff like I expected it to be.
Parenting Your Powerful Child by Dr. Kevin Leman - I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, practical teaching about something you're struggling with is helpful, but what if you're already doing all the practical advice given, and the guy just kinda' sounds like a jerk in real life? Those are my takeaways from reading this book. Yes, the power struggles are real in the Mast household, at times too real for joking about, but I've never been anything if not consistent with discipline, affectionate anyway, and also have realistic expectations of both myself and others. Reading this book sort of made me wonder if Dr Leman even likes kids! (he's a child psychologist) He has name-calling throughout the book, and it sets a weird tone. Like any book, I took the nuggets I wanted to, and will leave the rest behind.
Canadian Geographic: Indigenous Traditions etc. (issue July/August 2018) - So, yes, I'm putting in an issue of a magazine because I read it cover to cover, and I loved it. This is my new favorite magazine because it is beautiful (Canada really is so beautiful) and all the articles are focused on the environment, culture, history, and the people. It might be a total dork thing to admit but who am I kidding? I grew up reading the original-National Geographic- from a very young age. This only further cements me into a nerd and I'm here for it. This specific issue had topics ranging from indigenous traditions at the Calgary stampede, Riefel Bird Sanctuary and the Fraser River delta (been there!), Port Moody harbour (been there, too!), and "Kleines Kanada" or Small Canada-a pocket in Germany that has many Canadian ties from the Cold War era.
Read Aloud to My Kids
The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and Its Amazing People by Kate Power and Kathy Iwanczak Forsyth- This fun little book came to me via the Dyslexia Quest Podcast with Elisheva Schwartz. I love this podcast and find the interviews really well done and interesting. One, maybe two of my children have dyslexia and so I'm always researching and learning about anything related to it--and how I can better educate them. I read this book on my own first and then read it to them. They found it really engaging because the pictures are funny and quirky. There are very few sentences per page but in the second half of the book, one can tick boxes of 'stymptoms' that dyslexics have to see where they fall. Both my kids were interested in doing this activity. It panned out about how I thought it would!