Thursday, November 8, 2012

What We've Been Reading: The Past Little While (November 2012)

Here are some highlights of what we have been reading the last little while:

The Boy:

We've actually been reading Shadow Knight, a novel that he is writing. I've been reading some writing books like the one above this to give him ideas and challenges to incorporate into his writing.

Dancegirl and I are reading Divergent by Veronica Roth. I read it several months ago for a neighborhood book club and quite enjoyed it. She wanted to read it because many of her friends had read it. The heroine eventually falls in love with another main character, and they have sex, (Although if you weren't paying attention, you might miss it, it jumps from kissing to waking up in the morning) I decided rather than forbid her from reading it (and create an opportunity for a fight, which seems all to easy to do these days), or risk having her sneak reading it, we would read it together and could talk about what happens in the book openly.

Cupcake and I are reading Newbery winner The Giver by Lois Lowry. Dancegirl is assigned to read it for homeschool English as a companion to Divergent when we talk about dystopian novels and government, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. Excellent writing. Not Cupcakes usual genre choice, but she is enjoying it. It's a short novel and moves quickly, and I think that helps. We just finished reading The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (fun and adventuresome, and really intense at times. A great 5:30 in the morning read.)

Coconut and I recently finished the first book in the Elsewhere series, The Shadows, by Jacqueline West. This was an suspenseful and adventurous book. A perfect fit for a nine year old thrill junkie. Lots of action and suspense and paintings to appeal to my little artist. My children adore fantasy books, so I'm trying to balance reading what they love with  to exposing them to other genres, while still keeping early morning read aloud appealing. We have a deal, and we read something realistic in between our fantasy books. Coconut and I started reading Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter just yesterday. It may seem weird, but as I was praying about my children, reading this book with her came clearly into my mind. It's not a book that was on my list of potential reads with her. I haven't read it before, but I did greatly enjoy the movie as a child. She is not the most excited about reading it, but I'm bound and determined to make it through! I don't think that she has ever seen the movie so the story is quite new to her. As I said, I really liked the movie.  I even had a yellow Gunny Sax dress that I loved to wear because I thought it looked like a Pollyanna dress. I think she and I will have a movie date and watch it when we finish.

Lala loves to read with me. Which works great most of the time, but sometimes works against her. With the older children if I don't read to them in the mornings before the day begins, I've for the most part lost my opportunity for one on one read aloud. Sometimes they will let me read to them later in the day, but usually if I haven't snagged them while they are still in bed or eating breakfast, I have missed out the chance to read together that day. Lala will let me read to her any time, any place, any book. So, I sometimes let her morning reading time slip by (in an effort to keep up with the morning schedule), knowing that she will allow me to read to her later. But, then sometimes the entire day goes by and we have missed the chance for one on one reading. OUCH! We are currently reading Unlocking the Spell by E.D. Baker, but sometimes (especially if we can't find the book) we will read a Betsy Tacy chapter from the iPad. We are also reading Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin. We go back and forth between both books, sometimes reading a chapter of each in one day, sometimes only reading from one of them. She likes to read before she starts violin practice, and it helps her to practice with a happy heart if we've had some good reading and snuggling before we begin. Additionally, she is still reading The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin aloud to me. With her magic voice, sometimes I don't even make it through an entire page before I'm snoozing. She calls it her super power. We are close to the end, and she keeps talking about things that happened in the book that I don't remember, so I'm going to have to go back and read it on my own, without the melodious six year old voice lulling me to sleep.

We all just finished reading/listening to the False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen, and were fortunate enough to hear her speak at a library author visit sponsored by CLAU this week. The False Prince is a great book that appealed to all of my children, ages six to sixteen, so watch for it in it's own post. Cupcake is also celebrating it next month at a book club party.

Daddy right now is reading Nanny Piggins and the Runaway by R.A. Spratt. It's our contraband book. You can't buy it if you have an American address . . . we had a friend go to Australia several weeks ago and buy the next several Nanny Piggins books. Daddy reads them on the evenings when he doesn't have to work. I love to see all of the girls piled on top of each other (like puppies) hear them giggling while Daddy reads them stories of chocolate, pirates, pigs, adventure, dancing bears, pies, and leg biting. The Adventures of Nanny Piggins and Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan are available in the United States.

For my own book clubs, I'm reading the Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly and The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. I don't know how it all converged in one month, but I"m also leading the discussion for each of these books in November. (They had been scheduled to happen during different months. Oh well.) I picked a Northern Light because I loved it, and because I read it earlier this year. (If I was more tech savvy, I'd put a link to my review here, but I don't know how to do that!)  I picked the Robe because it had been on my list of books to read for years, and so I was making myself read it. I read it aloud to Cupcake for awhile, but she wanted to stop once we were halfway through the book, so I'm reading it on my own now. The Fourth Turning is a re-read, and I took detailed notes and annotated much in the margins the other times I have read it, so it won't be as demanding this time around. Whew! I'm also plugging through Les Miserables in anticipation of a book club early next year (I try to read it during D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) during school hours . . . mostly on Saturday) And I'm listening to Sense and Sensibility on my phone. I love the annotated Sense and Sensibility, and find myself looking up things all the time to explain what a certain kind of vehicle is or what is the legality behind the convoluted estate laws Jane Austen discusses. 

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