Hi Reading Friends– I have one question for you — What are you reading?? Do you have some recommendations? I’d love to hear them! Always looking for worthwhile books to track down and read.
And for you readers:
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ―
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” ―
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ―
I’ve been reading a piles of books lately. Mostly reading snuggled up against a toddler, who has definite literary tastes. And also some a few books of my own that have been worthwhile. Here’s a few of our favorites:
There’s been multiple readings of The Lady with the Alligator Purse every day around here. It’s a sing-along book about a baby who drinks up all the bathwater and eats up all the soap, resulting in visits from the doctor, nurse and, or course, the Lady with the Alligator Purse, who saves the day! Nadine Westcott has added her lively lovely illustrations to a whole string of children’s songs in books like Miss Mary Mack and Down By the Bay. All books you’ll read/sing again and again.
Hug by Jez Alborough is also on high demand here. A baby monkey sees an elephant mom & child giving hugs and it sets him on a search for his own big hug. Along the way he finds other jungle animals hugging and is about to despair when his Mom appears with– you guessed it– an enormous hug! Few words, just illustrations tell the story. Was fun to talk though and the bonus was big hugs from my reading buddy!
Go Dog Go is a classic by P. D. Eastman (but in the Dr. Seuss collection). It’s just a series of observations about dogs doing crazy things, in the simplest vocabulary and happy illustrations. That’s why it’s great reading with a toddler and also a wonderful first book for a kindergartner to take on reading on his own. It’s silly and whimsical and ends with a big dog party!! Any kid who likes dogs, will like this book.
The Monster At The End of This Book by Jon Stone is the best! Good old Grover notices from the title that there is a monster at the end of the book. He spends that next several pages trying to stop you from turning pages so that you will not get to the monster at the end. It’s funny and interactive and happily (spoiler alert!) the monster at the end is just him–lovable Grover. I recommend this book be read with that grumbly Grover voice for best effect!! Lois and I love it– with her stuffed Grover sitting on her lap!
Here’s my reading buddy Little Lois and I reading at the library after Toddler Story Time.
And happily, I’ve had some time to read books that are not heavily illustrated, aimed at a little more mature audience.
One of those books that sticks with you long after you’ve turned the last page, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover is a riveting story. Westover grew up in a large survivalist family near he mountains of Idaho. Her rigid father ran a junkyard on their land, her mother a mid-wife and herbal healer. Over the years family members suffered gashes, burns, concussions and were just treated at home, the medical world distrusted. As well, the children did not attend schools and were cut off from the wide world. Tara suffered from an abusive brother and parents who would not protect her. When one of Westover’s brothers goes to college, he encourages her to do it as well. She teaches herself enough to take the ACT and eventually goes/graduates from Brigham Young University–hearing for the first time of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. She continues on to study at Harvard and to earn her PhD from Cambridge. But through these years she constantly struggles over her relationship with her family, with loyalties and the fears of her childhood at play. A fascinating crazy true story about the ties of family and the power of education.
Eleanor Oliphant is a quirky socially awkward young woman whose days are filled with office work and nights and weekends are spent alone, consuming frozen pizza and vodka. She makes the acquaintance of Raymond, the IT guy at her work and he gradually becomes the friend she needs. As you read along, the story of Eleanor’s disturbing childhood becomes apparent. Raymond’s dogged friendship see’s her through her darkest hours. Enjoyed this story for the interesting characters that I fell in love with by the end of the book–faithful kind hearted Raymond and courageous Eleanor.
Kate Bowler is a professor Duke Divinity School. At 35 she has a wonderful husband and a small new son– and is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. She realizes how much she believed she could control her own life circumstances — that things did happen for a reason. What results is her journey through involved treatments, surrounded by family and friends. Her honest, vivid, sometimes funny account is Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Her truths about how to live when death is a near possibility are heartening and ring true.”
And I’ve saved the best for last. I have to admit to being a huge fan of Shannan Martin, first on her blog and now her Instagram posts that are sweet, funny, honest and open my eyes to the world of need around me. So when there was an offer to receive an advance copy of her latest book, The Ministry of Ordinary Places, I jumped at the chance! Shannan tells stories– of people in her neighborhood and how strangers became friends. She writes about digging in deep with the people around us, about being intrepid in how we love people, about sticking around for the long haul. My copy is dog eared right and left– and I’m ready to go in and read it for a second time to collect all the thoughts I need to remember for my own care taking of people I love. Loved every well crafted page of this amazing book. You can find Shannan’s Instagram meditations/warm hearted stories at “Shannanwrites.” And her book is due out October 9th.
Here’s an excerpt of her writing:
“I’m on a journey toward understanding that my highest calling is to be a woman who loves my neighbor more than I love myself. I’m not very awesome at this yet, but each day is a new opportunity for growth, for guts, for compassion, and for open hands.”
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” — Jane Austen from Pride and Prejudice
P.S. Painting at the top is “Great Chapter” by Nancy Chaboun (1954-)
Painitng at the bottom is “Girl Reading” by Edmund Tarbell (1862-1938)