Reading Plans 2017

 

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Just popping in this evening to share my reading plans for the year.

I’m planning on joining in on The Deliberate Reader’s online bookclub. I did this last year. And while I didn’t join in all the discussion (probably closer to 50% of them), I enjoyed it. She picked books that I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up on my own, so it was a nice way to expand my reading.

  • Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
  • Emma by Jane Austen (a re-read)
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (another re-read)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (won’t be reading this one this year as I jumped the gun and read it in December. Really enjoyed it!)
  • True Grit by Charles Portis
  • The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  • Plainsong by Kent Haruf
  • Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino

I’m also participating in Well Read Mom. Doing it solo, although I’d love to be able to join/start? a local group if anyone is interested and reads this, let me know, and we’ll see what we can come up with.

The books remaining for this cycle (it started in September) are…

  • I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
    By Jean C. J. d’Elbée (started this and am moving slowly because I’m finding I just need that much time to digest. So far, I’m loving it.)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Withering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (a re-read, but it’s been a few years)
  • Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (another re-read. have actually been wanting to re-read this since I finished it last time)
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (a re-read, but it’s been… a long time)

So, those are the official reading groups.

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I’m also attempting Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenges…. This will be the third year I’m attempting (I’ve yet to actually complete one). But. I’m determined 😉

My main goal for this challenge is to find books on my shelves that will fit into the categories.

Reading for Fun Challenge…
a book you chose for the cover {didn’t chose one yet}

a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able: Outlander book 4 (blanking on the title)/The Name of the Wind Redwall {haven’t decided yet, maybe all three. I own two of them and the third is on the library hold list}

a book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit: Moloka’i (from above)

a book you’ve already read: Emma 

a juicy memoir: {didn’t pick one… not sure what classifies as “juicy” and also not sure I want to read something with that classification. I enjoy memoirs, so I may just pick something else for this category}

a book about books or reading: The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society {that’s bookish right?}

a book in a genre you usually avoid: True Grit {from the bookclub}

a book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read: Ready Player One {it’s based on video games…. I don’t like video games… but I keep hearing great things about the book…}

a book in the backlist of a new favorite author: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik {author of Uprooted from the bookclub}

a book recommended by someone with great taste: A Man Called Ove

a book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet: Animal Vegetable Mineral {from the bookclub} OR The Little Oratory

a book about a topic or subject you already love: Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory

Reading for Growth Challenge…
a Newbery Award winner or Honor book: Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH {sitting on my shelf, possible read aloud with the kids}

a book in translation: The Little Prince {been wanting to re-read this for a few years now… and it’s short 😉 }

a book that’s more than 600 pages: The Eye of the World {Jared wanted me to read this wholeentireginormousseries last year… I started, but didn’t finish. Going to attempt it.}

a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices {Will be reading for school with the kids, so two birds and all that}

a book of any genre that addresses current events: Hillbilly Elegy {not sure this qualifies for the category, but I wanted to read it and it sorta kinda fits…}

an immigrant story: Funny in Farsi {from the bookclub}

a book published before you were born: St Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox {wanted to attempt a Chesterton, don’t ask me why I chose THIS one}

three books by the same author: C.S. Lewis OR Louise Penny OR JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith {haven’t decided yet}

a book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author: Brown Girl Dreaming {on my list for a while now}

a book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending: ??? {open to suggestions}

a book nominated for an award in 2017: {waiting on this one…}

a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner: Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor. {Maybe by the end I’ll figure out what’s going on… Seriously though, several stories in and still pretty much just baffled.}

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I’m over on Goodreads (just search my name) where I find I’m pretty good about listing the books I read and giving them at least a starred rating if nothing else. So if you want to follow me along over there. I think I might *try* and do a monthly recap on the blog, but no promises.

Off to squeeze in approximately 11 minutes of reading before I fall asleep or Nicki wakes up, whichever comes first!

Library Haul {2}

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I’ve been twice to the library since the last of these posts. And apparently I’m not doing very good at paying attention to my piles of books because I had not one, but TWO books out that didn’t get returned on time (that includes the one I just found today… and the library is closed today…. which I also just found out…. *sigh*….)

Anyways, moving on…

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ABC Dream by Kim Krans
Oh my goodness, gorgeous illustrations. But… it’s an alphabet book, so there’s not *that* much story line, but the pictures, beautiful.

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman
Basically a wordless story about a little boy who’s mom has to leave to go to work, before morning, but eventually gets snowed in and is able to return home and spend the day with him instead. Illustrations are sweet. Personally I find wordless books almost harder to “read”, but the kids really liked looking at the pictures.

This is Our Baby, Born Today by Varsha Bajaj
Sweet story about the beginning of life. (This was one I returned last week, so I’ve already managed to forget… but I think it was of all the animals welcoming baby elephant to the world.)

The Uncorcker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas
About a man who’s job is to uncork all the bottles that wash up on the shore of his particular beach. Love the illustrations.

Why Christmas Trees aren’t Perfect by Dick Schneider

The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola
So, I actually had never read this one before, and we’re big Tomie fans over here. And it pops up in everyone’s list of “must have” Advent/Christmas books. So this year we managed to read it {albeit after the feast day, but, whatever}. I liked it well enough. I think the kids missed the fact that the people playing Mary and Joseph for Las Posadas was THE Mary and Joseph, but it was still cute and they enjoyed it.

The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier
A boy is wanting a true story for his bedtime story, so his mother tells him about the very first Christmas. This is interspersed with his questions and her explanations, which could actually be a good addition to the story. And nicely satisfy a curious child. I only thought it went a little over the kids head.

Lulu’s Birthday by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
The kids are talking with Grandma (Lulu) and trying to come up with a good idea for her birthday party. They think and talk about all the fun things they did over the summer trying to come up with something. A sweet story about Grandma and grandkids and family.

 

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These would have been good if my kids had been a but older. They have to do with math, measuring, and Roman Numerals. They weren’t any of them stories per se, but they presented the concepts in a visual way that I think would work better for kids *slightly older* than mine

How tall, How Short, How Far Away by David A. Adler

How Long or How Wide? a Measuring Guide by Brian P. Cleary

Fun With Roman Numerals by David A. Adler

Also on the return pile:
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor (again… in English this time) and a handful of Disney storybooks and random other twaddle-type books that I try to return as soon as possible. 😉

 

Library Haul

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Apparently there’s a link up, where you list out your “library haul” for the week. I think I tried to do this a few years ago, but I never got past doing it the first time. I feel like I should be blogging something, but I’m not really sure what exactly, so books it is for the moment. {Also, I went looking for said linkup and couldn’t find an active one, so maybe they’re taking a break for the season? No matter, I’ll just do this on my own, I’m good with that.}

Note this is what I picked up last week. I figure, now that we’ve spent a week reading them, I could give my “yay” or “nay” for the book. Also to be noted, I stopped by the library again this afternoon while I was out running errands and picked up yet another pile. While checking out that pile, the librarian noticed the illustrations of one of the books which prompted me to confess that “yes, that’s the reason I have too many books”, to which he of course replied that “there’s no such thing”. I rephrased and said I just didn’t have enough bookshelves. Hence my weekly piles of books from the library 🙂

Anyways…

I should probably just be honest and say that I started this post a few weeks ago (you know, all the stuff above…) So now, I returned some of the pile today and am thinking it may be easier for my brain dumping to list the books I return.
Also, I noticed while going through the books, I’m not going to bother mentioning the ones I didn’t particularly like.
Oh, also, these posts (should I actually make more of them in the future) will probably be mostly kids books/picture books, so if that’s not your thing then feel free to pass.
Last thing, promise, I didn’t think to take many any pictures so this is straight up list for you all. Falls into the category of: not-what-you-expect from my blog. 🙂

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
Mr Moose goes looking for a turkey for thanksgiving. Cute.

Gracias, the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley
An annual favorite. A boy is sent a gift of a turkey so he can fatten him up for thanksgiving… but… they end up friends (and being blessed by the priest after wandering into Mass).

Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant
Super cute. And so totally relatable for mama’s of littles in the winter. All the things to get ready to go outdoors, just to be out for a few (pages) then back in to undress because it’s cold :). Lovely illustrations too.

Nancy la Elegante {Fancy Nancy in Spanish} by Jane O’Connor
Well, we’re big Fancy Nancy fans over here, Kat picked this one up a few weeks ago because she insisted she could read it….

The Lost House by B.B. Cronin
A seek-and-find type book. Grandpa has decided to take his grandkids out to the park, but first he needs to find a few things. Every page is a different color. And just a little ridiculous. But fun 🙂

Sarah Laughs by Jacqueline Jules
The story of Sarah from the Bible. Picked it up as part of our Jesse Tree in Picture Books that I’m attempting this year. (I’ve managed to collect about half of the books, but a few I didn’t get, yet, so yay library!) I really liked this story. It was very sweet.

Tricking the Tallyman by Jacqueline Davies
Picked up to read with this Advent morning time routine.{Side note about the routine: it’s set up for three weeks worth of very simple activities, so you could probably still get it now and use a good portion of it before Christmas}. Liked well enough, not super exciting, but it was good for telling about censuses. This particular one was about the census of 1790 here in the US.

The Nativity by Julie Vivas
I really liked this retelling of the Nativity Story. The text is basically a simplified retelling straight from the Bible, but the illustrations are great! (Also picked it up on the recommendation of the Advent morning time thing mentioned above.) This is my first experience with her work, and will definitely be keeping an eye out for more.

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope 
This was a comic-book type book that someone picked up. I didn’t read it (personally, I can’t stand to read comic books out loud), but the kids enjoyed looking through it.

20161205_114907-2The disaster-zone that prompted me to have that earlier conversation with my librarian about maybe, just maybe we have “too many books”.

Book Review: Spider’s Gift: A Christmas Story

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I know! Three months until Christmas and already I’m going to start talking about Christmas books. Because you all know I totally have a soft spot for children’s Christmas books. Actually, it’s pretty much an addiction, but… that’s another blog post 😉

Spider’s Gift: A Christmas Story by Geraldine Ann Marshall and illustrated by Rebecca Sorge was an absolutely beautiful story. As much as I love picture books (Christmas ones even more so), I rarely will have pieces of the story keep popping into my head for weeks after I read it. Not so with this story.

It’s set in the stable and tells the Nativity story from the vantage point of three friends; a cricket, a honeybee, and a spider. Each is contemplating a gift they will give to the new baby, but Spider can’t think of anything.

Then she hears one of the wise men say:

God can make miracles when gifts are given with love.

An opportunity presents itself, and Spider is able to use the only gift she can think of, her ordinary web, as a gift to save the newborn Baby Jesus.

A bit fanciful? Maybe. But I think the message it tells is solid. We are able to give our ordinary everyday gifts to Jesus and he can in turn use them to bring about miracles. And that the message I keep find floating around in my head, even weeks after I’ve read this book.

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I received this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Yarn Along and Tidbits

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Found this Star Wars blanket on Pinterest. Decided to be ambitious and make it for Johny for his birthday at the end of September. Jared {only half joking} asked me which year I was planning to give it to him.

But, hey. One square almost done, so only twenty-three more to go. Plus joining. Plus the border…


Reading
:

Not lately, but thought I’d go back and try to at least jot down a {very} few thoughts for things I’ve read in the past few months. {These books I finished reading in April}

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Heart wrenching, haunting WWII novel. I enjoyed it.

In This House of Brede by Rummer Godden
First book to make me have actual tears running down my face in a long, LONG time!

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbit
Read aloud with the kids. I’ll be honest, at many parts in the is book I was like “where are we going…?” But, I kept on to the end. And oh my goodness. They get to the water, and it’s just beautiful and points towards Jesus as being what we most want and are seeking, even if we think we’re looking for something else.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Sometimes just need a good sci-fi book to read. I loved the writing style of the book, and that it was science-y while still being accessible to a lay scientist 🙂

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{Other tidbits from the past week or so}

Cooking: Whatever I can scrounge up in the fridge. We’re still eating off the leftovers from the cookout we had on Saturday. Tomorrow we’re planning on a meal out with Jared’s brother, and I still have a package of pork chops in the freezer.

Really, the truth? I’m procrastinating going to the grocery store. I think I can make it till Thursday, or maybe even Friday… If only the kids didn’t need their milk in the mornings…

Wanting: Maybe one extra hour in the day to read the enormous amount of books I want to read? And another hour or two to tackle all the projects that I’d like to get to?

Loving: That Nicholas is sleeping 10-12 hours a night!!!!!!! And AirConditioners.

IG account you all should go enjoy:

My brother’s:. @mattiesandchezLovely Tidbits

I know, I know, I already shared it earlier this week (last week?) on Instagram, but…. he needs {another} older sister shoutout.

Thinking:

I came across this photo earlier today, and shared it on FB. It’s from my brother- and sister-in-law’s wedding last year

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One of my aunts commented

Su amor de esposos es el mejor regalo para sus hijos.

And, I don’t know why, maybe because it was in Spanish and I had to actually think hard about what it said so I could understand it, but it was just so special to see *that* comment on *this* picture because I forget it sometimes.
Translation: Your love between husband and wife is the best gift for your children {or something to that extent – I’m bad at translations}

Working On:

My pile of books.