In honor of my little dude's last day of Kindergarten today, I thought it would be fun to share some of the books I've been reading with him. What a great stage this is! I love watching his face when he sounds out a new word or reads an old one seamlessly.
Here are a few books about Thoreau that I ordered from the library after our visit to Walden Pond.
I'm not a huge lake person but Walden is a special place. HDT really knew what he was talking about.
My son, his best friend, and his cousins loved hearing the stories about Henry and his cabin that day. There's some great messages in these books about loving nature and enjoying the simple things in life.
We've also started reading chapter books. Mostly, we are still reading these to Fred instead of vice versa, but I think it's a great step that he is able to focus on books with more words and less pictures. That strategy of learning to make pictures in your mind is so critical to long-term reading success.
For early readers, it is ALL about the Magic Tree House series. I have to give huge props to Fred's Kindergarten teacher for introducing the kids to the series this year. They've read about four in class which has gotten them hooked. When I was helping out with the library, the kids would flock to the MTH section and be on the verge of fighting over the ones they wanted. Seeing kids get excited about books gives me hope for our world.
Little does Fred know that he's getting numbers 5-8 as a special gift today after school. As a reader myself, I'm really excited to see him start to fall in love with books like I have.
That's what my family is reading this week. What about you? Any great recommendations for books for early readers?
I've got two new books to share this week on the blog. First up, my fiction selection for this week is The Strangled Vine by M.J. Carter. This is one that I grabbed off the shelf at my local library on a whim. It's set in 19th-century India and the reviews promise a killer ending, probably literally. It's holding my interest with a sort-of unlikeable main character who I'm half rooting for and half rooting against.
My second book this week is Riane Eisler's The Chalice and the Blade. I found this at Barnes & Noble last week while I was looking for another book. I bought both. Oops!
I'm really excited about this book because I have a feeling it's going to change the way that I see the world. I'm only about a chapter in so far, but Eisler's argument is that the idea of society as inherently violent is bogus. She argues that we can and should return to (because we once lived like this) a more peaceful coexistence based on cooperation instead of violence. It sounds like a plan to me. I'm just starting to read and research for the next manuscript I plan to work on in the fall so if anyone has any recommendations for books that touch on the sociology of religion, freedom versus responsibility, or paradigms of connectivity and attachment, send them my way!
What are you reading this week? Send any great recs my way!
Happy hump day.
I've been stumbling on some great reads lately. This week I finished two books and continued a third. First up, The Dinner by Herman Koch.
I've heard a lot about this book AND Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl, wrote a blurb for it. This is definitely a page turner; I finished it in a couple of days. It's also unlike anything I've ever read before. What's really interesting is that the main story takes place over one dinner, which I thought was really clever.
I will warn you that I recognize this book as an acquired taste. A friend of mine (hi Sue) said this about The Dinner:
"I did NOT like that book."
I'm not sure like is the best word to describe how I feel about it either. I think I'll say that I appreciated it. You know when you read a book and it's so good that you can't put it down but at the same time, you don't want it to end? This book wasn't like that. I did want it to end because I wanted to find out what happened but I'm not sure how much I was enjoying the experience of reading it. There's a really dark, twisted story in these pages that is unsettling at best and completely disturbing at worst. If you read it, let me know your opinion. I'm curious.
I had better luck with Jennifer McMahon's The Winter People. This is a straight-up spooky ghost story. I'm glad I read this in the spring because if I'd read it in winter I think I would've been afraid to go outside. It's about how far we'd go to bring back a lost loved one. I finished it in a few days. Definite page-turner and very well-written. There was one plot point that bugged me so I couldn't give it five stars but it's a strong four.
Last but not least, I'm still reading Gabrielle Bernstein's Spirit Junkie. This week I'm reflecting on relationships. Gabby, and the Course in Miracles she teaches with, contend that all relationships are assignments. People arrive in our lives to teach us something we need to learn.
This is a tough one. I could feel my egoic mind pounce as soon as I read those words.
"THAT person wasn't sent to teach ME anything. They're just a jerk/moron/pain in the ***."
My reaction reminds me of this Pema Chodron quote:
So this week, I'm reflecting on the lessons that might have been put in my path through my relationships with others. Can I stay open to the lesson with passing judgment?
What do you think? Are relationships lessons or are they totally random?
Happy reading and Happy Hump Day!
Wednesday already?! How did that happen? Anyone else feeling like Titus? What? You haven't watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix? Go. Go now. Drop everything.
In the face of that feeling, this has been my mantra this week:
Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I remind myself to just let go. Sometimes I'll say, "This is as good as it gets." There's no alternate reality where my dog is well-behaved or where people don't get head colds or where the dishes do themselves. This is our beautiful, imperfect world. Might as well enjoy the ride.
Now on to my Wednesday reads!
I'm still reading Gabby Bernstein's Spirit Junkie. I take my time with books like this because I'll often want to stop for a few days to reflect on the lessons I've just learned. The chapter I'm in now has really got me thinking. It's about the "F" word: forgiveness.
One of Gabby's main points is that when we hold on to anger and resentment, we are hurting ourselves. Forgiveness frees us. But easier said than done, which is why I'm taking my time and processing this chapter to look for places within myself that I might still be harboring resentment or tending to old wounds. Letting go of our hurt is hard because it strikes right at our pride. Plus, we've often built habits around our resentment, so that it starts to feel like who we are instead of something we've attached to, like our childhood blankie. But it's not who we are. We can let go. A bunch of adults walking around with blankies would look pretty weird, right?! Wait...
Confession time. I quit one of my reads from last week, Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See. Quitting a Pulitzer Prize winner is a particular kind of shame, but we all have our crosses to bear. Plus since I'm practicing forgiveness this week, I can forgive myself. Phew. If you'd like to read some of my thoughts on quitting books, check out one of my prior pieces HERE.
Why did I quit? I felt like I was eating in a 5-star restaurant when I was in the mood for pizza and fries. The book was so well-written, like word art. But today, on this day in my life, I have a lot of intellectual and creative endeavors on my plate and I don't want or need word art, I want a book that grabs me and won't let go. Like this book:
You may know Gillian Flynn's name because she's the author of Gone Girl, which is the gold-standard in psychological suspense, the genre I'm in the mood for right now. I finished Sharp Objects in about a day. Smart and sharp, really.
Which got me thinking, I need more books like this in my life. I did a search on a website that has served me well in the past: What Should I Read Next? and it directed me to these. They all look like great summer reads for those of you who want to get lost in a book. And Gillian Flynn even wrote a blurb for one! I think I'm on the right track. Have you read any of these? Where should I start?!
Happy reading and happy hump day!
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