Archive for February, 2007

Read To Me Update

I’m feeling good about my “Read to Me” goals. Maybe it is because T has a cold and is slightly less active than usual, or maybe (and I like to think this is it!) it’s because I’ve been reading to T almost every day since his birth, but his attention span is getting longer. Both Sunday and yesterday we read for a good 20 minutes without stopping. We re-read the same favorites over and over. I usually read each book twice before I go onto the next one. Sunday we had a long read before supper, and yesterday we had a long read in the morning.

My husband has been doing well with the reading, too. This afternoon I got an hour of “Kate time,” and he watched the baby. When I came home, he said they had read several books together. Woo hoo!


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Two Very Different Books

How funny. In the last 10 days or so, I finished two of the most completely different books I can possibly imagine. First, I read Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow. Here Be Monsters is the first in “The Ratbridge Chronicles.” While it wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped it would be (like everyone, I’ve been spoiled by Roald Dahl), I’m confident that kids will absolutely love it. It has illustrations on almost every page, and the situations are completely ridiculous. Cheese hunts. Pirates who wear boxes to look like “boxtrolls.” Rabbit women. Cr-azy. I liked the characters, though, especially Willbury, a retired lawyer who rescues some vulnerable creatures, like boxtrolls, cabbageheads, and even our hero, Arthur. And, though the plot is completely asinine, I was very interested in how it would all turn out. Bottom line: I doubt if I’ll read the next Ratbridge Chronicles book myself, but I will definitely recommend them to kids. I hope to enjoy Here Be Monsters with my son in later years.

And now for something completely different. After Here Be Monsters, I read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I’ve wanted to read Lolita for years now. I always hear that Sting song (Is it called “Don’t Stand So Close to Me?”) with the lyric “Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov.” I heard somewhere that Sting used to be an English teacher, which I think is incredibly fantastic. Anyway, I read Lolita. And I love it! It’s a beautifully written book. I’m fascinated, too, by its time period. I love the descriptions of traveling through America in the late 1940s and all the slang of the time, like “she’s a swell kid.” Of course we all know what Lolita is about, and, yes, it is unpleasant. Humbert Humbert, who tells the story, is not a likeable person. But the writing! I was willing to “spend time” with a pedophilic narrator just to listen to his words. This book inspires me to read more Nabokov and read more works published in the 1950s.

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Baseball Reading Project

tf-1158.gifI know, I know. I already have an absurd amount of books, and now I’m going to get more. But these have a theme. Inspired by this post at The Miss Rumphius Effect I’m beginning a “Baseball Reading Project.”

You see, my husband loves baseball. He grew up listening to baseball on the radio, and that led to a lifelong love affair. He is a history teacher and even devotes one day to “the history of baseball” in his class. A couple of summers ago, he, my brother, and I went to a San Diego Padres game, and I spent the entire time reading my book. But enough of that! I’m changing my ways! I told my husband just this weekend that I’m going to learn about baseball–because I love him. I said, “Then we can talk baseball together.”

The next day I saw Tricia’s post and a light went on above my head. “Hey!” I thought. “I’ll read about baseball! That’ll get me in the mood!” For me, the best way to get interested in something is to read about it. Several years ago I read Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella, and I loved it! And that was way before I committed myself to learning about baseball. I could be wrong (because I really don’t know much about baseball . . . yet), but I think Opening Day this year is April 1. So . . . between now and April 1, I plan to read these five books:

The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W.P. Kinsella
The Natural by Bernard Malamud
The Summer Game by Roger Angell
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
Heat by Mike Lupica

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Birthday Books

These are my recent “treat yourself, it’s your birthday” book buys:

Me, 29

Originally uploaded by pierson_katherine.

All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins
Zen Shorts by Jon J Muth
Black Juice by Margo Lanagan
An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long (Cybils)
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts (Cybils)
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Cybils)
Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
Adam Bede by George Eliot

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Hooray for the Cybils!


I’m sure most of this blog’s readers already know about the Cybils. But I’ll put in another plug. For those of you who don’t know, the Cybils are sort of a cross between the Newberys and the Quills. They are chosen by a group of bloggers who are huge children’s literature enthusiasts and attempt to honor books that have literary merit and are immensely readable and will be liked by kids.

Part of me wishes that I had joined the brave group of volunteers who read and read and read and, over a period of months, narrowed the books down to shortlists in various categories. But, I just don’t have the time these days. Wah. But anyway, yesterday was the big day. This year’s Cybils winners were announced!

Find the list of winners here. And, as Jen Robinson put so well, go out and buy some of these books! Now, that’s my kind of request! I already own A Drowned Maiden’s Hair (love ya, Maud!) and Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (fantastically beautiful!). And I’m off to get more on amazon!

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Dandelion Wine, Update

It’s official. I love Dandelion Wine. I squeezed it into every spare moment until I finished it, and now I’m still thinking about it. Fans of “This Just In” know that I live in Arizona, where it’s pretty much summer to varying degrees all year ’round. For a lot of reasons, I love the weather here. No driving in snow, no electrified “winter” hair, no scraping my windshield on freezing mornings. But, I do miss the seasons, and Dandelion Wine made me pine for my hometown up North, where summer really is the most magical time of year. I love the idea of the Dandelion Wine itself–bits of June, July, and August bottled up for remembering in winter.

I fell in love with Dandelion Wine on page two with the words “baseballs sponged deep in wet lawns.” Wow, just wow. I read more and more and loved the book more and more. My all time favorite chapter, though, is the one about old Helen Loomis and young Bill Forrester. I read that at the bookstore, while my little boy played beside me, and I thought to myself: “Can life get any better? The little guy playing here, and me reading this beautiful part of Dandelion Wine.”

Just why do I love this book? Well, because of: the writing, Doug and Tom, the old people, the deliciously scared feeling “The Lonely One” gave me, the dandelion wine, Green Town, ice cream, and 1928.

I’ll say no more for now. But I have two recently purchased Ray Bradburys waiting for me to read them soon. I can’t wait!

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New Goals for an Older Me

First things first. Today is my birthday! I know I’ll be treating myself to some birthday book purchases sometime soon. This morning T and I read Touch and Feel Birthday–TWICE. I told him several times, “Today is Mommy’s birthday!” But he didn’t seem to get it. Ah well.

Meanwhile, via this post at Jen Robinson’s Book Page, I learned that Jennifer at Snapshot has started a groovy book challenge where we challengees can set goals for reading to our kids. My kid is still a baby, and, like him, my goals are small:

–Read to T for at least 30 minutes each day–especially taking advantage of the morning. He and I are both very mellow in the morning, and for some reason, I haven’t been using that time to read to him much. Morning reading will be good for both of us.

–Read at least one story to him each time we go to Barnes and Noble. I’ve mentioned here before that we go to the bookstore all the time. Usually I read a book or magazine myself. But now I’ll sqeeze in at least one story for T.

–Involve my husband in our reading time at least twice a week. Male role models for reading–need I say more?

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