Monday, May 15, 2017

What We're Reading :: May

Usually I break down our currently-reading list by each member of the family, but today's going to be a bit of a mish-mash because I have lots of new books to catch up on!  Starting off with me...

Evelyn Waugh's Helena (mix historical fiction with biography with mythology and a good dose of British humor from the early 19th century and you've got this odd little book!)
Shelley's Frankenstein (just started for my local book club...and I need to have it done by tomorrow!)
Volume 2 and Volume 3 (for various Charlotte Mason study groups)
Stegner's Angle of Repose (not very far in this because other books keep pressing in)
Norms and Nobility (woefully behind the AO reading group but not giving up!)

These two just came in the mail for me as a Mother's Day present...bought by me, for me, because my husband isn't quite that tuned in to my TBR pile but indulges me when I'm wanting to indulge myself. ;)

First up are the Easter books...

Vincent: The American Boy's Handy Book and Butterworth's The Enormous Egg
Gianna: The American Girl's Handy Book and Seven Little Australians
Cate: Helen Oxenbury's Nursery Collection and The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
Xavier: Richard Scarry's Best Story Book Ever and Mayer's The Adventures of Tom Thumb
Bridget: Le Mair's Little Songs of Long Ago and Tasha Tudor's Give Us This Day
Clara: Ryder and Cherry's Chipmunk Song and Richard Scarry's Animal Nursery Tales
Baby Boys: more of the Winnie-the-Pooh individual chapters in miniature that my kids adore

Next: a stack of Billy and Blaze for Xavier's birthday the following week! I found these for sale at the library for $1 each, which I was pretty excited about.

After term exams, I always pull together a pile of relevant books from my hidden book stash to give my kids as a celebration.  Here are what I found there that related to this school year's studies:

Pyle's Pepper and Salt (we read Pyle's The Wonder Clock for our Form I rotation, so this will go straight into our summer Morning Basket!)
Bulla's White Bird (reminded me of Silverspot)
a few from The Thirteen Moons series by George: The Moon of the Deer, The Moon of the Chickarees, The Moon of the Wild Pigs (tie in with the Burgess Animal Book -- a big Year 2 favorite)
another for our Smithsonian collection: Woodchuck at Blackberry Road (ditto)
Arnosky's I See Animals Hiding (another ditto!)
The American Heritage Songbook (I always manage to include a book of folk songs to add to our collection)
The Amazing Impossible Erie Canal (on all of our century charts)
The Visual Dictionary of Plants (we have been dipping into botany just a bit)
Terhune's Buff: a Collie and Bruce (Terhune's Lad was on the free read list)
a lovely collection of Whittier poems (Gianna requested a hard-copy since I read from the tablet all term)
HE Marshall's Kings and Things (a fun companion to Our Island Story)

And this stack of coloring and line drawing reference books from Dover and from Bellerophon -- I am able to order these from my charter school funds, so whenever I see books that will tie in, I grab them!

In the Mail:

And a random collection of other recent finds that are now on shelves and tables here and there:

Birds of North America (this is one we don't have, but is the perfect size to tuck in our bag)
another larger-format hardcover Golden Guide for our collection -- this time, Zoology (mine is a different edition)
Enright's Then There Were Five (upgraded to hardcover!)
Guerber's The Story of the Romans (for Year 6)
Saints and Angels (with illustrations from the Masters)

(All links are Amazon Affiliate links.  That means I receive from Amazon a credit for any purchase made through your click-overs.  Thanks!)

Now it's your turn: What are you reading this month?  What books are arriving in the mail?  What gems have you found at thrift stores and book sales this past month?

Coming up later this week: I'll be sharing a look back at our family's Keeping from this past school year and chatting about our local Shakespeare Festival!


  1. Drooooool. ;) I just found a whole bunch of Blaze books and Madeline at a book sale also! HB, no DJs, but for donation. :) I'm really excited about a fairy tale collection that I found also. I love fairy tales! It's Donegal Fairy Stories by Seumas MacManus. The illustrations are so unique. I found a Lewis and Clark coloring book also! :) FUN! We love Richard Scary and have those titles too, I believe. I added the Helen Oxenbury and H.E. Marshall titles to my list. I'm most excited about two books I'm reading, one on writing called Pen On Fire and another travel/memoir type called A Walk Around the Lakes by Hunter Davies. :) 2 yo is enjoying Cyndy Szekere's board books (they are simple, but I love how the family relationships are depicted!) and he loves Lois Lenski also. My 5 yo and I have many things going, but our favorite is The Enchanted Tree? by Enid Blyton currently. My 9 yo and I are working through Narnia together. My 8 yo is loving Betsy Tacy...we are almost done with the first four...I might wait on the others? Have you guys read them all? 12 yo and I are planning on some S.D. Smith...he enjoys the rabbit warriors. My 13 yo just finished Ben Hur and her and I are going to read Persuasion together. She's been reading some light fantasy after muscling through Lew Wallace. It's funny, but the other day, she said to me that she was noticing how "formulaic" some of the YA fantasy series are...heehee! Secretly, I was cheering of course. :) LOVE THIS POST.

    1. I am not familiar with that fairy tale collection, not with Szekere's board books -- thank you for the tips! I saw your quote from Pen on Fire on Instagram. It looks like a great book! I am not a writer but I am inspired by reading about writing, if that makes sense. LOL

      For Betsy-Tacy: I would wait on the others for your 8yo. She gets a little boy-crazy in the high school years which I think is better to hit at a slightly older age so it can all be put in perspective. The relationships are all handled very chastely and appropriately, but I think it would be better for a young teen. I had Gianna read the first ones and then wait -- I haven't let her read the others yet, maybe in a couple years. (So I have read them all, but she hasn't.) There is also one scene with a Ouija board in Heaven to Betsy, so you want to keep that in mind. They are sweet stories all around and the relationship between Betsy and Joe is wonderful.

      I can't wait until Gianna starts reading Jane Austen!! :)

      Thanks for chiming in, Amy!

    2. I totally know what you mean! I'm inspired by reading about writing so much sometimes I forget to write. :D Thanks for the heads up on Betsy-Tacy. I'll wait on the others. <3

  2. I always enjoy these posts! First, what I'm reading now. I'm almost halfway through The Brothers Karamazov. I've been slow going with it. My husband and I are both reading A Tale of Two Cities and discussing it together. I'm a bit behind with that right now though and need to get caught up to where my husband is in his reading of the book! I'm also about finished with Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright - a book I'm pre-reading for my daughter's Free Reading stack of books. I'd like to also read The Saturdays which is by the same author. And I just started The Moffats by Eleanor Estes (another book I'm pre-reading to see if I want to include it in my daughter's Free Reading stack). I'm also getting ready to begin Year 4 pre-reading so that will dominate my reading for awhile. ;) But I do still have to keep my pre-reading of Free Reads going because my daughter loves to read. :)

    I almost bought The Enormous Egg a week or two ago for another Free Read. I noticed it in the ones you mentioned above. Did you like it? I also almost bought the first Billy and Blaze book too, as we haven't read any of that series yet. But I ended up deciding to hold off on it and plan to probably buy it the next time I order some books.

    Helena by Waugh sounds interesting! I enjoy a good historical fiction book. How interesting how you described this little book. I'll have to look that one up!

    I started The Scent of Water last year sometime and never finished it. I don't know why either! At some point, I'll have to pick it back up and finish reading it.

    1. Our local group is reading The Brothers K next, after our meeting for Frankenstein tomorrow, so I'll be tackling that one very soon! I think we have it scheduled over two months, but it's obviously quite long, so I'll be spending a lot of this summer's reading time on that.

      I didn't read Thimble Summer (my kids did), but I read The Moffats and The Saturdays aloud and both were lots of fun. I did let them read the sequels on their own, though.

      I haven't read The Enormous Egg yet, but it's up next for Gianna's free reading time (she has them stacked in the order she wants to read them), so I'll let you know!

      Billy and Blaze are easy readers and my 6yo son LOVES them. Great for boys gaining fluency in their reading, along with the Snipp Snapp Snurr series.

      I can't exactly recommend Helena, although I don't regret reading it. It is a short, fast read. Waugh has a very quirky sense of humor, and I feel like his British-ness comes out in this book. It's just so odd! Our local reading group was really ambivalent about whether we liked it or not. LOL

      I read The Scent of Water a few years ago and LOVED it. I'm now trying to collect Goudge's books -- I have always checked them out from the library but would really like to own them all.

      Thanks for sharing your book thoughts, Karen! :)

    2. My oldest daughter (who graduated last year) has told me more than once that I need to read Frankenstein. It's on my shelf and on my to-read list. I have already read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and found that one interesting. Brothers K is VERY long. I know they are doing a slow reading of it on the AO Forum. I'm reading it a bit faster than they are I guess but it's still a slow going reading for me. I'd like to get it finished up in the next couple of months though. I forgot to mention that the Caldecott book Beauty in the Word is also one I've had on my list of books I'd like to read at some point. I'd be interested to know what you think about it when you read it.

    3. Several of my friends count it as their favorite book on educational philosophy, so I'm guessing it's going to be a good one! :)

  3. Kings and Things looks interesting. I added it to my list . . . and I meant MY list. ; ). I'm reading volume 2 of CM and Mathematical Mindset by Jo Boaler. It's my goal to finish them this month. My oldest has been reading The Screwtape Letters in his free time. I'm not sure what my youngest is reading, but I think he put down the Redwall series down and picked up some twaddle he found on his brother's get rid of pile when we were purging bookshelves last month. This is our last week of school and I hope to have a good list of suggested reads for the summer to give to them next week.

    1. I'm not familiar with Mathematical Mindset -- looks very interesting! I started The Screwtape Letters last year but never finished it, so thanks for the reminder. I'm going to set it back onto my nightstand and dip in now and then until I get it done.

      My kids love having a new shelf of free reads when summer hits!

  4. "These two just came in the mail for me as a Mother's Day present...bought by me, for me, because my husband isn't quite that tuned in to my TBR pile but indulges me when I'm wanting to indulge myself. ;)"

    Once again, I'm so glad to hear that I am not the only one who does this, Celeste. You never fail to make me love you all the more. By the way, I loved both of the books you ordered for yourself. I've been meaning to re-read Caldecott's book again this year but haven't picked it up yet. I, too, am reading Brothers K. Good luck getting through this one in 2 months! Yikes! I may make it through in 4-5, though.

    1. We are absolutely two peas in a pod, Dawn! LOL I actually am not great about choosing gifts for him either, so it really works better all around this way! :)

      Yes, Brothers K is going to be a challenge, especially when there's a baby on the way in the midst of that! But local book clubs are easier for me to keep up with than online ones, so I'm at least hopeful I can do it. I have been wanting to read it for years and years, so this is at least a good excuse to get it started!

  5. I am reading A Touch of the Infinite right now and love it! All my dreams lately have been about symphony music :)

    1. I am really looking forward to it! It's an area I am much less knowledgable about. :)

  6. All I can say is, I just don't know how you do it! I am not yet disciplined enough to get through the things I need to do in order to do the things I want to do... I am, I can, I ought, I will... sigh. My personal reading desires fall by the wayside too often. I was a readaholic as a school age student but now I find myself wanting to do other things in my own time. But how do you manage to schedule your time and actually keep it on track with all those little people around? It's amazing!

    1. My personal reading desires fall by the wayside often also, Jessie. Some of the books I go through suuuuper slowly. And the ones that I *do* finish in a timely fashion are for the couple local book clubs I am in, which are a big motivation for me -- pretty much the only time I go out for coffee with friends is for these book club meetings, so they are a real treat! But like you, I've also found that as much as I enjoy reading, I have other hobbies that have taken some of my reading space...and I'm okay with that. If I'm swapping reading for blogging or reading for nature journaling, or whatever, I figure it's just helping to make me a more well-rounded person, not a reading flunkie. ;) LOL