Monday, December 29, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

A pre-read for Simon; it was excellent.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Psalms, Vol. 2 : Psalms 42-89 by John Goldingay

Another title for my class. It is pretty good, but not exceptional.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

I read this to the boys. They absolutely loved it. I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it was very engaging and funny and it had a lot of historical detail in it. (We stopped frequently to talk more about daily life and customs of the middle ages, so that was a big plus.) On the other hand, there was a good bit of scatological humor, and I consider it my role to discourage--not contribute--to that. (Of course, the boys loved it.) Also, I had to edit out a little bawdiness from time to time.

The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman

I didn't get this. What were all of those objects for?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E. L. Konigsburg

This was a pre-read for Simon. I absolutely loved it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley

This was really funny.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

review in haiku:
funny Greek hermaphrodite
genetics and fate

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

I read this out loud to the boys. It was pretty good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Augustine Came to Kent by Barbara Willard

This was a pre-read for Simon. I was disappointed. This book is such a classic in the classical ed. homeschooling world, but I thought it was flat.

Oh well.

We can use it as a springboard to discuss what it was missing that makes a book interesting.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Garbage Land : On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte

This was interesting. The first part made me feel guilty about contributing the landfills. The second part made me think recycling is a waste of time.

So there you go.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1-41 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) by John Goldingay

I'm reading this series for the class I'm teaching. I really like it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Forgotten Man : A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes

I listened to this as an audio book with the dh. Honestly, if I had been reading it, I probably would have deemed it too boring to finish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen

I thought I would hate this as a PC screed, but it wasn't like that at all. It was wonderful and interesting and really made me think and certainly gave me lots of fodder for discussion with the dh. I imagine that some of his critique is out of date now; I may actually pick up the revised edition.

We don't use history texts in our homeschool, but I still felt that there was a lot of beneficial thought here. I highly recommend this for all readers, but especially for anyone homeschooling.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

This was such trash.

I loved it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The State Boys Rebellion by Michael D'Antonio

At the intersection of twentieth-century eugenic theory, attitudes towards the disabled and other "undesirables," and state schools lies one of the saddest books I've ever read. It did drag a bit at the end as it followed the former inmates as adults, but it was still a compelling, amazing story.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

I bought this because I loved The Lovely Bones (even tho it was scary!), but this was pretty lame.

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher

I read this out loud to the boys; it is a good but not exceptional back story to The Arabian Nights. There's some good language, strong female characters, interesting plot twists, and age-appropriate but intriguing explorations of serious issues, but it just didn't rise to excellence. (NB: Be prepared to explain to your kids what "eunuch" and "lover" mean.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Traffic : Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

This was fabulous--all sorts of interesting observations from the intersection (ha!) of engineering and psychology. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I read this out loud to the boys; it was pretty good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

This was a wonderful light read--I can't think of how to say anything without giving the story away, so I won't. But this is an innovative plot with interesting social commentary and was very well written. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Massacre at Mountain Meadows : An American Tragedy by Richard E. Turley, Glen M. Leonard, Ronald W. Walker

I was very impressed with how interesting this book was--I thought it might be dry but it definitely wasn't. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher : Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale

This was an excellent book--kind of like a Victorian murder mystery except that it was true. Great details from everyday life and a well-told story.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

People seem to either love or hate this book but I thought it was kinda middling. Someone said that Meyer writes terrible sentences but great stories and I think that's exactly right--some sentences in this book were so horrible I re-read them just to gawk.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo

This was pretty good. And it's been a long time since I've read a book that was even just "pretty good." It may seem that I'm not reading much because I'm not blogging much, but what I'm doing is reading the first 20-50 pages of a book, deciding that it stinks, and then moving on. I think I've done that a dozen times in the last month. Where are all the good books?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois

I read this to the boys; a good, creative story with a smidge of science in it. Recommended.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Let me preface: the last book that my husband read to the boys was actually Around the World in Eighty Days. I was so annoyed with the writing style that I left the room after the first few pages. My husband convinced me to give it another try the next night and so I did and ended up running screaming from the room with my ears bleeding.

Anyway, this book was much better. It has a lot of fun word play and therefore is better for older children.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I read this out loud to the boys. It started out very strong and then petered out. (The boys loved it. I was sick of it by the end.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

My husband read this out loud to us; it was an ideal family read-aloud. Highly recommended.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff

I read this out loud to the boys. I kept thinking that they would hate it because the prose was so dense and the story so complicated and subtly stated, but they loved it. I did, too. Historical fiction at its best.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer

This book made me terribly sad but I liked the ending.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George

I don't normally blog about books that I don't finish, but in this case I read over 400 pages (which, incidentally, is less than half of the book) before I threw in the towel and I want some recognition.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth

This was a pre-read for Simon and it is a wonderful, sweet (not saccharine) short novel. Great for part of a study of Buddhism.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I, Freddy (Golden Hamster Saga Series #1) by Dietlof Reiche

Derrick read this to us; it was good fluff.

The Story of Science : Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim

This was a pre-read for Simon for next year. I thought it was absolutely wonderful: a gorgeous book with incredible illustrations and the "story" of science. It did an amazing job of integrating not only science and history but also art, music, and math. This is truly a must-read for kids 10 and up and adults. The only thing that kept me from swooning was I sense an ever-so-slight anti-Christian bias (not to mention two pathetic errors related to the New Testament).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #4) by Rick Riordan

I read this to the boys; they loved it but I didn't think it was quite as inventive or funny as the previous books.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Dh read this out loud and we all enjoyed it. I'm still thinking about what it meant. . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Know-It-All : One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs

Mildly amusing but a little tedious. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically is much better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

I didn't like this at all.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

Not only has Eustace Conway lived in a teepee for the past two decades, but he has made his own clothes. Out of the animals he has killed. Using deer tendons for thread. So I thought this book would be fascinating. I guess I expected details on how exactly one makes thread out of deer tendons. But there is none of that. There's . . . a lot about his bad relationship with his father. Etc. This was so boring I barely finished it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

This was excellent fluff: the paperback, when it comes out, will be the perfect beach book. I like the way Meyer hints at LDS worldview (not doctrine!) in her books and plays with it. (I also like Uncle Jeb, who is clearly your crazy Mormon uncle who likes Bo Gritz and makes obnoxious comments in Sunday School. He even uses the boiling frog story in the book!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Grandfather's Son : A Memoir by Clarence Thomas

Derrick and I listened to this. Thomas always sounds like Eeyore, no matter what he is talking about. But this was a good listen, an interesting story.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another Day in the Frontal Lobe : A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside by Katrina Firlik

A very enjoyable, quick read. I always like medical memoirs.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

My husband read this out loud to the older boys and me. I didn't love the story, but I loved stitching while listening to him read. I thought the story was lame, actually.

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