My Week in Books

This week was more of a week of finishing some read-alouds with children than my personally reading.  It’s not that I didn’t read.  I just didn’t seem to make much progress in anything. However, having said that, I did finish four books, so that’s nothing to scoff at.

nevermoor The first book I finished this week was Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. This was a buddy read that Emalee and I have been reading through since May, so it was middle grades fiction. This was one that I would have loved to jumped ahead and read pieces of without her because I loved the writing and the story so much. It’s been compared to Harry Potter (but haven’t all middle grade magical books?), but really is a little more Neil Gaiman-esque in nature. There was never a point where I didn’t think Morrigan would make it through her trials (after all, it is middle grade fiction), but I was desperately curious about the characters, the events and finding Morrigan’s knack. We’ve already pre-ordered the second one which comes out in October. In the meantime, Emalee and I are starting Anne of Green Gables together. Emalee’s became interested with the book after watching the 2016 movie version on Amazon Prime.

the end We also finished our journey through A Series of Unfortunate Events this week by finishing listening to The End. At first, I thought that The End was a bizarre way to end this series. After all, the children end up shipwrecked on this strange little island with all these little islanders. Olaf is there, but he doesn’t pay a huge part in the plot of the novel, and all the secrets and sugar bowls that the children have been pursuing with such great gusto don’t even seem to matter anymore. That’s when I realized how perfect the ending is, and how difficult an ending it truly is. This series is strongly post-modern in philosophy, and I think the reason why the Baudelaires are, in the end, more virtuous than villainous is simply because they worry that by their very actions they are becoming villainous, no matter their motivations. At the end, the Baudelaires are relatively happy and ready for the next adventure, and I think that says a lot about the endurance of their psyches, even if we don’t get as many answers as we would like to have about sugar bowls, VFD and the schism. I ended up not even entirely positive that the Baudelaire parents were on the correct side of the schism as all the villains seemed more human and all the volunteers a little villainous by the end.

book of virtues We also finished a book this week that has been part of our homeschool day for a little over eighteen months. The Book of Virtues is a little treasury of stories arranged by theme, perhaps to help you think more deeply about the “virtue” or theme presented. The themes range from responsibility to friendship to faith. There are ten of them, and for the life of me, I can’t remember all ten right now. Oh well.

For our homeschool, we read a story or two or a couple of poems from it each day as part of our afternoon times together, and we used it from the beginning of our journey into a more Charlotte Mason-ish form of homeschooling, so coming to the end of it is kind of strange. The main reason why we used this book is because I’ve owned it forever. Story and quote collections used to appeal to me, and this one I’ve had since my teacher education days when “values education” and “character education” became such buzzwords. In fact, the binding broke in the middle of reading the book, meaning that it will never go back on my bookshelves.  I’m not even sure I would want it to. It’s good for what it does, but its purpose for us was to help us wade gently into the realm of having an established afternoon time together, and in some ways we’ve outgrown our need for it. My favorite part about using the Book of Virtues was that often Bennett would write a quick paragraph before the presentation of the actual story to set the context for the story. That was helpful for this parent that doesn’t always know the context of why the story was in a certain chapter or even in the book at all.

i regret nothing The one book I read this week that didn’t have anything to do with the children was Jen Lancaster’s I Regret Nothing. I really thought it would be funny, and there are a couple of parts where I was chuckling, but there was nothing really extraordinary about this book. When you’re reading a book, and the most interesting thing about it is finding out that there are really adult tricycles, you know you’re in trouble. In this book, Jen is 46 years old, and she has a ladies’ vacation that kind of sucks, and she realizes she wants to make some life changes. It’s kind of the mid-life crisis moment. She makes a bucket list with some big things and some tiny things, and sets out to make “the list” happen, and she actually accomplishes some of the stuff on the list. I didn’t really have any takeaways for myself, so it was kind of like seeing someone acquaintance’s pictures on Facebook–alright, but not anything life-changing or even really entertaining.

That comparison I just make does make me realize how often I settle for the fake “Facebook” life ahead of the real life right in front of me. <sigh> I am perhaps more the fool than I like to think of myself as.

That’s all for this week.  What have you been reading?

Linking up with: Modern Mrs. Darcy

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