These are a few of the books we’ve been reading this week.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This is one of my continuing projects. I have read this wonderful classic twice before, once when I was about 13 and again a few years ago. I picked it up again to read at the first of this year.
Daddy Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster. I saw the name of the first of these books on a blog (sorry, I don’t remember which one) and remembered reading it as a kid, so I downloaded it to my Nook for the girls to read. It was as cute as I remembered, a sort of Anne of Windy Poplars written in letter style. Unfortunately, the quality of the free Nook book was so poor I could hardly read it, and I certainly couldn’t recommend it to the girls. Luckily, the library had a copy, bound with the sequel, Dear Enemy about the remaking of the asylum the heroine had grown up in. Dear Enemy was actually the real find for me, since I had read about John Dewey’s system of education and Jane Addam’s Hull House in a study project a few years ago. Although the author never refers directly to these ideas, she puts them to work in the orphanage she is redesigning. I really enjoyed how she thought those ideas would work out.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is the book I am reading aloud to the little kids right now. I have read it aloud several times before. It is a beautiful book, descriptive and well written. It begs to be read aloud.
A Zoo in My Luggage and Beasts in My Belfry by Gerald Durrell. This is Max’s assigned book right now. After I finished reading My Family and Other Animals by this same author to the kids, I ordered three more books by Gerald Durrell. By the time they arrived, I had already begun reading The Secret Garden aloud, so the kids started reading the others themselves. Birds, Beasts and Relatives went first, then Beasts in My Belfry and A Zoo in my Luggage. Lulu’s finished them all, Max is in the middle of the second one. Each of them has had them rolling on the floor laughing.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Shandy is reading this book aloud to the kids at bedtime. They are enjoying it very much, so much that they rarely get to bed on time.
Small Wonders by Barbara Kingsolver. Eden was assigned persuasive essays for her English classes, and chose to read some of these essays. I didn’t read all of them, but her essay about The One-Eyed Monster and Why I Don’t Let Him In I highly recommend. Her statements about no one killing in her home define exactly why regular TV left our home on September 11, 2001. No one should have to watch random acts of violence.
The Passionate Observer by Jean Henri Fabre. This is another naturalist book, Lulu’s assigned reading for the week. Fabre was a passionate observer of insect life, and wrote about his passion in this beautiful book.
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. Nothing makes me feel so foolish as reading on my phone. I feel like people watching me must wonder what could be so fascinating to leave me watching my phone for hours. However, I have a Kindle app on my phone, and this book was only $2.99 on Kindle a few weeks ago. It is an excellent book about the way we make decisions based on emotion, and discusses the way our brain works on dopamine triggers to make snap reactions. His examination of quarter backs, radar operators and pilots who made correct decisions instantaneously is very interesting. I am not quite finished with it, but it has given me some food for thought on encouraging examination of mistakes and trial and error as a way to increase intelligence.
Are you like me, and have several books going at the same time? Or do you concentrate on one at a time?