Monday, April 02, 2007

Reading Round-Up, Beginning of April

I finished Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book last week, and plan to post some thoughts here soon.

My re-reading marathon of the Harry Potter books has finally gathered steam; I should be finished with Sorcerer's Stone soon. The revealing of the intriguing US and UK cover art for book 7 has inspired me, and my desire to re-read all six HP books before July 21 (the release date for Deathly Hallows) has been reinvigorated. What marvelous stories! I've just finished the chapter where Harry first finds the Mirror of Erised. I wonder if we will ever see that mirror again?

I almost reached my fun goal of finishing the Hannah Swensen mystery series by the end of the winter. I read Sugar Cookie, Peach Cobbler and Cherry Cheesecake Murders (books 6-8) and was only stymied in my quest by the fact that book 9, Key Lime Pie Murder, was only published a few weeks ago. So the few new copies have about a million holds in the inter-county library system. I added my name to the hold list and will enjoy it whenever it arrives -- these are not books I will spend actual money to acquire, but I have found them enjoyable entertainment.

I'm only a few chapters into Perils and Peace: Vol. 1: Chronicles of the Ancient Church by Mindy and Brandon Withrow. This is the first volume in "History Lives" -- a church history series written for 9-14 year olds. Thus far I am pretty impressed, both with its accuracy and with the way it engages young readers. I think I will be adding this whole series to our home library, as it will only be a few years down the road that the sweet girl will be ready to tackle them. They're relatively unexpensive paperbacks too, but nicely produced by Christian Focus Publishers in Scotland.

I finished Tony Tanner's essays in Jane Austen on "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma," and am now full-swing into his essay on "Persuasion." These essays do a great job of engaging Austen's novels and characters, and almost always make me think. I would dearly love to argue a bit with Mr. Tanner on some of his points regarding "Emma" -- mostly because I think he tends to sell Mr. Knightley's character a bit short. But then, I've always been a bit in love with Mr. Knightley. Perhaps it takes a woman to really understand his character fully!

We've finished up the second Carolyn Heywood Betsy book, Betsy and Billy, during family reading. I need to come up with a new, longer "chapter" book to read with S. soon. Favorites on her read-aloud list right now include Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter and Tabby Make a Wish, and a delightfully funny book called Earthquack! (a creative re-telling of "Chicken Little"). Thankfully, with the advent of spring we appear to be out of our Snowbaby phase. Yes, it's a lovely little picture book, but I'm afraid S. took some of its content a little too much to heart. She loves to act out the stories she loves most, and since "Snowbaby could not, would not sleep" as she frequently reminded us for what was probably only two weeks but felt like two months, she was actually staying up late at night trying not to close her eyes because she wanted to be just like Snowbaby in the story. Did we renew this gem last week at the library? No, we did not!

Once again, I'm sure I'm reading more than this...but my tired brain is not coming up with anything else at the moment, so I'll sign off for now.


Erin said...

Hehe, I guess some favorite characters are better unimitated! I haven't read Snowbaby; Mr. Putter and Tabby Make a Wish is another story! ;) Would that be because of the birthday theme, or was that just a coincidence?

Indeed, time to delve into Harry again! I've got my book waiting for me by my pillow when I go upstairs. And this month Epinions will not get in my way! I realized that most of the Betsy books aren't in the library system at all, so I'm going to resign myself to skipping around a bit. Anyway, good reading ahead! :D

Beth said...

I think we picked up this particular Mr. Putter because it was one of the few in at the "little library" we sometimes go to just a few blocks from our house. They got a new children's librarian there a few months ago, and she seems like Cynthia Rylant's books a lot, so there's usually one or two featured in a prominent place. S. thinks it's a riot that Mr. Putter thinks he's too old to have a birthday but wants one anyway. :-)

I'm almost done with SS and am looking forward to diving into Chamber of Secrets in the next few days. The HP books really are wonderful.

The Carolyn Heywood Betsy books are a completelyd different animal than the Maud Hart Lovelace Betsy books -- written for younger readers in general, and while good, not classic. I'm about to review the 5th Betsy book by Lovelace -- hope to get to it by this weekend if not before. I'm definitely feeling slow when it comes to reviewing anything this month. Last month sort of took it out of me, considering I doubled or more than doubled my usual review-output. I noticed you've been writing some poem parodies again. Good to see! :-)

Erin said...

Ah, yes - it slipped my notice that it was a different Betsy you were talking about! The name Carolyn Heywood sounds familiar though... I've got a batch of books due on Monday, so I will probably review those; I took most of them back already last week and just have a few to get through, and I think they're all Mr. Putter and Tabby. :-P Otherwise, I think I've got the parody bug back! Glad you're enjoying them! :D

Beth said...

The Carolyn Heywood Betsy books are an interesting phenomenon for me. I remember loving them as a child, which is why I was eager to read them to S. And although they're certainly fine, I'm wondering a bit why I loved them just so very much as a young child. They do not wear well for an adult. And yet, S. really really likes them -- so much so that she'll sometime ask me to re-read entire chapters. So I know they work for their target audience.

The Lovelace books, on the other hand, are just good books *period.* I loved them as a child, went back to them as an adult, and loved them even more (if that's possible). I guess some books bear repeated re-readings and can be mined for a lot of richness!

Hmm...sounds like I might need to blog about this sometime!

I'm glad you got bit by the parody bug again. What does that kind of bug look like, I wonder? ;-)