Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reading Round-Up As We Head Toward Official Summer

I know, I's felt like summer for a while already. We hit 96 degrees last weekend. When we went to the library they were having their summer reading program kick-off, complete with an ice cream booth in the parking lot. In fact, we've already signed up for summer reading programs at both libraries we go to regularly. Our air conditioner is laboring. The sweet girl is back into shorts and koolots and has already begun to wear out her newest pair of sandals (as have I). We've been eating plenty of fresh corn and fresh strawberries. S. went through her preschool graduation program (complete with cardboard mortarboard hat and "Pomp and Circumstance") and finished up her last day of school last week. D. spent last evening in the first planning meeting for our church's Vacation Bible School.


And of course it officially starts next week, even according to the calendar. So I thought I'd offer up a reading round-up, since I've been trying to do that more regularly this year.

Currently reading:
From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy by Matthew T. Dickerson and David L. O'Hara. The title snagged me (for obvious reasons) and I also picked it up because I like and trust the publisher, Brazos Press. Even though I didn't know either author, I suspected this would be a very good book. I'm in chapter three and thus far it's surpassed my expecations. Well-written, basic (but not overly so), and grounded in Tolkien and Lewis' understanding of myth and faerie. I'm looking forward to the later chapters when the authors apply what they've said about myth and fantasy in the more general overview to some of the writers writing such stories today, including Rowling.

Midnight for Charlie Bone
by Jenny Nimmo (and no, it's not even coming close to satisfying my ardent desire for the final Harry Potter book...not that I really thought it would).

And speaking of HP, I finished Order of the Phoenix a couple of weeks ago. So I am 5/6 of the way through my pre-book 7 re-reading marathon. I have been very reluctant to pick up Half-Blood Prince. I've got such oddly mixed feelings knowing the "finish line" to the series is in sight.

Love's Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness
(by Rowan Williams et al.) This is a great collection of Anglicans down through the centuries, with brief introductions to each person and excerpts of their works. I'm trying to read through two per week, as time allows, and hope to offer some thoughts and reflections here as I go.

The History of the Ancient World
by Susan Wise Bauer. This one is going to take me a while, but I don't mind. I like sipping at books this rich.

Five in a Row (Volume 1) by Jane Claire Lambert. This is the first in a wonderful series of books written with homeschoolers in mind, though I think families that don't homeschool could also benefit from them. Lambert has developed a "curriculum" (for want of a better word) that derives lessons in language arts, math, science, social studies, etc. from well-chosen picture books. I will probably try to weave some of her ideas (in a supplementary way) into my own kindergarten curriculum for S. next year. More on this in another posting perhaps.

I'm still trying to finish up several of the books on my "currently reading" list from last month.

I'm also reading "at" various chapters and articles on apostolic succession and teaching, in preparation for an adult ed. course I'm giving a talk in (either tonight and/or next week).

The sweet girl's favorite reads right now include: Library Lion; Come on, Rain!; The Life Cycle of Honeybees; and Hop on Pop. For family reading time, we're working our way through the fourth Betsy book in Carolyn Haywood's series (Betsy and the Boys), and we're listening to a wonderful audio version of Charlotte's Web read by E.B. White himself.

Although this counts in the watching, not reading, category: thanks to Netflix I am finally getting to watch all the Gene Kelly movies I've wanted to see for years and could never find. Well, most of them anyway. I'm getting one every couple of weeks and reviewing them for Epinions as I have time. His films always give me a real sense of joy!


Erin said...

Plenty of fresh corn and strawberries for us too! And Dad and I just planted a bunch of strawberries in our yard, so we should have plenty of them... I've been reading Tunesmith by Jimmy Webb, which is a pretty interesting book on songwriting from a guy who certainly knows his stuff, and leafing through some of the books Dad brought back from the synod assembly.

I did read the first chapter of Half-Blood Prince the other day, figuring the nature of the chapter was such that I might be able to stem the natural impulse to plow forward right away. So far so good but I know once I get past Spinner's End it'll get awfully hard to take it a chapter at a time...

Beth said...

Mmmm...fresh strawberries. Aren't they the best?

The "Thimbleberry Stories" book I mentioned a few postings ago (by Ryalnt) contains a really cute story about a garter snake named Claudius who decides to plant a strawberry patch. He's too lazy to keep up a garden though, so he ends up buying them at market! ;-)

I know what you mean about HBP. Those first couple of chapters outside of Harry's head are pretty "stand-alone." But once we start hanging with Harry, we all fall under that page-turning enchantment...

Is it 27 days to go until Deathly Hallows? I've lost count...