Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Am I Passing On A Love of Reading?

I have been trying to take books off our shelves to read to the kids almost every night since the beginning of the year. Lily and I are slowly reading through Heidi. She seems to enjoy it. I had been reading a book with Ben. It seemed like a great book to read with boys, but I haven't enjoyed it. It is dense and the tone is darker than I want to read with Ben. But I kept slogging through.

Monday I listened to a podcast. The idea of being formed by the stories you read and being able to share these things with your kids resonated deep inside me. I know the power of story deep inside me, but I'm not sure I'm sharing that with kids up to the standard in my head.

Sally mentioned the book A Wrinkle in Time and how much it meant to her. That book is on our shelves and I fell in love with it in 7th grade. So I made the decision to abandon the book that was dense and dark for a book that is imaginative and hopeful. I told Ben that I wanted to pick another book because that one had too many facts and not enough story. He went along with it and didn't seem to have much of an opinion.

A Wrinkle in Time
We started reading it last night. He curled up beside me and put his head on my arm as I read. He has asked me about the characters to get them straight. He is excited to meet Mrs. Whatsit. He is also talking about new drawing projects. I don't know that the book inspired that, but it is encouraging. Maybe I'm doing pretty okay after all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cozy Mysteries

I am obsessed with cozy mysteries. In case you don't know, this is a definition of cozy mysteries from Wikipedia.

"Cozy mysteries, also referred to as "cozies", are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.[1]"

"Cozy mystery" Wikipedia

My Grandma Ann raised me on Murder, She Wrote. I am still in love with Jessica Fletcher. Lily and I watch Jessica Fletcher often as well. (Until it went off of Netflix.) Then I discovered that there are Murder, She Wrote books. In a bargain section, I came across Death of the Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton. From here I learned about cozy mysteries. I love the mystery part and the lack of violence and sex in the stories. There are times when I have read too many of them and the tropes of the genre get on my nerves. I move away from them for a couple books and then I'm ready for more. Thankfully there are no shortage of cozies to enjoy. So I'll share with you some of the series I enjoy besides Murder, She Wrote and M.C. Beaton.

The Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs

Charleston, South Carolina is becoming a favorite setting and Theodosia is teaching me, so much about tea.








My current Tea Shop Mystery


Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle
New York City makes for an interesting group of characters and again I'm learning. This time about coffee.












Josie Prescott Antiques by Jane C. Cleland
The setting of New Hampshire provides some great mind pictures from the descriptions she gives. I also love hearing how Josie runs her business and tells us about antiques.












The following I have only read one in the series, but I liked the one.

Key West Food Critic by Lucy Burdette

Key West and Food? Need I say more?













The Lighthouse Library Mystery Series by Eva Gates

The Outer Banks, a library, and books? Yes please!












Tradd Street by Karen White
Charleston and some ghosts. That's an interesting twist













A few more that I have read and didn't talk about above: Being a Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron, Irene Seligman by Paula Paul, Chief Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny, Java Jive by Caroline Fardig

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reading Together

My son likes books. He likes to have books. He doesn't read them as often as he just collects them. So it is a pretty common "discussion" in our house of how many pages he should read and when he should read.

Yesterday I tired a new thing. I got my book that I am reading and we had a contest to see who could finish the chapter first. He liked it. He read without complaining to where I told him to read. AND I got to read as well. So while we are each reading our own individual book, we are doing something together. I like this and he likes this. So yay for everyone.

The books we are reading:

Scarlet (Scarlet, #1) One of the books recommended to me from Professional Book Nerds podcast. Goodreads link.

Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.) (Junie B. Jones, #25)  The second time Ben has gotten this one from the school library. I think he is going to finish it this time. Goodreads link

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why I Love the Library

I missed last week and almost missed this week, but I have had a post in my head for a few days. So I had to get it out.

Photo Credit: Texas State Library and Archives Commission 


Last Saturday I went to the library with my daughter. She loves to play with the blocks and the computers. There are a couple book shelves she visits, but a whole lot more that she avoids. She doesn't know the books on them, so she just doesn't even look at them. I can't blame her. The children's shelves can be a bit overwhelming with the number of books on those shelves. How do you even look at all the titles? How do you know what to search for?

Well, I decided to remedy the situation. I sat down at a shelf and picked several off of one shelf to look at. I was so pleased to see the range of people represented in the few books I chose. I pick up a book from my local library and my daughter can learn about people very different from her. The library is her portal to multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-socioeconomic learning. She has enjoyed the books so far and we have read them multiple times. She is learning about her world even if that world is far away from her. The library teaches us about people and learning about people will make us more tolerant and loving. The library makes us better people!

These are the books we got:
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman

The Last Stop on Market Street

A Castle on Viola Street

Mama's Nightingale

And just for fun:
Panda Pants

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

No time!



Last week I wrote about the books that were recommended to me. I put two on hold immediately at the library. One came in, but I wasn't finished with the book I was reading yet. So I have been trying so hard to finish that book. I started skipping paragraphs and skimming pages. I had like 250 pages to read and only a few hours in which to read them. I don't normally do that, but I have one coming and I checked out two already! A 300 ish page book and a 400+ page book. Argh!

What have I gotten myself into?

I stayed up late last night and finished the book. It was good, but I don't think I missed much by "speed-reading". Then I read a few pages of the 400+ page book. One step closer to under control.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Book Recommendations for Me!!

I listen to lots of podcasts and two of them are about books.  One of them, Professional Book Nerds, asked to the listeners to write in with what they were reading. So I went right over to my email and sent my list.  I honestly didn't expect anything to come off it.  They probably get hundreds of emails, so mine won't be picked. I even forgot I emailed them.

Today after a long(and productive) meeting, I downloaded new eposodes. Professional Book Nerds came on and I remembered I had emailed them as they were introducing the episode. I still didn't expect to hear my name. The second recommendation name comes up and it is ANDREA. Then Jill said she appreciated that the reads were organized into Physical book, Ebook, and Audiobook. It really was me! I paused it, rewound it and made Drew listen to it before I even heard what they had to say. My crazy organizing habit came in handy this time.

So these are the books I was reading at the time....

Physical book:
Sweet Breath of Memory I blogged about this last week.

Ebook:
A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)  Holmes and Watson were real and had descendants being chased by a maniac.

Audio book
The Swan Thieves I LOVED The Historian, so I picked this one up. The deep exploration of living with a person spiraling into depression was well done, but not for me. I enjoyed the mystery part in the end though.

These are my recommendations....

Splintered by A. G. Howard
Splintered (Splintered, #1) A descendant of Alice's discovers it is up to her to fix Wonderland.

Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen
Scarlet (Scarlet, #1) Robin Hood has a new fighter by his side, but Nottingham is not cleaned up so easily.

The Shadow Lands by Elizabeth Kostova
The Shadow Land The setting is Eastern Europe again, so I'm excited for this one.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Moonstone  I read The Woman in White several years ago and enjoyed it, but never got around to this one. It looks like I've been missing something.


What am I going to pick up next? Probably The Moonstone or Splintered. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Restorative Chick Lit

As a general rule,  I default to cozy mysteries. Mostly I default to this because I know what I am getting. I know how much violence, sex, and emotional trauma to expect. I know how much character stupidity to expect. When I venture outside of cozy mysteries, I sometimes find too much violence, too much emotional trauma, or too much character stupidity. But sometimes I get lucky and find a deeply refreshing book. A book that faces pain and characters that are determined to become better. There are people who are willing to give a hug or a shoulder to cry on or a boot to the backside. In my head,  I call these restorative chick lit. In recent memory, I can think of 3.

The Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee. This one grew on me with age.  I don't know that I was so in love with it right after reading it. Actually, listening to it.  A small Southern town is in danger of losing its library, so the librarian and an unusual group of book lovers set out to save it.

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus  by Beth Moore. Some might consider this to be a murder mystery.  I don't.  The characters are loveable and so honest. They are figuring out who they are and who they want to be and how to  get there.

Sweet Breath of Memory by Ariella Cohen. I'm actually on page 10 of this one,  but I've already taken taken a deep breath and settled in to enjoy these people.