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Category: Book a Day year 2

Book a Day Challenge – Bad Mother and Mr. Wonka

Book a Day Challenge – Bad Mother and Mr. Wonka

I’m never going to keep up with these reviews!  Nothing to be done for it but to fir them in when I can.  We combined our books for the 18th & 19th pic because we’re getting a little behind on the photo taking too.  This challenge is kicking my butt.

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G read 2 Biscuit books and gave no complaints, woohoo!  Slowly, slowly but surely he is becoming more confident in himself and his reading abilities.

I read Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments Grace by Ayelet Waldman

I’m not sure why I was expecting something funny, but I was.  Although Waldman does write with humor this book was heartfelt and dealt with some heavy topics.  Sex, abortion, bipolar disorder, sexual identity, social media pushback, four kids with different needs.  There’s a lot to take in and appreciate.  Her honesty was admirable, her battles recognizable, and her love of family inspiring.  I really liked this one even though it wasn’t the barrels of laughs I was hoping for.

I also listened to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

The audio was excellent and even had sound effects.  At only 3 1/2 hours I’m thinking about listening to it again with G because I think this is perfect for kids.  Is Willy Wonka the best person to hold up as an example of all good things?  Nope.  But the story is so fantastical and fun that I can overlook that.  I loved the original movie with Gene Wilder and this took me right back there, to my childhood, excited every time one of the few channels on TV was showing the movie.  I can’t say enough good things about the audio production and am glad that I experienced the story that way for this one.

 

Book a Day Challenge – Days 16-17

Book a Day Challenge – Days 16-17

Okay, I’m here to do a bit of catching up before I get back to reading my book for the day.  Life has been busy and finding the time to read has been a struggle, but I will prevail.  I finished two books on Monday because I didn’t finish one on Sunday I chose a fun date night downtown with the hubby instead and he even put me up in a fancy hotel, woohoo :))  Anyhoo, here’s what we’ve been reading.

 

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We’re looking at the computer because his teacher assigned him a book to read online so we counted it as his daily book.  It was called Fog by John Rousselle and he did a good job.  Unlike his mama, he prefers the nonfiction, give-me-the-facts books.

I listened to Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. I don’t keep up with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show much since Jon Stewart left, but I have seen Trevor and he’s good.  He’s smart and I love smart guys.  Also, as some of you may remember, we were able to have three Africans who were attending Mandela training here in the US over for dinner one night this summer and one of them was from South Africa, so I felt a real connection with Trevor and the stories from his home country.  Trevor’s honesty and humor about his early life during apartheid was shocking. His mother is black and his father is white.  Reading how he could not walk with his dad to the park or grocery shop with his mother made me so sad.  The memoir ended too soon and I wish it had been longer.  But now he can write another book and earn another payday.

IMG_1608G read Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert.  This one was long with lots of words so I read it to him twice before I made him try it.  It’s a great book and I highly recommend.  A mother and child plant flowers, plants and flowers every year to make a rainbow in their garden when everything blooms.

I finished The Color Purple by Alice Walker and I loved it.  Honestly, it was one of those classics like 1984 that I thought would not live up to the hype.  Only it did.  It exceeded expectations and now I’m anxious to get my hands on the movie. I want to spend more time with Celie and Sofia and Shug and Nettie.  I kind of want to read it again right now.  In 1930’s Georgia what kind of life did black women lead?  Still relevant and still addictingly readable.

 

Book a Day – this challenge is hard!

Book a Day – this challenge is hard!

So, we’ve read 15 books in 15 days although I finished none yesterday and two today.  I took a much needed mom vacation yesterday.  After dropping off Gage at the school bus I came home and slept for two hours then went to two bookstores, one waterfall, two restaurants and two movies and came home after my two guys were sleeping.  It was an energizing and centering day.   Today we went to a water treatment plant open house and our first stop on the tour was where they take to poop out.  Back on mom duty 🙂

IMG_1514G read Swimmers.  Contrary to this smile, when we read it ten minutes later all I got was attitude 🙁

I read A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson.

I really connected with this woman who was feeling out of sorts in her life.  Her sons were on their own and her husband came home and said that he had taken a job that would force them to move.  I got her.  I was rooting for her when she embraced new challenges on her own.  I’ve never lived on my own, always having a roommate, so I was living vicariously.  It started strong, but she did lose me a little halfway through.  I liked then ending so, all in all, I’m glad I read it.

IMG_1525 (2)G read What a Week  and Cute! both by Cynthia Amoroso and Bob Noyed to Grandma.  He was pretty disgruntled by the second one, but probably because it was a little longer.

I read Hemann Hesse: A Pictorial Biography Edited by Volker Michels.  I have never read anything by Hermann Hesse, but on my mom vacation I saw this out of print book and was intrigued.  It is seriously like an Hesse Instgram.  Pictures, drawings, and book covers on every pages with captions to tell his story.  I thought this translation was fun and loved to see the pictures from pre 1900’s in Europe with the captions that told his story.  It didn’t necessarily make me want to read his classic Siddhartha, but I did find it interesting.  Instagram before its time.

Not sure why my fingers look so funky in this pic.

I also listened to 1984 by George Orwell.  I finished this five minutes ago and need to go to bed.  My initial thoughts are that it, a book written in 1949, has so much to say about  today it’s scary.  The Doublespeak coming from the White Hose everyday should scare the crap out of everyone, no exceptions.  As a story it wasn’t the best, but the world building and insight into human nature make this a worthy classic.

 

Book a Day – 3 for 3

Book a Day – 3 for 3

Yesterday, I got the worst sinus headache and had to lay down for a few hours after dinner almost foiling my plan to finish Three Men in a Boat.  Almost.  I’m stubborn and forced myself up and reading by some muted light.  I’ll say that this most likely affected my enjoyment of the book.  I read it with a smile on my face and even laughed out loud a few times, but found myself reading too fast just so I could finish.  Anyway, I’m back on track!

IMG_1481On Monday G brought home a book a book from school that he was supposed to color and read.  I think it’s called Where Animals Live.  I was very impressed that he read it almost flawlessly.  I’m not making him read challenging enough books!

I listened to Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell and I loved it.  The first line, “It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shred that, too.”  Just beautiful.  Caldwell is a Pulitzer Prize winner and this story of her friendship with author Caroline Knapp is so moving.  These two women shared such a bond and to have it broken at such an early age, Knapp was in her early 40’s, was heartbreaking.  The most moving to me was how Caldwell shared her own struggles with alcohol, something that she and Knapp shared.  It was a beautiful tribute to an enviable friendship.

IMG_1506On Tuesday G read Wet Pet by Harriet Ziefert and Yuko Kido.  He loved the layout of the book, with the cutout letters, the most.  What ever it takes to get him excited about a book he has to read himself!

I listened to and read Dryland: One Woman’s Swim to Sobriety by Nancy Stearns Bercaw.  I read this for a TLC Book Tour.  I’m having trouble copying and pasting my review from my book blog so I’ll just link it here.

IMG_1511 (2)Yesterday G read Look! by Ted Lewin.  He was pretty whiny about reading it even though it was an easy book, but I don’t blame him.  On Wednesdays we go straight from the bus to OT and don’t get back home until after 5 and then he has to do homework!  Hopefully we’ll be back to happy reading tomorrow 🙂

As I mentioned above, I read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. This classic from 1889 is still funny.  Three young men and a fox terrier take a boat down the Thames River.  I’m just going to leave you with a taste of the writing…

We got up tolerably early on the Monday morning at Marlow, and went for a bathe before breakfast; and, coming back, Montmorency made an awful ass of himself.  The only subject on which Montmorency and I have any serious difference of opinion is cats.  I like cats; Montmorency does not.

When I meet a cat, I say, ‘Poor Pussy!’ and stoop down and tickle the side of its head; and the cat sticks up its tail in a rigid, cast-iron manner, arches its back, and wipes its nose up against my trousers; and all is gentleness and peace.  When Montmorency meets a cat, the whole street knows about it; and there is enough bad language wasted in ten seconds to last an ordinary respectable man all his life, with care.

I do not blame the dog (contenting myself, as a rule, with merely clouting his head or throwing stones at him), because I take it that it is his nature.  Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are, and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox terrier nature.

 

Book a Day Challenge – It’s Another Twofer

Book a Day Challenge – It’s Another Twofer

What a weekend.  As Jason went to bed tonight he said it’s been the worst weekend he can remember.  Poor guy has had a migraine after going over a year without one.  That meant that G and I got more one on one time which was nice.  After being together all summer it’s a weird adjustment when he goes back to school.  As you can see by the pics, we had a very laid back weekend.

IMG_1462What G read – On  the Boat by Cynthia Amoroso.  He’s getting tired of me asking what the books are about and said that all he was going to tell me was that he liked the girl’s surprised face on page 10.  Okay!

I read Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

I’m glad that I decided to add in classics this month.  I’ve read seven bios and three classics.  When I asked Jason how I was going to fit in a book today (we had 3 plans made, but cancelled 2) he told me he thought the challenge was too hard.  But by focusing on books on my shelves that I never take the time to read I get to discover gems that had I not given myself a deadline may never had happened.  Winesburg, Ohio is one of those.  It takes place in Ohio, check.  It’s on my Classics Club list, check.  Fellow book blogger Care sent it to me years ago, check.  Desire to read it, not so much.  It was a series of short stories and looked pretty boring. It wasn’t.

Winesburg, Ohio is a series of 22 stories set in the fictional town.  Anderson wrote them in 1915-1916 and Winseburg was a small farming town in northern Ohio. Newspaper reporter George Williard is in most of the stories as a main character or in the periphery.  Life in this town left no one unscathed, but the stories were beautifully intertwined, like a puzzle.  I was always happy to pick it back up to see who I’d be hearing about next.  The structure was unique at the time and it credited for influencing many writers like Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, and Bradbury.  I loved it!

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G read Lolli-Pops and I couldn’t tell you what it was about since he read it to Jason when I went grocery shopping 🙂

I read How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else by Michael Gates Gill.

Gill was successful ad man in New York City who met lots of famous people growing up.  His father, a writer at The New Yorker, ran in some pretty interesting circles.  But one day in his 50’s Gill is let go from his job, has an affair and gets her pregnant and then must come clean to his wife and four children.  He wasn’t exactly eliciting a great deal of sympathy.  After several years of trying to make it on his own he was out of money.  He happened into a job at Starbucks and turned into a walking advertisement for the company.  I don’t doubt his sincerity and I loved the connections he made, but he was still a man who loved to name drop and still seemed a little oblivious to the real world.  But, all in all, it was a heartwarming story and made me want to be reading it at a Starbucks!

Book a Day – A Mother’s love knows no limits

Book a Day – A Mother’s love knows no limits

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G read The Red Car by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R Maslen.  There were three names in the short book and he made me laugh every time he called Mark ‘Marble’.  I told him I was going to start calling him Garble 🙂

I read An Unexpected Life: A Mother and Son’s Story of Love, Determination, Autism and Art by Debra Chwast with paintings by Seth Chwast.

Jason and I were able to hear locals Debra and Seth speak at an autism conference years ago and it was inspiring to see what this tireless mother has done to make her son shine.  Seth was diagnosed with autism at a young age and Debra says in the book that she cried for three years.  “For most of Seth’s childhood I was frantic confused, weepy and in over my head”  She read and tried every therapy she could find, but when Seth turned 18, she was told that he was most suitable for dry mopping (whatever that it).  She hired art therapists, art teachers and just plain artists after it became apparent that Seth had a gift.  You can check out his paintings here.  Since then they have travelled extensively, had films made about him and even been on the Today Show twice.  His works have hung in some very prestigious places and yet he needs 24 hour supervision.  Even when he paints she must pay someone to be there otherwise Seth wouldn’t even pick up a brush.

The book is gorgeous and there are at least 120 paintings included, each one including Seth’s own description of it.  Seth and his mother have benefitted from an abundance of money, so this is not the autism story many can afford, but that in no way diminishes Seth’s talent.  He’s a true artist.  It’s how he communicates with the world.  You can visit his website here.

Book a Day Challenge – It’s a double down day

Book a Day Challenge – It’s a double down day

Last night I finished The War of the Worlds at 10:45 and just wanted to get ready for bed after that.  Of course, no sleep was had until midnight but I tried.  G and I are both 7 for 7 with this challenge.

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Yesterday I read The War of the Worlds by HG Wells.

First published in 1897 in a series of magazine articles, this sci-fi classic has not been out of print since and has spawned a number of movies.  I loved Wells’ The Time Machine and was looking forward to this one about an alien invasion of England.  His writing always takes me a few chapters to get into a rhythm, but then I don’t even notice that the pre-1900 language.  Aliens from Mars head down to earth and somehow they are able to start killing at will and the people in the area don’t even seem that concerned.  The protagonist somehow managed to come out unscathed and with his life seemingly intact.

I was expecting to like it, but found myself a little bogged down in the geography and details. But I did love the old school, 1980 edition I had on my shelves!

G read Monkey, Where are You? by David Martin and Scott Nash.  There’s no review because he moved on too fast for me.

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Today I finished listening to A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston. It was read by Cranston himself and it was 8 cds. I love when actors read their own books!  I did watch one season of Breaking Bad and have seen him in other things, but I wouldn’t have picked this one up unless someone on the book blog recommended it.  Cranston’s dad was an actor and left his three kids when they were young.  Cranston and his brother survived their childhood together, living with relatives, traveling overseas, and taking motorcycle road trip across America.  Cranston has led a very bold and ambitious life and he pulls no punches.  It started a little slow, but for most of this book his stories made me laugh out loud or have a motherly concern for his wellbeing. If you are at all interested in reading about the acting life or love Walter White then this will a good fit for you.  Perfect for a road trip with the hubby or wife, but not suitable for kids. Lots of language and sex.

G read Fun! by Peg Ballard and Cynthia Amoroso.  He was very frustrated with it because he didn’t know a word or two on about a third of the pages.  This boy is a perfectionist. sigh.

Book a Day – Not Quite Ready for Mysticism

Book a Day – Not Quite Ready for Mysticism

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First day that G has been in school since the month started so I was able to get my book read by noon 🙂

G read Summer by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R Maslen

His assessment – Molly and her Mom got into the pond because they were hot.  (Way to spoil the end, son :))

 

I read a memoir that was sent to me by a publicist, The Reluctant Mystic: Autobiography of an Awakening by Nancy Torgrove Clasby.

I am not well-versed in mystics or healers, but was willing to be educated because this book was short, 110 pages.  One day this mother of three young children was in a session with her massage therapist, when the world opened up to her.

“I was on the table, fully clothed, and he was working at my head.  All of a sudden, my body started to shake, and it felt like I left my body.  My eyes were wide open, so I could see the room I was in, but I could also see through what I later found out was my “third eye,” which is an invisible energy center everyone has that sits in the middle of the forehead and is the seat of intuition.”  page 7

She sought out the advice of those around her and found supporters, including a rabbi, reverend and doctor, that would help push her in the right direction.  She learned to understand her gifts more clearly and spend the next 20 years as a healer.  I admit that much of it was too much for me, in part because it was new, no doubt.  But she was sincere and truly open and how rare is that?  She included pages written by her mentors, but the bulk of it was stories about some of her patients.  She included some different meditations at the end that left me feeling wonderful.  I love meditation and don’t do it often enough.

I can’t say I was the target audience but I’m glad I read something out of my comfort zone.  I feel a little more enlightened 🙂

 

Book a Day Challenge – A Strange Classic!

Book a Day Challenge – A Strange Classic!

IMG_1427 (2)You’d think that with a book less than 200 hundred pages I may have finished before 10:15 pm, but no such luck.  G read his right after we took this picture.  He’s finally starting to gain some confidence, yay!  I read a paperback copy with small print and I have a bit of a headache, so I see glasses in my future.  I’m a little amazed I’ve made it to 45 without them.

G read Funny Bunny by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R Maslen

What he said it was about – A fox (Lox) wants to eat two rabbits but he’s out of luck.

I read Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.

I haven’t read Vonnegut since Slaughterhouse-Five in college, a book I disliked.  So, imagine my surprise when I found myself charmed by this one.  The father of the hydrogen bomb made something even more deadly and, left in the hands of his three children, the fate of the world is in peril.  Jonah, a writer and our narrator, finds himself drawn into the lives of these offspring and sent on an adventure that would leave the world changed forever.  This book was a hoot in its absurdity, but pointed in its observations of humanity.

I want to write a proper review and will link to it here after I post it tomorrow.

Book a Day Challenge – When company calls

Book a Day Challenge – When company calls

Jason’s father and stepmother are visiting from Michigan so this will be brief.  How could I read a book when there’s company you ask?  I stayed awake cleaning the house and listening to an audio book after my guys went to sleep.  Finished it at 2:15 this morning 🙂

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G read Hop and Tap written by Lynn Maslen Kertell and pictures by Dana Sullivan

Dot and Sam can do various things.  Not much to it.

 

I listened to When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.  It was read by Sunil Malhotra and Cassandra Campbell. 5.5 hours.

Paul was a neurosurgeon resident and found out he had stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 36.  Between his diagnosis and his death he wrote this book about living.  Paul was able to choose two paths in his shorten life, as a writer in his youth and at the end of his life and his calling as a neurosurgeon in the middle.  I loved his relationship with literature and science and how he strived to make meaning of them both.  The world lost a great doctor and human being when he passed and I can only hope his words will inspire other young people to follow in his path.  A beautiful book about life and death and what to do with the time we have.