I was brought up in a household of very avid readers: my parents are generally reading at least two books at a time and my sister, along with reading several books at a time, can finish them in lightening speed. I remember at one point in my childhood that my parents had to make a rule that we could not bring books to the dinner table, but instead had to engage each other in conversation. (Fortunately the rule did not apply to breakfast!)
As my children grow I am happy to see that they too like to read books, although a love of books is in the beginning stages for Henry, Anna adores reading. I myself have little time to read, except at bedtime when I generally am too tired to read, so it takes me a long time to finish anything. Mike loves to read, but is also too tired to read much; he reads when he can and enjoys fiction, non-fiction and some hefty-looking technical books.
Nonetheless I thought I would do a post about our family’s favorite books of late.
I have many of my childhood books lying around and two of them have become some of the books that Anna loves to read over and over again.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf is a classic one, about a bull who is not interested in fighting, but would rather smell flowers and relax in the shade. He’s different and unique and I love the message of the book.
And another favorite of mine from childhood that Anna loves now:
The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel is a story of Japanese origin about a little woman who likes to laugh,”Tee he he he” and her adventures with the wicked Oni (picture one-eyed ogre type beings) she encounters one day. I have an aunt who spent a long time in Japan and this is one of the many things that she gave to me from a land that she loves. It’s a sweet story with wonderful illustrations.
And last, a book that I purchased from Scholastic books, in one of my many book buying binges now that Anna gets the book orders through school, The Library Lion by Michelle Knudson.
I adore this sweet book about a lion who becomes a mainstay of the public library – but I can generally not read it without tearing up at the end!
Henry is, without any encouragement from us, turning into a real boy. He loves cars, trucks, construction equipment and anything else that has a motor noise. With that, some of his favorite books are also to do with those things. His latest favorite is Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Shertle:
The Blue Truck goes into the city, encounters some aggressive drivers and comes up with a great solution to resolve the problem. Also, there’s a street sweeper – which Henry loves – every picture with said street sweeper in it is greeted happily with a, “There’s the street sweeper!” from Henry.
For those of us who were brought up with Dorothy Kunhart’s classic touch-and-feel book Pat the Bunny, there is now an amusing and fun sequel, Pat the Beastie by Henrik Drescher.
In this hilarious book, Paul and Judy have a pet beastie that they are not very nice to – with unpleasant consequences in the end. Both Henry and Anna love to “pull Beastie’s worm boogers” and “make Beastie’s belly squeak”.
With simple wording and beautiful pictures, Donald Crews’ Freight Train tells a story of a freight train’s journey, “going though tunnels, going by cities.”
Henry’s favorite part of this book is admittedly the “crossing trestles” page, which Henry interprets as “pretzels” and then spends some time discussing how much he likes to eat pretzels – I love to read this book just for that cuteness!
When I do get the chance to read I have been reading mysteries, and I have just read another in a series I adore by Alexander McCall Smith, The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency: The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection.
This is the 13th in a series that I am absolutely addicted to reading and must buy whenever a new one is published. Precious Ramotswe is the first (and only) lady detective in the African country of Botswana. Precious encounters some interesting problems and always finds a solution, no matter the problem. The books are well-written and describe Botswana in such a way that it makes me forget the world around me and travel to Botswana instead. I encourage anyone and everyone to give these a try – you too will come to love Precious and her companions.
My sister introduced me to another mystery series, a vintage set, by Torrey Chanslor with Our First Murder.
Although I have only read the first one, I really like this series, written in the 1940’s about a pair of small town sisters who inherit their brother’s detective agency when he dies. The sisters are sweet, smart and spunky!
As for Mike, he’s currently reading Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Space Chronicles. We both love Neil DeGrasse Tyson; he’s smart, funny and seems to be on a quest to educate everyone about the universe.
As for the technical books Mike is reading, here are the few that he is really into right now: Continuous Delivery, Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test and Deployment Automation by Humble and Farley, about which he says, “Required reading by any organizations that are interested in software development methodologies that provide value to business.” Effective Java – 2nd Edition by Joshua Bloch,”Which should be required reading by all Java developers – explains how to write Java the right way.” Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by Tests by Freeman and Pryce about test-driven development and Agile development methodologies and Just Spring by Madhusudhan Konda, which Mike says, “Is a good introduction to the fundamentals of the Spring framework.”
As for fiction, Mike is not reading any right now, but is open to suggestions. He loved Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and still has a special place in his heart for Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth, which is the book that got him into reading as an adult.