Growing Bookworms Newsletter: August 8: Favorite Picture Books, Harry Potter 6, and the Reading Nest
Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is usually sent out every three weeks.
Newsletter Update: In this issue I have two picture book reviews and three literacy milestones for my daughter (crying over a book, building a reading nest, and feeling nostalgia for past favorites). I also have three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, full of tons on reading-related news.
Reading Update: In the last three weeks I finished four middle grade (3 of them very short), one young adult, and nine adult titles. I read/listened to:
- Maryrose Wood: The Long-Lost Home (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book IV). Balzer + Bray. Middle Grade Fantasy. Completed July 19, 2018, on MP3. This book was lovely, a perfect end to a great series. I bought the first book in paperback (having listened to them all) in the hope of reading it with my daughter one day (or her reading it on her own).
- Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse: Monster Mash. Random House Children's Books. Early Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed July 23, 2018, read aloud to my daughter.
- Jarrett Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain. Random House Children's Books. Early Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed July 24, 2018, read aloud to my daughter.
- Jarrett Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle. Random House Children's Books. Early Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed July 24, 2018, read aloud to my daughter. She basically knows these books by heart. I can read them aloud to her while she's across the room doing something else, because she KNOWS what the pictures look like. But having me read them to her is a form of comfort reading, I think. I enjoy them, so it's all good.
- Jennifer Donaldson: Lies You Never Told Me. Razorbill. Young Adult Fiction. Completed July 31, 2018, on Kindle. I couldn't put this one down, although I disliked several of the characters, and quite disliked the situations that they got themselves into. I still had to know what was going to happen, and I would certainly read other books by this author. I figured out the twist, but not so early, which is exactly what I want as a reader.
- Victoria Abbott: The Wolfe Widow (Book Collector Mysteries, Book 3). Berkley Publishing. Adult Mystery. Completed July 22, 2018, on Kindle. I'm enjoying this cozy series about a book collector's assistant who stumbles into various murder mysteries. The supporting characters are fun, and the food descriptions are to die for. And of course I like that each book is based on a golden age mystery author (though I'm not familiar enough with most of the referenced books to appreciate all of the details).
- Stephen Guise: Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. Amazon Digital Services. Adult Nonfiction. Completed July 22, 2018, on Kindle. This was a quick little read about the idea that if you want to change your behavior in some way, the trick is to start very very small, with something that you simply can't fail to do. Then you'll do it every day, and at least some of the time do it more. You'll build a streak and you'll want to keep the streak going. I'm trying it out on a few things. The book has more detail than it really needs (an article might have done the trick), but I read it sitting by a pool one day while my daughter swam, so it was all good.
- Susan Wise Bauer: Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child's Education. W. W. Norton and Company. Adult Nonfiction. Completed July 23, 2018, on Kindle. This book has some useful material in it for people whose kids are having difficulty fitting in to the standard US school system, for whatever reason (giftedness, learning disability, temperament, etc.). The author talks about leaving the school system, which I'm not interested in doing, but also about "flexing" the system in terms of things like homework.
- Joy Ellis: Thieves on the Fens. Joffe Books. Adult Mystery. Completed July 25, 2018, on MP3. This series is very dark, but I can't resist it for some reason.
- Marianne Cantwell: Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills. Kogan Page. Adult Nonfiction. Completed July 29, 2018, on Kindle. This I read on a whim after it was a Kindle deal. The author is a strong cheerleader for people who want to leave their unfulfilling jobs and figure out how to make money doing something more interesting. There are a lot of exercises and things, so it could take quite a while to get through the book if you really do them. What I learned in thinking through some of the exercises is that I have it pretty good as I am. It did inspire me to start a new Twitter account to share some of the topics that are of interest to me, but not so much for most of the people who read my blog (freedom of speech on college campuses, ideological diversity and the polarization of debate, etc.).
- Dan Brown: Origin. Anchor. Adult Fiction. Completed August 4, 2018, on Kindle. I actually really enjoyed this book (also a Kindle deal). I haven't read any of Brown's books in a while, and this was a good choice for a free reading weekend that I had recently.
- Michael Crichton: Jurassic Park. Ballantine Books. Adult Science Fiction. Completed August 5, 2018, on MP3. This was recommended as an audiobook, and it had been years (if ever) since I read the print book, so I gave it a listen. I enjoyed it, but I found it a bit too similar to the movie for there to be much suspense. Can't complain - I usually grumble when movies are NOT true to the book - but still... I may listen to the sequel though.
- Victoria Abbott: The Marsh Madness (Book Collector Mysteries, Book 4). Berkley Publishing. Adult Mystery. Completed August 5, 2018, on Kindle. See above. This is the next book in the same series.
I'm listening to Not Alone: Second Contact by Craig Falconer, the sequel to a book that I listened to earlier in the year. I'm between reads apart from my audiobook, as I keep starting books and then deciding not to finish them. Not sure why so many books aren't working for me, but I guess reading slumps happen to everyone.
I know that I said last time that I was going to try Gone-Away Lake as my next read aloud to my daughter. But, well, she wasn't that interested - we never did start it. We did read the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I had planned to take a break, but she really wanted to start the next book. However, after that one chapter, her pressing interest waned, and we've gone back to picture books for a while. (Hence the literacy milestone about nostalgia for favorite picture books.) It's possible that her interest waned because of the girl at her childcare who keeps telling her spoilers for the series (who marries who, who dies at the end). I am quite unhappy about it. We reached out to the girl's parent and I'm hoping that this stops. But anyway, that's a risk with popular books, isn't it?
Meanwhile I'm going to use this resurgent interest in favorite picture books (I'm talking to you, Bob Staake) as an opportunity to start sorting the picture books. I would like to keep the good ones and get rid of some of the ones that we will never read again. (Because of my blog and a couple of years of Cybils round 1 picture books, there are quite a few of those.) We can definitely use the space, because the graphic and notebook novel collection continues to grow. Not to worry, though. The favorites will be with us for the long term, for sure.
One her own, she continues to read frequently, if not very broadly (graphic and notebook novels all day long), especially in her new reading nest. She did pick up a middle grade title that she is reading on her own (though she wants me to read it, too, so that we can discuss). It's The Twelve Dares of Christa by Marissa Burt. I think it's too advanced for her, but far be it from me to interfere with her reading choice. All the more reason for me to read it so that we can discuss, though. She's also making progress with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. She has not, as far as I can tell, actually opened any of the books for the Battle of the Books contest, though she has expressed interest in participating in that this fall. You can see her reading list here.
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms! Hope that your summer reading is going as well as ours is!