Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lately I've Been Reading . . .

Every once in awhile I like to do a post of what I've been reading lately. It helps me to remember what I've read, and maybe we can share suggestions.

Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy. I actually started this in the summer, then it got set aside. I picked it up again this fall and really ended up enjoying it. The writing is very good, which is so important to me. It's about a family and it chronicles three generations. They're pretty disfunctional, but not alarmingly so. They seem pretty real, and for all their flaws they are actually kind of loving underneath it all. I like intersting characters and this book has that. I think you will like it.

Miss Petigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson. I found this book surprisingly charming. The characters are not realistic, but they're likeable, especially Miss Petigrew. I thought at first I would be too annoyed by the "silly" character, Miss La Fosse, but somehow the whole thing comes together in a way that works. It's heartening--I think that's the point of it. I haven't seen the movie, but I've seen the trailer and I wasn't that happy with it. Read the book.

The Enchanted April. Elizabeth Von Arnim. This, like Miss Petigrew, is a reprint of an older book. Four very different ladies pool their funds and rent an Italian castle for the month of April and the experience changes them. It's about embracing the love all around us. I liked the whole thing except for the end. Still, I'm glad I read it and I do recommend it.

This month's Mothering magazine. This was such a great issue. I don't agree with everything in the Mothering magazine philosophy, but I love the articles about breastfeeding and natural living--topics close to my heart. This month I was super inspired by the "Suburban Walkabout" article. It's about taking an afternoon walk with your children, but it frames it in such a different way than the usual "we should take a walk because it's good exercise" rationale. Instead the author embraces taking an urban hike because it is an adventure, a learning opportunity, a great way for parents and children to interact, and a chance to experience the outdoors. I'm inspired, but still struggling to make this a part of my routine. Not getting home until 4:30 makes it challenging.

I also adored the "Forest for a Classroom" article about German kindergarteners who literally hike to a forest location and hold class outdoors. Then they hike back. Love love love this. I'd enroll my children in that in a minute if we had it.

And the article on boys playing with dolls is also really great. It's written by a dad who seems like he honestly struggled with this and found his own way to seeing the advantages of doll play for boys. The whole November-December issue is great. It also features lots of lovely natural toys and a mini-version of the new Nova catalogue.

I also picked up body + soul magazine while Rainer was still in the hospital and was interested in a couple books mentioned in their book review section. One is Drinking Problem at the Fountain of Youth which is about American women's "quest to stay forever young." I am very interested in this topic--about how we are supposed to age in this society that worships youth so much. I'd like to read it. The other book that caught my eye is Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping. It seems like a ton of books have come out lately about making do without something for a year. Nonetheless, it's an interesting topic for me. Ever since I did the "30 Days of Nothing" challenge, I've been very mindful of how well I can make do using things around the house--for decorating the mantle, making crafts, and so forth. The book is about a woman who went a whole year without buying anything but absolute essentials. So inspring--I'd like to read this one too.

I have to say I'm so glad I've squeezed in a bit more time for reading this last year or so--it enriches me so much. I'm looking for a website that helps you track what books you've read and share recommendations with others with similar taste. Any recommendations?

11 comments:

Becci said...

Try www.goodreads.com
You can create lists and rate books, you can also form groups of friends and get feedback from other readers.

driftwood said...

I use good reads too. and I love the idea of the forest classroom x

megan said...

Eat, Pray, Love is really good. It's what inspired me to live abroad.
I'm also a big fan of anything by Alice Steinbach. My favorite of hers is Without Reservations.

Deirdre said...

I feel the same way about Mothering magazine, not 100% in agreement but such riches there and support you don't find in other mags.

While reading the whole post, I was thinking, "Is she on goodreads?" You must join:-)

Andrea said...

I just started the 10 Year Nap (can't remember the author's name...). Usually I gallop through books, but this is a very slow read (not in a bad way though...just a lot of attention to detail)...I've been reading for two nights and five minutes has gone by in the main character's life...it seems very thoughtful and intelligent (so far).

Sarah said...

I read the "Year without Buying It" book and was really disappointed --it had some funny parts, but I felt like the author didn't opt out of consumerism or work to simplify.

Hot Belly Mama - taking it all back said...

Interestingly enough, I just got a bunch of children's book from the library. Remember Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Pippi Longstocking? lol. For some reason, I decided I wanted to read them again.

Liz said...

Good Reads is great for tracking books and sharing with others, so it gets my vote too!

PS: just stumbled upon your blog, and commenting for the first time!

daniela said...

i'm so glad that you're finally back home with the little one.
the forest for a classroom really IS great - my oldest one was in such a kindergarten and we really miss it here in the us. i was thinking about starting my own one here, but i never thought anyone would be interested in it - i'm probably prejudice...

Coffeegrl said...

Have you read anything by Anne Tyler? Based on what you've been reading, I think her books might interest you. Another possibility is to try something by Chris Bohjalian if you haven't already. Finally, you might like "Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter. Happy reading!

ames said...

I didn't know Enchanted April was a book, I'll have to get a copy for my mom, she adores the movie! I wanted to see Miss Petigrew, now I'll have to read the book too :)