Monday, April 6, 2009

Books (and More Books)

The book reviews here at Mt. Hope Chronicles have sadly been few and far between this year. One thing after another, excuses, exhaustion, getting to bed too late, illnesses and sleepless nights with the boys, blah, blah, blah. Here is a quick review of the books I have managed to read so far:

The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle: Interesting YA historical fiction. It is set in the time period we are studying, so it helped set the stage, so to speak. I chose not to read it with Levi, as it was a coming of age story about a 16 year old girl. Wise choice, I think.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Mortenson/Relin: Fascinating, powerful, relevant, inspiring, balanced, intelligent and informative. Thoughts to chew on for quite some time.

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher: Terrific read-aloud. Review here.

I Am David by Anne Holm: One of my favorites. I'm looking forward to sharing it with Levi in a couple years. Review here.

The Children's Homer by Padraic Colum: I found this to be a perfect retelling of Homer's epics as an adult with no background in the classics. Hopefully I'll read something closer to the originals next time we visit ancient history.

Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico: Charming, delightful, witty, light-hearted. Short and easy to read, yet well-written and full of interesting characters. I loved the movie with Angela Lansbury and was happy to discover that it stayed very true to the book.

Augustine: The Farmer's Boy of Tagaste by P. de Zeeuw: Both Levi and I very much enjoyed this story of Augustine's childhood.

Messenger by Lois Lowry: This is the third book in Lowry's YA trilogy. Interesting and provides food for thought (and discussion), but The Giver (the first book) is by far my favorite of the three.

Hard Questions, Real Answers by William Lane Craig: Excellent look at tough theological questions.

Philippa by Anne Douglas Sedgwick: A disappointment. Sigh. The Little French Girl by the same author is one of my all-time favorites, so I suppose I had high expectations. Philippa was well-written and a fascinating character study in parts, but it lacked the beautiful, ethereal quality of TLFG, as well as a happy ending.

Beowulf: The Warrior retold by Ian Serraillier: Loved. I had a blast reading this book aloud to Levi. I found myself pacing the floor with excitement. The prose rolls off the tongue and begs to be read with drama. I doubt I would be able to read this book in public the way I hammed it up at home. What fun. It made me even more eager to read the translation by Seamus Heaney, but that might have to wait until next history rotation...

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare: Excellent choice for reading aloud to Levi. Well-told story which brought history alive for us both.

That should catch us up to date. I'm hoping the book reviews won't be so scant in the next few months...

I may not have spent much time with my nose in a book lately, but luckily (I think) Levi hasn't had the same issue. I can't seem to get his nose out of a book! In two days he finished off Owls in the Family and Mr. Popper's Penguins in addition to the 450 pages of Peter and the Star Catchers.

I was teasingly giving him a bad time about all the reading he was doing, wondering what I was going to do with him. He looked up at me with his signature Levi grin and said, "It's like I was born to read, or something!"

On another day, I walked into the boys' bedroom as Levi was finishing up his reading for the night (late as usual). He closed up Miracles on Maple Hill, handed it to me, and said, "I have one word for this book. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. You need to read it and then give it to Dad to read."

I think I'll just hand my book list over to Levi and call it good.


carole said...

I love book list ideas! And I have to say that I really appreciate that you said your dramatic read alouds are kept within the confines of your own home. I, too, feel that any story or poem must be read with animation - but would be mortified it someone overheard me attempting voices and such! (I'm almost embarrassed to admit that it would be embarrassing, but ... it's true!)

carole said...

Does that say "it" instead of "if"?

Anonymous said...

LOVE you books lists and reviews! You introduce me to so many great books and get me excited about all the books to read to my future kids. THANK YOU!

PS. I read A Well-Trained Mind on your recommendation and can't wait to have kids to homeschool. :)