Books

Summer Reading Goals {what I’m reading right now}

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Hey everyone!

Summer. Sweet summer. When I think of summer I think of books.

Oh yes. Books.

Give me all the books. Let me go out and get more books. Let me sit in the a.c. and read all those books.

Mountains of books!

Ahem.

Worked myself into a book frenzy. Anyways.

I have this habit of starting so many books and then not finishing them for some reason or another. 

To help resolve this issue, I decided to narrow down my list to 5 books I want to work on finishing. I am more or less actively reading these books. And lets face it, I probably won’t finish them all by August but this is a start.

 

My Current Reads This Summer

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1. Fountain Creek Chronicles, by Tamera Alexander

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 689.

  • book #1: Rekindled
  • #2: Revealed
  • #3: Remembered

Why I love it:

This particular series is set in Colorodo Territory (western US) in the mid- to late 1800s. I enjoy this particular time period and westerns have piqued my interest lately.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what I love about these books. Maybe its the fact that the characters are so real, so genuine in their struggles. They are committed to their faith.

The author walks a fine line here with providing just the right amount of detail to make the story flow. I also like her gutsiness to write about topics that not every Christian writer would. And she does it with eloquence and grace.

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2. The Magnolia Story, by Chip & Joanna Gaines

Genre: Biography.

Pages: 184.

Why I love it:

Most people are familiar with the dynamic duo that is Chip and Joanna Gains through their show, Fixer Upper. One of my friends (who is a fan) loaned me this book.

Chip and Joanna have a cute story. Joanna is so…Joanna and Chip is so crazy! I’ve enjoyed reading about the “ages and stages” of their lives…and how they got to be famous!

 

3. The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman

Genre: History/ World War I

Pages: 368.

Why I love it:

This one. This one is very deep and quite detailed. I’ve found I cannot do this book justice by reading it quickly. So, just like the classics I’ve been reading this novel slowly.

The book is based on the true story of Jan and Antonia Żabiński, a Polish couple who manage the Warsaw zoo during the Holocaust. What is so special about them? The synopsis says that “..[they] managed to save over 300 people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages”. Although I haven’t yet reached that point in the story.

I can tell that this book will be heartbreaking and beautiful. It is full of rich detail and I know that it will touch my heart.

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4. The Cranford Novellas, (Girlebooks) by Elizabeth Gaskell

  • Cranford-16 chapters.
  • Mr. Harrison’s Confession-31 chapters.
  • My Lady Ludlow-14 chapters.

 

Genre: Novel

Pages: 134 pages.

Why I love it:

Earlier this year I finished Gaskell’s North and South and I liked it (for the most part).

My thoughts on Gaskell’s works are hard to explain. I like her books, but they can be slow and the characters not as easy to like as say…Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet.

When I read that Cranford was supposed to be her best work, and saw a preview for the BBC series I decided to read it. The show came out in 2007 but apparently I missed the boat haha.

I am currently having some difficulty following the storyline and need to find some sort of spark notes to help me.

I did really enjoy the beginning of the novel. I found it to be quite humerous and entertaining. This book seems much more…easygoing? than other novels of hers.

 

5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Genre: Fantasy.

Pages: 306.

Why I love it:

It’s J.R.R. Tolkien. Need I say more? His writing style is beyond amazing. And it’s no wonder, when he devoted such a large portion of his life to the series.

I don’t read much fantasy at all but I can definitely make time for a little Tolkien ☺

 

Any books on your summer reading list? Now’s the time to knock them out! Stay cool out there! ❄☀🌻🌺

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Books, Celebrated Authors

Remembering Louisa May Alcott with Favorite Quotes from “Little Women”

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Happy Birthday, Louisa May Alcott! She was born 185 years ago *today, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. She was the second oldest of four daughters. Anna, Louisa, Elizabeth and Abigail were the four girls born to Amos and Abigail Alcott.

Louisa May Alcott wrote quite a few books and short stories in her lifetime. Little Women is the most well known of her works and is followed by the books Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

Her contemporaries were such authors as Charles Dickens (1812-70), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), Alexandre Dumas (1802-70) and Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-81). One of my favorite time periods for literature for sure.

Since I posted an in-depth e-book review on The Courtship of Jo March last week, I thought it would be fun to write up a simpler post full of my favorite quotes from Little Women.

Enjoy!

Favorite Quotes from Little Women

From Part 1 (Chapters 1-23)

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“Meg’s high heeled slippers were very tight and hurt her, though she would not own it, and Jo’s nineteen hairpins all seemed stuck straight into her head, which was not exactly comfortable; but dear me, let us be elegant or die!”

-from Chapter 3


You don’t look a bit like yourself, but you are very nice.”

-from Chapter 9, Sallie to Meg.


I don’t like fuss and feathers.”

-from Chapter 9, Laurie to Meg.

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You’d have nothing but horses, inkstands and novels in yours,” answered Meg petulantly.

Wouldn’t I, though? I’d have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled high with books, and I’d write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie’s music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle-something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all some day.”

-from Chapter 13


From Part 2 (Chapters 24-47)

“By-and-by Jo roamed away upstairs, for it was rainy, and she could not walk. A restless spirit possessed her, and the old feeling came again, not bitter as it once was, but a sorrowfully patient wonder why one sister should have all she asked, the other nothing.”

-from Chapter 42

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“The boy early developed a mechanical genius which delighted his father and distracted his mother, for he tried to imitate every machine he saw, and kept the nursery in a chaotic condition, with his “sewin-sheen”-a mysterious structure of string, chairs, clothespins, and spools, for wheels to go “wound and wound”; also a basket hung over the back of a chair, in which he vainly tried to hoist his too confiding sister, who, with feminine devotion, allowed her little head to be bumped till rescued, when the young inventor indignantly remarked, “Why, Marmar, dat’s my lellywaiter, and me’s trying to pull her up.”

-from Chapter 45 (the antics of John and Meg’s twin children Daisy and Demi).


 

Have you read any books by or about Louisa May Alcott lately? Which novel is your favorite? I’d love to hear about it 😊

~Rachel

*For some reason, WordPress marked my post as 11/30, when I wrote it at 8pm on 11/29, which is Louisa May Alcott’s birthday. Not the 30th.

Books, Children's Books

Toddler {Summer} Favorite Books: Year 1

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It hit me today. Square between the eyes. Sometimes I forget just how special my son is to me and how very much I love him.

It was a bit of a rough morning. Getting ready to go out was quite interesting. My child has a new found love of the toilet. And he did not hesitate to show it as I was shampooing my hair under the bathtub faucet…you know those moments. Sometimes I just want to shout, “I am a bona fide manager of a crazy house!” And then you clean up, the moment passes and you move on with life.

When we got back home he was grouchy. Hungry and tired. And truth be known, so was I. So we ate our lunch. Or he did. Sortof. He nibbled and I stopped eating to lay him down for a much needed nap. He wanted me to sit with him while he fell asleep. From experience I know that could take ages. So I went back to eating. He cried, which is not unusual, but typically does not last long.

Then I was filled with compassion for my dear son. Who wanted only me to comfort him. Only his mother to soothe him and love him. I left the leftovers of our lunch on the table and did something I don’t often do. I crawled into his crib. I laid next to him until he fell asleep.

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And then I realized. I don’t know much about being a mother, but I have learned two things. There are definite, no-fail ways to bond with your child when they are little. One is to crawl into their crib when they are very distressed. Another is to read to them while they sit on your lap. I don’t think there is a child in this world that doesn’t like being read to.

Reading is such a powerful, beautiful thing. Now I am a book nerd, so I’m rather partial. But you can’t argue that reading is full of goodness on so many levels.

So I would like to share some of our favorite books. And I would like to thank my local library for their summer reading program. It gives me so much motivation to read new books to Baby J.

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5 of Our Most Favorite Books

 

1. My Farm Friends by Wendell Minor has been a long time favorite. This is a board book. It gives a lot of accurate details about farm animals. Also, the wording is catchy and the artwork is beautiful.

 

2. Your Kind of Mommy by Marjorie Blain Parker is one that is so dear to me. One of those books that helps you get back to how special you are as a mommy. Really nice on those hard days! Its sweet and simple and will give you the warm fuzzies.

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3.The Berenstain Bears’ Dinosaur Dig by Jan & Mike Berenstain is a fairly new one we’ve tried but Baby J wants to read it all the time! It actually has quite a bit of text, but somehow he sits still and listens very intently. He loves dinosaurs lately so I believe this is why. Plus I love the Bearenstein Bears. It brings up a lot of childhood nostalgia. Watching the cartoons at my Grandma’s..reading all the books. And they always have positive messages in the books.

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4. The Mine-O-Saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is another dinosaur book. I’m actually not too sure why J likes this one. I think the illustrations are a bit goofy. But the text rhymes a bit and it flows well. Plus J likes the part where the Mine-o-saur spills the snacks on the floor. He will always point it out and say uh-oh. The ending is really nice too. A good book for promoting sharing 🙂

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5. Here are two books but they belong in the same entry. Wow! Ocean!  and Wow! America! by Robert Neubecker are two books that have less text and more visual info. They are responsible for teaching my son the word “wow!”. The ocean book we currently are borrowing from the library. Really good one for summer. Full of lots of details to discuss and point out.

There you have it! 6 of our favorite summertime books.