Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Reading So Far

Remember this post in which I said that I wanted to read and make a quilt this summer? I have been sorting through fabric for the quilt, but that's as far as I have gotten so far with that. All that traveling is not conducive to quilting. But I can read while traveling and so far I have read four books. Here's the low-down:

Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay~~I almost feel guilty counting this one because it is so short. This book is a spoof of archaeology and its sometimes creative interpretations of ancient discoveries. An archaeologist from the 41st century discovers a 20th century motel site and completely misunderstands everything he sees. For instance, since everthing in the room is arranged for the greatest possible ease in TV watching, the archaelogist mistakes the TV for an altar and the remote control as a means to communicate with the gods. (Sounds like a lot of living rooms I've seen . . . and kitchens . . . and bedrooms.) His interpretations of the bathroom and its contents are even funnier. I think this is a valuable book for students in about fifth grade and up to read because it will teach them to take what they read in National Geographic and on museum plaques with a very large grain of salt.

The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens~~Name sound familiar? Peter is the brother of noted atheist, Christopher Hitchens. I found this book fascinating. Peter tells his story of his own loss of faith and subsequent return to it. He details his entry into the League of the Militant Godless, as he calls it, and states that atheism conveniently allowed him to behave very badly. His return to faith was particularly interesting to me because he has returned to the most traditional and liturgical form of Anglicanism he could find. Having recently become a Lutheran, I am finding myself falling in love with the liturgy, and I was excited to get this peek into why the author chose liturgical Christianity over the contemporary evangelical type. Peter Hitchens is honest about his own trespasses and his need for a Savior. He's also honest about his relationship with Christopher. And there are quite a few history lessons regarding Britain in the 20th that were compelling. Definitely worth the read.

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease~~Okay, I picked this up at Goodwill for two bucks, so it was the second edition (1990), not the sixth edition (2006). I bought it because . . . well, I don't really know why I bought and I didn't really expect to do more than leaf through it from time to time, but the bits and pieces I skimmed were intriguing so I ended up reading the whole thing. We've always read aloud to our children, and I often tell Man of the House that I wish I knew how many collective hours we've spent reading to our kids. Thousands upon thousands, I'm sure. So I didn't really expect this book to have much to say me since I was already a firm believer. But I was wrong. The statistics were confirming but not as much as the real-life stories of children turned on to reading through being read to. One complaint I have is that the book is a wee bit repetitive. Oh, and I hope (and assume) that the new edition takes the internet into account the way the 1990 edition does the telly.

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes~~Why have I never read this delightful book before? In fact, I'd never read anything by Eleanor Estes before. I loved it! This book is more a series of vignettes of the Moffat clan than a book with a tightly woven plot with rising and falling action. There is the thread of an impending move woven throughout, however. Children everywhere will relate to the quirky escapades of the imaginative Moffats, a family trying to get along about the turn of the last century without the father, who has died. That's the only sad note in it. The rest is hilarity!

So that's it for summer reading so far. More to come later!

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