Monday, October 21, 2013

For the Record: September 2013

Thanks to a vacation at the end of September, I actually had a relatively decent reading month—although it was still light in comparison to the volume I had been used to a year ago.  One benefit to a long airplane ride is the opportunity to get some serious reading done!  I impulse-bought two novels at the airport (The Beginner's Goodbye and Prisoner of Heaven) so I didn't get through all the reading material I brought with me (when does that ever happen anyhow?) but it still felt quite rewarding.

So, my husband and I went to Mont Tremblant in Quebec first, for a business related conference, where all the mountains were ablaze with wondrous autumnal shades and the weather was chilly enough to warrant the constant use of scarves. (yay!)  Having lived in SoCal for the last 5 years, seasons are something I sorely miss.  When the conference finished, we flew on to Bordeaux, France.  We met up with my brother-in-law for a few days of European wine country (and—lovely though it was, especially being harvest time—we came away doubly appreciating our California wines) before getting in a series of planes once again to spend a few days with friends in Scotland before returning home.

We had a lovely time.  It was a bit of a shock to return to 85 degrees of sunshine after being huddled by the fireplace for days, and my kids (and my mom) were probably all ready to have mom and dad return to their regular responsibilities, but it ended up being a wonderful break from our building project if nothing else.  Obviously I didn't spend the time blogging; that will come with time.

6 Books Read in September: (64 year-to-date)

1 read aloud to my 9 year-old:
  - The Story of Doctor Doolittle, Hugh Lofting (3) I've had this book for so many years and finally got around to finding a kiddo to read it to.  Cute story (much cuter than the recent movie!)

2 from my Shelf:
  - Heat Lightning, Helen Hull (4) I believe Persephone has reprinted this book, although my copy is original from 1932 (either copy would be fabulous, but there is something filling about reading an book.)  At first blush, the story seems to be a simple family drama, but hang in for a little while and you'll soon realize that serious issues are discussed and considered.  Also extremely fascinating was the perspective - not what I expected from something written in 1932 in so many ways, but also a very 'eye-witness' sort of account of the state of the nation at such a critical point in American history.
  - Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Tom Franklin (3.5) I was expecting something more...relational?  familial?  It was more murder-mystery than I'd expected, but a good book all the same.

3 recent purchases:
  - The Beginner's Goodbye, Anne Tyler (4.5) Bought at the airport and read on the first leg of my vacation.  This is the first I've read of Tyler's, and I found it refreshing and captivating.  I don't actually know why I liked it as much as did, except that I really enjoyed the writing and it kept me thinking.  And it was short (bonus points for short books these days!)
  - The Prisoner of Heaven, Carlos Ruiz Zafon (3.5) Apart from the bits of magical realism (which I'm slowly beginning to accept is just not my thing) my only complaint is how flat and simple all the female characters were.  This isn't something I'm sensitive to, so it must have been pretty extreme!  Interesting story set in Barcelona about 50 years ago.
  - Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell (5) After hearing rave reviews from two dissimilar people, and then seeing it on the reading list of Sonlight home-school curriculum, I decided I had to give this book a try.  I'm so glad I did!  The writing was clear, interesting, and well-organized (even though I'd have enjoyed a broader spectrum of more complex examples) and the things I learned were so much fun!  I wish I'd been able to read it when all my kiddos were a bit younger, but better late than never.  Educators and parents should all give it a go...and (why not) everyone else too.  Then come over to my house so we can talk about it!