Books and Movies, Musings

Read It And Weep

I talk about books all the time. We know this by now, I hope. Honestly though, if you think it is bad online, you should see me in person. Sometimes, if there is a really awkward silence, I will just randomly ask someone if they have read A Wrinkle In Time. But I haven’t always had this relationship with words.

I’ve never been tested, but I’m positive I have some sort of learning disability, and possibly a bit of dyslexia. I didn’t read independently until I was about 9 or 10 years old. Mom did everything “right”. We had books everywhere. She read to me. I knew my alphabet. Heck, in college she majored in journalism and Dad majored in history. There was no lack of joanofarcexposure to books of all kinds. Mom started working with me when I was about 6, but it just frustrated me. We played the phonics game, read the Bob books, and all kinds of variations of the two. I remember her writing out the words of a Bob book on 4×6 index cards one word at a time because those three words were too overwhelming.

She was incredibly patient. Eventually, she just left me alone. The books were still there. She would still read to my younger sisters, but didn’t force me to join. Every once in a while we’d work on it again, but for the most part, Mom just let me be. And that is when it clicked. I remember distinctly. One day I opened up the Dorling Kindersley reader version of Joan of Arc, and I just read it. I was kind of surprised, but I just read. Soon after that I started writing poetry, and jumped straight to thick chapter books (A Wrinkle In Time being my first favorite.)

This is how school always was for me. Mom would sweat over it for a little while, try to teach me, but in the end, I learned on my own, on my own time. Not during a set school time. Not with a set school book. Not with a set teaching tool or lesson plan. She figured this out, and pretty much left me alone. We were talking about it a few weeks ago after I got back some test scores, and I really only did about 3 years worth of actual schoolwork in those 12 years I was “in school”. And yet, I’ve never really gotten what you would call “bad marks” when I’ve tested.

So, to the moms who are stressing out over their kid’s academics, don’t. Sometimes they don’t need a different curriculum or a more strict lesson plan. Sometimes they just need space. Your child is learning about life, maybe they need that more than multiplication right now. Keep the books around, but don’t push them. And for all that is good and decent, do not take away the fun. Let them play. Playing is learning how to live. Books will come later. You are doing a great job. Just keep loving your child and getting to know them.

Books and Movies, Musings, Short

Desperately Complete

Well, I did it. I finished An Acceptable Time. I’m kind of sad about it.

It’s not that it ended poorly. In all honesty, it’s only partially because it is the last book. It’s a series I started when I was somewhere around 9 or 10 years old. That’s actually about how long I’ve been blogging, now that I think about it. I’ve been reading it for most of the time that I can remember. And now it’s over.

It feels kind of like letting go of my last ties to childhood. It’s funny though. I still read a lot of kid’s books and watch kid’s TV shows. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books. I was excited when I finally got “Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” from the library, and I plan to buy a copy for myself.

But even though I fangirl about Doctor Who, watch My Little Pony, and quote Princess Bride (and feel no shame about any of them), I can talk for hours about the need for Grace, what we can learn from and the fantastic literacy of the book of Revelation, or why we should be joyful. I realized the other day while playing a storytelling game that I have little to no desire to write fiction anymore. There are so many real things to write about, plus I’m kind of particular about stories and I can’t ever make one quite right.  I am finding that I love these things that I used to feel such an intense, burning indifference for (name that song).

So, why does this one thing feel like such a big turning point when this change has been happening for a long time? I really don’t know. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Sitting here, finished with high school, looking for a job, thinking about college, I can’t help but feel a desperate sense of completion. Finished with childhood and determined to start life.

I’m not sure how that works, but that is how it feels. Desperately complete.

Books and Movies, Musings

What to Read?

I don’t think you have to read my blog for very long to notice I love books.

It really makes me sad when people can’t find good ones for their kids. Now, I totally understand the lack of good children’s literature these days. It’s getting harder and harder to find clean books for pre-teens and young teens. Judging by their age they could be reading Young Adult over in the Teen section, but then you go over there and it’s all zombies, vampires, end of the world and forbidden love. Nothing against you if you like that kind of stuff, I’m just of the opinion that this is not appropriate, especially for kids of this age.

So what can they read? My favorite books of course.

Don’t laugh. I’m not being arrogant. It just happens that most of my favorite books are considered Juvenile Fiction at our library. I’m quite serious. I’ve found that the best books are the old “young people’s books.”

They are mostly innocent, generally old (there are some exceptions), sometimes challenging, usually epic and always worth your time.

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This is pretty much my favorite one on the list. Most people know the story of the March girls so I’m not going to go into much detail. Suffice it to say this is a great book for and about strong girls.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Fiery redheaded Anne. Another book that is near and dear to so many people. The story of an orphan girl who goes to live with an old maid and her bachelor brother has charmed young girls for over a hundred years. While she can be a drama queen, I love how she sees the poetry in ordinary life. Another book in my list of/for strong girls.

3. A Wrinkle In Time (book 1# of the Time Quartet) by Madeleine L’Engle

This is one series I have read over and over again, main reason being because I love Sci-fi and books with strong, complex heroines. Meg Murry is the oldest child of two geniuses, and the older sister of yet another, while she is about average in most ways. There are so many things about this book that I love.  The explanation and expectation of quantum physics? The fact that she actually has a good home life? Meg’s relationship with Calvin that stays sweet without getting overly romantic?  Another thing, I love it when the evil is obviously wicked. I like for the good guy to wear a white hat and the bad guy to wear a black hat. It’s fine for their minions to not be so apparent, but I want to know who I’m rooting for. I’ve just gotta say, there is an exceptionally short list of books I have read more than once, but this and the rest of the series are on that list. I could go on for a long time about how much I love this book, seriously, just go read it (or listen to it on Grooveshark!). This is not just for girls by the way.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Does this series really need an introduction? Most of us start our journey to the fantastic land of Narnia with four children sent out to the country to escape the air raids in London. Although I have mostly listened to the audio book,  this is another series I have read/heard many times.

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

Another one that requires little discription. This is the precursor to the Lord of The Rings trilogy, the story of how Bilbo Baggins gets the ring in the first place. My reason for putting it on this list instead of the Trilogy is because it is more of a fairytale than the others. If you feel that your child is mature enough I would definitely recommend the rest of the books as well.

6. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

I had several, unrelated, unacquainted people tell me to read this book. It’s a very basic fairytale, which is what I love about it.

7. Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Another one of my favorites. I have a thing for whimsy and surreality. The colorful world he creates for Alice to venture off to in her dreams is just he kind of place I love to read about.

8. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

High adventure in the Highlands. A young boy finds out he is the true heir of an estate is sold to pirates and shipwrecked, only to take arms with a Jacobite rebel and journey across Scotland to regain his rightful inheritance. Wha! It’s just exciting to think about!

9. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

A good classic adventure story about a family’s life after being shipwrecked on a tropical island.

Something about leaving that at 9 bothers me, but to stick with only my favorites for this age range it will have to stay that way.  There are many others I could list that are perfectly fine and clean, but I just don’t care for them. A very short list of books that are fine but bore me: Caddie Woodlawn, The Little House books, The Secret Garden, Pilgrim’s Progress. I know, I’m a bad Christian and a bad homeschooler.

Most of these books are in the Juvenile Fiction section of the library, and yes, I still read them and love them. I have no intention of growing up and losing my imagination or sense of wonder.

Books and Movies, Farm and Family

The Best is Yet to Come

Have you noticed it? That fantastic chill in the breeze every once in a while? The sudden shiver running up your spine, down your arms and out your fingertips? Ah. It’s coming. Given, it’s still a ways off, but every once in a while…

Fall. Autumn. Harvest.

It’s almost time for hot chocolate, plaid flannel, bonfires, hoodies and jeans. I’m so ready. Fall is, in the words of Lola, “my favorite and my best.”

I’m so ready to snuggle down with a book and a cozy blanket and do nothing. In reality I’m not going to get to do that very often. I am doing Bible Quiz again, which will take up a bunch of time. I have my doula stuff. I’m trying to get a job. But reading is on my list of things to do.

It’s such a relief to not have schoolwork hanging over my head like an anvil threatening to drop at any second. I do need to take the ACT/SAT (not sure which I’ll do), but I don’t really have a deadline for that.

I’m sitting here in my flannel shirt I found at the thrift store. It is red and white and very cute. I don’t really care that it is the middle of August (Although it has been an extremely cool one). I really can’t put into words how excited I am for the fall. I just love the “ber” months. Have you ever noticed that the months that end with “ber” are chilly, but not icy (for the most part, end of December excluded). It’s cool and fresh feeling. It’s like the new beginnings of Spring, but without all the pollen and allergies.

One of the books I plan to read, or rather finish, is “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars- Verily, a New Hope.” Meg, Claire and I were at Target last Saturday and we wandered into the book section. I must say, even though it still has all the junk that Walmart does (You know the ones, the serial authors who won’t shut up and already have 25 books) Target has a lot of cool stuff that Wally world lacks. We were walking through and saw a set of books directing you to “Wreck This Journal.” We opened them up and started reading the instructions. They are basically busy books for grown ups. Stuff like “completely color this page”, “get this page dirty” and then some really bizarre things like “Tongue painting” which instructed you to eat a colorful piece of candy and then lick the page in the designated circle. Next to these awesome titles we saw “Shakespeare’s Star Wars” and had to open it up. I stood there and read the first page out loud in the store. So you know the opening credits of Star Wars? In a galaxy far, far away? And you know Shakespeare’s famous prologues? Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean? Yes. This book is such an awesome representation of my tastes in entertainment it’s not even funny. I may even do a new header to include it. It is the whole story of the classic and fantastic Star Wars, episode IV, a New Hope, in verse. Complete with 20 line long soliloquies and Stormtroopers. I am totally geeking out about this book! It has some really awesome potential also. It would be a great introduction to Shakespeare. You could know the story without reading the modern english or the side-by-side versions.

Other books on my list for this fall include (other than books for my training):

The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare (The real one)

Life The Universe And Everything, Douglas Adams (third in the Hitchhikers Guide series)

Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey

I wish my list could be longer, but I’ve got 5 others to read for my certification.

Well, I haven’t done a random, newsy sort of post in a while, so I hope you enjoyed this little taste of my life.