Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Reading

Earlier this summer (its not labor day yet, so still summer!) I asked for suggestions on reading materials. Among some specific titles and even two book loans from family members I got a few topical suggestions:

"Read what your kids want to read before they read it. If you can keep up and if there is any controversy over the book it will be well worth your time."

"Don't bother with reading just for you. Go straight to the books on CD and get something that you would have read for fun ten years ago, or something that you want to learn about."

I took both of these. First, I checked out The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder from the library. The reviews said that it was a nice way to understand Laura's life with Almanzo and how they lived as a married couple, but because its not a final manuscript, it is also abrupt. For instance, when their son dies, there is only about half a page explaining what happened. There are also key details that are left out giving it a much different feel than the previous books.

We Big Girl and I (not so much husband) love Laura and Mary and hearing and reading about their adventures on the prairie. We especially love the stories of going to school and when Laura and Mary helped Pa with work. Loved The Long Winter less.....

After reading it, I've decided that it probably isn't a good fit for Big Girl. At least not right now. Maybe when she's a little older and can understand the context more.

So, on to The Magic Treehouse series for her....

I also checked out a really great book on CD. I looked carefully so I didn't get the abridged version of anything and selected To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian by Stephen Ambrose. A book that I would have read through in a hurry in my single post-college days. Today, no chance I would even pick up a book that thick unless it was to either look up a quick reference to a kid question or to answer a work question. Never would I go check out a multi-inch thick book from the library.

It was fantastic. A renowned historian gives his personal take on history. Its the version of America that I love. Hearing the history told verbally from people who participated in it, or researched it so closely they feel like they participated. It was history courses and instructors like Ambrose that made me pick history as a major in college.

So, thanks to the readers for sharing their fantastic ideas. The books on loan are on my night table, and since I'm headed to the beach for a few hours this weekend one of them will be in my bag.

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