What I’ve Been Reading

My camera is dead. I’m pretty sure he’s all dead. (Only thing left to do is empty his pockets and look for loose change.) He was simply broken. I fixed his brokenness, but unfortunately the cure killed him.

So, instead of my usual pictures of things I’ve made and instructions so you can so the same, I’ll do a post of reviews of books I’ve read recently. (And I’ve been reading, A LOT!)

The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Bauer (click the book title to go buy it)

The Pastor and I are considering (more like planning) homeschooling the beautiful little ones. We decided to look into the classical method more thoroughly, so I bought The Well Trained Mind. I like their method. It makes a lot of sense to me. We will more than likely be going this route. The book lays out a classical education in a very straight forward method. Jessie and Susan give you the books they recommend and even give you helpful links to find them (though most of the resources are available on Amazon). They even suggest how much time you should be spending on each subject for each grade level.

Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras by Scott Westerfeld

So, yes, I am a nerd. I did read this series (originally intended to be a trilogy, but ended up a trilogy plus one- or maybe we should call that a Trilogy Plus or a Super Trilogy!) intended for teens and I really liked it. I’m going to briefly describe it, just know that it is infinitely cooler than it sounds!

Set in the future, after man was almost wiped out by a … well, I don’t want to give any of the book away… a 15 year old Tally finds herself awaiting the day she’ll be made pretty. In this new world, one your 16th birthday, you are surgically transformed to be pretty like everyone else- creating a perfect world where everyone is equal. Tally’s new friend Shay has other ideas and Tally’s world is turned upside down. As she fights for what she has always wanted, Tally finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy bigger than herself.

Believe me, you’ll finish Uglies and move right into Pretties. It is too captivating to put down. For parents wondering about the appropriateness for teens- here are the nuts and bolts for you. There are brief mentions (mainly in Pretties) of sex, but nothing in detail or explicit. They are simply passing remarks about the danger of having sex with the first Pretty you meet. There is also a main character who lives with her boyfriend in Pretties. Nothing at all is mentioned about intimacy during this. There is no foul language that I recall. There is a lot of drinking, especially in Uglies and Pretties. It isn’t condoned or necessarily condemned, just the way the world is at that time.  You can decide if that is okay for your kid.

Tithe by Holly Black

Yes, another teen book. However, I did not like this one. The story was intriguing enough, but the writing quality and poor taste ruined the book. Needless to say, I’ve got no desire to read any more by this author.

It is the story of a girl, Tithe, who sees fairies. She gets caught up in a mystical fight for control over the magical beings.

Parents, here are the nuts and bolts for your teen. There is underage drinking and smoking, which seems to be accepted as a normal thing. The main character is a high school drop out, which seems to be condoned, but not directly. This book also deals with homosexuality, as one of the main characters is gay. It also has many sexual undertones without being explicit. There is a lot of cursing, especially in the beginning of the book.

Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson

I really like this book! It is an encyclopedia of all this cleaning! Mendelson offers many insights on making your house a home- from your dinners to how you wash your shirts. This book is fabulous!

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

If you don’t know the value of reading to kids, or don’t see the value in reading to kids, then this book is for you. If you know the value of reading to kids, but need a good list of books to read, then this book is for you.

The first half of this book is about reading aloud to children. It has the whys & statistics. The last half of the book is recommended books to read. Yes, you could spend the ime searching all that out yourself, or you can buy (or borrow) the book and save a little trouble.

To Spank or Not To Spank by John Rosemond

I’m still not quite sure where I stand with John Rosemond, or rather, where he stands with me. At times, I think, this man is making a lot of sense. Other times I think, this dude is nuts if he thinks I’m doing THAT to my child. Regardless of how I feel about Rosemond, I don’t like this book. It came across as a defensive response to some unknown argument. It was very “everyone but me is wrong” in it’s tone. If you’re looking for a discipline book, read his other stuff. (Most of his books are repetitive and he is very vocal about discipline in all of them, so you’re sure to find his opinion on the subject in any of his books you pick up.) Unless, of course, you enjoy a good one-sided argument.

Absolutely A-line by Wendi Gatz

I bought this book to make Imogene’s Easter dress and possibly some summer clothes. It did come with a pattern. I’m not sure about you, but I can always come up with dozens of ways to alter/embellish a simple pattern without a book to tell me how. The embellishments are simple. The alterations are not mind blowing. However, I didn’t have an A-line dress pattern, and now I do. And it made me feel pretty good when my dress turned out as nice (if not nicer) than most of those pictured in the book.

The dress I made using the book.

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