Merry Christmas Readers,
We have a present for you. Don’t get too excited, it’s merely virtual. We are hosting a Bookie Exchange. It’s sort of like a Cookie Exchange, except with fewer calories. Here’s how it will work:
The three of us have chosen our favorite non-WEM reads of the year. (Yes, it’s hard to believe, but we do actually sneak other literature in every once in a while.) These book recommendations are yours, free of charge, all we ask is that you leave us a comment sharing the best thing you’ve read this year that isn’t included on our DIY Masters curriculum. You don’t have to write a 500 word book report, give us a chapter by chapter plot summary, or answer a single question about the author’s argument. Just give us a little glimpse of why your title might deserve one of the coveted ten spots on our library hold lists. All genres are welcome.
Take some time to deliver your favorite. The next twelve days will be full of the celebration of Christ’s incarnation, quality family time, and a bit of freedom from the everyday routines and demands. Posts, however might be as hard to come by as a partridge in a pear tree. Come back and read the comments here and add your own. We’ll return like a native with a flurry of posts sometime after the New Year.
The blessings of Christ to you and yours in this Holy Season,
Christina, Christine, and Jeannette
I can’t deny it, I picked The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise off the library shelf simply because of the cute cover. Then I really got my hopes up when the summary on the dust jacket started with the sentence “If you love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society then you’ll love this . . .” I’m not sure I completely see the link between the two novels, but I did love them both.
This first novel by Julia Stewart is hilarious, touching, and engaging. It’s a happy book that never approaches saccharin but instead gives you that satisfying feeling of a delightful meal with good food and magnificent friends. Her use of language remains casual and easy to read while delivering subtle clever nuances that make you feel as if you’re privy to inside jokes she shares with her favorite readers.
The novel makes me want to revisit the Tower of London, become best friends with Ms. Stuart, hug my children, and leave something on the Underground so I have an excuse to visit the Lost and Found department.
My choice for the bookie exchange is a children’s series titled The Underland Chronicles. Perhaps I broke the rules by sharing a whole series instead of a single title, but just like cookies, why would you say, “No, thanks.” when someone offers five?!
My family enjoyed this series as read-alouds. Author Suzanne Collins takes us to an underground world beneath New York City. The Underland is a dangerous place for humans as it’s filled with animals that grow to incredible sizes. For example bats are large enough for humans to ride! Our hero is an eleven year old boy named Gregor. He falls from the laundry room of his apartment into the Underland and finds that he is the “warrior” whose coming was foretold in prophecies. The suspenseful stories are full of adventures, quests, and battles— just right for our family. We quickly grew to love the characters. We gasped at the thrilling parts, cheered over victories, shed tears at tender times, and pleaded for “one more chapter!”
Well, I drew a blank. Maybe it’s because I have read so many pages of WEM novels that nothing else sticks. Maybe it’s because many of the books I read in my spare time are those I read to, for or with my children as I homeschool them. Maybe it’s because the few books I managed to squeeze in for personal reading were, as I like to term them – “candy for the mind.” (One needs a little candy in between good, hearty “meals” of WEM, right?) And I’m not recommending candy on this blog. Goes against WEM principles, I think.
One of the books I enjoyed most this last month or two had to do with the search for the micro-organism that causes cholera by Pasteur and Koch. Cholera is one fascinating “bug,” my friends, but my Book Buddies didn’t seem to be at all interested (in fact, I think they were making fun of me!), so maybe you wouldn’t enjoy it either. Some people just don’t know how great a good biological puzzle can be….
So, here’s what I AM recommending. With reservations, but only because I’m not finished with it yet. Just started it a week ago when I finished Return of the Native. I have to say that almost everything I’ve read so far has been thought-provoking and enlightening. It’s called Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, and it was written by Susan Cain. As an introvert raising at least one introvert, this book has hit me very personally. It goes into the history of how the world came to value outgoing personalities and consider introversion a problem to be solved. It supposedly will go on to talk about the biology of extroverts and introverts as well as how to use this introverted nature in a useful, productive way. It seems to be very well-researched and the writing is clear and engaging. I hope it will give me some insights into my own nature and perhaps help me celebrate how God made me or at least give me the freedom to be what I am without always feeling like I need to try to be different. I’m looking forward to finishing it over Christmas Break, so maybe I’ll add a postscript later.
I can’t wait to read all your recommendations. Merry Christmas and A Very Happy New Year to all of you! Thanks for reading and commenting this year. We appreciate you.