A little while ago The Man attempted to do the math on how many books I've read in my lifetime and how many I've read to the children. Though I appreciated the attempt, I know this is an impossible task. How can you average something that has a thousand variables - type of book, length of book, emotional and physical state of reader, time available, and so forth.
Or how to quantify the time that goes beyond the actual reading of a book but still is a part of the reading experience? The time I spend pondering something I've read, the things I learn that I apply to my life, the perspectives I've gained and gems of wisdom that have saved my soul countless times. The bonds I've developed with the children through our shared reading and invaluable commonalities of literary experience and thinking that forms the basis of our lives together.
Too much to try to crunch numbers on. I'd rather go read a book.
But then I began to wonder how many books I actually do read in a month or so? Just for idle curiosity's sake? I decided I would document the books that I read for a little while, just to see. A little experiment.
To save myself from having to spend my day writing lists, I am choosing to include only:
1. Books with stories - fiction, memoirs and particularly well written essays included but not the hundred and one diet/nutrition/wellness books I also like to read or skim.
2. Books that contain at least two chapters - no picture or young children's literature, I read about ten or so every day to the kids, unless they are particularly charming or grim and read for my own entertainment as much as the childrens'.
I've been keeping track since a few days before the new year. To be honest, I haven't actually counted how many books it is, but it is fun to see how my interest has wandered about over the last few weeks.
Would you like to see what I read this month?
Books I've read to girl child:
Michael Buckley's The Sisters Grimm series books The Everafter War (7), The Inside Story (8) and The Council of Mirrors (9). I would highly HIGHLY recommend this series to any young reader, about age 8-12, particularly to girls. If you can, read it aloud. It's funny, interesting, knowledgeable and has a good sprinkling of romance for the unromantic.
Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda and Nurse Matilda goes to the Hospital. These are the books who inspired the Nanny McPhee movies. Absolutely funny and must be read with an English accent with all sorts of dramatic voices, for all of those who enjoy playing up the characters.
Philip Ardagh's The Awful End. The first in a trilogy, we've just about finished the first book. It's filled with word play and silliness. Girl child and I have received some very odd looks when we've sat in the coffee shop giggling like goons over Mad Aunt Maud's stuffed stout. Can't wait to read the next in the series.
Picture books of note:
I will probably always tell you about any Edward Gorey books we read because I will never grow tired of his bizarre grim sense of humour. Gorey sort of reads like a mix of Roald Dahl and H.P. Lovecraft. This month we read Gorey's Evil Garden and snickered our way through The Gashlycrumb Tinies again. Girl child has gone to some effort to memorize The Gashlycrumb Tinies and has been teaching it to boy child. I believe I read somewhere once that everyone should try to memorize at least one poem in their lifetime. Perhaps I should try to memorize it as well?
Children's literature I read just to me:
I am unabashedly a huge fan of children's literature. For my personal reading, I aim for something more complex than girl child is ready for and I favour straight out adventures without a whole lot of angst.
I started the list with Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society and am now reading his second book in this series, The Perilous Journey. There is, admittedly, a little angst in them, but I find it dismissible enough to read through to the danger and adventure.
Daniel Pinkwater's Bushman Lives! Beautiful. Perfect book for quiet afternoon.
John Bellairs' The House with a Clock in its Walls. I have to admit I was a little creeped out by the end of this book. I had to restrict myself to daytime reading since the writing is vivid and encourages paranoia. Good stuff!
Debi Gliori's Pure Dead Wicked. Silly and fun, with a nasty ending for the bad guys, I think I'll read this to girl child soon.
Stefan Bachmann's The Peculiar. Ack, a child wrote this book and it is amazing! Read it.
Colin Melroy's Wildwood and Under Wildwood. I can't say enough good things about this series. The incredibly charming illustrations are done by Melroy's wife Carson Ellis, who also illustrated The Mysterious Benedict Society. I would of read these books just for the pictures alone. It's an amazing story, with war, attempted infanticide, coyote soldiers, bird politicians all overlaid with nature magic. I'm on pins and needles waiting for the third book to come out. Plus, I need to visit Portland.
Jacob Tomsky's memoir Heads in Beds. Having worked in hotels before, I found this amusing and frighteningly familiar.
Cheryl Strayer's Wild. I am actually on the last chapter of this memoir of Strayer's summer long hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Strayer has made me laugh, despair, and shocked the heck out of me. And I'm not easy to shock.
Alice Ozma's The Reading Promise. Beautifully well done memoir by a young woman about her father's daily (never, ever missed) out loud reading to her from the time she was in grade three to when she left for college. Best argument for reading out loud to your children far beyond the time when they can read to themselves. As a bonus, Ozma and her father are hilarious.
Have you read any good books this month?