January 2018 Audiobooks


So far, this has been a great winter for reading. Unfortunately I spent a majority of my audiobook time this month listening to Under a Pole Star, a long book that I thought would be about polar exploration in the early 1900's, but ended up being about a weird love affair. Anyway, here are the books I liked:

I thought Caroline by Sarah Miller was an excellent addition to the Little House books. I loved the way it made Ma seem a little more human and mad at Pa without changing her character. Genius. If you read these books as an adult, and shook your head at Ma the whole time, this book is a must read.

I re-listened to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe around Christmas time. This is a good story, and has so much good snow in it.

We couldn't help ourselves. We finished listening to book 7 in the car, and went to the library the next day and checked book 1 right out again. We love these audiobooks for the car.

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Life According to Steph

The Election, My Changing Reading Tastes, and Little House

After the election my reading tastes changed. I know I’m not alone. I saw many tweets from my bookish friends talking about what they would read after the election, and the power of reading. They posted lists of books to read, and ways they would use reading to fight darkness, hatred, and oppression. I think a lot of us felt hopeless, and were doing what we could with the tools we had. For many of us, our best tools, the ones we know how to use the best, are books.

Read the whole post at Imaginary Book Club

Quotable 2016

One of my favorite things to do is to write down quotes from my favorite books in my reading journal. Here are some of the best from 2016.

She was upbeat and harmless as an educational toy, and it was never insincere - in fact, she was a one-woman plague of sincerity, the Patient Zero of earnest zeal.
— Kitchens of the Great Midwest
If we want to see people take risks, we have to be prepared to sometimes see them fail.
— Leaving Orbit
She had such a demanding relationship with her own reflection. Rosaleen challenged her looks, and they rose to meet her.
— The Green Road
The miracle was a quiet thing: I open my eyes and was given a chance to try.
— Left for Dead
Never discount the possibility of turning up an answer none of the current theories predicts.
— The Secret Keeper
Whatever else they may be, weeds are optimists.
— Plenty
Truth was never the point.
— The New Tsar
And the good news is that for most of us, most of the time, better times do come around eventually.
— Walking With Plato
‘Well,’ Mary said contentedly. ‘Now we can save the next part for tomorrow. Every day we can read one part, and that will make the stories last longer.’
’That’s my wise girls.’ said Ma.
So Laura did not say that she would rather read as fast as she could.
— By the Shores of Silver Lake
I don’t care who you are or who you saved, you are a constant curse on my family Harry Potter.
— Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The real gift of the holiday season, A.J. thinks, is that it ends.
— The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

What a good reading year! I can't wait to see what 2017 brings.

Little House Re-Read Part 1

I never read Laura Inglalls Wilder’s Little House series as a child.

I was into The Baby-Sitter’s Club and then Christopher Pike. I would have never taken the time for these way back people.

When I finally did get around to them as an adult I did something uncharacteristic for me. I started in the middle of the series. As a new mom searching mommy blogs for the answer to doing it all, doing it all well, and doing it all on a severely reduced budget I kept coming across references to The Long Winter. So one day I picked it up, and was amazed that Ma could do so much with so little.

I eventually read the whole series, but did so out of order. Reading the series that way left me with an incomplete picture of the Little House story arc. Why was Pa always making the family move? Did their story ever come out all right? Why did Laura marry Almanzo when Cap Garland seemed like so much more fun?

I decided it was time to read all of the Little House books in order, and see if I couldn’t get some of my questions answered.

Read my first installment here.

October 2016 Quick Lit

Each month I link with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit as a way to talk about the books I liked, but didn't review. That adds up to a grand total of two books this month! Despite weather that is perfect for reading under blankets I'm just not getting it done. My nerdy spreadsheets that I use to graph my average books read per month show me that is normal for this time of year. I guess this is my reading off season.

When I first started reading Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave I kind of felt like I have read this same World War II story several times over the past two years. But then I got sucked in and ended up loving it just like all of the other World War II stories. This one takes place mostly in London during the blitz, and does a good job of showing what it did to people as time went on.

I started reading the Little House series again, starting with, of course, Little House in the Big Woods.  This book is more instructional than story driven, but I did enjoy all the descriptions of old time food preparation. It made me want to fill my basement with pumpkins and mason jars.

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Pa is getting on my nerves

We took an epic road trip last week through Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. We got pretty close to Little House territory, and I even saw a sign for a slough at one point. I had plenty of time for car reading on this trip, and given the setting I decided to catch up on my favorite pioneer family.

I forgot just how much Pa annoys me in this book. I know it was a different time, but man. He really just does what he wants doesn't he? His only concession to his wife and girls is that he is only moving them to a shack in DeSmet instead of Oregon.

I think I need to keep reading to the next book (The Long Winter), because I like when Ma finally loses her patience and lets Pa have it. Rosin your fiddle with that Ingalls.

My Three Favorite Christmas Scenes From Kid Lit

Children's literature has shaped the way I want to celebrate Christmas as an adult. I love the simple pleasures and uncomplicated joy in the little things. Here are my three favorites.

In Little Women the March girls know they are in for a sparse Christmas, but still find it in their hearts to give their breakfast to a local family who has nothing. Later that day their elderly neighbor is so touched by their act that he sends over ice cream and bon bons for the girls and their friends.

There are two Christmas scenes in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Both are very well written, but the one that I love involves main character Francie and her brother Neeley and a gigantic Christmas tree. In their neighborhood there was a custom that trees that were unsold by Christmas Eve were free - if you could catch them when the burly tree seller guy threw them at you. Francie and Neeley try for, and catch, the biggest tree. It's a great story that shows how in a harsh world, you can still find joy.

All of the Little House books have some pretty good Christmas scenes, but my favorite is when Pa gets lost in a blizzard in On the Banks of Plum Creek. He has to hole up in a snow cave, and the only thing he has to keep him alive is the girls' Christmas candy. Pa eventually realizes he's just feet from home, and they are reunited in time for Christmas. Some things are better than candy!

If you love these stories as much as I do:

I've searched for great Christmas novels in the realm of adult literature, but haven't found a ton. Why is that? Two that I did enjoy are:

Do you have any suggestions for me? My TBR is lacking in holiday spirit.

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