Bookin’ It in 2010: The March Update

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Reading is a way to gain knowledge, to travel to distant times and places, to exercise your reason or your imagination. Reading moves us – to action or to tears. Reading is a means of growing and learning. In fact, reading is a way of life. Words matter and they are everywhere we turn. And it helps our brains and our hearts if we expose ourselves to words that are put together well and that encourage us to walk a good walk.

Since the first of the year it’s been one of my goals to be more purposeful in my reading. One of the ways I thought I could be accountable to reading more was to invite you to come along. It’s been great to hear how you choose good books and how you squeeze time to read into your busy schedules. The fact that so many of us are working to raise children who love books, well, that just makes me smile. And to see your reading plans has been such an encouragement and a source of new books to add to my list! In a way it’s like we’re at a bookstore, hot mochas in hand, talking about good reads in between the pages.

Only without the bookstore and the coffee.

Thanks for joining me on this book reading journey. I can’t wait to see where we go this year through the written word.

So, read any good books lately? I’ve read three! In the first month of this reading challenge I was only able to finish one book, but this month was a regular trifecta. Here’s the lowdown on the books I read this month.

Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner illustrates one man’s observations of American Christianity, personal faith, the Church, and Contemporary Christian Music. The book is laid out in vignettes, memories of the author’s childhood, college and young adult years. At many points in the book, I found myself laughing outloud. In a light-hearted way, Turner reveals the inconsistencies that he sees within different denominations and flavors of Christianity. Some people may be offended by his characterization of those observations. I wasn’t, but I realized that some would be shocked by what what he was saying. Regardless, it got me thinking. And that’s always a good thing. My husband and I both read this in less than a week, proof that the writing style is engaging, easy reading. Special thanks to Matthew Paul Turner for sponsoring the Savvy Blogging dinner where I received this complimentary copy.

Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, historical fiction about the Oregon Trail was “assigned reading” for our school. Yet, as is apt to happen, I found myself reading ahead and finished the book by myself before I finished reading it to the boys. (We like to have one kind of read aloud during the week, though the three boys can easily go through several books a day on their own.)

Homeschooling has revealed all sorts of gaps in my own education. I have absolutely no recollection of studying the Oregon Trail, though I’m sure Mr. Schock from 11th grade AP US History would beg to differ. I learn so much alongside my children!

Not only does this book describe the Westward Movement, but it also shows the struggles of a young man, born in Missouri, but raised for many years by an Absaroka tribe. His poignant wrestling with his two cultures and fitting in neither is fascinating.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald was a wonderful trip to another world. If you love Narnia and Middle Earth, then you will enjoy MacDonald’s world as well. He was not only a personal friend of JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis, but an inspiration to them for their classic works. While this is considered a “children’s fantasy,” I beg to differ. This adventure with Princess Irene, Curdie, and the great-great grandmother mirrors the Christian walk and how we follow in faith things that we cannot see. It’s one of those books that envelopes you with a feeling of “there’s something bigger than us, and He’s very, very good”. I’ve already requested the sequel from the library, so you can guess what I’ll be talking about next month.

How ’bout you? What did you read this past month? Have you recently developed a reading plan for the year?

Share your plans, goals, book reviews with us. Either leave a comment or link up your Booking It post below. Please link back to so your readers know where the book talk is happening.

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  1. Ugh! My link is wrong, sorry. An old link was still in there and I didn’t erase it completely. It has nothing to do with $70! That was my grocery budget.

  2. I have said more than once that homeschooling has given me a second chance to learn. I find myself wondering what we really did study in those history and science classes. I think that also helps me realize that my kids will get everything they need learning from me!

  3. I read Run, Baby, Run(which was very good!) and The Great Turkey Walk(a read-aloud for homeschool) and Caddie Woodlawn(another great read-aloud). If for no other reason, I love homeschooling my kids because we get to share so many wonderful books.

    1. @Jessika, I had never heard of Run, Baby, Run, but it looks interesting. Do you own it? Maybe I can borrow your copy when we see you next week?

  4. I take my treadmill time and use it to read books. I find that large print ones work best as I am moving around a bit and regular print strains my eyes to see. I have read 6 books already since Jan. 1!
    I am on book #3 in the Lynn Austin Chronicles of the King series and I LOVE it.
    I am also looking forward to reading aloud some of my favorite novels to my daughter when we start homeschooling. I have picked a few easy ones, as she is only 3. I have a ton of favorites as I was an elementary teacher for 8 years.

  5. read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and can’t wait to read the next one The Girl Who Played with Fire. Currently reading Not My Daughter. Also finished Remarkable Creatures which was really interesting!

    1. @S, never heard of any of those. Maybe I do live in a cave? Dragon Tattoo – is it a “thriller” like Children of the Corn or more just a mystery? I love mystery, but I don’t like to be too freaked out.

      1. @Jessica Fisher,

        The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo isn’t necessarily hardcore although there is some graphic, umm deviant behavior described? It wasn’t overwhelming though – otherwise I wouldn’t have finished it. I like to be entertained, not scared out of my gourd or depressed. I am loving the book it challenge – I have made reading a priority at night (vs watching mindless tv) and I’m loving my return to reading!

        1. @S, I am SO glad that this is improving your life. Yeah! That is what I was hoping for! We just need a few good books in our lives.

  6. Don’t feel bad, the only time I recall being “taught” about the Oregon Trail was when we played the game on Apple 2 computers in computer lab! I had no idea what typhoid and diphtheria were, but you were sure going to lose if your “family” got them 🙂
    Later I saw the made-for-TV (PBS?) movie about the Donnor Party and was pretty shocked at the real story! (caution – If you haven’t seen it, I wouldn’t show it to little kids!)

    1. @Sheri, too funny – about the computer lab. Not funny about the Donner party. Ick. Thanks for the warning. I don’t want to watch it myself.

  7. Reading to my children has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life! We loved “The Princess and the Goblin,” and because of the ages of my children I probably read it 4 different times to different groupings of them!
    My youngest two are 12 and 16 and I still read to them nearly every day. Just yesterday we snuggled in and I read “Elantris” to them for four hours straight!

    1. @Karen, thanks for that encouragement. So nice to know I have so many years of reading good books with my peeps. 😉

  8. I actually read “Hear No Evil” out loud to my husband in the car – I can’t remember another book that we’ve laughed so hard at, but that also brought up so much conversation. Great read!

    1. @Samantha, we didn’t read it “together,” but it was fun overlapping so we could talk about it together. Have you read his other book?

      1. Not yet, but it’s on my list! This one has already been borrowed by our contemporary music director at church and I keep getting emails from him about how hilarious he’s finding it. He was a Christian recording artist through the 80’s and early 90’s and knows quite a few of the artists mentioned.

  9. Hi Jessica I’ve been following your blog for a while now but haven’t gotten the time to subscribe..(stil trying to sort my emails and make a new one for all things “mom”)but i will any day now:) anyway, i just want to tell you that you’ve been an inspiration and i love your blog. I was introduced to the Family Feasts for $75 a Week book through you and I love, love it! two thumbs up for good reads!Oh and did you know that the Princess and the Goblin has an animated version?We had it on VHS copy before so I guess it was awhile back when they released it.

    1. I just saw that yesterday when I was browsing the library. Thanks for the reminder. Did you read the book? Do you know if the movie is like the book?

  10. I am so enjoying this book-it club for moms! Thank you for setting it up.

    This past month I read “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Ted Tripp and “Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean” by Linda Cobb. “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” is a great read on raising children. It helps to address some of those common parenting techniques that you know aren’t quite right, even though you can’t put your finger on it, and aren’t sure what to do instead. “Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean” is jam-packed with economical (and very nearly all eco-friendly) cleaning practices for virtually anything that you will ever have to scrub, scour, or polish. When I started reading it, I thought that it might have a few tips that I could glean, but now having finished it, I have added it to my Amazon wishlist! It is definitely worth buying as a reference. (I borrowed it from the library.)

    I am now reading “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura, and I have “The Well-Trained Mind” by Susan Bauer and Jessie Wise and “Honey for a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt sitting on my nightstand to read through next. I also checked out Rachael Ray’s Yum-o family cookbook from the library this month and am trying out some of the recipes. We’re having her Ratatouille Stoup (yes, I meant “stoup”) for dinner tonight. This cookbook is really neat because off to the side of each recipe she lists the food prep tasks that you could assign to your kiddos.

    I definitely will have to check out “Hear No Evil.” Sounds like it would be right up my alley. (Or for that matter, my husband’s or my worship pastor’s.:))

  11. I just finished reading “The Penny Pinchers Club” by Sarah Strohmeyer. I found it at the library and knew it would be a great book for a frugalite like me. It is light-hearted reading and even a bit racy but not in a bad way. It was a good break from my more educational fare.

    1. @Patti, I read that last year. I liked it — except for the fact that she wasn’t truly “reformed” by the end. They were buying expensive houses and didn’t seem like debt was gone. What did you think?

      And — what was up with the husband and his assistant? Seemed like there were some holes in that story?

      It was funny, though. And I could totally relate to the couponing aspect. And you’re right about the raciness. First time in a long time that a book had love scenes with MARRIED people. LOL.

  12. In the past month I’ve read Sarah’s Key (amazing!), The Wednesday Sisters, Me Talk Pretty One Day (book club), and The Girl who Played with Fire (graphic, but definitely a page turner for me!). I enjoyed all of them for different reasons. I think I have such eclectic tastes in books.

      1. @Jessica Fisher, No, you don’t live in a cave! I hadn’t heard of any of them either. The Wednesday Sisters I saw browsing at Target, wrote the title down and looked it up at the library. Sarah’s Key & The Girl Who Played with Fire were GoodReads recommendations from Amy @ MomAdvice.

        I finally realized that my mind and body needed that down time in the evening. I read for about 30-60 minutes before bed, and I sleep a lot better now. Logan has weekly appointments and I always bring a book to read in the waiting room.

  13. The Princess and the Goblin is SUCH a great book! I just re-read it this winter and enjoyed it all over again!

  14. I liked what you said about learning alongside your children. This is actually one of the things I am looking forward to the most when I homeschool my kids!
    LOVE “The Princess and the Goblin.” Have you read “The Princess and Curdie”?

  15. I just had a baby, and I’ve been taking a long time to recover (this is also why I haven’t responded to your email, but a response is coming soon!)

    I took a book from my daughter’s library stack and read it. It was Miracles on Maple Hill. It was wonderful! I found myself SMILING as I read!

  16. I loved to read when I was growing up and always had a book in hand. As I travel this homeschool journey, I am shocked and thrilled when I discover literary treasures along side my children as well as learn.

    Thanks so much for the reviews. I have a few Narnia fans so I think we will have to give Mr. MacDonald’s work a try.

    1. @Sharon, let me know what you think. Certainly, this doesn’t have the reputation of Narnia or LOTR, but it was written first and inspired those.

  17. I put the children in bed and remembered that Mr. Schock DID teach us about the Orgeon Trail (and I specifically remember learning about the Donner Party).

    What I remember most about that class was the awesome way he assigned us all to be delegates, representing specific things as we learned about the Constitution. I remember arguing states rights vs slavery, etc., and coming to understand why the choices were made that were made in our Constitution.

    I remember watching lots of PBS Civil War Tapes, and the music of one particular song from them that still stands out to me (and is now playing nonstop in my head!)

    I remember the way he taught us about the Vietnam war, explaining the music (HIS music! 🙂 ) and the meanings behind the songs.

    I know we covered the Oregon Trail, but those things are the things I remember most from his class.

    My memories of the Oregon Trail are more vivid, from having crossed part of it in pioneer costume, on foot, pulling a handcart the summer after graduation.

    I will have to check out your book recommendation! For younger readers, I liked The Josefina Story Quilt.

    1. @The Prudent Homemaker, yeah, well, we weren’t the same year. Maybe Mr. Schock fixed his mistakes a few years later. 😉 Though, I do remember his talking about the Donners – in a macabre sort of way.

  18. If you like Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, you might like The Lost Princess, I dont remember the author. Very good book. Good read-aloud- too.

  19. Thanks for all the interesting books and recommedations, ladies 🙂 I just spent almost 2 hours hopping through all the posts in Mister Linky. A great way to spend part of my evening.

    Quick question — do most of you use the library or do you buy your books? If you buy books, do you pass them on when you’re done with them? It’s something I’m thinking of for my blog. I don’t buy a whole lot, but when I do see some on sale, I get some. I was thinking of offering them up on my blog when I’m done. No sense having them on my shelf if I’m done reading them. What do you think??

    1. @Carla, giving the books away is a great idea! You can also use a service like paperback swap or CKY Books (a book buying service). I’m not sure if they operate in Canada, but it’s a good way to get money back or to trade for new books.

    2. @Carla,

      I am a regular at the library. I will sometimes buy books, but I’m such a packrat and tend to collect magazines and books that I try not to buy novels – I usually just buy cookbooks and non fiction books. If I do buy a novel, its usually with a gift card and then I circulate them like crazy among friends to spread a good book around. I also donate to our library’s book sale – they use the profits to purchase new books and media so how can you go wrong there!!

  20. Hmmmm, I’m surprised that I have no comments on my blog — lots of visits but no one wants a free book?? 🙂

    I clicked every link for this month and last month and left comments on all the blogs. I thought that was the whole point of Mister Linkys.

    1. @Carla, I’m sorry to hear your disappointment. I was planning on reading through everyone’s posts this weekend. It’s been a busy school week.

    2. @Carla, Thanks for the gentle nudge. I stayed up last night and read through everyone’s book reports. So fun! Got a huge list of books, but only some of them are at my library. Bummer….

  21. Was reading Crystal Paine’s comment today on her ‘What I’m reading post’ about the reader telling her that she shouldn’t be posting about what she was reading – because it was ‘off-topic’!!!


  22. I have just really stalled lately on my reading, but its time to kick it into gear. Thanks for the accountability!

  23. Oops! Auto-fill had my info already filled in, and I forgot that I put something in my link about the chocolate chip recipe I linked last time. Despite what it says, I actually linked to my post about March and April goals, which included doing a little extra reading.

    Thanks for encouraging all of us to be well-read this year!