February Book Report: What are you reading?

February 21, 2014 in Education


Reading is an important part of our family culture. 

We’re constantly reading, aloud as a family, and individually. We I read to my babies before they were born, and while they nursed, and at the table, breakfast, lunch and dinner. In their own time, they all took off reading to themselves and before long, if I couldn’t find them, they were tucked between pages and pillows in some corner of the house. Our travels have taken us to more than the average number of places, but books have the ability to transport us through time and space, around the world, back through time, clear off the surface of the planet, and back. That’s an amazing miracle, don’t you think?

This morning, over breakfast, I took a quick poll of what everyone is reading at the moment, in case you’re looking for new book ideas:


is reading Mossflower by Brian Jacques. Our kids have all fallen in love with the Redwall series at this age. There are over twenty timeless, medieval style, tales of adventure and warfare in the animal kingdom. I’m a little bit sad that this is the last time these books will be “new” in our family.

He’s also tucked into The Story of Sir Frances Drake by Mrs. Oliver Elton. This is an old book, one of those turn of the century children’s history stories that was written as an engaging adventure story rather than dry, textbook form. He comes and gives me a report, after every read, as to what Sir Frances is getting up to in this chapter.

Drake copy


is reading three books at the moment: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Flemming. James Bond is a perennial favourite with our boys.

Thrilling Deeds of the British Airmen by Eric Wood is another old book, written while the Great War was still being fought about the early adventures of the first flying aces.


He’s just starting Animal Farm by George Orwell. I suspect this one will lead to more than a few conversations as a family!



is reading Buccaneers & Pirates– Frank R. Stockton, published in 1898 this book, full of the history of piracy and high seas adventure is right up Gabe’s alley. He has sailing in his heart… here’s hoping he doesn’t become a pirate!


We read Tom Sawyer aloud several years ago and Gabe is now into Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain as part of his American Literature series this year. I remember my Dad telling me the tales from this book as bedtime stories, with voices and a very frightening rendition of “Injun Joe” and “Pap.”

“Do you want to know my brain candy book too, Mom?” he asked, after rattling off his two “nutritional book” choices at the moment. Of course I did: In His Majesty’s Service by Naomi Novick is one of the Temeraire Trilogy. Dragon adventure, anyone?


very surprisingly, had only one book on her current reading list: the book associated with her current OSU class (Geography of the Western World) The Plaid Avengers Western World by John Boyer. It’s an interesting comic book style twist on the traditional textbook.


chuckled when I asked him what he was reading, “The news, as always!” His morning routine is to sit with his coffee and his iPad style newspaper at the end of the table and update us on the things we must know about the world. “Oh, you mean books? Die Trying by Lee Child,” one of the Jack Reacher series. He got started on these at our house sit in Australia, where he was invited to borrow from Norm’s home library.

He’s almost finished reading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card aloud to the kids. Any votes on what he should read to them next?


I am hopelessly book addicted. I can never read just one at a time. Here’s a list of the one’s I’ve got underway currently:

Making Home by Sharon Astyk was given to me for Christmas by Johanna. She wrote in the card that the author, with four kids, reminded her a bit of me and that she thought the themes might resonate. It’s the best book I’ve been given in a long time. It’s about making the best from what we already have, in resources, people, community and the world around us. It’s a book about using less, but creating wealth, abundance, beauty and sustainability for now, and for generations to come. I love it.

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline is kind of like the Omnivore’s Dilemma for clothing. This has long been a sticking point for me, the actual price of cheap goods, the unavoidable support of slavery and human rights violations attached to the five dollar t-shirt. I’m learning that it goes much deeper than any of us care to think about. And yet, we must think about it, for ourselves and for families everywhere. I like books that make me uncomfortable.

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh  Inspiration in my continual quest to fully live this life I have been given. This is a highly readable and practical book, that will speak to anyone who is ready to listen, regardless of your philosophical or religious affiliation.

Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission To Be The Artist You Truly Are by Danny Gregory. This year I’m working to create more for myself, off line, in very quiet ways. I’ve been a journal keeper for most of my life, but have gotten away from that in the last few years, for a variety of reasons. I’m going to attempt to get back to it, and I’m interested in working to include illustration. My friend Heather, from Living Differently, inspired me by sharing her lovely journals when I saw here in December. So now… I’m drawing… a little to go with my writing.

So, that’s our book shelf for this snowy February.

What about you? What are you reading? What would you like to recommend that we read next?