School is out! Summer has started! And Mama is already exhausted after 4 days! Many Gods West is in 6 weeks and we leave for a family vacation to Alaska in 10 days’ time. If I’m not giving you fresh insights, please forgive me. I’ll be posting some older, but awesome posts to tide you over.
Occasionally I like to share what we’re reading in our house. Here is what we’re reading:
My 7 year old is engrossed in the Wings of Fire series. I don’t find them particularly well-written or compelling, but they are about dragons and he loves them. They are books that he will sit and read for an hour or more at a time, and if that keeps him from harassing his sister, I almost don’t care what he’s reading. Almost.
Our bedtime reading is Tove Jansson’s Finn Family Moomintroll. I found a couple of the Moomintroll novels at Goodwill and thought they would be good, silly fun for the kids. I was right! The novels are Finnish, originally published in 1948 and translated to English from the original Swedish in 1961. I really love this sort of children’s book. I find early to mid-20th century children’s novels to have a wonderful, lyrical form of writing, that is full of nonsense and play, but rarely talking down to kids.
To my 4 year old (and son as well) I am reading Grimms’ Fairy Tales. In the picture above it is the brown book with the water stain. This book was my mother’s when she was a child. I spent so many hours of my own childhood reading and re-reading this volume and looking at the pictures. We also have the Hans Christian Anderson version, which we’ll likely read next. I’ve read these volumes to the kids before and I suspect we’ll read them many more times.
The colorful book in the picture is Rad American Women A-Z. I recently posted a review of it at Gods & Radicals. Check that out for a more comprehensive review. The short version is: it’s excellent!!
A book we recently finished that I really liked is Dragonwings by Laurence Yep. It’s the story of a boy who travels to San Francisco from China in the early 1900s. His father is desperate to fly like the Wright Brothers. The book tells a story about the father and son’s relationship and the boy’s experiences, but the reader learns a little bit about the history and culture of this time and place. The entire perspective is from that of a Chinese immigrant, which is a wonderful change of pace! It was particularly apt since I am trying to read books by and about non-white perspectives.
I’ve also been slogging my way through The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. I have read other of his works, but never this novel, considered by many people whose literary opinions I trust to be his best book and one of their favorite novels. It’s……. okay. I think I would like it more if I had read it before I had children. It’s a strange, meandering novel – and those are often the best kind! But with children it can take me months to finish a book this long and that meandering style is hard to sink into. I lose the flow with my stop-start reading style these days. However, I have had this book on my shelf for a decade (or more) and now is the time to read it!
Because I am committed to reading more writing about and by people of color I have been following closely Crystal Blanton’s 30 Day Real Black History Challenge on Facebook. I highly recommend that you follow along for the month of June. As a white person, the posts aren’t comfortable or “fun.” But the site is educational, illuminating, and inspiring. Given the horrific news this morning of the Charleston shootings, now more than ever white people must expand their hearts and minds to the experience of people of color; we must root out racism in our selves and in our communities.