Books on CD

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We have always been book people.

Or rather, I have always made the distinct endeavor to make this a book home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew expectant parents often register, along with Boppies, and Diaper Genies, picture books. Why? Because all the experts now agree:

it is never too early to start reading to your child.

So buy and stock up from infancy. I was one of those parents you see. But then, right when the terrible twos start, the seductive siren call of screens start to drift in.

Soothing and gratifying and oh so efficient it is almost sexy to tired, weary, parents.

Bed time becomes a thing of grown up nightmares.

And “kids don’t seem to have much attention spans these days”.

So that shelf full of read aloud books you read to your drooley- smiled one year old becomes a thing of nursery rhymes and sippy cups:

Nostalgic, sweet, and short-lived.

Yet, books were such an important part of my formative years that despite my quiet desperation for quiet sedated children I doggedly marched on.

Book after book.

Library late fee, after library late fee.

Amazon order after amazon order.

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Another important element to my puritanical book zealousness was this event:  My eight-month-pregnant-self, all of a twenty-one years of age, soon going to quit my job to be a full time mom, but without a college degree:

kinda freaked out.

What am I doing?

Or more like, what did I not do?

I always wanted a big family, and I come from a long line of fertile females so I pretty much knew what my twenties would look like.  I never regretted marrying young or having children young.  Even in that moody, broody nervous eight month pregnant  state of mind.

However, I felt rather simple.

Unaccomplished.

My friends were getting degrees in between partying  and going to concerts and traveling over seas. I just bought a dumpy house in the suburbs and had not kept down a full meal for the last 32 weeks.

So I made a decision:

I missed the party train, had never traveled beyond the East coast, and considered ordering Chinese and renting a movie exciting, but I would make sure I would become educated.

In that old-fashioned Abe Lincoln way:

self-educated by reading.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe classics were my launch pad.  I read the entire unabridged 800 plus paged version, with all those long French passages, of Victor Hugo’s  Les Misérables first. I waded my way through Thomas Hardy, Jane Austin, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and William Makepeace Thackeray, his masterpiece Vanity Fair,being one of my all time favorites,{ read my goodreads review here }. I still cannot till this day, finish a Charles Dickens’s book, however. I could never make heads nor tails of any of Shakespeare’s plays until I started home schooling my two older daughters, then loved them. Ken Ludwig’s book, How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare was an amazing find and allowed me to consider that I, with my 6th and 5th grader, could actually tackle Shakespeare. We read three complete plays and memorized numerous passages in one and half school years {with lots of help notes}.

I have been to Ken Ludwig’s home. His children really do know Shakespeare. Read the book and you’ll see why. It’s scholarship dancing around with fun.”—Hal Holbrook

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso, feeling the average Christian Inspirational best seller works I could pick up at Barnes and Noble were a little repetitive, uninspiring, and dumbed-down, I started to read largely out of print Christian classics. {where oh where would we all be without used book stores, the library, and the internet I ask?} Theologians from the last century; the ones you would expect like C.S. Lewis and Oswald Chambers and Brennan Manning and back bending further even several prior: Saint Patrick from the 4th century, Francis of Assisi from the 1oth, Thomas A Kempis from the 12th,  Saint Ignatius of Loyola from the 15th, Charles Spurgeon from the 19th.

I have always loved history and found a cavalcade of well written historical fictions beyond my teen infatuation with Victoria Holt romance novels. I even began to read actual history books.

The kind without heroines and rakes, but historians and dates.

Though I admit, I sped read, or plain did not finish many of the big fat ones.

I read genres I usually would not read.

So you see, years prior to Dr. Seuss, Junie B. Jones, or Harry Potter I was priming myself, then got to work priming my children. 

My husband, grudgingly at first,  became a reader, because the old adage is true: if you can’t beat them, join them.  That and watching television by yourself is lame, and nothing good is on anyways.

Our latest foray into reading as a family has been books on CD. School is now a 45 minute drive and the bus drivers are blurred-eyed Mom or Dad, who did not get to finish all their coffee.  That is 90 minutes a day, five days a week, with daughters who love each other usually but turn into spitting rapacious vipers  when in close quarters in moving vehicles with their sisters. Something had to be done or we would be forced to sell them.

In the last ten weeks of school the girls have heard and digested the following books:

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke …{here is my goodreads review}

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh…{here is my goodreads review}

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar…{no review because I missed this one}.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart…{here is my goodreads review}

and currently listening to The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. {no review yet, still reading, but soon}.  Can you tell I like writing reviews on goodreads? I need to find a way to make money at it.

I did the math on goodreads {because that is only kind of math I do voluntarily} and when we finish The Saturdays it will be the audio equivalent of reading 1,506 pages.

Since the second week of September.

And while yes, we love our Netflix show binges and my seventh grader has been literally counting down the days till the theater release of Mocking Jay Part Two, books entertain, enlighten, and keep you sane from your own offspring, more so than television or movies.

You just have to work at it, and find the right fit.

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Cheers.

 

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