What we're reading Summer 2010

Hello long lost readers...if there are any of you anymore! It is already August, and I thought it was time to share some books the Nelsons have enjoyed this summer. Some were read collectively, some individually, and some we're slowly looking through. This list isn't comprehensive. There are a few I'm leaving out so maybe I'll have more material for another post sooner that a half year from now!

Trumpet of the Swan by E B White. I enjoyed this book as a girl and the children and I greatly enjoyed having Rodney read it aloud each night in the early summer. There are some really witty quotes from the father swan, the old cob. Rodney commented that the last chapter was really lovely.

Watership Down by Richard Adams. This book does appear in our middle school curriculum, but was such a joy to read aloud to our children. Really this is one of the books I enjoyed the most from my childhood. It is filled with true heroes.

American Girl books: read by Cora. She powered through these during the early part of the summer and enjoyed them. I think they were good beginning novels for a girl, but I've only read a few. I sometimes felt like some of the girls bucked the norms for girls of the day, and I am not fond of books that encourage rebelling against norms, but overall these have been enjoyable.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, funny, not until writing this blog post did I realize how all of these books were ones I read as a child or youth, but this is one too. I remember being quite enamored with the rat, Justin. It was charming, maybe a better early novel than a read aloud, but a nice bed-time book. We've done a lot of books with anthropomorphism, a word that Cora's quite proud to understand thanks to Mrs. Sutphen and second grade! This was good, but I enjoyed the others more.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Read by Cora as she anticipates returning to school. We did the entire series as a read aloud a couple years ago, but since the previous book is part of second grade, it made sense to read the next. These are great American classics in my opinion.

Silas Mariner by George Elliot. Oh how I love this book. I've told people for about 18 years that this was one of the most powerful books I've ever read. I loved it in high school, and thought it was high time I re-read it just in case over the past many years I've changed my views, but nope. Rock solid. Love it. A book about the transformation of purpose and love in ones' life. Powerful...I think it too is part of the high school curriculum, but you could read it over and over again.

Keeping our Children's Heart by Steve Maxwell. This too is a re-read for me. I read it about 5 years ago and liked it but balked at much of it. Funny thing is though as my family grows and my children mature I find myself remembering this book. It really talks about restructuring your family life so that the priority is the spiritual maturation of your children. This means a serious dying to self. This book recommends a radical approach of not doing a lot of things that our culture both secular and church consider normal. I'm just beginning my re-read, but have realized I'm leaning more and more toward their approach.

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church
by N.T. Wright. I can't speak to this, since Rodney is reading this, but many evenings he is curled up in his chair reading this and doesn't like to be talked at by me while reading this, so I think it must be rather good. He keeps telling me I would love it and should read it when he's done.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Cora has helped mix the basic dough which keeps well in the fridge for a week. This means she has been able to whip up a lovely boule loaf for guests this summer. I think soon we will graduate to some fancy things like cinnamon rolls and pizza dough. So far so good. Yum.

What we're always reading:
Here are some periodicals we read often:
National Review - the magazine. I usually flip to the back and read journalist Mark Steyn first. He's clever, witty, and at times depressing, but I keep coming back for more.
Touchstone Magazine - the magazine I believe every Christian home should receive. It was a spiritual and intellectual lifeline for me for many years before we found our church home.
St. James Daily Devotional Guide - this is a basic lectionary which I like to use while reading my ESV Bible. It takes you through a two year plan of reading the Bible and does coincide well with the church calendar. For example the past 3 days I've been reading various accounts in the gospels and portions from the epistles that deal with the transfiguration (which is observed in the church calendar today and this Sunday). It is a good tool for Bible reading.

Hope your summer reading has been fruitful and enjoyable too!
Blessings from our house to yours.
Marybeth Nelson