September Reading Log

It’s almost half through October but I’ve only just got to writing my September reading log now.

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In September I managed to read 5 books:

What is the Bible?  How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell

The full title says it all really.  Rob Bell reminds us that the Bible is not a Christian book & in fact is a library of books, reminding us that Jesus was Jewish and explores why what is written in the Bible was important enough to record at the time & in the places it was recorded.  And ultimately how what was recorded thousands of years ago is relevant for us today.   From the blurb on the inside of the jacket cover “…When considering a passage, Bell explains the worst question we can ask of a text (‘Why did God …?) and the best question to ask (‘Why did people find this important to write down?) to get at how scripture can best guide us today.  … What is the Bible? recaptures this ancient library’s subversive energy and reaffirms its enduring ability to inspire and shape our lives today.”  We are currently discussing this book in the Bible Study group that I’m a part of & looking at some of the passages from the Bible, that are explored in the book.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about the Bible.

Our Global Families: Christians Embracing Common Identity in a Changing World by Todd M. Johnson and Cindy M. Wu

This book talks about how as Christians we are all part of a global Christian family but ultimately we are all part of a global human family.  Christians are supposed to be united but yet we keep making more and more denominations, in fact there are now more than 45 000 Christian denominations around the world.  Often white, western Christians have imposed their version of Christianity on other cultural groups.  A quote from p15 “The foundation for our unity as Christians throughout the world is not our likeness but our diversity.  The unanswered question for Christians … is how well we will work, minister, and grow together as a family in the context of this astonishing diversity.”  Together with a quote from p56 “Christians are at the same time part of a common humanity.  While embracing a global Christian identity as primary is essential for unity among Christians, a common-humanity identity is key for solidarity with others.”  The book gives practical ways that we can work with our fellow human beings.  One final quote from p160, from a Jewish perspective “According to Rabbi Sacks, Judaism’s ultimate purpose is to honor the image of God in other people and thus turn the world into a home for the divine presence. … Rabbi Sacks points out that the Bible is unequivocal in its emphasis on responsibility to humanity.  Its message is that serving God and serving our fellow human beings are inseparably linked.”  A great but challenging read, with practical ideas as well.

And then 3 novels to finish of the month:

Reunion by Lauraine Snelling

A book about an upcoming family reunion but then a secret is uncovered & others in the family are going through difficult situations, what does this mean for the family?  I have read many of Lauraine Snellings books including many of her 5 series of books that follow the Bjorkland family over many, many years.

A Little Love by Amand Prowse

From the blurb on the back cover “Pru Plum is the celebrated owner of a famous Mayfair bakery. … Few would believe that this elegant woman turned sixty-six last year.  … She has done some shameful things to get where she is today.  And she will do anything to protect the secrets of her past – especially when, for the first time in her life, she has finally fallen in love …”  A good read with a few twists along the way.

The Quaryman’s Bride by Tracie Peterson

I have read many of Tracie Peterson’s books and this one seemed familiar at the beginning but I couldn’t remember what happened. So I’m not 100% sure if I’ve read it before or not.  Set in the late 1800’s in Minnesota, Emmalyne is engaged to be married but her sisters are killed so her father expects her to stay unmarried to look after her parents in her old age.  What happens about 10 years later when she meets her ex-fiance?  Another of Tracie Peterson’s very interesting historical fiction novels.

So with 5 books read in September that brings my total to 42 books for the year so far.

What have you been reading lately?

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Books My Children Enjoyed

Last week it was Children’s Book Week in Australia.  Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) together with schools, libraries, booksellors, authors & illustrators help children & students celebrate Australian Children’s Literature.  As I’ve seen many posts on Facebook this week of children dressed up for Book Week this year, I have reflected on the importance of reading & some of the books my children enjoyed reading.

Many schools have a book week parade during the week where children come dressed as their favourite book character.  My son’s school, a Pre-Prep – 12 school, celebrates book week with a whole school parade.  Apparently there are many who dress up in the junior school but not so many by the time you get to senior school.  I only have a few photos of my children from Book Weeks from the early years of their schooling. (A couple are above).  I’m sure my daughter did get dressed up for Book Week when she was in Middle or Senior school.

 

However reading was a huge part of their life before school.  We read bedtime stories to both children from when they were babies.  Starting with little chunky board books before moving onto picture books when they were toddlers.  “Stop said the man in blue.  He is a policeman.”  is a page that we can still recite from one of the very first board books we owned.  Some of the picture books have been taped back together as they were loved so much.  We have kept many of the favourite picture books, though we often borrowed from the local library.

We continued reading with our children until they were in upper primary school.  Even though they could well & truly read by then it was fun to read chapter books together or read harder books with them.  Here is a link to one of many articles on the benefits of reading to older children.  I remember my daughter’s grade 2 teacher who had children ranging from about 5-17 years of age said that she was still reading with her 17 year old.  When my son was in grade 7 I do recall reading to him when he had a scratched eye so couldn’t do anything because he needed to lie with his eyes shut.

So what were some of the books that were enjoyed in our house:

 

Picture Books:

  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxbury (board book but can get it in a paper paged book as well)
  • Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings by Matthew Van Fleet (a touch book for toddlers)
  • There’s a Hippopotomas on Our Roof Eating Cake by Hazel Edwards, illustrated by Deborah NilandBanana's in Pyjamas2
  • Bananas in Pyjamas:  Fancy Dress Party – When my daughter was about 3 this was taken to bed with every night for a while, it had to be taped up.  (Well remembered page is pictured.)
  • Mr Smarty Loves to Party by Janine Scott, illustrated by Christine Ross – It’s about a bear who goes to different parties dressed-up for the event and you can imagine what he wears to a birthday party!
  • Pooh and the Dragon (a Little Golden Book)
  • Lullabyhullaballoo! by Mick Inkpen
  • The King and the Cuddly by Majorie Newman, illustrated by Peter Bowman
  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Anthony Lewis
  • Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss – This copy was my own from my childhood
  • Nursery Rhyme Books
  • Fairy Tale Books
  • Other books with a compilation of stories
  • Set of Beatrix Potter books
  • The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
  • Spot What books (a whole series with a themed picture on each page with a list of things to find)

Chapter Books:

 

Advent/Christmas Books:

  • My Birthday, Jesus Birthday by Holly Davis, illustrated by Nancy Munger
  • With Love at Christmas by Mem Fox, illustrated by Fay Plamka
  • Jotham’s Journey; Bartholomew’s Passage; Tabitha’s Travels and Ishtar’s Odyssey a series by Arnold Ytreeide – with a chapter for each day of advent leading up to the birth of Jesus; all told from the perspective of the main character and meets the characters from the other books along the way.  We have been reading 1 of these for about 12 Advent seasons now so great for children of all ages.
  • The Night Before Christmas (pop-up book) – A beautiful illustrated, pop-up version of the famous poem first published in 1823.  A book that Dad reads once a year on Christmas Eve before bedtime.
  • An Aussie Night Before Christmas (pop-up book) – An Australian version of the poem in a beautiful illustrated pop-up book.  This was added to the annual Christmas Eve book before bed routine a few years ago.

There would be many other books that we could add to this list but I’m just going from memory and what we still had.

My favourite picture book (at the moment):

 

  • Not A Box – My friend sent me this when my kids were older but I was still supply teaching.  I have used this book with lots of Prep & Grade 1 classes.  There are not many words but so much to talk about as you read the book.  I love how it encourages imagination.

What are some of your favourite children’s books?

 

 

Reading Log – May 2017

Reading Log May

May was a very slow month for me in terms of reading books.  I did manage to finish reading 1 book early in the month.  I was reading another couple of books on & off throughout the month but didn’t finish either of them.

I have however done lots of reading, learning and thinking in other ways as I attended a 4 day conference as well as attended part of an on-line conference which didn’t quite work due to time differences.  The content of these conferences has made me want to revisit some books I have previously read, as well as given me a whole list of other books I want to read.

This is the one book that I did finish reading in May:

The Good Life:  What makes a life worth living? by Hugh Mackay

Australian social researcher & Psychologist asks and answers the question “What makes a life worth living?”.  The answer according to him:  “A good life is determined by our capacity for selflessness and our willingness to connect with those around us in a meaningful and useful way.”  He talks a lot about The Golden Rule – “Do to others what you want them to do to you.”  This is a rule my mother very much talked about and lived by as we were growing up.  It was interesting to note that a version of this “rule” can be found in all of the major world religions.

We are made for connection with others and life is much better if we can follow the golden rule.

What do you think makes a life worth living?

This brings my year to date total to 25 books.

What books have you been reading lately?