A New Year of Reading Begins


Sorry about that. I truly meant to post on the first day of the new year – 3 days ago. I had no shortage of ideas, just a shortage of time. So…here we are. A new year. Lots of new books ahead.

I read a lot during the holidays. As much as I love reading books with my classes, it was nice to read whatever captured my interest.  I read four books…

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods (a young adult book about a boy and his best friend, a stray dog named Shadow, living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The coolest part of reading this book is that I actually read it in New Orleans. I don’t usually go to such extremes to get into the setting of a book, but it was great!)

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes (this year’s Booker Prize winner – a compelling and intense examination of aging and all of the questions and doubts that go along with it. I’m still thinking about it and am tempted to go back to page one and read it again.)

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure  (a must read for fans of the Little House books. Part memoir, part analysis of American girlhood and part attempt to understand our tendency to romanticize the past. After reading this, I’ve added the entire Little House series to my 2012 reading list – it’s been too long, and McClure gave me so much to think about.)

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin (I loved this book about a young boy’s devotion to Stalin and Communism – until his life begins to unravel – this one will be on the middle school’s summer reading list.)

I was just getting on a roll when I heard the school bell ringing from a few miles away. Luckily, my husband gave me two books of essays for Christmas which are perfect for the evenings when the school work is done before bedtime!


10 thoughts on “A New Year of Reading Begins

  1. Have you seen/read any of the Little House series about Rose Wilder? We just got the first one at the library, but haven’t started to read it yet.

    • Hi Lisa,

      I haven’t so I’m depending on you to let me know how they are…
      Have your girls watched any of the Litte House TV shows?

  2. “The Wilder Life” sounds very interesting! My daughter and I are reading through the Top 100 children’s novels and the first two that we drew out of a hat were Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie. I’ve never read anything from the series – my only experience was the television series, so I’m very interested in the thoughts about romanticizing the past.

    • Hi Patti,
      Thanks for your comment. If you are reading the Little House books with your daughter, I would recommend adding McClure’s book to your list. She is really insightful about the appeal of the books – and the TV series. I just spent time on your blog and look forward to following your reading project.

  3. i haven’t read the wilder life, but i’ve heard a little about it. my daughter and husband and i have read two books out of the LIW series together. i must admit, that while we’ve enjoyed them, i kept thinking to myself, “why were these so popular? why did i love them? NOTHING really happens. the setting and time period are so foreign to me.” and now, in 2011-12, i feel that the only way i can get the kids at my school to read books is if they are packed full of action, or comic drawings.
    i do feel like i read the books before i became immersed in the tv show, but i don’t know if that’s true. if not, maybe i had the show to help me through the books. with that said, we rented a LHotP DVD from the library after reading the two books and she wasn’t very interested….
    thanks for your blog! i still love it very much!
    ps. you’re lucky. i feel like your library job is more about books…mine feels more about computers and technology. :-/

    • Hi Devin,
      Thanks for your comment – I was happy to hear from you. A couple of things…I agree that it can be a challenge to get kids hooked on Little House books now – especially since so much of what happens takes place over many years and there is very little “action” in the way kids think about that now. But just as importantly, there is so much more to choose from than when we were young readers. I remember reading the books because they were one of the few series available to me – which is certainly not the case now. Your comment about my job is interesting. As you pointed out, I do get to focus on books which is wonderful, but that’s because we have a technology person as well and while the two of us share responsibilities/information, I spend more of my time focused on what the kids are reading. The other thing is that, truthfully, I just don’t write as much about the technology – even though much of my day is spent using it. The books are more fun to write about – and since more and more kids are getting e-readers (since prices have gone down), I feel like there are opportunities to suggest titles for them to load on their device. If it keeps them reading, I don’t care if it’s on paper or screen!

  4. I hadn’t thought about the idea that there were just less books in series back then, but it makes sense, no? I should have said earlier that as an adult, I was enjoying the LIW books…I just had an inner commentary going on as to why I liked them as a child. Oddly enough though, my daughter who is four seemed to enjoy them very much. I think a strength of hers is visualizing. She’s gifted, you know. 🙂 Kidding. I wish there was a technology person at my school. But you’re right, it is my choice to write about books if I so wish. Today I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out why someone couldn’t get an internet connection and the whole time I was telling myself, “Just because I’m spending my time right now doing this, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t write about a book tonight on the library blog!”

  5. Pingback: We’re still here! | A mother, a daughter and 100 books

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