Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Morning Book Post

I've been thinking about my little blog space for a long time now. I started blogging in 2007 mostly to highlight family life and our home education adventures. I wrote about home life, our faith, books, and knitting. I wrote about knitting a lot. I wasn't super prolific here, but last year I logged only a paltry 16 posts. That was low even for me. This year, I wanted to return to this place renewed and ready to write more. I also found that I love writing about books. I love reviewing them. I love just talking about books.

What I discovered is that I wanted to talk about books and the reading life more. My oldest child will be starting his sophomore year in August and I'm no longer really homeschooling with the exception of teaching my five year old to read. Life changes quickly and my kids are get older. Luke isn't as excited to be featured on my blog anymore. I'm still heavily invested in the written word and the reading life. So, this year, I could tell that I was moving in a new direction which led me to reevaluate this space. I mean, I still want to write about family life and of course, knitting, but I do think in some ways, I've outgrown this particular blog. I'm thinking about a re-brand of sorts.

After last year's dismal blog post count, I'm not sure if I have any readers left. I never check that stuff. I just write. Anyhow, if I do have any readers, I'm thinking about moving to a new blog platform by the end of the summer. I want a brand new look infused with optimism and the love of words. Stay tuned....

             As for reading, I finished two books this week, but I'm only going to write about one.

I reviewed this book this week on Goodreads yesterday. I mentioned this book in my last post. It took me nearly 200 pages to get into this book. I almost abandoned it. There are eight main characters and not enough time to really get to know any of them really well. At Mount Washington High School, there is a tradition in which The List is posted the Monday before the Homecoming dance. Wielding a lot of power, despite being anonymous, the List simply lists both the ugliest and prettiest girls in each class. Can you even imagine this? I mean, high school is hard enough without some list chipping away at a girl's biggest insecurity, right? The thing is that the list has a huge impact on even those crowned the prettiest. Honestly, it isn't pretty and it turns out to be a curse either way. How can something that is so arbitrary and anonymous and subjective have so much power??

It took me a long time to keep all the girls straight, but once I did, the story picked up some momentum, but really it was the last line of the book that was the humdinger. I was left with lingering thoughts on the perception of beauty and its power especially in the microcosm of a high school. I'm still thinking about it.

I've been reading a lot of YA this year. I find it thought-provoking in ways I don't always expect. Even when I'm reading a re-telling of an Austen novel set in a contemporary high school, I find that it isn't just a silly diversion.

As for my kids' reading:

It's not really happening.

 Sam is reading The Hobbit, albeit very slowly. I don't care. I'm just happy he finally settled on a book. I took him to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 recently. Since Luke owned the collection of these books, I thought Sam might want to try out this series, but it didn't take long to discover that he wasn't really interested. It's more difficult to find books that Sam loves. I can tell that he's going to gravitate more towards graphic novels. At 9 (Sam's age), I could suggest almost anything to Luke and he'd try it, but now, Luke isn't really reading for pleasure right now (He's 14). I did tell him that Summer is the best time to sink into a good novel (or ten) since he's free from school work and other obligations, but so far, it's not happening. The last book he read was The Giver so we could go see the movie in August.

This is the first year that my kids have had an unenthusiastic reaction to the Summer reading program at the library. I decided not to push it. Reading should be fun and I have mixed feelings about rewarding kids for reading. Reading should be its own reward, right?

So, I'm trying really hard to be hands off about the reading. They live in a house with  tons of books and they go to the library regularly. They see me read at every opportunity. I won't worry that they won't turn into lifelong devoted readers just because they're not reading much this Summer. Okay, I'll only worry a little. ;)


Alexandrea Brandon said...

I for one am excited to follow the progression of your blog. I believe even I went through a small phase where I didn't read as much when I first started High School.

Jenna Pirrie said...

I've just started reading your blog (so even if you don't have many readers left, at least you've got one new one!), and I very much like that you'll be writing about books -- though I'll enjoy knitting posts too, and they may even make me pick up needles again!