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Book Report 2



The relevance of the video will make sense, I hope, further down. In any case, everyone should see Yo Yo Ma with muppets.

Today I’ll finish out what T. read and give the details of my nonfiction reading.

T.R. read one book that I have not read in the form he did, a prose version of the Odyssey called Ulysses. (That link is not the exact book, but it was something like it.) He loved Odysseus’s adventures. He also got bonus points for knowing that Ulysses was the Roman version of the Greek Odysseus when they talked about it in school.

He read two more that I had already read, Inkdeath, which I wrote about after our last reading contest, and Queste, the most recent installment in the Septimus Heap series. The former got two thumbs up. The latter was also approved, but T. said that it wasn’t as funny as the previous ones.

We both read the first five Ranger’s Apprentice books after the nice lady in the bookstore said that kids kept checking back hopefully to see if the next one was out yet. In similar fashion, we are now impatiently waiting for August, when the sixth book comes out. They are great adventure stories in a European-like, medieval-ish world with good characters and engrossing plots.

We completed two read-aloud books. (I am thinking that it is slightly unfair that T.R. gets four times the credit for pages I read aloud to him, but on the other hand, he still lets me read to him. So I’ll go with it.) The first was Alabama Moon. The story is pretty intense because Moon is a kid who lives with his militia-type father as a squatter off in the middle of nowhere. It opens with the father dying. I cried more than once in the course of the story. It ends mostly well, with Moon coming to terms with a society he pretty much doesn’t understand and with the downfall of the most evil of the characters.

The second read-aloud, courtesy of Brent’s recommendation, was His Majesty’s Dragon. Napoleonic history, plus dragons! Well-written. Excellent characterizations. Good vocabulary. (We’re about halfway through the second book in the series now and it continues to engage both of us!!!)

In nonfiction, I polished off eight books. I already wrote about some of my thoughts on Trapped in the Mirror, because it messed me up at the time. I’ve moved on from there.

I read two food books. I have pretty much decided that I should read at least one food book every couple of months to get myself back on track with my good eating habits. I read Chew On This, which is kind of Fast Food Nation for kids and Food Matters. My takeaway lesson, which is not particularly surprising: I need to stop drinking soda. One of these days I will actually succeed at this. Both books were readable and interesting. Neither one contained a lot of information I didn’t already know, but I need reminding.

The two religious books I read were in conjunction with my therapist’s recommendation to learn to meditate. I’ve already written lots about my problems with that. Invitation to Love was not super helpful, but Prayer and Temperament has pretty much transformed my prayer life. In a good way.

What It Is is one of the most interesting writing books I’ve read. It’s part comic, part manual, part explosion in a collage factory. I continue to learn from the book.

I used to stop conversations dead at parties by mentioning that I had seen whatever pop culture person who happened to be under discussion on Sesame Street. It was always true. That show gets everyone and everyone but Susan Sarandon has gone up in my estimation after an appearance there. (Her awkwardness there crystallized my basic distrust of her. I don’t think she likes children.) The history of how the show came to be is detailed with love in Street Gang. Fascinating reading, brought to you by the letter J.

Finally, I read Jane Addams’s book Twenty Years at Hull House. I used a quote from the book in one of my Lent collages. I believe in sincere, hands-on work with people in need and I loved reading her account of her work. Times have changed and yet times are the same. That’s both discouraging and hopeful. I miss my nonprofit work sometimes.

Again, more tomorrow.

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