Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Reading

I am zipping through the books this summer. Not audio books, but good old-fashioned printed books. It has a lot to do with being home with kids. I thought there wouldn't be time for reading, but there is quite a bit.

Some is during the daily 30-60 minutes of enforced "quiet time." Figure if the kids aren't allowed to play games or watch television during that time, it won't hurt for me to follow the same general rule. Most of the reading is poolside though. I do get in and swim, but have no desire to spend three solid hours in the water.

So far this June & July:

Robinson Crusoe - Don't know how I made it through grades 1-12 (never went to kindergarten) without reading this, but I finally got around to it. I liked it more than I thought I would. I knew the story - who doesn't? - and knew I'd like the tale, but thought the style might be dry. I was wrong. The writing is more formal than the books I read to the children each evening, but it's not at all stuffy. The details of survival and character study were quite engaging. It was interesting how much it felt like reading a book after seeing the movie based on it.

Finished up Nation of Sheep by Judge Andrew Napolitano late last week. I'd have finished it several weeks ago, but misplaced it while packing for vacation. (It turned up on the kid's bookcases, between Emmy & the Incredible Shrinking Rat and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, two good books, though for a different audience.) It very clearly spells out the violations of the rights guaranteed to American citizens in the name of National Security. You hear all about them in any conversation with a Bush bashing liberal, though never so clearly explained. What's funny - and not in a ha-ha way - is that you could swap out "terrorist" or "homeland security" with various economic crises of the last year, and see how the same arguments to pass the Patriot Act and appoint new homeland security heads and hire thousands of employees are being used to pass economic stimulus bills, appoint financial czars and take over private businesses in the current administration. Maybe I should pick up Higg's Crisis and Leviathan sooner, rather than later?

Thud and Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett. Until reading the book written with Neil Gaiman, I'd not read any Pratchett. After reading Good Omens, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, I started on the Discworld series by Pratchett. Really glad I did. Think the kids will enjoy these someday. Especially B2, who seems to have a similar sense of humor and is developing book habits like mine.

Ultra Marathon Man by Dean Karnazes. I highly recommend this book, even if you're not a runner. It's truly inspiring. It doesn't make me want to run through Death Valley in the middle of the day, but that's not the point of the book. It does firmly remind me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and push beyond limits I don't even know yet, if I only try. (This is a book the kidlets will read at some point.)

Seeing as how I'd misplaced the Napolitano book while packing, I grabbed Terry Goodkind's first book from the Sword of Truth series before taking off for Colorado. After finishing the re-read of Wizard's First Rule, I had to start on Stone of Tears, which lead to the current re-read of book three in the series, Blood of the Fold. Only seven or eight more to go... can't stop part way through the story. (What if it ends differently?)

Other current books are Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg and A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz. The subject of the first is fairly obvious, so I'll just say it's been interesting so far. I've always been curious about Burr, but the story of the duel with Hamilton in Founding Fathers, and some of the events leading up to it, set me to looking for more of the story. The Horwitz book - full title A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America - is really good, both in information shared and his wonderful writing style. If he were teaching history classes, I can't imagine anyone finding the subject dull. Right now, I'm reading of Horwitz's research trip to the Dominican Republic, in the chapter on the curse (or jinx) of Columbus.

1 comment:

Slamdunk said...

interesting list--I should look at the judge's book as well. Don't think I ever fully read Robinson C. either.