Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November Reading List

    As a homeschooling mom, I read to my children for hours each day.  We loved or hated books together and journeyed to a new time and place each day as we read.  Now that I've turned their education over to the very capable hands of the teachers at their school, I have to admit, I truly miss our reading time.  I work all day and they're in school and in the evenings, we're all so tired...it's not the life I wanted for us, but here we are.  And I'm struggling to find a way to hold on to some of the good things from our old life while simultaneously admitting that our old life is gone and it is not coming back.  How do I let go without giving up?  How do I hold on while still moving forward?  I don't have a complete answer yet and I may never have one.  
    What I do know is that curling up with my little ones and a good book has been one of the most precious things I've ever done and I want to keep it in our life.  In order to make that happen I have to be strict with myself and with them about keeping a schedule:  the t.v. gets turned off a certain time and no later.  The chores are to be finished by a certain time and no later, and all bedtime routines of changing clothes, brushing, flossing, etc, have to be done a little earlier than they have been since we started work and school, so that we can once again curl up together and lose ourselves in another place and time together.  Our old curriculum constantly sent us new books and I loved them all.  Now I have stacks upon stacks of books that we read only once and I've decided to part with most of them.  Of the books I've kept, we're going back and rereading them all.  I'm also going through my personal library to revisit a few favorites and there are a couple that I just couldn't resist reading again.  They go perfectly with this chilly weather and a cozy blanket.  So, without further ado here are my November reading picks.
Read Alouds:
Kildee House by Rutherford Montgomery
Jerome Kildee has worked all his life and now he's ready to retire to a little place in the woods andlead a quiet bachelor life.  His life there however turns out to be anything but quiet as the animals decide to move in and eventually he even befriends a scrappy neighbor girl who is feuding with the boy next door and Jerome finds himself literally caught in the middle.  Sweet and heart warming.  A great family read.

The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis
I'll admit to judging this one by its cover.  I saw it on the shelf at my local library and after reading a page found I couldn't put it down.  Set in the 1800s, this book tells the story of Maude March and her sister who find themselves orphaned for a second time, on the run and stumbling into a life of crime along with bank robbers and gunslingers.

Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer Holm
Another frontier tale, but instead of the Midwest, this tale takes place in a Finnish settlement along the Naselle River in Washington.  May Amelia is the only girl on the whole island and she desperately wishes for a sister.  At times this story is heart breaking, but it is based on the real life diaries of the author's grand aunt Alice Holm.  

"Ruth remembered drowning."  Such a brilliant first line and the rest of the novel follows suit.  "In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister, and husband. . . . Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowning. . . . " (source or review Amazon.com)

Rebecca by Daphne Du Marier
The year was 1999.  I was working at a retail establishment which got a shipment of some lovely embossed hardback classics and was selling them for about $4.  I took one of each title to begin a very classy library in my college kid bungalow...but it would be another decade before I actually opened the burgundy one titled Rebecca.  I was far away from family and friends, living a cold, dreary place, surrounded by perpetual rain and fog, and I was instantly drawn in to this book.  I couldn't put it down and managed to read the entire book within days of opening it.  A young bride, a handsome millionaire with a secret, and an eerie old mansion--this book is the epitome of the classic Gothic novel with wonderfully crafted imagery and a compelling suspenseful story.  If you're new to the Gothic genre or loved the forerunners like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, this book is a must read and absolutely perfect for a November day by the fire.

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