Our week in books, week two


Transparency: every book link you see below is linked to my Amazon Associates account. Thank you for the support!

Here’s what we’ve been reading this week:


  • The Intelligent Gardener: As I have admitted, though I live in constant admiration of and in thanks to all of my farmer friends, the only garden I have is in my own mind. However, in my mind garden, I implement everything Steve Solomon says, because he is very convincing. Weirdly, I love all the chemical soil analysis stuff. I have the best mind garden ever.
  • Art of Simple Food II: I was so happy to accidentally stumble across this when I was buying Art of Simple Food for a wedding gift for some young friends of ours. This is the exact perfect time of year to have this book in hand, and makes me wish that my mind garden was food-producing (thank you God for CSAs).
  • Bare Bones Broth Cookbook: I love and am a huge advocate for healing and nourishing broths, and this cookbook is the best I have ever seen on the subject. All types are covered here, as well as some great variations of soups that can be made with them. I am so trying the pho recipe.
  • How Children Learn: A re-read, and an oldie, but a goodie. Holt says in the foreword: “All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words–Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple–or more difficult. Difficult, because to trust children we must trust ourselves–and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” You speak my language, Mr. Holt. Also the language of the best of all natives, if you catch my drift.

Still reading:

  • The Moonstone: Still loving it. Especially with the current rain we have happening, this is my comfort reading happy place. Well, this, or A.S. Byatt.
  • The Folded Clock: Expectations were low, as I didn’t really know what to expect. Return has been high. It’s like being able to binge-read a really great blog.

Eagerly awaiting:

  • How to be a Tudor: When I learned that the passionate historian Ruth Goodman had written a book, I might have actually squealed a little bit out loud. Not to worry, my children totally understood, not least because they have watched Tales from the Green Valley about fifty times.
  • Lord Peter: Remember that time when I couldn’t figure out why I had never read Dorothy Sayers? Well, say hello to my library holds list.
  • Those who leave and those who stay: It’s as if they are DARING me not to like it with these covers. I am at the point now where I am beginning to believe it’s some sort of postmodern commentary. I stopped reading The Story of a New Name, not once, but twice (if you’ve read it, you know what I mean here). Then it was due back at the library, so I sat down and rushed through the end of it. It rushes itself towards the end, if you know what I mean. And then there is the kind of cliffhanger in the last sentence that makes you wonder why they even bothered. This type of manipulation is not to be tolerated! So now I am waiting for my hold to come up on this one and slowly becoming resentful over that last sentence.

The girls mostly share/swap/read each others’ books, so I’m going to split their reads into chapter books and picture books. These are the free reading choices that have gotten the most love this week. The girls are currently aged 11 (Maya), 9 (Cassidy), 7 (Willa), and 5 (Molly). The younger two do not read on their own yet.

Chapter books:

  • Beyond the Pawpaw Trees: Another of our NYRB collection, Rob is reading this one to the younger girls at bedtime. The older girls have both loved it in turn, the sort of fantasy book that has just the right amount of adventure and whimsy for a seven-ish year old. A review compares it to Alice in Wonderland, but that book still creeps me out, and this one is lovely and charming. I can’t even link to Alice in Wonderland in good conscience.
  • The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow: Maya (and now Cassidy) went through a major Clyde Robert Bulla phase, and Allen French is sort of the older version of those. I recommend both authors for children who love historical fiction. My children really, really love historical fiction. Case in point: though I am not listing them here, Cassidy read another two Dear America books this week. I think many consider this book to be Allen French’s best, but Maya is indiscriminate in her affections for his works.
  • Stories for Nine-Year Olds: I adore these compilations put together by Sara and Stephen Corrins. There is one for under-fives, five year olds, on up through this one. They make especially good read-alouds for children who aren’t reading yet themselves, because there aren’t really any pictures gumming up the works. Each book is a selection of stories, folk tales, and myths that have the perfect appeal for their age range. I loved them so much over the years that I bought them, which is what you should do, because they are crazy cheap on Amazon.
  • A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys: Because apparently if you’ve read one adaptation of greek mythology, you have not read them all, not even a little bit, and you should definitely go on to read as many as you can get your hands on, according to my children. Who all by themselves decided Riordan was distasteful, thank you God.
  • The Outcasts: Brotherband Chronicles #1: It appears that Maya is having a semi-Viking themed moment here. She picked this up at the library and read a bit there, then asked if she could bring it home. She was quick to point out that the cover does not match the contents (oh she knows me so well). I had no clue what these were about, and all I have discovered so far is that they are semi-Viking-ish, that they were originally released in Australia, that they have been recommended for readers who like Lord of the Rings (guilty as charged in Maya’s case), and that she hasn’t stopped reading it since she picked it up.
  • Greek Myths: See above. Though I have to especially recommend this version, which I find comparable to this beautiful and engaging Odyssey.

Picture books:

  • Rapunzel: I am always on the lookout for fairy tales that are beautifully illustrated and not ruined by revison. I feel like I should add a disclaimer here and note that the girls all heard these tales first out of our big, fat, picture-free Grimm’s, or from other similar compilations like the Fairy books, and I do still believe that is the best way to introduce them. However, there are some lovely, sensitive, truly beautiful fairy tale picture books out there. This is one.
  • Sindbad: This is the book pictured in the interior shot above. I know you want to read it now, how could you not? Imagine what it would be like if Barbara Cooney had a fever, and then illustrated an Arabian pirate book. Winning.
  • Snow White: Story taken straight from Grimm, but the illustrations are extraordinary, and the dwarves look like real-life little people, which makes me strangely happy.
  • The Princess and the Lord of Night: The copy on this does not sound promising, but rather priggish and stuff it in your face moralizing. Let me assure you, it is neither of those things. I was surprised to find it wasn’t an old folk tale after all.
  • Atlas of Adventures: I am guessing when you buy things through your own Amazon associates link, they don’t give you credit for it. I thought maybe we really did need it, after all. I am very convincing. Turns out I’m right.

Commuting listening:

  • Swallowdale: Well, we finished Princess and Curdie (I could have listened forever, we all loved it so much), and we are back to a re-listen of Swallowdale, book two of Swallows and Amazons and pretty much the best pre-summer camp listen ever. S&A books go with summer like peanut butter goes with chocolate. Is there a way to squeeze Alison Larkin and Arthur Ransome in that belongs-together simile? Because that is also true.

2 thoughts on “Our week in books, week two

  1. So excited to delve into this list! Im also relieved to hear a fellow children’s lit lover admit her discomfort with Alice in wonderland. I thought I loved it (I think I did in highschool) but then I read it to my daughter last year and found it to be so bizarre and somehow also tedious that I’ve secretly left the fan club.


  2. I laughed out loud about that “mind garden” bit! (Mostly because I’m exactly the same.) Loving this new blog, Kyrie. I missed your cheeky-sweet voice! 😘


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