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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Books I've been reading lately

Wow, moving changes everything, doesn't it? We just moved from Georgia to Connecticut and, as I expected, it has thrown me for a loop. However, I didn't anticipate all the ways that life would change. I had guessed the big ones (new house, new climate, new schools, new doctors, new church assignments, new job for Jacob) but I feel like you can never know all the little things until they come up. New way of doing dishes? Unanticipated. New furniture arrangement that puts a damper on late-night blogging? Would not have guessed.

Thankfully moving doesn't really change everything. Same husband (nine years now!), same kids (cute as ever), same church, same blog, same love of reading.

Here's what I've been reading lately.*


Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory

This is a slim book that's out to get you making art. I admit I didn't take it as a workbook and do everything it said to do, but Gregory says in the book that that's ok. So basically the book begins by making the case for making art. It answers the questions "Why should I bother making art?" and "Why should I bother making art when I know I'll never be that good at it?" The answers to both of those were satisfactory for me, so I started making some art.

After that, Gregory delves into some basics of art-making. Different materials and techniques you can use. I had a lot of fun trying some of these out. The hands-down favorite was making a ketchup painting with my four-year-old. Yep, coolest mom ever status: achieved. The book also offers up some cool challenges to take (like drawing your breakfast every day for a month) some cool party ideas (definitely want to try these sometime) and general encouragement to make art. I give it the thumbs up.

If you want to read more about this one, I recommend Lisa Congdon's interview of Danny Gregory.




As You Wish:Inconcievable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

This is the story of the making of The Princess Bride, as told by The Man In Black, Cary Elwes. In fact, because I got the audiobook version, it really was told by him! And bits were narrated by other cast members as well.  We took it on a road trip, of sorts, and the whole family enjoyed it. I mean seriously. The first time we turned it on, Benjamin, now 7, whined about it. By the end of disc two he whined when we had to turn it off for a bit. And, cutest of all, he totally internalized all of Cary Elwes's talk about the rigorous training for the sword fight. "I'm so tired. When we get back, can I have a hot bath, like Cary?" Any book that teaches my kid how to chill out after a long day is cause for celebration.

Anyway, I grew up in a family where we watched The Princess Bride over and over. My mom was a fencer and she couldn't get enough of the sword fight. I now know all the details of how that was made. :) She sewed a custom Man In Black costume for my oldest brother, which the younger ones subsequently wore. I read the novel of The Princess Bride and adored it. What I'm trying to say is that I was pretty much destined to love this book. Jacob, however, first saw the movie after we met. He liked it, but had only seen it once. He still loved As You Wish, and instigated a movie party immediately after we finished it. And, superbonus, he kept saying "as you wish" to me for a couple weeks afterward.

If you'd like to read a couple more reviews of this one, I recommend Janssen's and Amy's.



The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

I really loved Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, so when I saw this interview of him I had to listen to it. Then I had to read his new book The Buried Giant of course. It's about an elderly couple in ancient England. They're living in a cursed land where people forget important things. and they're trying to find their way to their son's village. As the novel goes on, you find yourself asking interesting questions: "Do they even have a son? Would they recognize him if they saw him? Would he recognize them? Would he be as happy to see him as they think he would be? What is going on with this mist of confusion?" Anyway, it's really fascinating. It's slowly paced, but rather than being boring it ends up being haunting. That Ishiguro. So good.



Fortunately the Milk by Niel Gaiman

This is a slim and silly story. Dad goes out for a gallon of milk and takes forever to get back. His kids ask, "What took you so long?" and he regales them with an epic story of what it took to get them some milk. I read it in one sitting, and it made me smile throughout. I fully intend to read this one aloud to my kids, and I think I miiiiight have to push it on some unsuspecting family members. (I'm looking at you, Grandpa!) The illustrations by Skottie Young were fabulously fit to the tale, and made me want to return to his renderings of the Oz books. Definitely pick this one up if you're looking for something fun to read to the whole family.



The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

Jacob and I read this one to each other as we drove to and from Boston a couple weeks ago. Since Jacob is a scientist, I knew I couldn't give this one the thumbs-up unless he liked it, too. It's the story of eleven-year-old Ellie and her scientist grandfather, Melvin, who has discovered the cure for aging. Now that he is young again, a mix-up with the police has made it necessary for Melvin to attend middle school with Ellie for the time being. It has a set of deep themes that run through the book and make it more than just a fun read. Plus, Jacob laughed out loud at least twice at the insider science jokes. We each give it the thumbs up.




Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

You may have remembered me mentioning that I was starting this book? Way back when? Well don't let my slowness to finish deter you. It was a good one. I finished it the week after we moved in. I won't recap it here, instead I'll refer you to my review of the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. You'd definitely want to start there. I'm looking forward to book three.

Oh man, you guys. There is more where this came from! I think I should just stop here. But please:
Tell me what you've been reading lately!
Fill in the blanks: If you hate___ you'd hate this book

*As usual, the images of book covers here are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Just wanted to make that known. Thanks for supporting Everead.

8 comments:

  1. Just the other day, I thought "I wonder what books Alysa has been reading lately". So, here we are!

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  2. Furniture arrangement and where the computer is in the house makes all the difference!

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  3. It's been awhile since I've read your blog! I love it. I'm excited to check out some of these books. I miss you and hope that Connecticut is treating you well!

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    1. Thank you Celisa! I was excited to see your name come up. I miss you, too. I love seeing your instagrams. :D Connecticut seems to be shaping up well. :)

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  4. Thank you for the reviews. I'll try the first project, painting before the breakfast. I love painting very much.
    My Website | Certificate TEFL

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    Replies
    1. Glad you like the reviews. Have fun painting!

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