Thursday, July 19, 2018

The RAHK Report for 7/19/18

The first part of our summer has mostly been focused on our upcoming move to a larger townhouse, which will be happening between August 1 and August 6. But even in the midst of packing our books into boxes, we still find time to read a few here and there. Here are some of the titles we have recently enjoyed.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

I will readily admit that I strongly, strongly disliked this book. Pippi irritated me, and I really just wanted an adult to come along and straighten her out. But both Little Miss Muffet (age 4 years, 8 months) and Little Bo Peep (age 2 years, 10 months) absolutely loved her. We read one chapter after lunch each day, and there were times when they literally cheered when I picked up the book. Bo Peep now frequently announces that she wants to be called Pippi, and Miss Muffet has expressed interest in the other books of the series. I've decided it's fine with me if they want to read the rest, but it will either have to be an audiobook or my husband who provides the narration. I've had all I can take!

The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

When I was cleaning out some of my childhood possessions during a visit to my hometown in June, I came upon the set of Boxcar Children paperbacks my mom read to me and my sister when we were kids. Knowing that Miss Muffet has been enjoying the Happy Hollisters books, I decided to let her try the first book of this series. It is now six weeks later, and she has read the first two books and listened to the first five in audio format. I am borrowing the audiobooks from Hoopla, where I have a monthly limit of 10 items so I've had to limit the audiobooks a little bit, since I also get music and books for myself from there. I have asked her to read the physical copies of the books she has listened to before we move onto the next set of audiobooks, and she seems agreeable to that.

Mitch and Amy by Beverly Cleary

Another audiobook that Miss Muffet has been enjoying a lot is Mitch and Amy by Beverly Cleary. Each time she listens to it, she seems to pick up some new turn of phrase. This week, it was "odd's bodkin," which Mitch uses as an example of the kind of fun language he likes to hear in books. She also marched up to me after being asked to do something and said, "You can count on me, Mom!" When I asked her where she got that, she said, "Mitchell!" For some reason, he, much more than Amy, has been the character to make an impression on her. I remember borrowing this book from the library again and again as a kid, so I'm thrilled that she is enjoying it so much. If she's going to keep quoting such specific passages to me, I'll probably need a re-read myself!


Gyo Fujikawa's A to Z Picture Book

Bo Peep is going through a stage where everything falls into one of two categories: "my favorite" and "not my favorite." This book, and specifically the page of babies for the letter B, has been placed firmly in the favorites category. She is constantly pointing things out in the book, and if she's not sure where she had it last, we all have to look for it until it's found. She doesn't really have the patience to sit and listen to the actual printed words, but she does like to discuss the details of every picture at length. She also enjoys showing the pictures to Little Jumping Joan (9 months).

The Complete Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker

I started reading a few poems from this book each day after lunch, and the two big girls have become completely obsessed with the different fairies. We have read the entire section about summer fairies as well as the A to Z fairies, and we spent a lot of time looking at the illustrations to determine which fairies looked the most like which of our girls, and which flowers we recognized. Last week, we even made some fairy wings for the girls to wear around the house. We'll be revisiting this one again and again as the seasons pass.

Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I hesitate to even mention this series right now, after the recent kerfuffle over the renaming of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (which, for the record, I oppose), but it has been a major part of my girls' imaginative lives this year so far. It has been months since my husband read aloud Little House in the Big Woods, but there is not a day that goes by where Miss Muffet and Bo Peep do not play "Laura and Mary." This game usually consists of holding hands and walking down the street together or curling up together under a blanket. I don't see my kids echoing any racist ideals they may have heard in the books; what they have learned is the value of siblings, and how to be kind, loyal, and loving toward their own sisters.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The RAHM Report for 7/16/18

Finished Reading


  • The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    I really enjoyed this one. I think I should read more science fiction. I don't have the same problems with this genre as I do with fantasy.
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, audiobook read by Stina Neilsen ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    I am having a great time re-reading these Sarah Dessen books. Since I won't get to all of them this summer, I've decided to focus on the ones set in Colby, and it has been fun seeing all the connections between the characters. My review of this book is on Goodreads
  • The Summer of Mrs. MacGregor by Betty Ren Wright ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    I saw this book on Instagram and borrowed it from Open Library. It was interesting and different than I was expecting, and now I want to read more books by this author.  
  • The Animal, The Vegetable, and John D. Jones by Betsy Byars ⭐⭐⭐
    I loved the writing and the character development in this book, but the plot was very thin and predictable. It is set at the beach, though, so it was a good choice for a summer read.
  • Midnight Snacks Are Murder by Libby Klein ⭐⭐⭐
    I had a hard time getting into this cozy mystery to the point that I considered marking it DNF around the 40% mark. But things picked up a lot at the halfway mark, and I wound up reading the remaining 60% in less than two hours. I'll be reviewing this one on Goodreads and NetGalley.

Currently Reading


  • Decked by Carol Higgins Clark 8%
    I was just not in the mood for this book this week and didn't read a single page. I feel like it might be a good one to take to the pool if we take the girls this week. 
  • The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, audiobook read by Allie Gallerani 22%
    I jumped right into another Sarah Dessen book literally 2 minutes after finishing Along for the Ride. I have enjoyed all the audiobook narrators I've heard so far, but I think Allie Gallerani is my favorite. She sounds exactly like I would expect Emaline to sound, and her voice still sounds normal even when I listen at 2x speed.
  • A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot 46%
    Book club is Thursday, so this book is the priority for the next couple of days. I'm enjoying it,  so unlike the last couple book club books, I am sure I will finish it. 
I'll be linking up today with Unleashing Readers/Teach Mentor Texts and Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Monday, July 9, 2018

The RAHM Report for 7/9/18

What I Finished Reading


  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis by Max Shulman ⭐⭐⭐
    I finally finished the last story in this collection this week. The stories were pleasant diversions and it was fun to see the inspiration for the sit-com, but the jokes are all very similar and after a while, they did get old. I don't feel the need to read anymore Max Shulman. 
  • One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    This is my new favorite book. Jennifer Fulwiler's sense of humor really resonates with me and I related to her struggle to balance her interest in writing with the demands of a young, growing family. I both laughed and cried while reading and I think every Catholic mom should read this book.  (Also, the negative comments about natural family planning in the Goodreads reviews make me cringe. NFP Awareness Week is coming up, and apparently we need it!) 
  • So Done by Paula Chase (ARC) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    This forthcoming middle grade novel is really excellent. I will have a review on the blog in August after my reviewing break is over.
  • Revolutionizing Education in America: The TOTIL Method by Doris Leclerc Ball ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    My husband read this and then suggested I read it quickly as well. The author focuses on time on task and the ability of students to learn mostly independently once they can read. It was interesting information to file away for future homeschooling use. 
  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, audiobook read by Stina Neilsen ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    I loved this book much more on the second reading. There was so much I didn't remember, including the amazing character development and the issues between Macy and her mom. 
  • The Happy Hollisters at Sea Gull Beach by Jerry West ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    I started reading this aloud to my four-year-old in May, but we sort of forgot about it for a while. Finally, I sat her down and read her the last three chapters in one sitting so we could finish it out.  

What I'm Currently Reading


  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, audiobook read by Rachel Botchan 50%
    I'm on a roll with these Sarah Dessen audiobooks. Because it has references to both Keeping the Moon and The Truth About Forever, which I just read, it wound up being the perfect follow-up to those even though I mostly just chose it because there were no holds on it at the library. 
  • A Mothers Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot 19%
    Book club is coming up a week from Thursday, so this book will be more of a priority as that gets closer. I really like it, but I don't want to finish too early and forget everything by the time the discussion takes place. 
  • The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein 18%
    The dialogue in this book is really great, and the story moves quickly. I hope to be able to devote enough time to it in the next couple of days that I can finish it.  
  • Decked by Carol Higgins Clark 8%
    This has been on my nightstand for months, and I finally picked it up over the weekend. It's decent so far.
  • Midnight Snacks Are Murder by Libby Klein (ARC) 6%
    I started this because I thought I was ready to dive right into another cozy after finishing Italian Iced But it turns out I need a bit of a palate cleanse. Hopefully I'll be more in the mood for it by the end of this week.

I'll be linking up today with Unleashing Readers/Teach Mentor Texts and Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Monday, July 2, 2018

The RAHM Report for 7/2/18

What I Finished Reading


  • Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen, audiobook read by Stina Neilsen ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    I so enjoyed revisiting this old favorite which I read when it first came out and had never re-read. Sarah Dessen will always be one of my favorite authors. The narrator was also perfect for the story.
  • Italian Iced by Kylie Logan (ARC) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    This was a great cozy mystery: good writing, interesting characters, and a well-structured plot. My review is on Goodreads.
  • Why Can't I Be You? by Melissa Walker (ARC) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Melissa Walker's books are consistently great, and I really enjoyed this one. I'll be reviewing it on the blog, probably in August.
  • On the Fence by Kasie West, audiobook read by Shannon McManus ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    After I finished Keeping the Moon, I wanted another quick YA audiobook. This was a perfect choice, and now I want to listen to all of Kasie West's books.
  • The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    This is my favorite Armand Gamache book so far. I'll post a review on Goodreads soon. 
  • The Sparrow Child by Meriol Trevor ⭐⭐⭐⭐
    This book really picked up after about 75 pages, and was really good from there until the end. I'll be reviewing this one on the blog in August. 


What I'm Currently Reading


Seasons of Reading's month-long High Summer Read-a-thon started yesterday, and I was having trouble deciding what to read, so I started a bunch of different books to work on during this week to kick things off. Here they all are:
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis by Max Shulman 76%
    This one is a holdover from last week. I haven't quite gotten back into the mood for it, but when I do, it will be a quick finish.
  • One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler 46%
    Jennifer Fulwiler is an atheist-to-Catholic convert who writes about pursuing her personal dreams while also raising six kids. I saw her speak a while back, but I've been waiting for the book to go on sale for Kindle. It finally did this weekend, and I'm already halfway through it. It sounds like my book club might read it this fall, but I'm going to finish it now anyway.
  • So Done by Paula Chase (ARC) 24%
    I'm enjoying this story about middle school friendship set in a housing project. It's different from a lot of the friendship drama books out there and feels like it will be a very quick read.
  • A Mothers Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot 16%
    This is my book club book for July, and I'm loving it as much as the Fulwiler book. It's the exact kind of book I need to be reading as we prepare for our move. (One month to go!!!)
  • The Rolling Stones by Robert Heinlein 11%
    My husband is listening to the full cast audio recording of this 1952 science fiction novel, and I caught a snippet on our ride home from church on Sunday. I can't stand full cast audiobooks so I borrowed the book from OpenLibrary instead. I've only read one chapter, but I'm already fully invested. 
  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, audiobook read by Stina Neilsen 6%
    This is my next Sarah Dessen audiobook. I didn't feel like re-reading Someone Like You or Dreamland, and This Lullaby had holds on it on Overdrive, so I just skipped ahead to this one. I read it for the first time back when I was in library school, so it's been 13-14 years, and nothing feels all that familiar so far.
  • Midnight Snacks Are Murder by Libby Klein (ARC) 2%
    I'm not sure if I will really get to this one this week. After just finishing two mysteries in a row, I need a bit of a break before diving into another one. 
I'll be linking up today with Unleashing Readers/Teach Mentor Texts and Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?