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text 2020-04-17 19:51
An update (of a sort)

Hello friends. I had thought that it would be the perfect time to catch up on all of the unwritten reviews from 2019 while being isolated at home. In reality, it has been incredibly difficult for me to think coherently much less write anything approaching comprehension. That being said, I have continued to read and write down my thoughts on the books that I've read during this time with the idea of posting them eventually. I've even started making notes like "Read during the second week of self-isolation on a Monday." and "Finished in two days during the 4th week of self-isolation." You get the idea. As of today, I've read 9 books not counting a reread (The Neverending Story helped get me over the slump at the start) during this time. Seven of these books were nonfiction because it seems my brain could more easily absorb facts than the building of characters and fictional worlds.

 

Increasingly, I've felt guilty for not updating and doing more 'work' on the blog. I didn't want to seem 'unproductive' or 'lazy' while at home. I guess a lot of us feel that way right now. I do intend on getting back into the swing of things as it were but I also felt it was right and proper to give this little update so you know where I've been both literally and figuratively. (Not sure if figurative is used correctly there but my brain isn't willing to linger too heavily. I just mean to say I've literally been at home and figuratively my mind has been all over the place. Hope this translates and the over-explanation isn't make it worse. Now you can kinda see into my crazy brain for a bit.)

 

So that's where I'm at. Are you interested in what I've read so far during this time?

  • The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge and illustrated by Chris Riddell (bought for the cover)
  • Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey
  • Stuffed Animals & Pickled Heads: The Culture of Natural History Museums by Stephen T. Asma
  • Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and illustrated by Jen Wang
  • So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
  • How to be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman
  • The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley
  • Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change by Elizabeth Kolbert
 
And I'm currently reading The Complete Mapp & Lucia: Volume One by E.F. Benson.
 
If you're feeling so inclined, please drop a comment below with some of the books you've read and what you're currently reading. :-)
Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-05-25 19:17
Reading resource
Excellent Books for Early and Eager Readers - Kathleen T Isaacs

Excellent Books for Early and Eager Readers by Kathleen T. Isaacs is more or less a giant bibliography of books for children. It's organized into different categories such as transitional books (between picture books, easy readers, or short chapter books), quests, talking animal stories, and books about magic. I ended up taking down so many titles to add to my TRL that I had a stack that was nigh on teetering to the ceiling (18 books before I stopped counting). Needless to say, this is an excellent resource for anyone who is either a professional working with children or a parent trying to encourage their child to reach their maximum potential. (It doesn't beat the Read-Aloud Handbook though.) This isn't a book one would generally read cover-to-cover (although that's exactly what I did) but rather one you'd dip in and out of for ideas on books you and the children in your life could read. 8/10

 

What's Up Next: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Lumberjanes Vol. 4: Out of Time by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, & Brooke Allen

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-07-21 00:52
The ultimate reading resource
The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition - Jim Trelease

Every now and again when I receive new books to shelve, I come across one (or quite a few) that I pull aside to read for myself. That's how I stumbled upon today's book. The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease immediately caught my eye for no other reason than I'm a giant nerd for my profession. :-D The first half of the book is a discussion about the importance of reading and more specifically reading aloud to children from birth to...forever. This is not just Trelease's personal opinion but is backed up by extensive research and a plethora of data on the topic. However, it's not all technical jargon replete with charts and numbers. He uses examples from his own childhood which he describes as 'print rich' with a father who modeled reading habits as well as read to him on a regular basis. He was also fortunate to have a teacher that read aloud to the class each day. (This is a rarity in schools because of the rigorous standardized testing schedules and something I strongly contest.) He also received encouragement from a teacher who sent a note home to his parents praising his behavior and writing capability. (That really can make all the difference, folks!) Trelease also talks about the rearing of his children and their nightly routine of book reading.  Perhaps the most compelling parts of this book are the firsthand narratives of the significance of reading aloud throughout childhood and the benefits gained from it. It is chock full of anecdotes from principals, teachers, parents, and librarians and how they did their part to guide the children in their lives to become lifelong learners and readers. I've used quite a few of the 'tips and tricks' that he discusses like using ebooks and audiobooks for visually impaired and illiterate parents in the workshops and one-on-one discussions I've had with parents in my community. (P.S. Wordless picture books are another great resource.) Whether you're a professional in the field of library sciences or education or simply trying to create a love of reading in your own children this is a must have. I bought a copy for myself before I'd even finished reading it! 10/10

 

Oh and did I mention that the second half contains a Treasury of books subdivided by reading comprehension, age group, genre, and best books for reading aloud? WHY AREN'T YOU READING THIS YET? 

 

What's Up Next: The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-02-21 19:23
Needs more attention to detail
Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers (Kid Legends) - David Stabler,Doogie Horner

First of all, HUGE props to the illustrator, Doogie Horner, for some of the most amazing illustrations I've seen in quite some time. I'd go so far as to say they would make truly excellent bookmarks. *hint hint* Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers by David Stabler is a collection of short biographies of famous authors covering their childhood and why they wanted to become authors. Up front I need to make a few critical remarks. While this was written for a child audience, I think it would be beneficial if some of the terms were defined either in a side panel or at the back in a glossary. Two good examples: integration and abolitionist. I read a few passages to some of the kids at the library and some terms that seem obvious to an adult haven't yet been learned by kids in upper elementary school. There were also some really glaring grammatical mistakes which gave the impression this was a rushed printing job. At one point, the word should have been 'real' and instead it was 'read' which of course has a totally different meaning. If this is meant to be a nonfiction biographical resource for children it should be held to a higher standard. I did like how there were additional facts and a suggested list of more books to read at the back. My overall impression is that it's a cute book which serves as a decent introduction for kids to famous authors (and biographies in general). I know there are other books in this series so I'm hopeful the quality has improved in these later volumes. :-) 5/10

 

What's Up Next: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-13 02:52
Don't dismiss children's literature just because you're an adult
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult - Bruce Handy

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy showed up on my radar through a footnote in another book that I read last year. (Just one more reminder that I am 100% a nerd especially in regards to children's literature.) Handy splits the chapters into different books considered 'classics' of children's literature and he explains why they've had a lasting effect and endured as long as they have. He makes an argument that there is a reason books become classics but there is also a clarity in realizing that a difference of opinion will most certainly occur. A good example is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I know this is a classic and it is still read by kids and parents now but I have never (and probably never will) consider this one a favorite. In that same vein, there were quite a few books that he mentioned that I had not heard of or had never read and I promptly added them to my TRL. (You may recognize some of the titles if you decide to read this book.) One of the best things about Wild Things was the organization of the chapters. It's quite obvious that Handy has not only done thorough research on the topic but has a real passion for the topic. This made it have an academic feel which I really appreciated. Interspersed throughout the book are personal anecdotes about the books he loved as a child as well as his experience introducing books to his children. (Get those tissues out, parents with small children. It's fairly sentimental.) I doubt this would be of as much interest to someone not in the field of children's literature but if you're looking for inspiration about what books to read to your kids at night then this would be an excellent source for you. 9/10

 

What's Up Next: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham (Coincidentally, I'm watching Midsomer Murders which is based off of the book series.)

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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