Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Words and Wool

I have lots of books to tell you about but only a little knitting. I'm planning to work on a pumpkin tea cozy over fall break with this pattern and that yarn (which I'm going to double to get the right weight). Also hope to get some more rows done on my Jared Flood shawl

Before I jump into the books, I have to show you what I saw today: spring blossoms on the crabapple tree in a nearby park. What?! It's mid-October! What a strange and delightful sight!

And now for the books:

The Fairy Tale Girl by Susan Branch is a book I have been waiting for for months and months! I love Susan Branch, and her book "A Fine Romance" about her travels to England and the Lake District was just exactly the type of travel book I love. This book was a bit different but I came to love it over time as I realized what she was doing. In this book she tells the story of her life, beginning with her romantic and yet ill-fated first marriage, intertwining in the book the story of her childhood as well. I wasn't sure I really wanted to know all the sad parts, but I see how they fit together to make her into who she is now. I especially enjoyed learning about how Susan came to love cooking and home-making as well as how she got into art and writing. I find it fascinating to see how people's lives are pieced together.

Peace by Piece And speaking of pieces, this book is written by a friend of mine from when Michael and I were at seminary. In the book, Maria shares about her childhood experiences in remote northern Canada, and how her mother nurtured her through the transition of saying goodbye to the life they knew in northern Canada and prepared for moving to Kansas. Maria kept my attention throughout and I felt as if I was seeing the scenes and circumstances through a child's mind.

Longing for Paris: One Woman's Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure-Right Where She Is by Sarah Mae explores how important it is to dream life dreams, to have a sense of adventure and to have longings, all the while entrusting them to our Heavenly Father to either give to us or not. She encourages women to open their eyes to see the beauty of life where they are -- eat croissants in the middle of Pennsylvania if you can't travel to Paris. Make your present life an adventure.

Thankful You can read the book review I wrote yesterday for this book here.

At the Water's Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen is set in Drumnadrochit, Scotland during World War II and includes monster (Nessie) seekers, anxiety disorders, a difficult marriage, and what life was like during World War II in Scotland. I love Drumnadrochit, and Scotland, and World War II, so I enjoyed this book. I was disappointed in the language clustered together here and there and in one or two scenes that could have been left out.

  The Pastor's Wife: Strengthened by Grace for a Life of Love by Gloria Furman is an excellent book and is now on my to-buy list. Short and sweet, Gloria offers encouragement and wisdom to women whose husbands are in the ministry. However, just about everything she says is applicable to any woman in the church as well.

Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child's Personality Type - And Become a Better Parent was a book I tackled in order to better understand my children. It wasn't easy to read, especially because I have not been familiar with the Meyer-Briggs personality types so first I had to learn all about those. Once I figured out my personality type, and those of my older children (still working on the younger ones - it is not as easy as the book says to figure them out) I was able to gain some very helpful perspectives and suddenly a number of things about my children made a whole lot of sense. I still need to put more time into going through the material again to get a better grasp of it.

  In the Camp of the Delawares by James A. Braden was a great read aloud choice for our pre-French and Indiana War history studies of America and Indiana. It did a good job of helping the children to understand what life was like for the frontiersmen who were on the front lines of interacting with the Indians, both friendly and hostile. The story started out a bit slow but soon kept us all on the edge of our seats. It takes place in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio just before the French and Indian War.

A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk was an interesting memoir about motherhood. It was a bit "stream of consciousness" and really quite depressing at times because of her hard truth reality of what mothering an infant can be like. She didn't have many redeeming words in the book. However, it seems her work is well-known. Is this because there are so few memoirs about early motherhood out there that purport to say it like it is?

  Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring by Andi Ashworth was a wonderful book. Andi explores caring for others -- which happens in many ways: as a mother, friend, nurser of the sick, offer-er of hospitality, instigator of celebrations, etc. She seeks to bring honor and dignity to this role that is often down-played or forgotten. She definitely had echoes of Edith Schaeffers "Hidden Art of Homemaking" and "What is a Family" in the book, but updated for the modern reader.

Chicken Every Sunday, My Life With Mother's Boarders by Rosemary Taylor is such a fun read! I heard of it in the book I read about the books that were chosen and distributed to American servicemen during World War II. Apparently this was a popular one! No wonder!! With its rollicking descriptions of everyday life with Mother and the mouth-watering details of her dinners, I can see how this provided excellent entertainment. The writing style and time period reminded me of "Cheaper by the Dozen."

Paint and Canvas: A Life of T.C. Steele by Rachel Perry was a manageably-sized book for me to read with the children in order to introduce them to a great American painter who also happens to be from Indiana! I found the story of T. C. Steele fascinating and I am eager to visit his "House of the Singing Winds".

The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck was another read for our Indiana studies. This is a very funny tale set around the turn of the last century in a rural Indiana town and narrated by a young adolescent boy whose teacher has just died. Of course he hopes that means the end of school forever. Sadly, for him, that is not the case!

  The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood by Kathryn Aalto is a wonderful book! It talks all about the properties and land that inspired A. A. Milne in his writing of Winnie the Pooh. There are lots and lots of pictures and endearing stories and memories of how the books were written and what influenced Milne's life. I loved it! If you are a Winnie-the-Pooh fan, you should check this out!

And that's all for now!!

You can check out more wool ideas and book suggestions at Ginny's Yarn Along.

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Becki said...

Lots of great books. And that tea cozy! I love the simplicity of that pattern. Very nice.

Pom Pom said...

I ordered Thankful and I think I need A Longing for Paris.
Thanks, dearest! I love your book reviews and I am happy that you'll be knitting a cozy on your trip! Safe travels.

Lilly's Mom said...

Oh, I love the tea cozy pattern and yarn. Churchmouse Yarns is one of my favorite shops; I used to live just down the road a bit from them in Gig Harbor and it's really a unique yarn/tea shop. Thanks so much for the book reviews. I am going to put down my knitting needles a bit and resume my reading. Wishing you a wonderful day :)

Unknown said... glad to read your reviews! A few of these are my on TBR list. I started laughing because I'm trying to wade through Nurture by Nature also. :) I'm glad on your opinion on Fairy Tale Girl...I imagine the wonderful Fine Romance was hard to follow!!!! Ok, I'm opening up my library page right now. ;)

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your book reviews. And I have a cowslip in bloom in my garden at the end of October - topsy turvy!