Monday, September 28, 2015

Books We're Reading

Read alouds with Ramona:

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster has long been a favorite around here. This is Ramona's first time to fully get into it. We tried it a number of years ago, and she was too young to appreciate all the word play, but this time, we're constantly either chuckling quietly together or laughing out loud at the punny wit.

Also: Lloyd Alexander's The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen.

A different kind of road trip book and so far, a delightful one. Magical, funny, intriguing.


On her own, Ramona is reading:

Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George.  She liked Tuesdays at the Castle, so wanted to move on through the days of the week. I haven't read this series myself -- we picked it up for a library book club. 

And, in the last moments before she goes to sleep, she opts for something gentle and beloved, like Louisa May Alcott's Jo's Boys

My recent reading: 

I wanted to read these side by side for comparison's sake. I have read Father Elijah more times than I can count. I love this book. It's a deeply spiritual read for me, and it's also, as C.S. Lewis called such writing, a "rattlin' good story." I had never read Lord of the World before but I have a priest friend who thinks it is a superior apocalyptic story. I came away from my first read of Lord of the World and my reread of Father Elijah with mixed reactions. Lord of the World struck me as somewhat dated, but that's no surprise. It was written in the early 1900s, and predicted a particular kind of world that would come about less than 100 years later. Some of it is certainly prophetic, even if other parts feel forced. The depiction of the anti-Christ figure/politician often seemed unsubtle to me. But where Benson soars is in his spiritual reflections -- the protagonist/priest's reflections at times took my breath away, and the ending is astonishingly beautiful. 

Father Elijah can do the same thing for me -- so many dog-eared pages, and reflections that feel like prayer. As far as the plot, so much more is going on, and a number of the characters are so much more developed that I think of it, in some ways, as a better novel (a more rattlin' tale), if one is judging merely form. Still, they are both marvelous books, worth reading, reflecting on, and praying about. 


And now for something completely different. Based on recommendations from my friend Danae, and from Anne-with-an-e and Betsy, I'm reading The Martian, by Andy Weir. I love a good survival story. I'm only a few pages in, and I may skip over some of the engineer-y, overly technical stuff, but I can't wait to find out more about the potatoes. 


Christy from fountains of home said...

I just started The Martian too even though I pretty much hate science fiction - so far those potatoes are really interesting!

Karen Edmisten said...

I'm not usually big on science fiction either, Christy. But I do love a good survival story, and everyone seems to love this book!

Jennifer said...

I have never read The Phantom Tollbooth but M and I need a new read aloud. We started on Pioneer Girl together but it's not great for reading aloud and it's taking us forever with all the footnotes.

Karen Edmisten said...

Jenn, The Phantom Tollbooth is SO much fun. I think she'd like it.