Tag: little house books

Reading: Simplicity, Pigs Don’t Fly, Wild Ride, Long Winter, Who Lies Here

Finished reading:

The Simplicity Reader by Elaine St. James – This is actually three books in one volume: Simplify Your Life, Inner Simplicity, and Living the Simple Life. The first book, Simplify Your Life, has 100 very short “chapters” that are tips or things you can try to do to simplify your life, grouped by topic. The other books use a similar format with very short, readable chapters (1-2 pages each). Reading all three books in one volume did result in some duplication of content, but for the most part I found this a very enjoyable and practical read. Elaine’s suggestions range from the “extremely easy to try” to “major lifestyle change;” some of the more extreme suggestions include changing jobs, moving into a smaller place, moving to a completely different location, and getting rid of your car. Inner Simplicity has just a few ideas that I’m not comfortable with (“reading runes,” for example) but on the whole had some great suggestions for finding simplicity in your internal (emotional, spiritual, etc.) life as well, such as taking the time to watch a sunset (slowing down), saying no, forgiving, and more. Finally, Living the Simple Life has some overlap with the other two books, but offers more personal examples from both the author’s life as well as from letters that she’s received from others.
It was interesting to have read this after reading The 4 Hour Workweek, as some of her suggestions overlap or are in the same spirit — don’t answer your phone, fight interruptions, don’t read the news.

Pigs Don’t Fly by Mary Brown – Random fantasy paperback I pulled out from the shelf because the title looked interesting. Summer’s mother, the town prostitute, dies, and Summer sets off to find her fortune and perhaps, true love. During her journey, she ends up collecting an odd procession with a weird dog that can talk to her, a horse princess trying to get back home, a blinded but gorgeous knight, a pig with wings, and a crippled pigeon. A light read; okay but not great.

A Wild Ride Through the Night by Walter Moers – Gustave Dore was one of the most popular and prolific engravers of his day. Walter Moers has taken twenty-one of his illustrations and tied them together into a crazy story.

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder – It’s been really cold in our house lately, so I pulled this one off the bookshelf to read when I eat lunch. Laura’s family experiences an extremely long and hard winter. The crisis point comes when there isn’t enough food in the town for some of the families. How will they survive?

Who Lies Here? by Ellis Peters – Published in 1965, this mystery was engaging and interesting. Two dead bodies are uncovered in a coffin, neither of whom are the man who is supposed to have been buried there!

With a bookmark:

(Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)

  • Sacred Attitudes by Erica Ross-Krieger
  • Body, Soul, and Baby by Tracy Gaudet
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway
  • The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

In the library book box:

  • Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.
  • So That’s What They’re For! by Janet Tamero
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Reading: More L’Engle, Little House, and New Moon

Finished reading:

The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle – This short novel involves the Austin family, but for once it is not told in first-person by Vicky. Instead, the third-person narrative expands to include others outside of the Austin family in this story about good, evil, technology, and innocence.

The Austin family has made the move to New York for a year for the father to take part in a research project involving the “micro-ray,” a powerful laser that is being used to perform surgeries that previously could not be done. They are living in the same house (in an upstairs wing) as a young prodigious pianist, Emily, who was blinded under mysterious circumstances before the events of this book. Dave, a toughened reformed street hood, is Emily’s friend, but he doesn’t “get” the Austins who seem much too innocent and naive.

This book has a darker tone than previous Austin books, as Dave and the Austins realize that there is a growing threat brewing in the underground of New York City that comes to involve them and those closest to them.

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle – One of my favorite books, again with Vicky Austin as the narrator and protagonist. After the crazy year in New York, Vicky and her family and spending the rest of the summer with her grandfather (in his cool converted stable) — because he has leukemia and is dying. Meanwhile, Vicky is dealing with three boys this summer; Zachary Gray, who reappears in her life and is his typical difficult self, Leo, the son of a good family friend who died, who would love to be “more than friends,” and the older and hard-to-read Adam (from The Arm of the Starfish) who introduces Vicky to dolphins as part of his research project.

This book is the most sci-fi/fantasy-ish of all the Austin books, as Vicky begins to explore telepathic communication with dolphins. All of this is wrapped up in Vicky’s personal struggles with thinking about her grandfather’s illness and the death and suffering she sees around her.

Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I don’t know how many times I’ve read the “Little House” series, but my paperback copies are well worn with the covers just about to fall off. I started reading Little House in the Big Woods this week when I was in between books and making breakfast sausage; I felt it was appropriate to read about “butchering time” and the process of taking a whole pig and using every part of it to make food. I love the detailed depiction of early American wilderness life, and as someone who loves to eat, I absolutely love reading her descriptions of food. In fact, I snacked on some cheese while I was reading about Laura’s mother making cheese. Since I was in a food mood, I of course had to then read Farmer Boy, which has even more food descriptions. Steve teased me because I kept on wanting to read the yummy parts out loud to him.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer – Hooray! This sequel to Twilight got returned early enough for me to check it out from the library and read it before having to return the third book in the series, Eclipse. This book continues the story of Bella (human) and Edward (vampire) — except that Edward leaves Bella “for her own good,” plunging Bella into a several-month depression which finally lifts when she becomes better friends with Jacob Black. But then Jacob ends up having some significant changes of his own, and Bella finds that the choices she makes could have some deadly results.

I had read the preview chapter of this book already, and for some reason I wasn’t that excited to start it, but once I did, I was immediately drawn into the storyline and had to finish it!

With a bookmark:

(Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)

  • Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
  • Body, Soul, and Baby by Tracy Gaudet
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway
  • The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

In the library book box:

  • Tithe by Holly Black
  • Valiant by Holly Black