Late Summer Reading

Here are some books I have read lately.

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud To Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. I did not love this book. Mem Fox is convincing, nay evangelical, on the subject of reading to your children, and I am all for that, but I found some of her recommendations intimidating. For example, she says you must read books with the same intonation every time. Well, sorry, but sometimes I just don't have the energy to do Green Eggs and Ham with full vigour, and sometimes I do. Poor Delphine will have to deal with the horrible ambiguity of it all.

Also Fox wants you to stop and point out rhymes and play "find the letter" games and stuff, which seems kind of tedious and teacherly. Ironically she insists that this stuff isn't teaching; she calls it "enriching the reading experience". You're playing! You're having a good time! To me it seems annoying and forced.

I would heartily recommend Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler over this book. Butler's book is not only convincingly evangelical and encouraging about reading to babies and little kids, but it also provides pages and pages of actual book recommendations. I found it didn't take me long to be able to pick out a good kid's book after I had read a few of her suggestions.

Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, Coyote Blue, and Practical Demon-Keeping by Christopher Moore. I don't usually gorge myself on multiple books by one author like this, but Blake has been off work and I have been working full-time for the last couple of weeks, and he has been in charge of going to the library, so this is what has been new around the house. The books are good; they are funny and the characters are engaging.

The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This is a science-fiction romance packaged as a ... I don't know, what do they call them. Contemporary fiction? Those books that come in trade paperback size and have the kind of fuzzy matte finish and a picture of feet on the front. It seems like it should be really confusing, because it switches back between one point-of-view and another, and hops back and forth in time, at every chapter. But somehow it's easy to follow. The story is effectively manipulative, so if you like a good cry you will like the book, and if you hate to be handled like an emotional marionette you may find yourself a little annoyed by it.

I feel like I should have read more, but lately I have been sleeping instead of reading. I have a couple of weeks off work with Delphine in daycare, though, so I am hoping to get some reading in before the baby comes.


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