Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead


May 2012 Reads

April came and went without a post of our reads so I’m catching up now! I always end up reading more than one book at a time. Does anybody else do that? Or do you dutifully finish one before you start the next?

I started and finished The Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins and I stayed up way too late in the process. I’m honestly not sure what I think about them yet. They were exciting and engaging; however, I felt like Collins was making me, as the reader, complicit in the crimes of “The Capitol” which viewed the Games as entertainment since I was being entertained by the violence as well. What did you think about the books or movie (haven’t seen it yet)? Any good articles that might help me think about them more?

I’m about halfway through Men at Arms, the first novel of the Sword of Honour Trilogy by my all-time favorite author: Evelyn Waugh. 

I finally finished the last book of the Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead. My love for all things Arthurian is a tad embarrassing, but I can’t help it. I was mildly obsessed with Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott as a young child because Anne loved it and because I loved all things Anne. I also adored the musical Camelot with Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Harris. I watched it every time I got strep throat, which was often, between the ages of 5 and 7. Seriously. They knew me well at the walk-in clinic (because I always fell ill on the weekend of course) and nicknamed me “the strep magnet.” I became buddies with the cool nurse named Val. Oh the good times we had…

Anyhow, that’s my story for why I’m willing to read books with humiliatingly bad cover art like so:

Let’s move on shall we?

I plan on finishing The Blessed Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Familiaris Consortio tomorrow morning. So so good.

I’ve been trying to find something in the chapter book category that would catch 3-year-old Benjamin’s fancy as a read aloud. He’s not ready for Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Jungle Book, or anything else without pictures on every page that I’ve tried reading to him. BUT, yesterday I discovered with glee that he LOVES Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. We read a chapter last night and a chapter this morning of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Magic by Betty MacDonald and he was giggling and completely captivated. Hooray!

What are you reading? What are you reading to your littles? And do let me know what you thought of The Hunger Games. I’m dying to know.



March 2012 Reads

For you wonderful new readers, you should know that we are book people. Books are everywhere in our house and I’m constantly trying to figure out more nooks for storing books. I try to post once a month about what we’re reading and I love to hear what books my readers are enjoying, too, so let me know in the comments!

I recently finished Evelyn Waugh’s Helena. I adored it. Waugh is one of my very favorite authors. His most famous novel, Brideshead Revisited, is in my top 5 most favorite books ever. And I also love A Handful of Dust, although, I warn you, it’s so depressing that after finishing it I had to take a 4 hour nap. But Helena isn’t depressing. It’s wonderful. It’s a novel about the life of Emperor Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, who discovered the True Cross. The language is delightfully anachronistic (a roman soldier will refer to another as “old chum,” etc.) and Helena is a fantastic character.

After I finished Helena, I started Waugh’s highly recommended, but super super long Sword of Honour Trilogy. I’m only a chapter in and I can tell that I’m going to love it, maybe as much as I love Brideshead. And it’s long enough to keep me busy for a good long time. It’s set in WWII era. As I explained in the Big Ol’ Catholic Reading List, Waugh’s writing was a huge influence on my conversion to Roman Catholicism. Someday, I’ll tell you the whole story.

And, although the cover art is dreadful, I finished the penultimate book in Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle. I promise that this Arthurian historical fiction series isn’t as lame as it looks. Just trust me on this, ok? Ok.

I’m still enjoying Karen Edmisten’s Through the Year with Mary.

And I’m still reading the Blessed John Paul II’s Encyclical Familiaris Consortio during my Holy Hour. It really is amazing.

Daniel has been reading Winnie the Pooh with our 3-year-old (a beautiful edition that my sweet mother-in-law gave our boy for Christmas) and Benjamin is loving it!

I have continued to read him slightly more challenging read alouds like Little House in the Big Woods during bathtime (when his hands are occupied with water play and he can’t run around the room).

Sometimes he really isn’t interested, though, and wants to just read picture books. Should I just let him take the lead on that? I don’t want him to start to feel like read aloud time is a chore, but I also don’t want to read only books that are beginning to be below his level (not that good quality picture books are ever something to leave behind).

My dear friend, Holly (at Whole Family Habits) just wrote a great post about reading to her girls and ways to transition into books with fewer pictures while still keeping your little ones interested. We got to spend some time with Holly and her precious girls during our recent visit to Texas and it was so refreshing to spend a few hours catching up. And, Holly, who takes beautiful photographs, gave me some basic lessons on how to use my Canon Rebel. I’m so excited to experiment with it now that I have a rudimentary knowledge of how to take pictures manually. Maybe all my pictures won’t be blurry anymore? We shall see.

For more posts about books and children, check out 10 Books You Must Read to Your Daughter and 10 Books You Must Read to Your Son (and take a look at the comments as well because readers had all sorts of good recommendations to add).

What are you reading this days? What are you reading to your little ones? Inquiring minds want to know.