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


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.



January 2012 Reads

Now that we’re really settled into life with two kids, my sleep-deprived mind is getting back into the swing of reading for pleasure.

In January I finally finished Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. It was a beautiful clothbound Penguin edition, see?

I am more than mildly obsessed with these Penguin editions and my wonderful in-laws gifted me several for my birthday last year. Can’t imagine a better gift. Cranford was my first Elizabeth Gaskell. I loved the miniseries with Judi Dench and honestly, although the book was delightful…(I’m scared to say it) I kind of liked the film better. Don’t tar and feather me. Cranford doesn’t read as a novel so much as a collection of vignettes. It’s charming but I think I will like North and South or Wives and Daughters better in book form.

And while we’re on the subject of the clothbound Penguin classics, this is the coolest phone charger imaginable:

Thanks to Cassie for alerting me that such things exist.

I also finished Stephen Lawhead’s Arthur. I can’t say no to Arthurian related books. I didn’t like Arthur as much as the first book in the series, Taliesin. But it was still worth reading and I’ll probably track down the final two books. It’s actually well-researched and not as embarrassing as the cover art would lead you to believe.

During my Holy Hour I started reading the Blessed John Paul II’s Encyclical Familiaris Consortio: On the Christian Family in the Modern World. It’s as wonderful as I expected.

And every morning I treat myself to the day’s reading in Karen Edmisten’s Through the Year with Mary. Sometimes I forget and the next day I treat myself to TWO wonderful quotes about Our Lady.

Benjamin has recently made a leap in his reading time attention span and has been enjoying Dr. Seuss in particular. He can sit through several stories in a row and beg for more.

What have you been reading? What are your kids enjoying?




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