Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Book Links: Correspondents' Choice (Week 2)

(This post should have appeared on Friday. Sorry. I was expecting some input from readers who, so far as I can tell, are all on vacation--not reading my blog, not posting to theirs; that fouled up my schedule for my limited online time.)

Someone (was it at the Huffington Post?) shared a link to a collection of books children voted the best for reading aloud with adults. None of The Nephews has been at the target age for this book for years, but when they were, they would've voted for it; they enjoyed learning to read along with it.

Children who up-voted the Narnia books are likely to be children who know how to read, but bond with adults (or teenagers) by sharing the older readers' delight in these books. Seven full-length children's novels guarantee lots of storytime, and Lewis's impeccably educated voice is a good way to practice BBC English if you-the-adult want to learn it...though I once found a rare LP record of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien reading their own short work, and although they sounded as British and educated as they (rather definitively) were, they did not speak the pure BBC you learn from radio and TV. (No one does. That's why, the better you learn BBC, the better idea it is to sit on it when talking to friends from Britain.) Anyway, while learning BBC-as-a-second-language I read all of the Narnia books aloud to my sister. She would have voted for them, too.

The year I was in grade four, the school I attended sorted students into three "reading groups" based on ability and let each group work with a different teacher for one-third of the year. There was a nice older lady teacher whose bad luck was to guide us through the reader with the boring stories in it, a hateful older man teacher whose good luck was to guide us through the reader with the better stories in it, and then in spring I got into the fantastically decorated classroom of the young innovative teacher who had organized her whole class around reading this book. Cardboard mock-ups of scenes and characters from Phantom Tollbooth land filled the room where this teacher read the book aloud and we read along. I could have read the book faster--and did--but I still enjoyed the book-discussion-group atmosphere; I adored that teacher. So I'd agree that this is an excellent book to read to school-age children.

This one was recommended by Penguin (the new release, naturally) but it's a classic, anyway, so why not...If The Handmaid's Tale piqued your interest in Margaret Atwood's work, and you've just discovered Alias Grace, you might wonder about Susanna Moodie. She was a real person, and this is the best known of her books:

I have most of Madeleine L'Engle's books, but unfortunately I missed the two later volumes in this trilogy. I'd like this omnibus edition for myself:

I've signed onto something called, apparently separate from Amazon. I'm still figuring out how that site works. Here's my less than original, but at least very short, review....

Homes and Other Black HolesHomes and Other Black Holes by Dave Barry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As with all books by Dave Barry...for best results, read in a place where it's safe to laugh out loud.

View all my reviews

...of a book I still own, at home.

The classic gift book for graduates (with a sense of humor)...

...has generated a new parody: