Bookends: February 2013

The first day of each month, I’m posting a summary of what I read the previous month and what I plan to read in the coming month. I would love if this could become a conversation in the comments about what’s on your reading list, too!

I only completed two grown-up books in February, but one of those was the first book from my Cavalcade of Classics reading list. Woo-hoo! I’ve made a lot of progress on several other books, but I’ve not finished any of those yet. March’s “Bookends” should look pretty sweet.

The kids and I also hit a bit of a dry spell with kids’ books. We’ve ready many, but I only found two that really struck my fancy.

Now, the list. Links are to my reviews, either on this site or on Goodreads. Titles without links are books I’ve not reviewed yet:

Grown-ups’ Books:

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (A novelist and new father investigates the cultural reasons for why we eat what we eat and asks himself what values our food choices reflect, both consciously and unconsciously)

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (A man leaves his wife and children to trek to the Celestial City and save his immortal soul. It was surprisingly like the long-distance hiking narratives I’ve been reading only with rather a more impressive ending.)

At the time I was reading Eating Animals, I was completely blown away. That initial rush has tempered a bit with time. I still agree with his basic premise, and I still think it’s a great book (and I’m still not eating any animal products), I just no longer have the, “Wow! What a book!” feeling I had right after I finished it. I guess it’s difficult for me to sustain a lot of intense emotion about something as mundane and everyday as what I eat. I did get a new cookbook—Clean Start by Terry Walters—which has some pretty exciting recipes in it. All of recipes are gluten-free and vegan! Mostly they have not-wacky ingredients, too, except for one I want to try calls that for fresh turmeric. I don’t recall ever having seen fresh turmeric before. It actually never really occurred to me that it came in a form other than the golden powder I use in my homemade curry paste. I’m not even sure where I would go to find such a thing.

The Pilgrim’s Progress was good, but mostly I’m just glad to be done with it.

Kids’ Books:

Follow the Dream by Peter Sís (Brief, expertly illustrated biography of Christopher Columbus)

The Discovery of the Americas by Betsy and Giulio Maestro (An overview of the many voyages to what are today North and South America, from prehistory to the 16th century.)

In addition to these, my daughter read Three Swords for Granada on her own and really enjoyed it. “You really should read Three Swords for Granada, Mommy!” She says she wants to start a blog. Maybe she can start posting her own book reviews.

My son’s reading list still consists mainly of Berenstain Bears books. I’m going to make him wait until he’s four before he can have his own blog, though.

Currently Reading

Right now I’m reading Walking Home by Susan and Lucy Letcher, Some of My Best Friends are Black by Tanner Colby, Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth for Sisters Book Club (Sisters Book Club is just my sister and me reading the same book at the same time, but I like giving things grand-ish names), and—for my Cavalcade of Classics—Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, which four chapters in already contains many more references to bodily functions than I usually encounter in classics of literature. And I just started Final Gifts by Maggie Callahan and Patricia Kelley, which I hope to finish for a book discussion on March 6th.

My daughter and I are almost through with Magic or Not? by Edward Eager. I’m not at all sure what’s next on our list. Probably The Well-Wishers, which is the next (and last) book in the series.

To-Read for March (and beyond)

After I’ve finished a couple of the books I’m currently reading, I’ve got a lot more lined up. I’m going to be re-reading The New Jim Crow for Sisters Book Club. I really want to finally finish Everyday Blessings by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn (my friend loaned it to me ages ago, and I’m feeling a little bad that I’ve been holding onto it for so long), and I need to get to the Fanny Stevenson biography another friend loaned me.  This seems like kind of a lot, but I guess I’ll see how far I’ve gotten on March 31st.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for March? If you blog your answer, please post a link in the comments (and/or link back to this post, if you’re so inclined).

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