Tuesday, July 2, 2013

June 2013 Book Report

Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky is an interested science fiction story of what it might be like if intelligent life from another planet visited Earth, leaving behind remnants of their visit but neglecting to contact any human. (purchased as one of the Kindle Daily Deals)

The Cure of Ars by Milton Lomask is one I pre-read for First Son. It will be on a list of saint biographies he can choose to read next year. St. John Vianney is an inspiration to young boys who struggle in their studies. This is part of the Vision Book series from Ignatius. I've been collecting a few for our home library this summer. I wouldn't quite classify them as strict biographies. They seem more adoring than that, but I do think they are good literature for young Catholic readers. (purchased used on Cathswap)

The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green is on the Memoria Press list I've mentioned before and it's fantastic. First Son will be reading it next year in fourth grade, though I have made some notes on language I will want to explain, including a couple of inappropriate words. (library copy)

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter is on the list of classic children's literature for Level 2 in the Mater Amabilis curriculum. I had never read it and found it delightful. Pollyanna is not nearly the annoying girl in the movie I remember. The love interest is a little ridiculous but I don't think the kids will mind. I debated briefly about reading it aloud but decided instead to ask First Son to read it himself in fourth grade. Apparently there's a newer movie version that follows the book more closely. I haven't seen it yet, but I think we might watch it next year after First Son reads the book. (free Kindle Version)

St. Pius X: The Farm Boy Who Became Pope by Walter Diethelm is another Vision Book I pre-read for First Son. I think First Son would like reading about St. Pius X because he came from a small town (as we do) and because he instituted First Communion when children are seven or eight rather than when they are twelve or thirteen. (purchased used on Cathswap)

Why Bother Praying? by Richard Leonard, SJ, is the only book I purchased with birthday money. I've mentioned a few times I'm sensing a need to develop my prayer life more. I struggle, though, especially with intercessory prayer. I believe there can be miraculous answers to prayers like that, but I have to believe most of the time, the change must be in the person who prays. This author seems to have a similar feeling. I found his book easy to read and often refreshing and enjoyable. He talked about how prayer is about "creating a space within which we can encounter the love of God." This seems like a good introductory book on prayer for someone who hasn't prayed a lot or wonders what the purpose of prayer is. (purchased copy)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was recommended by fellow homeschooling friends. I had never read it and have mixed feelings about the movie, but based on their recommendations, I pulled it up on my Kindle and read the entire thing on my flights home from Boston. It is wonderful, much more wonderful than the movie. In a little introduction, Baum mentions he wanted to write a fairy tale without any moral but I think perhaps he was not quite successful. (free Kindle version)

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell is the novella upon which the movie, The Thing, is based. I wanted something quick-paced and fun to read at the airport and this fit the bill exactly. (borrowed Kindle version from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library)

He and I by Gabrielle Bossis (a review for The Catholic Company)

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris (purchased copy)

Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfield is an enjoyable mystery set in ancient Rome written for young readers. It's one of the books recommended by Mater Amabilis for Level 2 additional history reading and is also found on the RC History booklist for volume 1 (affiliate link). While following a group of young boys on their adventures, we learn much about ancient Rome, logic, and problem-solving. I particularly like how the boys find assistance from adults around them. Originally I thought First Son might read it in fourth grade, but now I'm considering waiting until fifth grade when we'll be studying ancient Rome again. (PaperBackSwap.com)

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is pure fun with virtues as well like perseverance, courage, and friendship. The Princes Charming and their princesses are not quite living happily ever after and are struggling against the assumptions others make based on the slightly mistold tales of their adventures. It was on my list already, but wonderful reviews from friends encouraged me to read it right away. It's going to be First Son's next summer reading book and I think he'll love it. All those fairy tales we've read in The Blue Fairy Book and The Red Fairy Book will give him ample background to enjoy the humor. (library copy)

The Spartan Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins is on the list of possible books for independent reading on ancient Greece for Mater Amabilis Level 2. It's a very simple story of twins, Daphne and Dion, who live near Athens though they are Spartans. It shows much of life in Athens during the time of Pericles through a small adventure, as well as differences between Athenians and Spartans. It would be appropriate to read aloud to younger children, but I intend to ask First Son to read it himself in fourth grade. (free Kindle version, linked above)

Books in Progress (and date started)


  1. "I struggle, though, especially with intercessory prayer. I believe there can be miraculous answers to prayers like that, but I have to believe most of the time, the change must be in the person who prays"

    I could have typed that I think. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Was this book written from a Catholic perspective?

    1. Yes, Monica, the author is an Australian priest. He has chapters on Mary and the saints as well.

    2. And if I had looked at the "SJ" behind the author's name I would have known that and not asked. Sorry. ;-)

  2. If you had grown up in Kansas, you could not have escaped your childhood without reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at least once! There are also a lot of enjoyable sequels. I got the whole collection for my Kindle. Catherine has read a couple of them. We've listened to the Wizard of Oz while driving. The kids all liked it.

    1. Well, Kansas Dad grew up here and he'd never read it. I'm so glad you mentioned the audio version. Our library has it, so we'll listen to it in the van instead of me reading it aloud. (It's easier to cover more books that way.) We'll have to finish listening to the Ramona books first, though. My girls are loving Ramona! Maybe I'll download some of the sequels, too.


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