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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On My Needles and Nighstand for February

I'm joining up with the Yarn Along at the Small Things blog again, it's such a lovely idea, and I had so much fun last time looking at everyone's contributions, especially my friend and co-author Dora.  As she mentioned last time, we're close friends but we live so far away and the rare times we carve out for phone conversations can be so jam-packed we don't always get around to talking about these everyday things, like what we're reading and knitting.  

Between my ongoing scripture study, fun reading, pre-reading books for the kids, reading with the kids, etc., I usually have close to a dozen books going at once, but this week is a quiet book week.  From the bottom, the green leather cover is my Bible and Book of Mormon combo, always on my nightstand and usually the first thing I open when I wake up.  

Riding the Bus with My Sister is a book I've been reading to the kids, we're almost done.  It's not written for children, and has some adult themes in it, which is why we're reading it aloud, so I can edit as I go.  But it's a well written, honestly reflective true story of one woman's relationship with her sister who has a cognitive disability resulting from a brain injury at or before birth.  I decided to read it to my kids because I felt like it was a great look beyond the stereotypes, a look at two real women trying to work out the terms of their adult relationship, trying to learn how to respect each other.  Even though the one sister's disability is more obvious, they're both carrying baggage, and both dealing with sibling issues we all deal with to some degree or another.  

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a book I'm pre-reading for the kids, just started it last night.  So far I like it, the language is beautiful, the illustrations are beautiful, it has elements of fantasy and fable, and a likable main character.  

The biography of Thomas S Monson I've read most of on my own, and I'm reading it bit by bit to my children.  We're all growing to love our prophet more and more as we learn more about him.  We've been working on it since the beginning of the year, and I've noticed that when we have occasion to hear him speak, my children are more attentive now, after hearing so many stories about his boyhood they feel like he's someone they know.  

Last on my nightstand is Square Foot Gardening, pretty much a fixture there from February through October.  That's a well loved copy I bought on Father's Day for my dad when I was twelve or so.  I read it before I gave it to him and got so excited about the ideas that he let me help him plan the garden from then on.  With my dad gone, it's a tangible reminder of the times we spent gardening together.  Not an adequate substitute for being able to call him on the phone with my gardening questions, but... well, it's something.  

I included a picture of my phone open to the Audible app, with the most recently listened to books showing.  Audible has become such an integral part of my 'reading' life, I couldn't leave it out.  Especially in the context of a yarn along- you can't read a book while knitting, but you can listen to one!  Audible has fulfilled lifelong yearnings for me, now I can read while driving, knitting, doing housework, gardening, cooking, you name it.  It's great!  

I just finished listening to That Distant Land, by Wendell Berry.  I'm a little over halfway through Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which I read a few years ago when it came out, but am thoroughly enjoying listening to now, and the kids and I are listening to Blackout by Connie Willis.  I listened to it last fall, but I loved it so much I wanted to listen again, and decided to have my kids listen to it.  Besides being a great book, it taught me so much about the London Blitz, more than any history text ever had.  I mean, I hardly even realized what the London Blitz was before I read this book, and now I can't believe my ignorance.  It inspired me to check out some non-fiction accounts from the library to learn more about it, and I hope my kids will do the same.  The last one up there is A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I just downloaded but haven't started listening to yet.  I've read it at least twice, but the last time was over a decade ago, and I'm really looking forward to delving into it again.

I just have to note, as I sit here writing about books, my three children are lounging on the couches each absorbed in their own book.  My seven year old son, a late-blooming reader who finally got the hang of it, is deep into the Secrets of Droon series, I think he's on number eleven.  My middle daughter is indulging in Harry Potter number five.  I'd hesitated to let my kids read past number four in the Harry Potter series, because it gets so much darker, but when Oliver Twist popped up on her reading list (Ambleside Online year 5), I realized that Dickens can be pretty dark, so I told my older two that if they'd each read a Dickens novel, then they could read Harry Potter five.  They've been racing to finish, and the eleven year old won the race last night, much to her delight.  So this morning I told her she could read it during school time, I figure she's earned it.  My thirteen year old is still plugging away at David Copperfield, she's nearly half way through.  

Last, we have the socks, just barely still on my needles.  All I have to do is bind them off and they'll be done.  You might notice that the toes look odd.  My son requested toeless socks, because his feet "always get hot".  I tried to talk him into vented socks, but he really wanted toeless, and what's the point of having a mom who can custom knit socks for you if she's not willing to customize them to your heart's desire?  I supposed they'll be good with sandals this summer.