On My Bedstand: Reads from July, August, & September

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Back again with more books! I love what Mum said in her recently reading blog post last week, which I wrote some reviews for: “She (Amalia) has a book collection that you would not believe. Her room is in the basement, and I do believe if a devastating natural disaster came (God forbid!) and the house fell down, her room–with its stacks and bookcases and piles of books–would be the safest place to go. Such fortifications there!” And it’s true. I probably have almost as many books in my room as we have in the library. If you cut out school books, I might have more. Looking over my list from the last few months, it seems almost too short. Perhaps that’s because school started, or because we went on trips where I hardly read at all because we were too busy horseback riding and river-walking, but I still have quite a few good books in the line-up. . .

(and before we get started, a note about affiliate links–you know the drill! I’m linking to the books on Amazon, so if you get an overwhelming desire to read the books below (and I recommend you do read them!) and buy them through my link, I’ll get a couple of pennies from Amazon to spend on still more books, with no extra cost to you, of course. Support your local blogger! πŸ˜‰ )

————————————————–> Reading!

The Secret Keepers: (advanced copy–available now!) I love this book. As soon as it came in to the store (an advanced copy, that is) I brought it home with me; I loved Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society, as did Malachi, and we were very excited that he had written another book. This isn’t connected to The Mysterious Benedict Society at all, but his writing style is the same– the main character Reuben is similar to Reynie, and the villain of the piece is called The Smoke, just as dastardly as Mr. Curtain. . . and just as interesting, too. Add a lighthouse adventure and a unique pocket watch with secrets, and the adventure gets going. It took awhile for me to get to that stage where you don’t want to close the book, but when you do, your imagination runs wild!

β€œAnd when I do crave privacy, I have only to flip the “Closed” sign on my shop door until I’m feeling sociable again. Everyone should have such signs on their doors, don’t you think?”

The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book: Oh, I just love Calvin and Hobbes. I recently bought a couple of new collections (this one I’d never even read before!), and I read this one on the way to and from Ponca West. I love this one especially because of all Bill Watterson’s notes on the creation of the comic strip, and the strips themselves. . . it’s always lovely to understand what the author was thinking (which is where annotated books come in so handy).


Ella Minnow Pea: I just finished reading this sweet little book, and I love it. A friend of mine suggested it, knowing how much I love playing with words. It’s a quick read, but clever. It follows the story of a fictional island where words, letters, and writing are very important to them, but as tiles slowly drop from the plaque on the statue of their founder, the letters themselves are outlawed. So as you read you’ll notice they stop using certain letters, at first nothing big–a ‘Z’, a ‘Q’, but when it gets to ‘D’, life starts getting harder and harder for them, until only ‘LMNOP’ are left! I love how the author makes up new words, and mixes in words you don’t typically hear much, too–and as they go on, they have to be more and more creative with the words they use! I delight in words, and it is a little bit of a puzzle too, so this just makes me happy. . . and makes me want to write something similar.

“Hundreds of words await ostracism from our functional vocabularies: waltz and fizz and squeeze and booze and frozen pizza pie, frizzy and fuzzy and dizzy and duzzy, the visualization of emphyzeema-zapped Tarzans, wheezing and sneezing, holding glazed and anodized bazookas, seized by all the bizarrities of this zany zone we call home.”


————————————————–> Listening to!

The War That Saved My Life: I had a costumer at the store tell me that this was an amazing book, so naturally I added it to my MP3 player, and listened to it as I was weeding the blueberries. And I agree; I loved it. Any books about World War Two fascinate me, and this is from an angle you wouldn’t expect: Children sent away from London to the countryside, when bombing is imminent. The story is centered around one girl, Ada, whose abusive mother wouldn’t let her leave their London apartment because of her clubfoot. I don’t want to give away too much, but this book can make you hurt, and want to help, and at times, happy, and for me, World War Two books, either historical or fictional, always, always make me want to learn more.
“Saying something stupid doesn’t make you stupid–luckily for all of us.” — Susan
A Tale of Two Cities: I seem to have a French Revolution theme going on lately. (Oh! There’s another thing I want to learn more about!) First A Scarlet Pimpernel, then A Tale of Two Cities, then. . . well, Scarlet Pimpernel again! Going back to Dickens, I’ve listened to Oliver Twist many times, and I love it. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. . . and so is this one. Not only does World War Two fascinate me, so does the French Revolution. Maybe that’s what I should read about for history? Hmm. . . Anyway, this is probably one of Dickens’s most well-known books, and it was high time I listened to or read it. I just want to listen to it again now, and try to pick up on the details I missed the first time around.
β€œIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

————————————————–> Currently!

The Most of P.G. Wodehouse: (reading) I have always loved Wodehouse, and when I found this collection of his stories at one of my favorite used bookstores, I snatched it up asap. It has stories I’ve never even heard of before: the Mr. Mulliner stories, The Drones Club, Quick Service: The Complete Novel. . . I haven’t gotten to Quick Service yet, but I love the Mr. Mulliner stories. As much as Jeeves and Wooster, even. And one of my favorite quotes from it I found while at Ponca West, and it just seemed to sum up our whole family get-togethers perfectly:

“In these days when almost everybody is on some sort of diet it is rarely that one comes across the old-fashioned type of diner who does not worry about balanced meals and calories but just squares his shoulders and goes at it til his eyes bubble.”

1776: (listening) This is one of my history books currently. Basically when I want to go on a walk with Scout instead of sitting inside, I take my MP3 player and go on a walk doing History. I love this little arrangement, and I get History done so much faster by listening to it than reading it! I haven’t been listening to very long, but I’ve already learned more about before The Declaration of Independence was signed–about how the war came to be, the troops on both sides, General (later president) Washington. . . I especially love hearing about the talks in England, because now, years later, you realize how they underestimated the colonists. They may not have had much, but they fought because they believed in their cause. . . I’ve always found it inspiring, and I can’t wait to keep listening.

β€œThe year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too they would never forget.”


What have you been reading recently? Do you have any good book suggestions for me? Please let me know below! I love getting suggestions from you, my friends.

Book darts



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