Monday, January 30, 2017

Snack Ninja

"But Mum! I was hungry!"
My mischievous Bruce may want to be a ninja when he grows up, but his current attacks on the kitchen is more reminiscent of a viking.

Pillaging snacks on whim, he'll take the loot and feast in his room. Given how he likes to hide the evidence, this leads to some rather smelly and gross finds when we help tidy up. The kid is stealthy though- how do I not catch him in the act?! This weekend's antics though was a strain on my mothering skills. Thanks to Bruce not only are we now out of peanut butter, but my supposed secret stash of Jif is gone!

It's a good thing we love him. Seriously, with this kid the cuteness isn't just a blessing of nature, or (as I like to think) a genetic boon from his mother. In Bruce's case, it's a survival tactic.

At any rate, it did inspire this poem.

Snack Ninja

Hiding with the peanut butter-
It's my favourite snack.
Quiet now! Don't let Mum know
'Cuz then she'll take it back!

Antics aside though, along with Monday's poetry pickle, I want to start sharing some of the books that make me happy. You know, to share the reading joy. That's a big part of what the Bookaneer is about, right? So, without further ado, here's some printed treasure for your reading pleasure.

First of all there's this, my very latest book crush, "Station Eleven". More of you must read this gem of a book, if only for me to have more people to discuss it with! Normally I don't enjoy distopia fiction, but a story about a Shakespeare theatre troupe in the post-apocalypse? Now that piqued my interest!  Trying to bring light to a darker world the troupe travels around performing to survivors, because, as they insist "survival is insufficient". However, their light might get snuffed out when they pass through an unusual community. Fantastic characters, exciting story... I can't wait to reread it, and I want this it for my home library!

Given my own adventures with our resident troublemaker, here's one we can all enjoy. "No David!"has been a firm favourite here for years. Apparently, the author David Shannon wrote this one after finding a childhood project: pictures of everything he wasn't supposed to do...and what his mother had to say about it.

Enjoy everybody!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put a padlock on the fridge and pantry door.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Reading Revolution

Readers beware! Although I touched upon this topic in my last post, today my evangelical zeal will be unleashed! Story time is one of the best blessings of books that I know of, and today I shall be quite shameless in persuading you all to try it. Come comrades! Will you not join the causeFor the past few days I've been suffering through a cold, but that shall not stop me! Fuelled by a pot of my favourite tea, and my passion for reading I will refrain from becoming a miserable pile of blankets on the couch (at least for a little while).

Here at The Bookaneer we're all about how reading can make your life better, more joyful, and bring you closer to the people you love. My top way to create this is by the simple pleasure of  reading aloud to others. I grew up in a book-rich home where we not only read, but we read to each other. When I was young, books before bed was a regular ritual. Together we devoured such beloved series as All-of-a-Kind Family, Redwall, and Harry Potter. One unforgettable time, after much begging and ignoring of parental scoldings, my big sister Hermione read me "James and the Giant Peach" from start to finish. We stayed up until 3am, but it was totally worth it. Sadly, once we could all read independently story time eventually fizzled out. Occasionally we tried to share a book together, but some scoundrel (usually me) would cheat and read ahead. 

Me with little Jared and Seth at the beginnings of our read-aloud journey.
With reading such a big part of my own childhood, I couldn't wait to make it part of my own children's.Then, I found something which made it even better: individual story time. At first, I thought it complete, and utter madness. Read to each of my children before bed?! That would take ages! I had two young boys, both under the age of two and by the end of the day I was exhausted. Why not just read a book before bundling the lot of them to bed where they belong? 

Over the years our family has grown, but as I've learned to my peril you do not mess with personal story times! We miss some nights of course- life is busy- but when we read, we read to all four of our boys. My ultimate threat when they misbehave is to cancel their story time that night. 

What's the big deal? Jared and Seth have been happily reading on their own for years, while Jack proudly can read on his own now too, yet on nights we do story time there is much fist pumping and celebratory leaps from the furniture. Ultimately, we do this because makes us happy. Amidst our usual hustle and bustle, personal story times gives me a moment- even just a few minutes- with each of my children. We get to reconnect, talk, laugh and even cry over a story. The book we read is picked according to their tastes, not the attention span of a little brother's. They are reminded that they matter, that they are loved. Personal story time is one of the best things I've ever done as a mother.

Why not give it a whirl yourself? Join the reading revolution! Whether you have kids, or even just someone else you want to feel closer to, this is a beautiful and simple way to do it. Don't know where to start? Never fear! After more than a decade of personal story times we have discovered some sure-fire hits! Here's some of our very favourites.

Board Books

1. "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis
OK, this was not originally a board book, but it's so wonderful to have a copy that stood up to my babies' and toddler's enthusiasm! A grown-up may just see a simple box, but this book's bunny (and every kid) knows better.

2. "Hug" by Jez Alborough
The only thing keeping our copy of this little gem together is duct tape- about the highest praise a book can get. One little gorilla just wants a hug, but his quest to get one still tugs at my heart strings.

3. "Good Night Gorilla"
The best bedtime book we have ever found! The zookeeper might be closing up shop, but with the pilfered keys to every cage, this gorilla has his own plans for going to bed! Simple, beautiful and pure reading awesomeness that still leaves my kids giggling.

Picture Books

1. "Knuffle Bunny" by Mo Willems
Now here's a tale we can all relate to! Calamity strikes when Trixie loses her beloved toy, but how exactly is she going to let Daddy know, let alone get Knuffle Bunny back? Tremendous fun.

2. "A Sick Day for Amos McGee" by Philip and Erin Stead
Meet Amos McGee: zookeeper extraordinaire! He plays chess with the elephant, lets the tortoise win foot races and more. When he comes down with a cold, he's in for some company from all of his zoo friends. A real treasure of a book.

3.  "The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend" by Dan Santat
On the magical island where imaginary friends are born, after waiting patiently to be chosen by a real child, Beekle takes matters into his own adorable hands. His quest is still fantastic after rereading it too many times to count.

Yikes! This blog is already far longer than I 'd planned! Perhaps it is now time to go and nurse this cold into oblivion.  More will follow, hopefully with me hale and hearty again. Until then, these titles can help you get story times started- especially for tomorrow. Family Literacy Day is almost here!

Happy Reading to you all.


Monday, January 23, 2017

When Insanity Comes to Call

Do you ever feel like this? I know I do! Around here, my return to reality come Monday is far from tranquil. Oh, I have my tricks to save time. Most notably grocery shopping with this (a boon to mother's everywhere). Even still, with a mile long to-do list, keeping my cool can be a task of epic proportions! Sometimes, in the thick of insanity, Mr. Tinley will pull me aside (in a valiant effort to soothe the volcano) and say "Remember, you chose this." My only response is to growl "Yes, but right now I cannot fathom why!"

Because, ultimately, I not only choose to be a stay-at-home mum... it is what I wanted.  But knowing I'm busy with the most important, greatest job ever can seem to taunt me on days when things go South. Like any other job, there are days so awful and trying that I want to tear my hair. Days when I wonder "What am I doing here? I'm a failure as a mother!"

We've all been there, and it is days like that which have inspired today's poem. Here's how I salvage things.

When Insanity Comes to Call

Been a really crazy day:
In the bathroom, urine spray!
Cleaning, cleaning since the dawn...
Where have all the cookies gone?

Hunting for an hour more
For that toy behind the door.
Wrestle mania just ensued,
And no one wants to eat their food.

But one by one, before it's bed
(And just before I lose my head),
It's story time! So snuggle in-
This makes the day count as a win.

Story time: more than a sanity saver, it's pure magic. Sometimes it feels like the one thing I've done right, and even the boys have caught onto this tradition. Sharing books we love with the people who matter most (yes, even Mr. Tilney and I will read to each other) keeps us going. It creates at least one moment a day we can enjoy together-if only for just five minutes.

More on this come Thursday, as Family Literacy Day is just around the corner! Until then, what are the books you remember being read to you?

Happy reminiscing to you all!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Let's Go to the Movies

My Mr. Tilney once accused me of having a crush on Colin Firth. This, I assured him, was completely absurd. I had a crush on Mr. Darcy... that's quite different. He can blame my Grandma for this: after all, she's the one who introduced me to Mr. Darcy in the first place.

"Pride and Prejudice" sounded like the most mind-numbing, the most boring show to my sixteen-year old mind. A story about a family trying to marry off their five daughters? Pass. Happily for me, Grandma insisted, and when Grandma insists it's impossible to refuse for long. So with much teenage eye-rolling I joined in watching the new adaptation of her favourite novel. She had six VHS tapes and thus, by her decree, one for every night of our stay.

The rest was history. Within moments I was hooked. My voice the loudest in clamouring for "More!" after the first tape. The one thought I had while watching Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy alongside Jennifer Ehle's endearing Elizabeth Bennett was "I must read this book!". Ultimately, I found that an adaptation is the best introduction to the classics, or indeed any book outside my comfort zone. Among other things, this one sparked my lifelong passion for Jane Austen's novels.

Any time I see announcements that a beloved book is being transformed into a movie or TV series I have a war of emotions. Part of me wants to skip with glee. Will is be as wonderful as I've imagined? Bliss! The other half of me is tearing my hair in anxiety. What if they destroy it? Calamity! Some adaptations are disappointing, others I adore, and then there's the small number that I -rbrace yourselves- prefer over the book.

So brew yourself a pot of tea. Make a big bowl of popcorn. Either way, may the following inspire as much reading and viewing pleasure as they have for me and mine.

Movies That Don't Do the Book Justice

1. Harry Potter
Now, before someone makes to grab a pitchfork,  first please let me explain. I do enjoy these movies. I've gone in costume as a favourite character, on opening night, to see these movies. We watch them regularly on Friday's Family Movie Night. Pottermore is visited frequently. But I've reread all of the books more times than I can count, and the film doesn't come close to what I've come to know and love there. If you only know the films you'll miss so much. Example: Neville's truly heroic moment. On the page it gave me goosebumps. On screen it wasn't nearly as good.

2. The Hobbit
Thanks to Peter Jackson,  I now love "The Lord of the Rings" (before those films I kept getting Sauron and Saruman confused), but his version of the prequel was disappointing. Suddenly we need three movies to tell the shortest story in the entire series?! And what makes Bilbo in the books so endearing is what a reluctant hero he is.  My mum once insisted I bring only one, just one book, on a three-month adventure to Germany. For that book of choice, I was hoping for more when it came to it's appearance on the big screen.

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
My first copy of this book  by  the amazing Roald Dahl was loved down to a shadow. Okay, I'll admit that Tim Burton's version came the closest to getting it right, but Willy Wonka's invented dentist daddy issues distracted from one of my all-time favourite stories.

Movies That Compliment the Book Just Right

1. The Adventures of Tintin
Here is where Peter Jackson excels! No family road-trip, from my childhood onwards, is complete without a few books with the tales of that plucky young reporter Tintin. When I was young, impatient for my turn to read, I had to steal one of the books from my Dad. Now I have to do the same with my kids. By this movie's opening credits, I was laughing in delight.

2. The Martian
Each time I watch this film I can't help but exclaim "They captured the book so perfectly!". My pleasure in watching Mark Watney survive on that red planet is equal to rereading it. Not everything made it into the movie, but that's on the page. The movie shows what happens to everyone afterwards, when the book doesn't.  Both are equally enjoyable.

3. Northanger Abbey
There's a reason why I chose this  heroine and hero as pseudonyms for myself and my husband! "Pride and Prejudice" was my favourite Jane Austen novel- until this adaptation from Masterpiece came along, made me see this book in a whole new light, and changed my mind. A heroine who's active imagination and fondness of reading leads her into scrapes? I can relate to that. Once I had a crush on Mr. Darcy, but Mr. Tilney stole my heart. Which is why I married him instead.

Movies That  I ("Gasp!") Prefer Over the Book

1. Sherlock
Telling the famed detective's stories set in modern London? I was sure that poor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was turning in his grave... until my friend Trillian made me watch an episode. Despite my fondness of the books, the characters have always felt rather stiff to me. As for the TV series, from Inspector Lestrade, Watson's wife (who is mostly a non-entity in the books), to the good doctor and brilliant sleuth themselves, I cannot help but love them all.

2. The Count of Monte Cristo
Revenge, sword fights, romance and treasure! The film of Alexandre Dumas' tale is so fantastic, so satisfying that it is the one great exception to my usually ironclad rule. Having been assured that the books is quite different, I don't have the heart to read this book for fear it will spoil the movie in my mind forever.

3. The Princess Bride
This one is partly due to nostalgia. I was six when I saw this movie at the local theatre. Going with my two best friends, getting our very own popcorn and drink made the night awesome... but the movie made it unforgettable. It is still, and always will be, my favourite movie. Mr. Tilney knows he has only to say "as you wish" to melt my heart. I discovered the book when I was thirteen, and while I love it too, and reread it frequently, push comes to shove the book doesn't make the cut for my desert island list. The movie tops it.

What are the book adaptations you love? The ones you hate? I'm always up for discovering more! Until Monday then, happy reading (and viewing) to you all!


Monday, January 16, 2017

Box Office Books

With more and more books serving as the inspiration for shows and movies, this creates a real dilemma for me. Some adaptations make me squeal with joy. Others make me want to tear my hair. A recent discovery of one has certainly put me in a writing quandary.

Just when I thought I'm all prepared and organized with my new blog... something came along and blew that delusion to smithereens. Unfortunately, this melodrama was too delicious to put off for a later date.

On Saturday here in the Bookaneer household we discovered this:

It also inspired the following.

Box Office Books
The movie
Or the book?
Both are worth
A look.

Suddenly, a show from a series of books I had dismissed years ago as formulaic was causing us all to chortle, quote at the dinner table, and sing along with the opening credits. Here are some books, written by the mysterious Lemony Snicket, that I need to revisit- preferably in the company of my children.

Book adaptations are a gamble, but can be well worth a reader's time. More on this come Thursday, but until then, happy reading everybody.

~ K

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

When Pigs Fly

Ever have those ideas that you tuck away, telling yourself "Oh, I'll do that someday". When that porcine wonder gets airborne, right?

My Pinterest boards are full of them, and nearly two years ago that was never more true than the one crammed with children's art projects and good intentions.

Jack starting school changed that. After sending two other kids to alternating days of kindergarten, I knew the perils. What to do, short of using electronics as a babysitter, all day? Home days are tough. Battling stir-crazy children also ranks high on my list of "Things for My Personal Purgatory" and inevitably leads to grumpiness... and when Mommy's miserable, everyone suffers!

My solution? Turning "someday" into "right now". Now, once a week we have Art Day.  Bruce and I get together with our friends Anne and her daughter Piggie (she picked the pseudonym) for some messy, creative fun.  We dabble with art supplies, the kids play, and Anne and I visit. Makes for a blissful afternoon.We carved out the time and made it happen. It's not elaborate or time consuming, nor should it be. We're all perfectly happy to play with toilet paper rolls or paints anyways, but we do it and that makes all the difference.

There are two things that keep Art Day the splendid institution that it is:

1. Friends. This keeps me accountable.Without Anne's help this would have fizzled away after a few sporadic attempts.

2. Books. Big surprise, I know. Usually I scramble for a suitable project last-minute, and books chockfull of wondrous projects are my saving grace.

Why art? Because all of us (adults included) can use a little more creativity in our lives. Children's art is a very fun, safe endeavor to get your feet wet. Also, it brightens up more than just the walls of your home. One treasure trove of ideas is the books by Jean Van't Hul which I want, but in the meantime her  Artful Parent blog will do.

Books helped me turn this someday into reality. Maybe I should apply that elsewhere. How about you?  What's your "someday"?


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reading Resolutions

Yet another cold winter's day here on the prairies. What could be more wonderful then brewing fresh pot of tea, and spending time with all of you? Thanks to the generosity of loved ones (who know me so well) I have amassed a wealth of tea over Christmas to enjoy from Teavana and David's Tea so I'm all set. This is the sort of day for strictly cozy things: curl with a pile of books for company, maybe some yarn and knitting needles too.  After all, I did laundry and grocery shopping yesterday, right? Sadly, Tuesdays are lovingly known around here as our "day of insanity" . There's piano lessons, Scouts and Cubs, plus my yoga class. Let's just savour things for this one moment then, shall we? Throw something into the slow cooker, sip something hot, and grab your duvet (if you can). I shall keep my bunny slippers on for a little bit longer, and before we deal with everything else in our day, let's talk about books...glorious books.

'Tis the season for goals, isn't it? For those of you following my Twitter account, you already know not only of my fondness of Goodreads, but also of my reading goal for the year. Along with my other New Year's resolutions I always like to set myself a goal of how many new books I want to read in the year. When I say "new", I mean "new to me". Otherwise the temptation to simply reread old favourites keeps me in a reading rut. A happy rut, but a rut nonetheless. 

Last year my goal was to read 150 new books. In this matter at least, here was one New Year's resolution that I excelled at: I ended up reading over 200. Here's the books that I cannot wait to share with all of you, the best culled from a great abundance of good books.

My Top 10 of 2016

1. "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo
Tidiness is magical. To be honest, it was the book's serene cover (isn't it beautiful?) and intriguing title that first caught my eye. I was feeling jaded after the holidays when this little book flew into my life with its KonMAri method, and rather like Mary Poppins brightened things up for the better. Permanently though, which is where the magic comes in! As the author puts it, this books has "sparked joy" in my life and continues to do so. Read the publisher's blurb is here.

2. "The Martian" by Andy Weir
I never would have read this one without the prodding of my book club, and I'm very grateful that they did. Knowing how much I was loving the book, my dear Mr. Tilney bought the movie but my response was unexpected: "No! We can't watch that yet! I haven't finished!" He patiently waited, and then read it himself. Who knew that being stranded on a distant planet could not make for drama, and excitement, but funny? Here's the synopsis.

3. "Phoebe and Her Unicorn" by Dana Simpson
Here's the unexpected surprise book that delighted the entire Bookaneer crew (and please remember, I'm the only girl in the lot!). "Now that I'm grown and can have what I please" I can unabashedly admit that I love unicorns. Usually though, books with these magical creatures are too insipid to be read cover to cover. This series (with four to date, and another on its way) turns that upside down.Simpson's magic is not to be missed.

4. "Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics" by Wendy Mullin
One of the great things the KonMari inspired is the frightening idea that I would like to sew my own clothes. Thanks to my sister Emily, a sewing goddess, I found this book. I thought it would aid me dip a terrified toe into those scary waters, instead it inspired a cannonball and I never want to leave the water. Sew (ha! I'm so "punny"!)much fun.

5. "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller
More adults need to read this book! At least it should be required reading for teachers, but we all would benefit from this. Donalyn Miller, teacher and book enthusiast extraordinaire is serious about encouraging her students to read. Once she explained why both novel studies and book reports stifle real reading I wanted to hug this woman. Her wisdom and insight is here for your perusal. 

6. "Adulthood is a Myth"by Sarah Andersen
A cartoonist that can make your period seem hilarious? Now that's talent! I'd been eagerly following her comics online for months, so when I learned that she was publishing a book, well! You can imagine my excitement.  I had to fight my nearest and dearest to actually get a turn to read it.

7. "Steelheart" by Brandon Sanderson
The one book that lead to others, plus many happy hours of book bliss! Desperate for some decent books for our epic summer road-trip, my sister Lucy recommended this. A whole new perspective on the superhero genre, for what happens when those with superpowers aren't here to save you? I read it obsessively and repeatedly on my trip. This book made me a big fan of a previously undiscovered author.

8. "Ollie's Odyssey" by William Joyce
William Joyce has long been a favourite author of mine, but this one was something very special. I'm a sucker for toys, but add that to a book that makes me both laugh and cry? Bliss. Ollie is a favourite toy who has to suddenly become the hero of his own story. Adventure, new friends and villains await.  I don't have this book on my bookshelf yet, but it's really only a matter of time. This is a terrific read, but if at all possible, read this one with a child sitting on your lap.

9. "Friends with Boys" by Faith Erin Hicks
Graphic novels are a real treat, but especially when they're written by this talented author. The sole girl in a family of boys (I can relate to that), starting high school can be terrifying for enough without everything else Maggie is grappling with. All the usual struggles of adolescence, in an original and brilliant story.
10. "Let's Play!" by Herve Tullet
You know a book is good when after you've read it aloud, your audience clamours "Again!" A colourful, interactive book that even my older Bookaneers enjoy, usually sitting down to listen when I read it to their younger brothers, or quite unabashedly  curling up to read it themselves. Storytime is more fun than ever.

Whew! This has been a long one. Happy reading to you all.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Manic Mondays

Contemplating my great to-do list (Monday's list always seems to be the most daunting, don't you think?) the one thing that made me smile and hop with excitement was the one right on the top; "Post in Blog". That made me skip out of bed, and face the daunting task of preparing three children for school, plus all of the aftermath from our two-week holiday from reality, with much better grace than normal. Home may be  a haven away for everyone else around here, but this is where I work. On vacations though, I figure that if the rest of the family gets a break, then I will take one too. As a result, certain jobs have been neglected of late, quietly piling up, awaiting my return.

This morning Mr. Tilney shovelled the walks, then hurried off to school. After cleaning out some juicy and smelly specimens from the bottoms of backpacks my school crew (Jared, Seth and Jack) headed off. With a cold winter day before us, just the two of us at home, Bruce seems set for hibernation. He's still in his pajamas, reading a book and singing to himself upstairs.

It would be all too easy to follow suit. I do have a tempting pile of books from the library... and over the past two weeks I've honed hibernation down to a fine art. But no, I need to be a good little Bookaneer- at least for a few hours- and get things done. There are several other things loudly clamouring for my attention. One such thing is the little matter of food: today's school lunches were creative to say the least, scrounged up from leftover Christmas cookies and whatever we currently have in the fridge.  Seeing as I don't not want to repeat this for dinner, we'd better bundle up and trundle off for groceries. First though, I have the great joy of writing here.

Do you like poetry? I'm not talking about that dreary stuff that was crammed down our throats (rather like salad)  in an effort to make us more well-rounded, cultured individuals at school. I'm talking about the stuff that makes you laugh, smile and even think for a moment. The words of Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky have always been a favourite of mine. I call it my "poetry pickle", for whenever I'm in a writing funk, upset, or just feeling mischievous I like to play with rhyme, stanzas and meter. It helps me not to take myself too seriously. Life provides ample inspiration for this, so I thought that each Monday I will post an original "pickle" that I've scribbled about stuff. Here's today's.

Back to Reality...
We got off to school
Quite smoothly today-
A quite big surprise
For me.
So with a great sigh
As I wipe my eye
I'll take down the Christmas

That's it for today folks! After all, there's grocery shopping, laundry, and all those other necessaries to do. Have any ideas for next week's poem? Share them in the comments below. Until tomorrow, keep out of trouble and happy reading.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Meet the Crew

"No man is an island" and no Bookaneer can sail alone. We all need someone to love, love us, care for, keep us grounded, encourage our mad ideas and share in what makes us smile. Even more especially in that last part. But having all that along with a willingness to read the books that you love, plus giving recommendations of their own? In my opinion, that's just the caramel on the apple.

Meet the crew, some of my very most favourite people in the world: my own little family. Well, not so little anymore given how tall they're all growing, plus the comments we inevitably get out and about. "Four boys?!" "Are they all yours?", or the most popular "Wow, you must be busy!" To which I always reply "Yup. I'm #blessed. Busy with the greatest adventure of all." I am (for now) the #1 woman in five wonderful men's lives. Man, if I had known that was where I was headed, I would've been less crushed during those teenage years where most of my actual dates were spent at home with the fictional characters in my cherished books and stories.

Given how often my beloved crew will be making appearances here, I thought it only proper to make introductions.  We have all opted to use pseudonyms, we say this is for privacy, but mostly because they were just so much darn fun to come up with! Besides, what's the point of writing a book blog if you can't pretend to be some of your favourite book characters? After mulling it over for weeks, trying to come up with suitable book pen names for my family, I finally asked for their opinions. It was one of those van conversations, me calling out to the backseats, and in less than two minutes they all had done it... much better than their mother had, too, I might add.

So, without further ado, everyone? Meet my family. Family? Say hello to everyone.

Okay, so we've already been getting acquainted, you and I. I am going by my actual given name, which happily I share with one of my favourite author's heroines! Admittedly though, the only ones who call me "Katherine" are my parents. They save it for special occasions (normally when they want me to grasp just how much trouble I'm in). I may not ever get the chance to travel to Bath with my wealthy neighbours like Katherine Norland but reading too many novels (is that really possible)? Letting my imagination get the better of me? Getting into ridiculous scrapes? Now that I can relate to! My favourite books? That list will appear in a forthcoming post.

Next, there's my best friend, my own happily ever after. My co-captain of our little crew.  He's the Mr. Henry Tilney to my Miss Norland, so that is what we will call him here. He's the string to my kite, the butter on my popcorn, the paper for my crayons. Happily, he is the best person for ensuring I don't spend too much time up in the clouds and that my toes at least skim the grass from time to time. Teacher, father, and partner in my schemes, his current favourite read is "Red Rising"by Pierce Brown.

Now meet Jared, my right hand man. He's the maverick, the ringleader of many antics that go on around here. The biggest brother we've got. Talented artist, Seeonee Cub Scout, aspiring Pokemon trainer. Plays a great Ebeneezer Scrooge, complete with solos! Right now he names the "Fablehaven" series by Brandon Mull as his top reading pick.

Next we have Seth. He's our still waters that run really deep. After happily staring at upside down books as a baby, he eventually learned not only the right way to hold them, but also how to read at a tender young age. Has more stuffed animals than his bed can hold. He also loves "Fablehaven", and recommended them to his big brother and momma.

Make room for Jack! This guy is either the darkest, ominous storm cloud you'll encounter or the brightest beam of sunshine around. Depends on his mood. Draws endlessly on anything with whatever he can get his hands on. Current life ambition is to be a mad scientist. Given that he's read his gift from his brothers five times this holiday, "Dog Man" by Dav Pilkey, I'd say that's become a new favourite.

Last, but certainly not least (especially in his own estimation) we have Bruce. One bundle of energy with impish tendencies, and the only preschooler I have left. Keeping up with three older brothers is a matter he takes very seriously. When he's not putting soap on the toothbrushes or getting into anything that doesn't belong to him, he still finds ways to melt our hearts. His goal in life is to be a ninja. "I Really Like Slop!" by Mo Willems is his book of choice.

Well, it is Friday, and that only means one thing around here: to the library! Time to assemble my rambunctious crew and pillage our local branch. We'll return with more reading fun on Monday. Until then, take care everyone and happy reading.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Bookaneer Begins

I have a confession to make: I am an ardent bookworm. To those who know me, this will come as no great surprise. Indeed, it may be considered an understatement. But really,when it comes to books, I am one happy little maniac.

What are the signs of bookworm mania, you might ask? I have been dragged-literally- out of bookstores by my dear ones who, after hours on end wish to resume their own lives and have kindly decided not to leave me to eke out an existence among the shelves. I find going anywhere without reading material to be insufferable, and running out of said material is a horrible fate. In the not so distant past I have been known to make book recommendations to complete strangers (usually at the library, as I'm less likely to get weird  looks that way...not that it stops me elsewhere though). I have dabbled in working at a bookstore, library, and as the substitute teacher who read, lots, to my classes. My home is our very own family library, with books tucked in anywhere they will fit, and often in places where they don't.

Yet in this digital age where many announce books are going the way of the dinosaur, where more and more people either don't care to read or even outright dislike it, why does it matter? A blog about the joys on the archaic pastime of reading must be the height of lunacy! Well my friends, let me tell you something about bookworms: we are a passionate bunch who refuse to fade quietly into the night. Away from our beloved books we can be a loud, zealous lot who are always thrilled to recruit.

Image courtesy of Oliver Jeffers.
Ultimately, my purpose in writing this blog is to share the joys of reading and how this simple thing has enriched both my life and the life of my family. If I can persuade you to join in the delight and fun by reading more, so much the better! Here are some of the top reasons why me and my hearty crew of 'Bookaneers' read (and why you should too):

1. Reading is good for you

Okay.  Now I've made books sound like salad. Sorry. We've all been told to read in a way that reminds me of my own attempts to get my kids to eat their vegetables. It's healthy! Makes you smarter! You will be a better person! How about just a little, alright sweetie? There are numerous studies on the benefits of reading, just as there are on greens, but while I'm still not too sure about salad, there is another great thing about reading which leads me to number two...

2. Reading Inspires

I am a better person from books, not kidding. Books have given me ideas along with the road map on how to get there and do that. Among other things, there's a reason why I read my scriptures everyday; it's so I can  remind myself what I can do to improve. There's also a reason for my collection of cookbooks too; so I and my family can enjoy our vegetables, plus every now and then indulge in some pie.

3. Reading is just great fun

Way more fun than the best salad you've ever tried, or for that matter, even pie. Books are also less fattening and last longer than dessert, and even longer than our vegetables too! It can be a shared experience with a child, or with friends. You have only to say "Oh you clever, clever girl!" to me and my family and we will laugh. Why is this so funny? You'll have to read the book to get it. Just remember this...

Not sure where to get started? One of my all-time favourite book resources is Goodreads, a forum to discover  you can't wait to read, network with book enthusiasts, and mark your progress on the reading journey.

These are a just a few quick thoughts that I wanted to get out there while I sort out this whole blogging thing.  Until tomorrow then, have fun and happy reading to you all!