Reading Lately: Adult, Middle, and Young Readers

What We’re Reading: In our house, we run a range of book choices, so I’d thought I’d share what we’re reading.

Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge

I recently started this calm, wise story based in the English countryside by Elizabeth Goudge. From the publisher:

Mary Lindsay is a born and bred Londoner who has enjoyed her city life-a prestigious job, and friends with whom she takes in the city pleasures of theatre, art and music. But fleeting memories of a childhood visit to her father’s elderly cousin out in the country are revived with the news that the woman has willed her home, the Laurels, to Mary. She makes an uncharacteristically sudden and life-changing decision to leave London for the country. The gradual unfolding of her understanding of herself, of the now-deceased woman who has bequeathed her home to Mary, and of the people of Appleshaw, all weave together in a most memorable story of love’s redemptive power.

So far, I love her style of writing and gorgeous descriptions. I’ve started following the Elizabeth Goudge Book Club (substack) and am delighted with the information, discussion, and group! (Highly recommend joining!)

Berlin Letters by Reay

I’m a fan of Katherine Reay, and her current novel is such a great, fast paced read! If you are interested in Cold War, or you’d like to learn more about life behind the Berlin Wall, this is a perfect selection. It takes place around a woman, Luisa, who was passed over the wall as a baby for a better life with her grandparents – unbeknownst to her, her father stayed behind. This story unfolds as she not only learns about her family, but she learns the secrets of spying and a cold Communist regime that never forgets. Highly recommend this book!

Middle School Titles

Sweet Home Alaska

I recently received and read this novel recommend by Read Aloud Revival and was enamored with the main character, Trip, and her challenges moving to Alaska in the height of the Great Depression. This is a great book showing the difficulties of the depression as well as the challenges of living in remote Alaska! My boys haven’t picked it up yet, but I am encouraging them to check it out. Would be great for a read aloud!

Publisher’s Description “If Laura Ingalls Wilder had lived in Alaska, she might have written this novel . . .”–Kirkus Reviews

     It’s 1934, and times are tough for Trip’s family after the mill in their small Wisconsin town closes, leaving her father unemployed. Determined to provide for his family, he moves them all to Alaska to become pioneers as part of President Roosevelt’s Palmer Colony project. Trip and her family are settling in, except her mom, who balks at the lack of civilization. But Trip feels like she’s following in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s footsteps, and she hatches a plan to raise enough money for a piano to convince her musical mother that Alaska is a wonderful and cultured home. Her sights set on the cash prize at the upcoming Palmer Colony Fair, but can Trip grow the largest pumpkin possible–using all the love, energy, and Farmer Boy expertise she can muster?

Guys Read: Funny Business by Scieszka

Both of my boys enjoy this series of short stories from the “Guys Read” collection. They connect with the characters, and most importantly, tend to laugh their way through the collection. Recommend this for a young male needing a new but different read.

Younger Reads

I enjoy Polly Horvath books, and My daughter enjoyed this whimsical chapter book right off the bat! This is fun book for readers moving into chapter books.

In this hilarious chapter book mystery, meet a girl whose parents have been kidnapped by disreputable foxes, and a pair of detectives that also happen to be bunnies! When Madeline gets home from school one afternoon to discover that her parents have gone missing, she sets off to find them. So begins a once-in-a-lifetime adventure involving a cast of unforgettable characters. There’s Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who drive a smart car, wear fedoras, and hate marmots; the Marmot, who loves garlic bread and is a brilliant translator; and many others. Translated from the Rabbit by Newbery Honor-winning author Polly Horvath, and beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall, here is a book that kids will both laugh over and love.

My daughter enjoyed this whimsical chapter book right off the bat! Here’s a sample”

Then she straightened up and went back to stringing lights.

“Prince Charles thinks it’s important enough to come!” said Madeline as a parting shot.

“Don’t get me started on the monarchy!” warned Mildred as Madeline headed to the house. “Sometimes I wonder where you came from. You’re not like anyone in the family except Uncle Runyon.”

“I LIKE Uncle Runyon!” called Madeline over her shoulder.

“So do I,” said her mother, shaking her head. “But I don’t understand either of you.”

Uncle Runyon was the only relative living on Vancouver Island one hundred percent legally and with consistently covered toes. He worked as a secret decoder scientist for the Canadian government. No one was supposed to know where he lived because it was top-secret, but he had the family over for Easter every year anyway and he attended what celebrations of theirs he could stand. He always said all this hush-hush business concerning him was just a lot of hooey. No enemy spies were interested in him. His job was really very boring.

Or so he had always told Madeline. But out there on Vancouver Island somewhere there was suddenly a group becoming very, very interested in him indeed.

What are your families reading this month?

1 comment

  1. I enjoyed Scent of Water and have been wanting to read another Goudge book soon, but they’re so hard to find. My library doesn’t carry them, so I have to buy them. Pilgrim Inn is the next I want to read.

    I have loved other Reay novels, so I am not sure what has delayed me from reading this newer one so long (maybe the big pile of other books on my bookshelf and nightstand!), but I have it available on Libby and need to get to it soon. Thanks for the reminder!

    Linking my recent reads, if interested

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