These are the books I read to myself and finished this month. It's kind of embarrassing how few there are. I'm in the middle of three or four other books at the moment, but as there are only 2 1/2 hours left of this month, I don't expect to finish any more. I was first writing these down as I finished them and had a hard time keeping my comments short (okay, I didn't keep my comments short), but eventually ran out of time to make any comments at all. I don't think I missed any books, but may have. Unusually, every single book I read for myself this month I was reading for the first time.
At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson The first Bill Bryson book I read was Mother Tongue: the Story of English and How it Got that Way, at least 20 years ago (and re-read several times since). I'm pretty sure I've read most of his books by now, although I only own about half a dozen myself. I've borrowed them from several friends, and the librarian lent me this one (from her private collection), as she did the Shakespeare book by Bill Bryson. I started this after Christmas and finished it New Year's Day.
Arthur, King of Britain, by Michael Morpurgo I think what appeals to me in the King Arthur stories is the utterly casual mix of history, legend, and magic. I went through a King Arthur phase when I was a teenager and own several books from then, but I hadn't read much more in the 30ish years since. I enjoyed this very much. And I read all but the last five pages of it in practically one sitting, while waiting for different parts of a check-up for the application for health insurance. (I was there for three hours. People kept apologizing for how long I had to wait, and I kept saying, "Look: I'm sitting here reading peacefully. I don't know if my children and husband at home are as happy, but I'm fine!")
Twist of Gold, by Michael Morpurgo I read this in one sitting while holding a cat who was missing her humans. Okay, it's a children's book and only took two hours, but I really like Michael Morpurgo. His books cover so many different topics, a lot of them historical fiction (my favorite genre), but not all, and some of them totally surreal. This one was historical fiction about the Irish Potato Famine, or rather, about a sibling pair who manage to escape.
Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth
Better Than School: One family's declaration of independence, by Nancy Wallace
Tea by the Nursery Fire: A Children's Nanny at the Turn of the Century, by Noel Streatfeild
When the Siren Wailed, by Noel Streatfeild
Angel, by Colleen McCullough
And....I figured I may as well include the non-picture books I read aloud to the children. I read a LOT of other books to them, as well as parts of many other books. (For example, I'm currently reading to Helen and Elisabeth The Usborne Children's Encyclopedia, When We Were Very Young, The Llama Who Had No Pajama, a children's Bible, Hero Tales, and probably more.) All of the books listed below are ones I've read aloud before, but not to the same children.
all the small poems and fourteen more, by Valerie Worth We'd been reading this book for about a year, as part of Sonlight's Core 5 (or F, rather, as I really should get used to calling it, as they changed the names, oh, at least four or five years ago...), "Eastern Hemisphere Explorer," which is what Lukas and Katie are doing right now. This particular book doesn't actually have anything to do with the history, but Sonlight includes a poetry book every year, and this was the one for this Core. We generally read the book several days in a row, three poems each time, each of the three of us reading one out loud, and then would go weeks without reading any.
Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis I haven't been getting very far in Sonlight with either Helen or Elisabeth, because we keep reading so many other books! I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to them in December and then started this. Jörn started listening in and then requested us not to read unless he was there! (I made Jörn read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe before we went to see the movie in December 2005, but that was the only book he had read. :-) )
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis Again, Jörn insisted on listening in.
The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis Jörn wasn't so sure he was going to listen to this one, disappointed that none of the Pevensies were in it, and finding some of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader too weird. He doesn't actually like fiction much, and fantasy even less. So he didn't listen to the first chapter...but then got drawn in and yet again wouldn't let us read if he wasn't home. And won't let us start The Horse and His Boy until he gets home again! (He's been in England for the last five days, gets home tomorrow.)
The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes Another Sonlight book, this one from Core K, for Helen and Elisabeth. Since Jörn was gone, I had to read something non-Narnian.
Peter Pan (abridged), by J.M. Barrie, retold by Susan Shebar I know I read this to Jacob, Lukas, and Katie (that is, three separate times), and I think I may actually have read it to Lukas several times. It's just barely not quite a picture book, but it's very abridged, and not very well done in my biased opinion, and I'm not sure why we own it or how we got it. It's part of the Sonlight Core K (um...A), or at least, it was in 2002, but I know I didn't buy it because I had the original and didn't see any reason for the abridged one, and Marie read the original on her own when she was five anyway. But we have it, so I read it. It was something to keep the children at bay while waiting for Papa to be home tomorrow so we can continue with Narnia.