28 January, 2010

Holiday books

For as long as I can remember I've read copious amounts of books on holidays. My first holiday reading memory is of reading Heidi in Primary school - the longest book I'd ever read up to that point. One of my biggest frustrations when our children were very little was that I had little time to sit (or lie) idle and read. Thankfully this is a gradually abating problem. These holidays I brought a number of books as usual, but unusually have been unwilling to finish two of them. It is rare for me to put a book down in the middle, but these were just too bad. The first was an Australian historical fiction novel set in 1899. Main character is a single lady in her 30s who was in business and deeply involved in the women's suffrage cause (the vote for women). Some romance, some intrigue, some mental illness, some drunkenness, some homosexuality, some other weirdnesses. Somehow I just couldn't put up with it any longer. All but two of the characters were not real people anyway. Seems like historical fiction is a broad genre. The other book is a collection of three (which I didn't realise until I got it home from the library, if I'd realised I would never have brought it home). All based around a Scrapbooker and her Scrapbooking shop in New Orleans. Contrasting the lovely and sweet world of scrapbooking is a nasty murder in each of the books. Our lovely and hard-done-by Scrapbooker also turns into an ameteur sleuth, armed with lots of scrapbooking buddies who are always around to offer support and encouragement. The plots are somewhat similar and lots of things that you learn in the first book are repeated in each book (like some of the details of the Scrapbooker's failed but not yet annulled marriage), which is where my boredom began with the second story and caused my inability to finish the third. Lots of words, presumably southern US words and concepts that I don't know didn't help my interest level. In contrast are the books we're reading as a family. To try to institute some family time around the table at dinner I've read a number of more lengthy books to our children over the last year or two. Books they can all enjoy like; "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Nim's Island", "Magic Tree House", a couple of Selby books etc. These holidays we've been reading a short story collection about Paddington and now "The BFG". In fact our 10 y.o. has been begging to read this book (he's read it several times himself). He identified it as a book his brothers could enjoy and has been plugging it regularly for several weeks. Considering he was one of the reason we began this custom - to keep him at the table after he'd rapidly plowed through his entire meal before his brothers could finish their veggies - it is a significant thing that he wants to do this (he's done most of the reading so far too).


Anonymous said...

I've been reading a lot of children's fiction lately, mainly because good adult fiction is difficult to find.

(If you're willing to join a large hold queue at your library, I can recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. A bit different, but I liked it.)

Footprints Australia said...

Your boys might enjoy The Mouse & the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. I loved it in Yr 5, and so did my son - who hardly ever reads!

KKCambLogos said...

Students in my class are enjoying the "Spindles" books (for an Aussie flavour), and we also enjoyed Janette Oke's "New Kid on the Block" and Patricia St John's "Treasures of the Snow". Read aloud time is treasured, and there are invariably groans when I stop just as it's getting exciting, and say we have to move on to other work.