An Open Book: July 2018

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An Open Book CatholicMom.com

Welcome to the July 2018 edition of An Open Book, hosted both at My Scribbler’s Heart AND Catholicmom.com!

An Open Book is all about what my family is reading this month, from the adults down to the little kids. Share what you’re reading by linking up your blog post below. Simply write about what you’re reading. You can make it personal or, as I do, extend it to the whole family. Your post can be as simple as a few lines about the book or as in-depth as a 700-word review. That’s entirely up to you. You can even forego writing all together and record a video or simply post cover photos.

No blog? No problem. Please share what you’re reading in the comments.

I hope the (supposedly) more relaxed pace of summer and some vacation roadtrips have given you some extra time for reading. Here’s what we’ve been reading and listening to so far this summer.

On the return trip from our recent beach vacation, we listened to some of American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America by Linda S. Godfrey. My husband has always had an interest in the odd and spooky side of Americana, and this is right up his alley. The stories include bits of folklore, history, anthropology, and eyewitness accounts. I had no idea there were so many crypto-zoological birdlike creatures beyond Mothman.

My husband, a frequent purveyor of the book rack in the back of church, picked up Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It’s subtitled The Love She Most Deserves, The Respect He Desperately Needs. Based on the fact this Thomas Nelson Publishers book have almost 3,000 reviews, I’m guessing it’s pretty popular. He’s only at the beginning of the book, but my husband said the author’s characterization of the differing needs of spouses rings true in our relationship.

While on vacation, I thoroughly enjoyed More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer as I sat poolside with one eye trained on my kids. Karen Witemeyer’s books are consistent in their light humor, faith, and sweet romance. Set in late 19th century Texas, this story of an ostracized young woman with one brown eye and one blue eye and a gambler bent on revenge includes an innocent romance, a makeshift family of orphans, a touch of jeopardy, and themes of forgiveness.

Catholic Teen Books (of which I am a member author), is releasing a seven-story anthology, Secrets: Visible & Invisible, on July 4, the feast of Blessed Pierre Giorgio Frassati, patron saint of youth. It includes short stories by seven different authors, all related to the theme secrets. Some stories are related to the author’s full-length novel, others are not, but each story stands alone. They vary in genre from dystopian to contemporary to historical and include adventure, mystery, and romance. It makes great summer reading and is a perfect introduction to what Catholic Teens Books authors have to offer.

My oldest son began reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not to be confused with the horrible romance book Twilight. (His words, not mine. The kid hasn’t even read Twilight.) While the early pages were heavy on description, he’s now enjoying this classic horror novel. (Another classic that I have yet to read.)

While on vacation, we visited a local used book seller. He was able to pick up an inexpensive copy of Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad. He’s read some of The Secret Sharer in one of his freshman classes, and I recommended Heart of Darkness, which was one of my favorite high school reading assignments. I hope he enjoys the dark journey up the Congo River as much as I did.

My daughters had the world’s best bus driver last school year, truly. She loaned my 4th grader her Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery to read this summer – the entire series! I’d previously listened to an audio drama adaption of the book with the kids, but my girl is just love, love, loving the book. Her enthusiasm makes me wish I had been introduced to the classic story as a young girl.

I enjoy coming across picture books with originality, and Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier is original. My soon-to-be 1st grader picked this one up at the library. It’s essentially a series of successively smaller colored pages, each introducing another book. The little kids seem to enjoy opening the little “books” and the repetitive nature of the experience.

Our trip to the fishing pier on vacation involved a stop at the gift shop, where the little kids chose picture books from a wide selection by Suzanne Tate. My son walked away with Great Sharky Shark and my daughter with Speedy Ghost Crab. I have to admire an author who tapped into the local tourist market with a series of 30+ simple picture books that tell simple stories about coastal animals and their habitats. The kids enjoyed looking at them and reading them during our long ride home.

My youngest son will begin kindergarten in the fall, and he was encouraged to read many predictable, rhyming books this summer.  We picked up When Cows Come Home by David L. Harrison. I am partial to rhyming books, and we all enjoyed this fun story of what the normally stoic cows are up to when the farmer isn’t looking.

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Copyright 2018 Carolyn Astfalk

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About Author

Carolyn Astfalk is a wife, mother of four young children, and a writer. Her contemporary inspirational romances Stay With Me, Ornamental Graces, and Rightfully Ours are available at Amazon.com. She blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart. Visit carolynastfalk.com.

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