An Open Book: November 2018

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Copyright 2018 Carolyn Astfalk. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the November 2018 edition of An Open Book, now 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.

This month, my husband has been listening to Career Match: Connecting Who You Are with What You’ll Love to Do by Shoya Zichy and Ann Bidou. It includes a self-assessment to determine your personality style and then a corresponding chapter with potential career choices. It’s intended not only to help you manage a career but discover what work you’re most suited to in your existing job.

For a Halloween listen, my husband downloaded a book by one of his favorite authors from his teen years: Stephen King. LT’s Theory of Pets, read by the author, is a short (hour-long) story of a man whose wife takes off, leaving behind their Siamese cat. He’s hopeful that his wife is still alive, whatever has become of her. It “explores the bonds between husbands, wives, and pets.” (Language warning.)

In between books for this month’s Sabbath Rest Book Talk, I’ve been reading Courtney Walsh’s latest novel, Things Left Unsaid. It reminds me of The Things We Knew by Catherine West in that it involves neighboring families returning to a summer home, each bearing a secret related to a death that deeply affected them all. Things Left Unsaid takes place in the fictional resort town of Sweethaven, Michigan, which is featured in some of the author’s other books. I’m zipping through the book, eager for these characters to communicate better with each other, to resolve all of their past hurts, and make up. Well-written and enjoyable. I’m anticipating a big helping of grace to be doled out before the end.

Next on my list is a debut novel by author Vijaya Bodach called Bound. Since I’m just beginning it, here is the blurb: “Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Joshi, an adopted girl from India, burn survivor, and primary caretaker of her intellectually disabled sister, Joy, has one dream: to be a physician. Her traditional Indian father relies upon Rebecca to care for Joy while he buries himself in work to drown his grief over his wife’s death. Leaving home is the only way Rebecca can envision reaching her goal. She helps Joy develop greater independence, and is devastated when Joy becomes pregnant. Rebecca tussles — with her father and with herself — over who is responsible for Joy and her baby. When Rebecca discovers the truth of what happened the day she was burned, she struggles to hold onto her dream while wrestling with questions of life, love, and responsibility.” I’m in!

My high school sophomore is reading The Eighth Arrow: Odysseus in the Underworld by J. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. In it, Odysseus (of Homer’s classic epic poem) breaks out of Dante’s hell. The novel includes a journey through the Underworld with Diomedes and encounters with various characters from Greek mythology, ancient history, and Renaissance literature. My son, who always thought it unfair of Dante to relegate Odysseus to hell, is loving the book. It melds well with the classics he studied last year in his Humanities classes.

My daughter’s fifth grade class has been reading Holes by Louis Sachar. This Newbery Medal winner features Stanley Yelnats (check out that palindrome!), who is sent to a boys’ detention center and made to dig holes. What is the warden looking for beneath a dried-up lake? My daughter guessed right away, but she’s enjoying it enough that not being permitted to read ahead is her only complaint.

The Haymeadow by Gary Paulsen is the book she’s been reading at home. Fourteen-year-old John Barron is tasked with spending the summer tending his family’s sheep. John must rely on his wits to withstand encounters with coyotes, a bear, a flood, and more. As in the author’s Hatchet series, this book involves the protagonist using  his ingenuity to succeed.

My first grader, who has pretty much taken over my bedtime story duties, needed something a little more challenging than most picture books, so I found a trio of Judy Moody books her sister read. She’s reading the first book, Judy Moody (was in a mood) by Megan McDonald. Judy is a feisty third-grader who takes the reader on a series of little adventures.

Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig has long been a favorite around here — both reading it and acting it out. My kindergarten son seems to particularly enjoy it and asks to read it many nights. One rainy day, a boy is forced to stay inside with his parents, who brighten the afternoon by making him into a pizza — kneading him, topping him with pepperoni and cheese, and “baking” him in an oven (the couch.)  Warning: there is tickling involved!

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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.

4 Comments

  1. Oooh, the Eighth Arrow sounds really good! I’m not as well-versed in mythology as I’d like to be, but if/when I do get more acquainted with mythology, I’ll have to take a look at that!

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