An Open Book: September 2016


An Open Book

Welcome to the September edition of An Open Book, now hosted both at My Scribbler’s Heart AND!

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.

Fellowship of the Ring TolkienMy husband has been subjecting us to The Fellowship of the Ring audiobook by J.R.R. Tolkien. While my two older kids seem to enjoy the story in limited doses, I say “subjected” because it’s been the soundtrack of his choice for our recent travels. The little kids get bored. The big kids are okay with it if there’s not something else they’d rather be doing, and I must repeatedly slap my husband’s thigh while he’s driving and insist he open his eyes. That’s not to say this production isn’t well done. It seems to be. I think the particular times at which it’s being introduced to us is the biggest problem. For myself, I sincerely wish I enjoyed Tolkien more than I do. But, hey, I loved the Lord of the Rings movies!

Scarlet Marissa MeyerI’m slowly making my way through Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I zipped through the first book in the Lunar Chronicles (Cinder) quickly, but have slowed on this one. It’s not grabbing me right off that bat, but more to the point, I’ve had too many other obligations pulling me away from reading. I will return to it soon!

The Catholic Mom's Prayer CompanionI’ve also been reading The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, edited by Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard, in order to review it. This is the one and only book I’ve reviewed without completing it, but, honestly, to read this book straight through seems to defeat its purpose, which is to provide short and simple daily meditations. So, I read a couple of months to inform myself of the quality, but I’m going to finish it day by day. And I’m going to be handing out a lot of these to Catholic moms at Christmas!

Treasure Island StevensonMy son has been reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonInterestingly, he borrowed a paperback copy from the library even though we have it on Kindle. These kids and their paper books. Go figure. I read the book for the first time about a decade ago after pulling it off of the shelf at the beach house in which we were staying in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I’d always wanted to read it, and enjoying it so close to where real pirates sailed made it that much better!

Roland West Theresa LindenMy boy’s also reading Roland West, Loner by my friend Theresa Linden. The book was one of our Christmas gifts to him, and I’m happy to see him reading something I enjoyed so much. I love that he asks me questions about the characters and other books in the series as if I have the inside scoop.

My daughter is STILL reading Trixie Belden, so no news to report there.

Honeybee's Busy Day Richard FowlerWe did a little bit (very little bit) of cleanup, and shifted some boxes of books that were in my son’s bedroom. They are temporary storage for some of our favorite picture books. The littlest of our kids have no memory of these books, so they were excited to discover them. All of our children have loved Honeybee’s Busy Day by Richard Fowler. That little bee on the front cover is made of durable cardboard. Slip her out of her plastic pouch and take her through each page’s adventures by sliding her through the slots. There’s so much excitement over this book in our house that I have to strictly enforce taking turns. I’ve noticed that the author has a similar book, A Squirrel’s Tale, which is available at the gift shop in Shenandoah National Park, where we recently visited. I’m tempted to give that one a try too.

Little Black Sambo Helen BannermanThe kids have also been enjoying one of my childhood favorites, The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman. I barely recall the controversy over this book when I was young. It didn’t dim my love for the story, and I’m happy to see that all of my children love it as much as I do. Something about those tigers zipping around the tree so quickly they turn to ghi is simply magical! I haven’t revisited the hullaballoo over this book, but to say that the text is racist seems absurd to me. The characters are bright and industrious and in any case, they are not even African or African-American. They are Indian. With its tiger sounds and repetitive dialogue between Sambo and the tigers, it’s a delightful story perfect for reading aloud.

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Copyright 2016 Carolyn Astfalk


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 She blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart. Visit


  1. I am reading “The Heliotropium” by Father Jeremias Drexelius. It was first published in 1627, in Latin. I usually enjoy books of fiction, and definitely with catchier titles. Somehow, for reasons and by methods I still can’t explain, I got a hold of this book and have slowly been working through it. It focuses in the first part on the necessity to see God’s will in everything. EVERYTHING! Good and bad, God allows it for His greater good. The next part is uniting our Will to the Divine, and lastly (I am not there yet) is how to receive the benefits of uniting our will to God’s. I have already seen the benefits of this wonderful book and learned to give thanks to God, in good and bad times. I would rank this as one of the most amazing books I have ever read. On a lighter side, Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” has also been on my bedside.

  2. I take it you’re reading The Heliotropium in English, not the original Latin. If not, I’m even more impressed! It sounds like a fruitful book. Seeing God’s will in things brings a whole new perspective, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing what you’re reading!

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