An Open Book: February 2019

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An Open Book CatholicMom.com

Welcome to the February 2019 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.

Snow, squalls, and cold weather have kept us confined to the house more than we’d like, but that leaves lots of time for reading, right? At the end of the day, I’m eager to make a mug of hot tea (Constant Comment, please), wrap myself in a hand-knitted shawl, and hold a book or my Kindle on my lap!

I discovered The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland via a post shared on An Open Book in January. I’m listening on audiobook, and both the text and the narration have drawn me into the lives of the real-life characters featured.  Alternately moving, gripping, and, ultimately, uplifting, author Jim DeFede took me right back to my own experience of 9/11. A great choice for teens and older.

Made This Way: How to Prepare Kids to Face to Face Today’s Tough Moral Issues by Trent Horn and Leila Miller presents ten hot-button moral issues, a natural law approach to explaining the Catholic position on them, and tips for guiding both young children and teens. This clear-thinking, common sense approach is a boon to parents and anyone charged with teaching young people about controversial issues such as reproductive technologies, same-sex marriage, pornography, and transgender identity.

I’ve read At Home in Persimmon Hollow by Gerri Bauer, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover this addition to the series: Trust in Love (Persimmon Hollow Legacy Novella 1). I loved the Southern Florida setting — a part of the United States I’ve never considered as part of the American frontier — and was happy to revisit it. So far, I’m getting acquainted with two Catholic immigrants — one Irish, one Italian — working side by side. I sense a sweet romance budding.

Working his way through the Middle Ages, my teenager is reading The Inferno by Dante Alighieri. I get treated to after-school updates about who has been confined to what part of Hell. I read portions of The Inferno in high school, too, and would like to read The Divine Comedy in its entirety as an adult.

Besides marveling at the $1.50 paperback price on the front of my 1980 edition of The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, my teen has enjoyed this story as a leisure read. I love that he loves classics. He’s discovered that it’s less the horror novel he expected and more a science fiction story, similar to other books he’s read by Wells.

In my daughter’s backpack, she’s carrying The Island by Gary Paulsen. In it, a teenage boy discovers a lake island where he learns about nature and self-reliance. (Common themes in Paulsen’s books, from what I’ve seen.) Just reading the description makes me long for the slow summer days of my childhood spent outdoors, trudging up and down paths and along creeks and ponds, observing and thinking. I think our kids could do with a whole lot more of that. At least when we thaw out from these sub-freezing temps!

I *think* my daughter has, through the use of the inter-library loan system, now read everything she wanted to read in this well-loved series. In Wilbur and Orville Wright: Young Fliers (Childhood of Famous Americans) by Augusta Stevenson, the reader sees the Wright brothers as young boys, eager to create things that fly. The series tells the stories of children–before they were famous. My fifth-grade daughter highly recommends these chapter books for children.

A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban is one of my children’s favorites. Interestingly, it was not a favorite of mine when we first read this story of a young anthropomorphic badger who runs away to beneath the kitchen sink  with a package of prunes when a baby sister comes along, hogging her mom’s time and attention. As we read this sweetly illustrated book aloud, my kids reminisce about their own experiences with “running away” and their first impressions of Frances.

I received a copy of Before You Were Born by Joan Lowery Nixon from my obstetrician’s office after my first son was born in 2003. We have the 1980 edition, which includes very, uh, 1980-ish illustrations: abstract with lots of swirling colors. The text is marvelous, tracing a child’s beginnings from conception through birth, emphasizing how loved the child was at every stage of development. I see Our Sunday Visitor released a new edition in 2006 with more contemporary illustrations. It looks great!

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Copyright 2019 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.

2 Comments

  1. Bonnie Melielo on

    Rereading “Humility Rules” by J. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. It is an awesome book for teens as well as adults. Father Wetta breaks down Saint Benedict’s “The Rule” in an easy to read and even, dare I say, entertaining format. Anyone (me, me, me) trying to be more humble and holy will find inspiration, direction and humor in this book.

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