On our bookshelf – August 2018
A list of books I and my family are reading. For posterity, future reference, and general interest. (Links to the books on Amazon are affiliate links!)
Working from a Place of Rest by Tony Horsfall.
This was recommended to me by a friend from church, over a meal, and in a discussion about one of my favorite topics at the moment: leisure. Horsfall uses the story of Jesus at the well, meeting and ministering to the Samaritan woman to make a case for rest. It is straightforward, Scripture based, and speaks specifically to those who are caught up in ‘trying to do it all’, particularly in ministry. I do find myself wishing the author would address the sense of frenzy that builds up if we fill up our spare moments with distractions, but that’s my pet topic at the moment, so I’ll forgive the oversight!
The Flower Book by Rachel Siegfried.
My birthday was this month, and I asked particularly for a book on cut flower arranging. This is what my husband picked out, and if you are into flowers, it is basically eye candy. To give some context, we keep an allotment, conveniently located behind our house, and I’ve taken a fancy to using one of the raised beds for growing flowers just for cutting and bringing indoors. Supermarket and florist’s flowers are generally quite bad for the environment, since they tend to be shipped into the country from quite far away – so this is my way of having my cake and eating it, too. There are lots of arrangements, ordered by season. Many of them are quite simple, and the author includes a list of each flower she included and how many.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
I used our Audible credits to download this for my husband, and he raved about it so much that I am now listening to it myself. Newport argues that ‘deep work’ (long, undistracted sessions of focused work applied to complex problems) is at once more necessary and harder to achieve than ever before. My husband has been applying some of the principles – waking earlier in order to get to work before emails and instant messages start coming in. Even though I don’t have as much opportunity for long sessions of time, I’m setting myself the challenge of growing my habit of attention in general, so that when I do get the opportunity to read, study, or write, I’m able to get down to business straight away.
This book joins a few others as one that casts vision for how I want my children to grow up while giving practical guidance for how to help that happen. We know so much about child development, particularly neurological development, that I think we have a wonderful opportunity to develop our parenting in line with the natural development of our children. This book speaks specifically about helping children develop a healthy sense of control – that they have control over their education, their decisions, their lives in general. No one wants to feel like they are powerless to do anything about their situation, and we can lay the groundwork early by allowing our kids to take the reigns of their life, ‘as long as it’s not crazy’, as the authors state. I’m sad to return this one to the library.
Little Pig Robinson by Beatrix Potter
I picked this one off our shelf when I needed a longer story to read through for morning time with the boys. At eight chapters, with Beatrix Potter’s usual charming illustrations (some pen and ink, some watercolor), I found this a very witty story. Some of it went over my kids’ heads, but even they enjoyed learning about the piggy wig with the ring through the end of his nose from ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. The language is rich and the plot is humorous. We own all the Beatrix Potter books, and don’t regret it. The boys love to flip through them on their own and enjoy the illustrations, and they are lovely to read aloud as well.
The Cut Flower Patch by Louis Curley
I placed a reservation on this one from the library, and am eagerly awaiting notification that it’s in. While my birthday book is about making arrangements, this one is focused more on how to actually grow the flowers. I’m anticipating that I’ll soon need to think about planting autumn bulbs and seeds, so I’m excited to get a resource to help me make a plan for my raised bed. I am hoping that I end up with some flowers to work with next year. My plan is to blog about my little flower patch and my aspiring hobby, so watch this space. This book is UK oriented, although I’m sure there are US equivalents.
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet
We are eagerly watching the post at our house, waiting for our next read aloud to arrive! I’ve seen this book, the first in a trilogy, mentioned in a few places online. It should be a good fit for my 4.5 year old, and I’m hoping my 3 year old is able to enjoy it, too. I just have to convince the boys that even though the title says ‘my father’, I can still read it to them!