Monday, September 10, 2012

Family's List of Recommended Books

I am a bookworm by nature, devouring books in single sittings when I can.  In elementary school, I went through a phase of reading a book-a-day and sometimes my mom actually had to tell me not to read so much.    While motherhood has definitely slowed the volume of books that I read, reading is still something that is an important part of who I am and for the sake of my sanity, something that I have to make time for no matter how busy life gets. 

A couple of my kids (Spencer and Emma) have taken after me in this regard, reading voraciously whenever they can, but with the other three kids it's a little more of a push to get them to read.   They like books when they're reading them, but they're not as likely to select it as their activity of choice.  So to me it is a beautiful thing when I walk into a room and am greeted by this sight.....

Shortly after taking this picture, I got the idea to make a list of our favorite books--partially to capture the moment in time, but also to share with all of you some of the books that we like the best.  I asked each person in the family what books they would recommend and why.  I tried to use their own words whenever I could, but you will note that some of us are a little more verbose than others.  :)   Since we're always looking for new material to read, feel free to leave your recommendations (for adults or kids) in the comments. 

Glen's Reviews
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain-- Intriguing research about how exercise affects our status of mind. It addresses how exercise has proven to be effective in treating common ailments such as stress, ADHD, depression, aging, addiction, and many other ailments and a great facilitator to increase learning. If you want a clinical study that's sure to inspire you to get moving, this is a great read. It is a little heavy on the medical terminology, but I have read it twice now and will likely read it again.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
-- If you have any inkling for a passion to run, this is a great book.  It chronicles the true life experiences of Christopher McDougall in his quest to become an ultra marathoner. Among other stories, he talks of his experiences with the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, a native Mexican tribe of Indians that have held distance running as a part of their everyday life for centuries. This book is fun and fascinating for the runner in you.

Lone Survivor
-- This is an inspiring and humbling true life story of Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal member. Marcus Luttrell is the leader of a small elite team of Navy Seals that were given a true mission to covertly enter Afghanistan and apprehend or kill a head member of Al Qaeda believed to be very close to Osama bin Laden. During the course of the mission, something goes horribly wrong and the book is the true experiences of this Navy Seal team's struggle for survival. WARNING - this book has some colorful language you might expect to hear on the battlefield and some very real description of war sequences. It is however a very real insight into who I believe our military heroes are and the hell they are asked to live through on occasion to preserve and protect our freedom as well as the freedoms of peoples all over the world.

Lara's Reviews
These is My Words--This story is of a woman living on the American frontier in the 19th century.  I loved the characters, the romance, and the beautiful life she forged amongst the harshness of that time and place.    

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
--I sat incredulous through most of this book--incredulous that one man could endure so much.  Incredulous that men could be so evil.  And incredulous that someone could rise above all the evils/hardships he faced and do so much good. 

Book of Mormon--I have read this book again and again in my life and I am always amazed at some piece of wisdom I've missed in past readings.   This book goes hand-in-hand with the Bible and is an account of Christ's visit to the people living in the Americas.  I consider this book to be the most influential and inspirational book I've ever read. 

--I'll be the first to admit that this book was cheesy and predictable, but I also found it charming and fun.  If you are in need of a light and clean romantic read, this book is perfect. 

Spencer (17)
Inheritance series--Spencer says that these books are "exciting and interesting" and he wants to be a  book reviewer when he grows up, so he can get paid to give such enlightening and descriptive book reviews. 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
--Spencer finds this book quite entertaining and quotes from it liberally.  He recently talked Glen into reading it too which is helping Glen to understand a little more Spence-language.  He has yet to convince me. 

Cami (15)
The Goose Girl -- This book is full of good old-fashioned romance and adventure when a princess finds her life and kingdom in jeopardy.  She has to keep herself in disguise and use her unusual gifts to save herself and her kingdom. 

The Last Song
--This book is as sappy as most Nicholas Sparks' books, but as always it's an engaging story that will make you cry.  

Emma (11)As you can see, Emma is quite a bookworm who enjoys a plethora of different genres. 

Boston Jane: An Adventure --She liked it because it was a romance, historical fiction, and an adventure all in one book. 

Dear America
series--These books are historical fiction stories about girls living through famous moments of history.  It gives you a glimpse of what it might have been to live through them through the eyes of a child. 

Saving Zasha
--A historical fiction book about life in post-World War II in Russia and a boy's journey to save a German Shepherd, which are forbidden in Russia at that time because of their affiliation with Germany. 

The Underland Chronicles
--Written by Suzanne Collins (the same author as Hunger Games),  these fantasy books have adventure, strange creatures, and an everyday boy who becomes a hero.  Emma loved this series. 

Alex Rider--a series of mystery books about a boy who helps his uncle and  becomes an undercover spy. 

Adam (9)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory --This is a book I read over and over again when I was a kid, so I was so excited when Adam recently discovered this classic tale too.  I would skip watching the movies, since they are a bit odd, but this book is full of fantasy and imagination that will draw in even the most reluctant readers to its fantastic story.

Geronimo Stilton books--It's all about fun with these these popular chapter books.  They're fun adventure stories with full-color illustrations and fonts to match the words.    Adam says they're among the most popular books among boys his age and the school library was all checked out of them after only one day. 

Ellie (7)
Little House Chapter Books (easy readers )-- Based on the original Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, these easy-to-read books are Ellie's favorite right now. She wants me to mention that she loves books that are based on real stories. 

The Josefina Story Quilt
(easy chapter book)--This book is a touching account of a little girls' joys and sorrows as she crosses the plains with her family.  Although there is a sad moment, Ellie absolutely loves this book. 

My Chincoteague Pony
- (a picture book)--a sweet story about a little girl who goes to buy a pony at an auction, but does not have enough money.  The crowd feels her disappointment build as she bids unsuccessfully on pony after pony and then chips in to help her buy it.  Afterward she saves her money all year, so she can help someone else buy a pony the following year. 

Favorite Picture Books
Edward the Emu--a fun story about an emu in the zoo who decides to try out being other animals for a time.  In the end he realizes that he being the emu is the best.  We love the rhyming cadence of this book and at any given time some of my children have had this book memorized. 

Caps for Sale--a classic story about a cap seller who gets his caps stolen by monkeys while he is taking a nap.  My kids find this book wildly funny. 

Make Way for Ducklings --I loved this classic book when I was a little girl and now my own kids love  it too, especially after a visit to Boston and seeing some of the scenes from the book in real life.  The story is quaint and realistic and the illustrations simple yet beautiful. 

If You Find a Rock--I love the gorgeous pictures in this book almost as much as the simple but elegant text describing  rocks in a way that everyone (child or adult) can connect with.  Although not scientific in the slightest, it is perfect if you have any rock collectors in the house. 

1 comment:

annalisa said...

I also really liked Unbroken. It is pretty dang amazing what he endured and overcame.

I also like the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy books. They are pretty funny :)

Some of my favorite books for adults are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

For kids, I really like the How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell.

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