Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Sunday Salon 8-23-09: Summer Reading, Went By So Fast ....

A new school year begins in less than 24 hours for us! Truly hard to believe. I'm parenting solo today (The Dean is working), taking the kids up to the Humane Association to finalize our family's adoption of Mrs. Douglas, getting ready for school, and finishing up the Summer Reading Book logs.

Ah, yes ... the Summer Reading Logs. Back in June, Betty and Boo came home with the suggested summer reading lists for their age group and their project instructions.

And as always, this caused me a bit of consternation.

Don't get me wrong - I love, love, love the concept of summer reading, suggested books, book-related projects, and the whole gamut. In my world, the entire summer from start to finish should be spent reading.

However, I must say I think our school district sets the expectations a bit low for this. My kids are going into 2nd grade, and the requirements this summer were that the kids needed to read (or be read to) for a minimum of one hour a week.

Read that again. One hour a WEEK! What's that, less than 10 minutes a day? Is that me, or does that seem kind of puny? (Oh, and they were allowed to take a week off. From reading. Presumably, not the Wii or anything else. Reading.)

Now, I know each kid has different reading abilities and maybe, for some resistant readers, less than 10 minutes of reading per day is all that's going to happen. But, clearly, I expect more. So my summer reading project was to encourage my kids to do more than what's expected without turning them into the likes of the kids I went to school with. (I mean, I went to middle school with kids who spent their summers whizzing through the next grade level's math textbooks, only to start the next school year a grade or two higher than the rest of their peers. Needless to say, such super-achievers made average students like me, the valedictorian of the bottom half of our class, look and feel inadequate, at best. No, I'm not still bitter nearly three decades later ... why you ask?)

Back to the present day's reading reality show. I think we did pretty well, if I do say so myself. At the beginning of the summer, Betty and Boo each set a goal for how many books they planned to read.

Betty said 100. As of this morning, she's at 98.

For Boo, 60 books was the magic number. He's at 75. And they'll each come in around 75 or so hours of summer reading time.

I'm so proud of them, mainly because they did this on their own, with hardly any pushing from me (honestly!). They were the ones who asked if we could read together every night. And we have, usually tucked in together in the guest room for close to an hour every night, just reading silently to ourselves.

Not paying attention to the time ticking away.
* * * *
As for my own reading, this was a "meh" week in regards to books. I finished The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

I'll have a review up at some point but I gotta say ... I know people rave about this book and it has gotten wide acclaim, but it didn't do it for me. I spent a good part of the book confused, getting so frustrated at one point that I considered abandoning it with less than 70 pages to go. Great premise, good characters (albeit too many of them, I think) but the structure was really tough for me to follow.

I also started (and abandoned) Love Falls, by Esther Freud. Yep, you're right, the author would indeed be Sigmund's great-granddaughter.

I admit that was the attraction for me to this book, but I abandoned it last night after 65 pages when nothing happened except several swims in an Italian pool, some skeevish behavior by the father, and a stuffy party with stereotypical, flat characters.

And now, that brings us to today, The Sunday Salon, and a new cat. I'm hoping to have some reading time today with Flies On the Butter, by Denise Hildreth, which I chose for the name and also because it represents (to me) something familiar and different at the same time.

It's Southern fiction, which I love, but it is also categorized as Christian fiction, which I've never read (that I know of). I owe a nod to My Friend Amy for inspiring me to try this, knowing of how many terrific-sounding books she has reviewed on her lovely blog that just so happen to be Christian fiction. (Actually, Amy deserves more than a nod this week, as she's doing an incredibly amazing job heading up Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which has resulted in my being nominated for two completed unexpected and much-appreciated awards.)

Hope your week is filled with new starts, new beginnings (and of course, new books!)

UPDATE: It's Sunday evening and I thought I'd catch up on a little reading before "Mad Men." (Love, love, love that show!) I'm here to announce that I am officially in a Reading Funk. First, the lackluster History of Love. Then, the abandonment of Love Falls. Tonight, Flies on the Butter was the latest book to be cast aside. (A shame, as I liked the title and cover.) In 35 pages, I wasn't sufficiently hooked by the details of the main character's Lexus, her Blackberry, or her speeding ticket to continue much further.


debnance said...

I'm always on the lookout for wonderful Christian fiction. I've had a tough time finding fiction that is both wonderful and Christian, but I, like you, have the bar raised quite high.

Congrats to your bambinos! I bet they feel very proud.

Table Talk said...

I wasn't that struck my 'The History of Love' either, although I had several friends who thought it was absolutely wonderful. I also gave up on "Love Falls'. Clearly great minds think alike:)

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

debnance, I'll be sure to post a review of this one. Hopefully it will be a wonderful read. Thanks, too, for the congrats on the kids' reading/

Table Talk, I'm glad it's not just me with both of these. Indeed, great minds do think alike. :)

Niksmom said...

Your children can be very, very proud of their reading accomplishments! Clearly, those apples don't fall far from the tree!

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Summer did go by fast! I love the book goals you set and how exciting to see how far you have come!

Bonnie said...

I wasn't fond of The History of Love either. I found it rather boring and kept waiting for something more to happen and it didn't. Flies on butter and the cover sounds very interesting. I'll be interested in your review.

Congrats to your kiddos for their reading accomplishments! Our school has no reading requirements except for middle school/high school. I wish that they did for the elementary school. My son is going into 5th grade. He read several books and many comic books this summer! I'm happy that he is reading and loves to read.

Good luck with the adjustment of the new addition to your family.

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I'm adding yours to my google reader!

Meghan said...

I always loved summer reading, but I imagine 1 hour a week is a challenge for kids who hate it. I'm glad your kids have done so well and I hope their new school year gets off to a great start!