Reviewing Recent Reads

(…because all adore alliteration…right?)

I love reading.  I can never remember a time in my life when that wasn’t true.  I love words and stories and definitions.  One time in elementary school I tried to convince my teacher to let me read the dictionary for a book report.  (Unsurprisingly, my powers of persuasion were not quite strong enough win that argument.)   I think the ability to convey thoughts and ideas through symbols on a page (or screen) is amazing.  And I will definitely always choose to read a physical book over a digital one (but absolutely no judgement on all you eBook fans out there.  I will admit that choice does seem more environmentally conscious.  However, it doesn’t change my love of holding a bound stack of paper, flipping pages, seeing and feeling my progress through a novel.)  That being said, you can find a list of some of the books I have read here.  I am always open to new book recommendations!  Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email if you have any!

Since graduating in May I have had more time to read for enjoyment and I am LOVING it.  When the kiddos go down for a nap or get returned to their parents, I almost immediately will have my nose in a book (or trying to learn languages on Rosetta Stone before I lose my college-based subscription… learning Chinese and brushing up on Spanish.  Gotta keep my mind active with something other than my ABC’s and colors!)  In this post I wanted to give brief reviews of the books I have read this summer:

the glass castle


The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

Highly recommended to everyone.  This is an accessible true story primarily about the childhood of Jeannette Walls.  She grew up in a situation that most would label quite unique.  Often on the run and living in extreme poverty, the Walls family is characterized by their loyalty to one another, their creativity in desperate situations, and their atypical view of conventional society.  Life is viewed as one grand adventure…and whether this is a survival mechanism, hopelessly optimistic, incredibly brave, or remarkably ignorant is open for discussion. This book provided insight that caused me to rethink and reexamine many of my previous assumptions about poverty, homelessness, childhood acquaintances, and family.

sign with your baby

Sign with your Baby
How to communicate with infants before they can speak

by Joseph Garcia

Recommended to parents or soon-to-be parents who are interested in increased communication with their child.  This book not only teaches basic sign language to be used with babies (and toddlers!!), but also contains a lot of helpful information about how to go about introducing sign language into your child’s life, when the best times for new words or phrases are, what to expect in terms of their understanding and reciprocation, and the reasoning behind the increasing use of sign language as a means to communication.  Frequently asked questions (such as, does sign language caused for a delay in speech? how can this help avoid the phase typically coined the terrible twos?) are also addressed.   At the back of the book is a compilation of numerous signs and their meanings.

As a nanny/babysitter/caregiver this book was interesting to me in numerous respects.  Not only am I getting to put the signs into practice with a few of my little ones whose parents are on board, I have learned more about the importance of eye contact in learning, the need to be attentive to both verbal and nonverbal communication, and some of the supposed causes of tantrums.  This book suggests that frustration with an inability to effectively communicate needs/wants/desires is a primary cause of the tantrums…which makes plenty of sense to me! How often as an adult to I feel like kicking and screaming when someone isn’t comprehending what I am trying to get across! Next up, I am looking for a book that can teach me more about how to teach respect for authority and some effective and loving ways to go about disciplining children.  As much as I always just want to be the fun babysitter, there is a very real side effects to a lack of authority and discipline.





by Peter Hoeg

Highly recommended book to readers willing to step outside of their comfort zone.  This book doesn’t necessarily fit into any familiar genre.  It is plot-based to a degree, with character development, but also involving wider ideas about time, education (particularly the Danish education system), childhood, and psychology.  Told from the perspective of an inquisitive child, with the insight of an adult… this book was quite enchanting.  Examining social and political issues related to Danish boarding schools, the question of discipline as it relates to childhood, friendships/family/personal history, and a child’s interaction with time, Borderliners touched on so many topics I personally find interesting and did so in a way that was both exploratory and speculative.  My only negative comment would be that the ending felt rather abrupt.




Silo (series)

Wool, Shift, and Dust

by Hugh Howey

Recommended if you’re looking for a dystopian trilogy. Living beneath the surface of the earth is a silo full of people, going about life – living, dying, fertilizing plants, having babies.  The view of the earth’s surface above is a bleak one: desolate and dust-filled.  Though as far back as can be remembered, this is how life has been.  However, in some circles there remains an unspoken feeling that something is not right.  Who is really in control?  And how can one search for truth in an world where simply speaking of a single thing can get you killed?

The first book starts rather slowly and it took a bit for me to get into the plot, but once I did I found the ideas interesting. The tale that was being weaved became more complex, more interesting, and (in some ways) more terrifyingly plausible.


Well… that’s my first attempt at reviewing books I have read (at least, first attempt since like fifth grade). Hopefully I get better with time!

Pictures of my travels to come. :)

Reviewing Recent Reads

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