Monday, November 25, 2013

Sawtooth Quilt Block and What's on Your Nightstand?

I'm participating in the monthly feature, What's on Your Nightstand?  Participants post what they've been reading the past month as well as what they're planning to read in the future.

Baby Board Books:

Can you see my sweet 6-month-old grandson's hands holding the book with his mama?  It's best to start reading to children EARLY ON, and I'm so happy that my son and daughter-in-law are doing just that!

Picture Books:

She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head by Kathryn Lasky
Historical fiction set in Massachusetts (1896)

Historical fiction about the beginning of the Massachusetts Audubon Society.  Feathers on ladies' hats were becoming more and more popular. Harriet Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall believed something had to be done. Fashion was killing birds as well as women's chances to have the right to vote and be listened to. For who would listen to a woman with a dead bird on her head? And if the senseless slaughter for a silly fashion was not stopped, in a few years the birds with the prettiest feathers would all be dead, gone forever, extinct.  "Why not form a bird club?" suggested Harriet.

"What a wonderful idea," said Minna. "Let's do it. Let's start a club for the birds!"

Middle Grade Novels:

Al Capone Does My Shirts: a Tale from Alcatraz by Gennifer Choldenko, 2004
A Newbery Honor book - Historical Fiction set in 1935 on Alcatraz Island

I really enjoyed this book, the first in a series of three.  A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there.  The island was home to such notorious criminals as Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone.  Moose has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister, Natalie.
The author volunteered at Alcatraz for a year to gain background for writing the book.  She also has a sister with autism.  It's good to pair it with Rules, also about a sibling with autism.    

There's a fun cookbook called the Alcatraz Women's Club Cookbook which can be read free online here.   The author has a wonderful website here

Rules by Cynthia Lord
Realistic Fiction, Newbery Honor Medal 2007
“Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules — from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public" — in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?” -  My 5th graders are really enjoying this, and I would highly recommend this book.  It was the author's first novel and won a Newbery Honor Medal.  She has a son with autism, so she truly understands what Catherine is feeling.

A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home by Henry Cole
A mix of Fantasy and Historical Fiction set near New Orleans, Louisiana in 1821

This story is told through the eyes of Celeste, a mouse who spends her days weaving baskets.  She becomes friends with Joseph, the young apprentice of ornithologist and bird painter, John James Audubon.  A mix of fantasy and historical fiction, the book is illustrated with lovely brown pencil drawings.  It takes place at Oakley Plantation, not far from New Orleans, Louisiana.  In 1821, Audubon actually lived for about four months at Oakley Plantation.  More information about Audubon is provided at the end of the book.  I would read this with the picture book, She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head! by Kathryn Lasky above.

Book Club Books:

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood for the NRP Backseat Book Club.  This selection was for July before I discovered this book club. 
Historical Fiction set in Hanging Moss, Mississippi in June, 1964

Matilda by Roald Dahl, also for NPR's Backseat Book Club.
Fantasy set in England

I'm not a huge Roald Dahl fan, but I do enjoy his book, The BFG.  I'm listening to this book, though, and am enjoying parts of it.   

The Light Between Oceans by H. L. Stedman for my local book club.  You can read about it here.
Historical Fiction set in a remote island off the coast of Australia from 1918-1950

I really enjoyed this book.  There is lots here for discussion, so I highly recommend it to book clubs.  Much moral dilemma with no easy answers.   

Aunt Jane of Kentucky by Eliza Calvert Hall for the on-line Quilters' Book Club. 

In the Quilters' Book Club this month, we're reading Aunt Jane of Kentucky by Eliza Calvert Hall, written in 1898.  This book consists of nine short stories.  Each story is told by Aunt Jane in a humorous way that is full of wisdom.  If you are interested in checking it out, get it from here if you have a Kindle or a Kindle app.  If you want to read it directly from your computer, you can do so here, courtesy of Project Gutenberg.  It's a public domain book so is available free in either format. 

This has been a different sort of book for our club, but each story is short so is a good read for this busy time of year.

If you're a Mitford fan, this is a wonderful accompaniment to the series!

Audio Books:
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908
I think everyone should read this book at least once.  I've read it several times!
Fiction set in Prince Edward Island, Canada

"Elderly bachelor Matthew Cuthbert and his spinster sister, Marilla Cuthbert, are in need of a nice, sturdy boy to help Matthew on the farm. So they decide to adopt an orphan. But the orphanage mistakenly sends a girl instead – a mischievous, talkative redhead who would be of no use at all. She would simply have to go back. But the longer Anne Shirley stays at Green Gables, the more no one can imagine living without her."

What's on your nightstand?  Inquiring minds want to know! 

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. I am reading Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers. I listen to more books as I sew. Sycamore Row by John Grisham is super. I'm now listening to Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker; I also read this book. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Sometimes the Newberry Honor books are better than the winners. I love historical fiction so you have added to my list. I don't have internet connections by my bed or I would have finished Aunt Jane of Kentucky. I really don't care for reading on my computer. Last night I finished "We Shall Not Sleep" (book 5 by Anne Perry in her WW1 series) Then I began "Acceptable Loss", another Anne Perry mystery set in Victorian London and part of the series featuring William Monk.

  3. Our book club just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It is a true story of Cheryl's solitary hike on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Oregon as she copes with the loss of her mother. Right now I'm reading The Double Wedding Ring by Clare O'Donohue, the book I won earlier this year ;-) I'm looking forward to reading The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak as soon as it arrives from Amazon.

  4. I love the picture with little hands holding the book!
    The Light Between Oceans is a wonderful, thoughtful book with much to discuss. I still think about it occasionally.


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