First, What Are You Reading? Volume 33, June 2013

Here are the questions I ask and answer on the first of each month. Or on the second of each month, when I forget to write this on the first of the month because life gets too busy. Thanks for being understanding, all my many and sundry readers.

The questions, as always, are:

first, what are you reading?

what do you like best about it?

what do you like least?

what’s next on your list to read?

As always, I hope you’ll consider your current reads on your blog and/or sharing here in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter. Happy reading!

First, what are you reading?

Awakened by the Moon, Leonard Marcus’ biography of picture book author Margaret Wise Brown.


For fun, I’ve got Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures because  I entered a drawing to receive a copy of it from GoodReads, and I won. (More on that later, especially the title).


What do you like best about them?

Awakened by the Moon has so many good lines about the writing of Margaret Wise Brown that I must quote:

“We speak naturally, but spend our whole lives trying to write naturally,” said Margaret Wise Brown.

Brown’s writing is “accessible but not predictable, emotional but purged of sentiment, vivid but so spare that every word felt necessary.” Yes.

Ursula Nordstrom, for a time an editor of Brown, had a habit of writing on less-than-great manuscripts: “N.G.E.F.Y.” The meaning? “Not good enough for you.”

I love that! I’m also hoping that people will refrain from doing that with my draft columns, blog posts and other writings. 🙂

Parenting with Crappy Pictures: Um, it’s really sweet (I’m going to talk about the title in what I don’t like). You just have to get over the title. Amber Dusick’s blog  is just so funny and clever for moms, especially moms of young kids, and actually very charming.

Her humor is fairly gentle, her parenting style tends towards the relaxed, and she just makes you laugh out loud. I dearly wish that I had had this book when I had smaller children, when you need to laugh out loud on a a regular basis or you are in trouble. Do you know me IRL? I’d love to pass it around to young moms.

What do you like least about them?

The sadness of much of Margaret Wise Brown’s life just breaks my heart, as well as the fact that she died so young, just as her personal life was moving towards happier and healthier.

The title of Parenting with Crappy Pictures is my least favorite, and basically the only thing I don’t like about it. It’s extremely funny and strange that I, of all people, would be the one to get this book in a giveaway. I’m really sensitive to language.

I realize “crappy” is not exactly “strong language.” I think this shows my sensitivity to language–it affects me to a pretty big degree, much like loud noises negatively affect some people. We are, for the most part, careful about it at our house partially because it bothers me, and partially to be sure kids don’t pick up bad habits.

For instance, when we are watching television and someone on, let’s say, Love It or List It says “crap” or takes the Lord’s name in vain, we all say, “impolite” because it is, and I don’t want my kids slowly picking up bad/impolite language from television. My kids (especially my younger kids) are actually better at this than I am, showing how I’m not as sensitive as I think, perhaps?

So I may wish the book had a different title, but it’s really funny and good, and encouraging for moms.

What’s next on your list?

I’m almost finished with Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. It’s really good, and making me want to try out a lot of new recipes, like real sourdough starter, homemade sauerkraut, or homemade yogurt.

I’m reading Regina Doman’s latest novel, Rapunzel Let Down: A Fairy Tale Novel, and hoping it’s as great as her other novels for teens.

What are you reading this month?