What's on My Nightstand August 2013

It's time for another look at what I've read and listened to since last month.  (If you were interested in the Finding God in the Land of Narnia book, there is now a complete review...linked to it.).  I'm linking up with What's on Your Nightstand? at 5 Minutes for Books.

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman behind Little Women, by Harriet Reisen.  This was a thorough biography of one of my favorite authors.  Her childhood was more impoverished than the March family in Little Women.  I admire Alcott for all she overcame and certainly recommend this biography for mature fans.  (It's not that the book has mature themes, however the way her father neglected the family-possibly due to severe depression or more-and the way Alcott became the breadwinner make this not recommended for younger readers.)  I actually read this in July, though I forgot to include it in my last month's list.

The Secret Holocaust Diaries, by Nonna Bannister.  This was a freebie on my Kindle Fire.  Nonna Bannister carried her past as a secret in her heart.  Shortly before she died, she revealed to her American husband and family that she was a Holocaust survivor.  She endured much, even as a wealthy Russian, during her childhood.  She kept a record of her life through diaries.  This book is a compilation of her writings as a child and what she remembered as an adult.  Definitely recommend if you are interested in personal experiences from World War II.  (I do think I will reread Anne Frank soon!)

Hope for the Weary Mom, by Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin.  This was an e-book I had sitting on my Kindle for a long time.  I had read the shorter book during the screaming days and nights of Little Sister...and though the screaming is over, life is not easy.  This was an excellent dose of encouragement and reality based on faith, especially since I do not recall any of the short e-book due to total fatigue and brain fog (for months on end).

From Closet Clutter to Closet Control, by Lea Schneider.  This is a short book full of practical tips on organizing closets.  The biggest thing I took away is to keep items off the floor.  (It may not be a new revelation to you, but it was for me!)  I'm working on cleaning out four (4!) bedroom closets, so this was timely!  Just like her organizing blog, this book is very practical.  I do recommend it, though my only complaint is that it didn't "read" like a "real" book because pages had wide margins and were double spaced.  I felt like I was constantly turning pages.

Entwined, by Heather Dixon.  This was found in the Young Adult section of my library, but did not feel childish at all.  I had heard about it long ago, but being a fairy tale, chose not to look into it further.  Well...I wish I had read it sooner!  It was a wonderfully written and delightful tale of Azalea and her sisters!  One of my favorite aspects was that though they were princesses, they were dirt poor!  A neat twist.  HIGHLY recommend for teens (does NOT need to be YA) and adults even if you don't enjoy fairy tales!  This may be one of my favorites this year.

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, and a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans.  This was a fun book.  It was the spine that attracted me at the library.  Stuart Horten moves to his father's hometown...and discovers all sorts of surprises.  Though I do wish Stuart had not been sneaking around behind his parents' backs (including sneaking out at night), this was a delightful book.  I did like The Mysterious Benedict Society better, but fans of MBS will enjoy this as well.  (Carrie?)  I already have book 2 checked out of the library.

Just Grace, by Charise Mericle Harper  I read this short chapter book to review it since my oldest (nearly 7...eek) wanted to read it.  (Our library has a series of these Grace books.)  I decided that it wasn't a book I'd encourage reading, but with some discussion it'd be okay to allow it.  (It has been returned to the library and forgotten, which is fine with me.)  It reminds me of a girly Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  (I'm not a fan.)  Grace has some minor attitude issues, which is why I recommend only with reservations.  I do think girls would love it though.

March, by Geraldine Brooks.  This is a rather fascinating book about the life of the fictional father of Jo March from Little Women.  I chose not to finish this because I just couldn't tell what was based on diaries/letters and what was completely fictional...and Bronson Alcott is not a man that I really think should be idealized based on the Alcott bio I also read recently.  However, this was very well written and others may adore the book.  (Geraldine Brooks comes highly recommended.  I chose this book simply because it was on CD at the library not know the content.  I do intend to borrow another Brooks book.)

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery.  I delight in reading and especially listening to this book read by Barbara Curuso at least once a year.  Though Anne is certainly a favorite of mine, I relate to Marilla so much more!  She may be my kindred spirit!

The Capture, by Kathryn Lasky.  I'm not quite finished with this one, but it's close.  I am fully enjoying this children's book.  Soren is a barn owl who was pushed to his death by his older brother...rescued by another owl...but taken to a strange place where owls are moonblinked, forgetting all of their past-even their names, and turned into something.  This is part of a much longer series.  Carrie wrote up a full-length review you may be interested in.  Though a children's book, I don't intend to share it with my children too soon though I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look for the other books.  The nice thing is that even 12+ kids will enjoy these.  They are intense...and a tad bloody...  (I thought it was too dark, but Carrie is gifting her son with the books shortly after he is seven.)

Read Aloud
Caleb's Story, by Patricia MacLaughlin.  This is from the Sarah Plain and Tall series.  (I just learned our library has Skylark!  So excited!)  Caleb's sister has given him a journal which he thinks he won't have anything to write about.  When a stranger comes to visit, he more than fills it...Excellent book!

Up Next: Ever After and Bonhoffer on the Christian Life.  I have already begun both and really enjoy them!  Ideally I will also read Horten's Incredible Illusions: Magic, Mystery, and Another Very Strange Adventure.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
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  1. It has been a long while since I've read any biographical information of Alcott (I can't remember if I've read a full biography or not), but I do remember having trouble with the father, too.

    I didn't realize there was more to the Sarah Plain and Tall stories! That one sounds good.

  2. So many good things here!! Love the whole "Sarah Plain and Tall" series!! I listened to MARCH a few years back (and to the other novel of this name The March: A Novel by E.L. Doctorow. The Secret Holocaust Diaries, by Nonna Bannister is going on my list! Wonderful list this month!!

    Lisa @ http://hopewellmomschoolreborn.blogspot.com/2013/08/whats-on-your-nightstand-back-to-school.html

  3. I saw your comment--sorry, I think I've been hacked. My comments setting had been changed. Which two books? RIVEN and..... Rector's Wife based on what you've liked above! (I'm a librarian). Most libraries will get books for you from other libraries, too, so just ask. (Saw your Skylark comment).

    Lisa @ http://hopewellmomschoolreborn.blogspot.com/2013/08/whats-on-your-nightstand-back-to-school.html

  4. I could really use From Closet Clutter to Closet Control! Mine is OUT OF CONTROL! :) I loved Little Women so I think that I would like your first selction too. And Hope for the weary mom...music to my ears. Have to hunt that one up for sure.

    Looks like you had a great month!

  5. Now I need to check out this organization blog.

  6. So many interesting choices! Really enjoyed Entwined as well.

  7. I've read others' reviews of Entwined and have it on my TBR list due to almost exclusively positive remarks. I've seen other reviews of Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms but, for some reason, haven't paid any attention to them--but I might have to look it up now. If it's like MBS...

  8. Yup, I agree with you that fans of MBS will likely also like Horten. (I did anyway!)

    The Secret Holocaust Diaries sounds FASCINATING!!!

  9. The closet one would probably be good for me!! I have a very large closet, but it is constantly in a state of chaos!

  10. One of my nephews wanted The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books last year for Christmas and I almost cringed buying them. Since then, I'm almost ashamed to admit I watched *some* of the movie, and kind of liked it. :S

    You have several of there that sound great! I'm still debating if I want to try The Capture or not.

  11. The Alcott book sounds interesting, and I think I need those closet tips...

    It's been way too long since I read Anne. I need to add her to my pile!

  12. Nice list! I hope September finds you with a lot of great books!


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