A Return to Reading

Homeschool parents can read too. Here’s what I’m reading.

When I was in my early 20s, I used to read at least 100 books per year. There was one year, when I think I actually topped 150 books. Then I had kids, got busier, and slowed way down on my reading consumption. For the past several years, I’ve been reading on average about 20 books per year.

My oldest son will be a freshman in high school next year. We are planning to continue homeschooling, and continuing to use a Charlotte Mason style of homeschool. So for the past couple months, I’ve been working on figuring out what books I want him to read in high school. Because I haven’t previously read all the books I’m considering assigning to him, I started reading a lot of the books on his future curriculum list.

I suddenly remembered that reading books is way more fun then mindlessly watching Netflix, and bam, I’m a reader again. In the past two months, I’ve read 20 books. My son will actually be reading maybe 5 of them in 9th grade. The other 15 are just books I wanted to read.

I do want to have keep this blog primarily as a homeschool resource, but I’m starting to run out of homeschool related topics to write about each week. So I’m going to start sprinkling in my own book reviews/recommendations as well. For today, I’ll recommend five excellent books that I’ve recently read.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama – This book is super long, Obama is wordy, but wow it’s good. He provides a lot of details about all the background negotiations that go into governing. If you are even remotely interested in politics and/or current affairs, I highly recommend this book.

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston – This is actually a book my son is reading as a part of his 8th grade US History. It’s well worth reading as an adult as well. This book is a memoir about a Japanese Americans experience in the Manzanar Internment Camp during WW2. Such an important part of US history that isn’t talked about enough.

Memory of Water by Emmi Itaranta – This is a book my son will be reading in 9th grade. It’s also amazing! It’s a future – post global warming – dystopian novel where water is very hard to find and highly regulated by the government. The book also has a really great adventure element and raises a lot of important ethica questions. I definitely recommend assigning this book to high school (or even middle school) students. I also recommend it for adults.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Back when I used to read veraciously, fantasy was one of my favorite genres. This book came out after I stopped reading veraciously, so I somehow missed the buzz. There is actually a Netflix series coming out later this spring, called Shadow and Bone, that is based upon Six of Crows. So I’m sure the hype will soon be even higher for this series. I’ll add my two cents to the debate and say, read this book, and it’s sequel Crooked Kingdom. The have a lot of violence, but would be appropriate for most high school readers. They are also very worthwhile reads for adults.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham – This is a dual POV book that jumps back and forth between present day and 1921. A teenage girl in present day discovers a skeleton berried under the floorboards of her historic Tulsa home when her family is remodeling. Back in 1921 a white teenage boy is questioning his own feelings about race leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race riots. Even with the dual POV, I did not guess who the body under the floor belonged. This mystery definitely has interesting twists and turns. This book also highlights another super important part of US history that isn’t normally taught in school. I read this book solely for my own entertainment, but it was SO GOOD, that I’m now wondering if I can somehow squeeze it into my son’s 8th grade US History, or find somewhere for him to read it in high school. Highly recommend.

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