Our family finished five books in the month of May: The Survivor’s Club and four more. Read on for our impressions of each:
5 books we read in May
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I just finished reading Farmer Boy aloud to my children yesterday afternoon. It was my sixth or seventh time to do so, although my youngest children were hearing it for the first time.
Probably because I am mother to so many boys, this is my favorite of all the Little House books. It describes the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband Almanzo, and is chock full of endearing stories, memorable lessons, hard work, simple pleasures, and lots of mouth-watering descriptions of hot, home-cooked meals.
Reading it always puts me in the mood to bake pies and clean house and sew clothes and dig potatoes and a hundred other things. What’s even better, listening to it puts my children in the mood to help!
1100 Words You Need to Know by Murray Bromberg
Several of our older kids are working through 1100 Words You Need to Know over their summer break in hopes of being better prepared for the SAT exams.
I like the way the book is organized. Students are given five new words to learn each day and two or three short exercises to help them do so.
A cumulative review every Friday serves to cement the definitions into their long-term memory.
This consumable workbook includes 46 weeks worth of activities, all of which can be completed in about 15 minutes a day.
The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood
For instance: What would you suppose is the maximum distance a person could free-fall and survive? Have a number in mind? Now double it, triple it, quadruple it. You’re probably still grossly underestimating. The answer is actually 33,000 feet, as proven by Vesna Vulovic, a Serbian flight attendant who plummeted over six miles to Earth when a bomb exploded on her plane mid-flight. Not only did she live to tell about it, but she went back to work for the airlines and flew 20 more years before retiring!
Subtitled “The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Live,” The Survivors Club includes incredible accounts of people surviving things that sound utterly unsurvivable, but evidently aren’t.
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
Our daughter Bethany recommended this book to her father, who ordered it on his iPhone immediately and kept our entire family enthralled with a running synopsis over dinner each night.
Now, David and Samuel have downloaded it to their phones, and Mom is reading a hard copy aloud to the children.
This true account tells how one man uses his gift for music to offer hope and courage to his besieged comrades, even as their enemies strive desperately to silence him.
The Big Rich by Bryan Burrough
This is another of my husband’s picks. He writes: “During the mid-80’s, I attended a Bible study in the home of a member of the Hunt family. Reading this book was like stumbling upon my friend’s private diary and taking a peek.
On the one hand, I could not turn away, but on the other, I felt a little guilty with each new revelation. While each of the four families featured in the book had their complexities, clearly the Hunt family story was the most convoluted. In fact, knowing what I learned in the book only deepens my already great respect for my friend, who managed to rise above it all.
Beyond that personal note, the book was absolutely riveting. I literally couldn’t put it down, and since it was on my iPhone, I would read a page or two at every stoplight, and then stay up late at night to read a few pages more.
As the saga unfolded, I found myself vacillating between the two poles of pride and embarrassment on behalf of my native Texas. In the end, pride won out. I strongly recommend The Big Rich for anyone who wants to understand Texas, oil, or the history of conservative American politics. It is a fascinating story. A story as big as Texas.
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