Friday, November 18, 2011

"The Story of Mankind" by Hendrik Willem van Loon

When I decided to read Newbery books, I wasn't ready for my first pick to come from the non-fiction section.  What, that can't be written for children, and it can't be fun to read!  I was never friends with a history book in all my life.  It's not a short children's story, either, with no less than 592 pages.  But the subtitle "The classic history of all ages, for all ages" made me tell myself I wouldn't like it but it wouldn't kill me.  And guess what.  It's a quick, easy read.  I didn't think covering the ancient history of civilization could be written pleasantly, but I was wrong.  Now, I won't go out there and say this is a book any child will enjoy reading.  It's still mature, and if you had no prior knowledge about some of these histories and civilizations it might be daunting. But I'm on page 44 about to learn about the Indo-Europeans.  I like van Loon's style and the quick-pace the book keeps with brief chapters.  And there are several fun, old-school-styled maps and illustrations.  There you have it...the first tastes of the book are favorable and I've already found myself wanting to stop whatever home activity I'm in the middle of and pick up my history book.

Updated 12/7/11:  I finished last night around 12:30.  I took like a three-hour bath to try to get it done!  The intereting aspect of this book is it evolves.  The first edition printed in 1922, but since then the author's grandson(s) have written addendums to make-up for the fact that history is always happening.  The last addendum was added in the mid-80's, when oil and computers and space exploration weighed heavy on the author's mind.  Some of his future preditions where spot-on, others made me laugh.  But considering the latest update was added when I was a small child, I would really hope they keep this process up.  I want to see someone else add to the perspectives of the Gulf War, 9/11 and the War on Terror, the Internet.  At least, those are the huge world-wide milestones in the simplest terms I can come up with from my 30 years of memories.  So, there thou hast it.  I finished a 600 page history book.  I'm pretty darned pleased with myself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reading Goal

Yesterday at the library I was looking at a poster listing all the Newbery Award winning books.  Did you know they started giving the award in 1922?  That means currently there are 89 Newbery books out there.  And I have read some of them, but most I hadn't even heard of.  So I decided that I would read Newbery Award books in between my book club books.  I don't know how long it'll take me to read 89 of them (well, sometime next year it'll be 90) but I'm guessing since they're children's books they're probably not as long or difficult to read, so I'm thinking by the end of 2012 I'll have this goal completed.  Whaddya think?

I decided to start at the beginning.  The 1922 Newbery Award winner was "The Story of Mankind" by Hendrik Willem Van Loon.  I have it on-hold at the library.  I'm excited for the email telling me it's ready for pick-up so I can get it and get started on my goal!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Completed!!! The Anne Series (and a Veteran's Day tribute)

I was able to get a lot of reading done yesterday.  I blatantly ignored housework and personal hygeine and the children's meals and indulged in a much-needed reading day.  I my goal had been to finish "Rilla of Ingleside" before Tuesday, when I will receive my next book club book (don't know what it will be...I'm sure I've been told...).  But when I realized today would be Veteran's Day and the final book of the "Anne" series is all about WWI, I decided to finish it in honor of this day.  I feel very educated about the Great War and how much had to be sacrificed.  I know I really only have seen a drop in the bucket, and I selfishly declare I'm not sure I want to know more than that about wars.  I'm glad I'm not in the armed forces and I'm glad my husband has so many health issues there's no way they'd let him sign up.  But my brother, brother-in-law, and father-in-law have all served in National Guard and I'm grateful for what they and countless others have done for our liberties.