Reading about Iran

Interested in joining in with us for the Reading Together: A Family Exploration Book Club? Our theme for May and June is Iran, and you’ve still got time to find the books and join our new co-host Katie from Cakes, Tea, and Dreams for the discussion.

RTFEBC Iran Books

What are the three books we’ve selected? The picture book is Forty Fortunes by Aaron Shepard, illustrated by Alisher Dianov. (Can’t find it? I’ll list some other suggestions below). The elementary grade book to be discussed in May is Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher, and the middle grade / teen book for June is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Want some additional picture book options?

If your kids are anything like mine, you can run through a half dozen picture books in a day, and they like nothing more than doing just that. In case you can’t easily locate Forty Fortunes, or if you just want more options, here are some more possibilities. Asterisks (*) mark ones I especially enjoyed, and the tilde (~) denotes one I haven’t actually seen, thanks to it vanishing off my library holds shelf before I could borrow it.

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Savor by Shaun Niequist

Station Eleven (and a linkup!)

Station ElevenI am a post-apocalyptic wimp. I had to force myself to get through Emily St. John Mandel’s Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and it’s not because the book is poorly written. Her writing is beautiful, and the story compelling. Too compelling for me, as I get anxious when reading about civilization collapsing and find myself wanting to go stockpile food and learn about survival techniques.

I did better with the book once the storyline moved past the immediate the-world-is-imploding moments and it was either clearly before the collapse or after. Something about the time right as it’s happening gets to me. 😉

Fortunately for everyone in the Facebook group who wanted to discuss the book, they didn’t have to wait on me to finish it (I was so late with this one), as there was a guest facilitator. And the discussions were wonderful – lots of interesting perspectives on the book, and post-apocalyptic literature in general.

It’s hard to give a rating to this sort of book. It’s a 5-star read in many ways – the writing, the characters, how thought-provoking it is. And yet because it’s so hard for me to read this genre it feels wrong in some ways for me to give it a 5 star rating. Those are reserved for the books I LOVE, so even though I can acknowledge that it’s a fabulous book, I think I have to only give it 4 stars.

So, go! Read this book, unless you’re a goofball like me who then feels the need to start hoarding all the survival items I can think of. And even then, you might still read it because it is a great book, and I just have issues.

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion on Empire of the Summer MoonEmpire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne on May 9th – I’m starting it a week later because it’s a slower read (and I need time to finish). There will be a linkup for posts relating to the book on May 31st.


If you’ve written a post about Station Eleven, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below.

Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

When My Name Was Keoko (and a linkup)

When My Name Was KeokoApril continued with the theme of Korea for our family book club, and the book selection is a favorite of mine: When My Name Was KeokoWhen My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park, by Linda Sue Park.

Because of the ages of my children (my oldest is only 6), it’s not one I read aloud to them, but I do plan on either having them read it themselves eventually, or reading it to them when they’re older.

I’m reasonably well-read about World War II and that era, but I hadn’t realized that Korea was occupied by Japan before and during the war. Or at least if I’d heard it it hadn’t really sunk in at all. Park’s story brings that time period to life, and yet does so in a way that’s not too graphic for younger readers, although as always I’d recommend that you know your reader if you’re worried about suitability.

If you read When When My Name Was KeokoWhen My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park, either for yourself, or with your family, what did you think of it? There’s also a blog linkup if you posted about the book (or theme), and any posts will automatically show up on the joint linkup, hosted by Moira (Hearth and Homefront) and Jessica (Quirky Bookworm). Add your post once from any one of our sites, and it will automatically appear in the linkup on their blogs.


RTFEBC Korea

Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about reading this book or one of the themed picture books. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to one of the host’s posts.

3. The linkup will be open until the end of the month.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting us permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

March 2016 Recap

March RecapMarch brought a lot more reading than February did for me (seriously though, at only 3 books for me finished in February, it wasn’t hard for March to have more.) I’m maybe out of my reading slump? Except trying to get through my book club’s April pick is slowing me down. As I said in the Facebook group, I have issues with post-apocalyptic novels, and this one is reminding me why I thought I’d need a push to get the novel read.

March 2016 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 9
Books Read For The Year: 19

Things That Happened
  • M is getting so much more verbal lately – she says so many words, and it’s adorable. Most of them are pretty understandable too, even to people other than her mother. 😉
  • I was sick for about 10 days, and then R was sick. The big kids were healthy, and even though the baby had a cold so all in all it was that much more exhausting for me when I was not feeling well and they were all energetic and ready to DO THINGS.
  • G is trucking along in his new homeschool curriculum, and I’m loving really getting into history with him. What we had been doing was just a light introduction into things, and now it’s going beyond the introduction. I will admit that I am not very interested in Ancient Egypt, so we’ll see how much my personal interest remains once we really get into that topic. :)
  • We chatted about The Chosen, and there was a guest facilitator, which was so helpful for me as swamped as I felt most of the month. Next month for Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel there’s another guest facilitator as well – hooray! Even better, I like the different style it’s brought to the discussions.
Best Things I Did or Saw
  • Little kids + Easter egg hunts = adorable.
  • Stretching this category to include “heard” – baby M saying her name finally! She can’t get it exactly right, but it’s super cute.
  • We wrapped up Financial Peace University, and it is *so* motivating. I highly recommend it! I’ve got my mile-long to do list of things to take care of thanks to the class, but I think getting them done will help with my peace of mind.
What’s Cooking
  • I made an April Fool’s Day pizza for the kids. It’s was supposed to look like a savory pizza, but it’s actually a dessert pizza. I say “supposed to” because the picture of it did, but my attempt at it did not really. The marshmallow fluff that looked like fresh mozzarella cheese in the picture kind of melted and oozed everywhere in my version. G loved it though and had no complaints about the messy appearance. H refused to try it thanks to the strawberry sauce.
  • We were supposed to host Easter, but R called one of his aunts and asked if we could not (see above entry about us being sick.) We were healthy to go to it, but trying to reclaim the house after almost 3 weeks of one or the other of us being ill? That wasn’t happening in time. Such a relief to not have to worry about it, and instead of being responsible for coordinating the meal and providing the main course, I only had to bring a side dish and dessert. Carrot casserole and lemon bars = easy.
What I’m Anticipating in April
  • Book club – A Town Like Alice in my in-person book club and Station Eleven in the Facebook group.
  • My mother-in-law will be visiting for a week, and I am so hoping to get caught up on life, and maybe even get ahead on some things. Fingers crossed, because realistically a week isn’t enough time for everything I’d like to do. Time to start prioritizing, and the number one, must-get-these-done thing? Taxes.
  • Baseball starts for G, and the kids may have belt testing mid-month.
  • We will be doing all sorts of adulting things in April. By which I mean we’ll be finalizing updated wills and guardianship paperwork and all of that. I’m also hoping to get increased life insurance on both of us. Three kids you know. And yes, the third child is turning two this August, but we’re only just now getting to it. In case you’re wondering, yes, this is related to working through the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace seminar.
Books I Read

Asterisks mark ones I especially enjoyed.

  1. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
  2. * The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  3. * Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie
  4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  5. Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age — From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything in Between by Jason Boog
  6. Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary WriterFind the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende by Heather Lende
  7. * A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
  8. Out of Darkness: My Story of Finding True Light and Liberation by Stormie Omartian
  9. River Secrets by Shannon Hale

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

New on the Stack in March 2016

New on the Stack in March 2016Welcome to New on the Stack, where you can share the latest books you’ve added to your reading pile. I’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own post or Instagram picture sharing your books! It’s a fun way to see what others will soon be reading, and get even more ideas of books to add to my “I want to read that!” list.

Nonfiction

Surprised by OxfordSurprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber

How did I get it: Bought it.
Why did I get it: Tujia featured it in her New on the Stack post, and it was a great price last month. I couldn’t pass it up when it’s been on my TBR list for so long.

Find the GoodFind the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary WriterFind the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende by Heather Lende

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: Stacie featured it in her January New on the Stack post, and it sounded appealing.

Lost in Shangra-LaLost at Shangra La by Mitchell Zuckoff

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library
Why did I get it: I love history, and it’s been on my TBR for ages. I was hoping it would help get me out of my reading slump, as I enjoyed Zuckoff’s other book, Frozen in Time.

Fiction

Station ElevenStation ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel by Emily St. John Mandel

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: It’s April’s book club selection.

Stars AboveStars Above by Marissa Meyer

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: It’s another Lunar Chronicles book!

The Secret History of the Pink CarnationSecret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Jessica & Julie brought this series to my attention, and I’ve finally borrowed the first one.

River SecretsRiver Secrets by Shannon Hale

How did I get it: Borrowed it electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: It’s the next in the Bayern series.


“New on the Stack” Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share your posts or instagram pictures about the new-to-you books you added to your reading stack last month. They can be purchases, library books, ebooks, whatever it is you’ll be reading! Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to this post – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open until the end of the month.

4. Please visit the person’s blog or Instagram who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs from your linked post or Instagram. (Because on social media or in next month’s post, I hope to feature some of the books that catch my attention from this month.)

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Introducing April’s Book Club Selection: Station Eleven

Station ElevenThis month’s book for our Facebook book club is Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel by Emily St. John Mandel.

What It’s About

Excerpt from Goodreads:

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

Why Was This Title Selected

It’s gotten some glowing reviews, and I wanted to feature a Science Fiction book this year. This seemed like an accessible one that wasn’t the start of a series.

Anything Else to Know About It?

It was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2014, and won or was nominated for a slew of other awards.

It’s available in print, for Kindle, and on Audible

Discussion about the book is starting soon, but you’ve still got time to track it down and join us as we’ll continue it all month.

What’s Coming Up in May?

Empire of the Summer MoonLooking ahead to next month we’ll be reading and discussing Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American HistoryEmpire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne by S. C. Gwynne. It’s available in Print, for Kindle, or on Audible. And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

This is nonfiction, so it may be a slower read than our two recent fiction books – so keep that in mind if you need to start it sooner to be ready for the discussion.

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2016 here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Chosen by Chaim Potok (with linkup)

The ChosenAll the books for my facebook book club have been new-to-me this year, and I underestimated how nerve-wracking it would be for me. I’m worried that I’ll have picked books that don’t work well for discussion, or are just disappointing reads in general and leave everyone wishing they hadn’t wasted their reading time.

Fortunately, so far I’d say that I’m happy with all of the picks – they’ve been worth reading, at least in a general sense (as in, perhaps not for individual readers with their tastes, but for most situations, I think they’ve been worthwhile).

March’s book, The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok, has been my favorite so far, and is in many ways the perfect example of why I love book clubs. I don’t know that I’d have ever picked up the book otherwise, and clearly I needed the “push” that the assignment gave me. And what a shame it would have been to miss the book!

The characters are memorable, and some of the passages are still with me, as I think about them and consider what it can mean in my life. Particularly Reuven’s father’s comment about a life worthy of rest, and how that relates to me in my current life season. It’s a quieter book than many of the genre novels I enjoy, but I really appreciated the introspective nature of it and how thought-provoking it was. It’s also always an extra bonus for me when I learn from what I’m reading (one of the reasons I so love nonfiction) and I learned quite a bit about history and the Hasidic culture.

If you’ve never read it, I’d *highly* recommend that you do so. While I haven’t gotten to them yet, I will be reading the sequel, The Promise, as well as My Name is Asher Lev.


If you’ve written a post about The Chosen, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below. And if you like looking at book covers, I featured versions of The Chosen in a recent post.

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion on Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel April 4th. There will be a linkup for posts relating to that book on April 27th.


Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Kite Fighters (and a linkup)

The Kite FightersMarch and April’s theme for our online family book club is Korea, and March’s book is Linda Sue Park’s wonderful novel The Kite FightersThe Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park.

I was not new to Park, but hadn’t read this particular title until pre-reading it for the book club. What a lovely story it was, and I learned quite a bit about historic Korean culture.

While I did not read this book with my kids (I think they’ll do better with it in another couple of years), I absolutely do plan to read it to them eventually. Although if we stick with Sonlight for our homeschool curriculum, it is scheduled in the year focused on the Eastern Hemisphere, so the kids would definitely read it then!


If you read The Kite FightersThe Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park, either for yourself, or with your family, what did you think of it? And if you wrote a post about it, please add it to our linkup! Any posts will automatically show up on the joint linkup, hosted by Moira (Hearth and Homefront) and Jessica (Quirky Bookworm). Add your post once from any one of our sites, and it will automatically appear in the linkup on their blogs.


RTFEBC Korea

Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about reading this book or one of the themed picture books. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to one of the host’s posts.

3. The linkup will be open until the end of the month.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting us permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

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Next month we continue with Korea, and we’ll be discussing When My Name Was KeokoWhen My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park. I hope you can join us!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

New on Your Stack (volume 14)

Some highlights from the books you shared about in this month’s linkup:

The Edge of LostKate (Mom’s Radius) highlights the new book The Edge of Lost which has *such* an intriguing cover. I’m not 100% sure that it’s one I want to read – it may be too much for me emotionally, but I’m sure tempted to give it a try.


The NightingaleOne of these days I’m going to have to give Kristin Hannah’s book The Nightingale a try. When bloggers like Tanya (The Other Side of the Road) give it a 5 out of 5 rating, it makes me think I should probably have that day be sooner rather than later. Someday, I promise. 😉


Surprised by OxfordTujia (Read Go Adventure) brought Carolyn Weber’s memoir Surprised by Oxford to my attention. Ok, not the memoir itself (it’s been lingering on my TBR list for ages), but the fact that it’s currently only $.99 for the Kindle version. Yes, I grabbed it. Perhaps now I’ll finally get the book read? Apparently it’s on sale for March, so if you haven’t read it, you’ve still got some time to get it at the discounted price.


The Mystery of the Blue TrainCharlene (The Book Brew) has some great books in her post – she’s reminding me I need to read my next Agatha Christie (The Mystery of the Blue Train or The Body in the Library) as I slowly work my way through her works, and she’s got four interesting fantasy novels that have me considering them – Raymond Feist’s Darkwar Saga, Jennifer Laam’s The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Félix J. Palma’s The Map of Time, and Alison Goodman’s Eon. Plus she’s reminded me that I think I do want to read Speaker for the Dead, the second in the Ender’s Game quartet, and see if I like it more. I feel like I owe it to Katie to give it a try after her thoughtful comments on my post about Ender’s Game.


The Silver SuitcaseJill (Days at Home) did *not* add a lot to my TBR list this month (which is nice, when so many other people did), but oh, does she showcase some pretty book covers. The Silver Suitcase is lovely, and so is The Headmistress of Rosemere


Only in NaplesAnd then Jessica (Quirky Bookworm) definitely *does* add books to my TBR, including Only in Naples which I immediately put on hold at the library (#1 on the holds list! Yes!) It’s a food memoir and travel memoir and of course I want to read it immediately. I’m also curious about the cookbook she’s reviewing this month – Dinner Made Simple – as I like the idea behind it in theory, and wonder how it is in reality.


The Gratitude DiariesStacie (Sincerely Stacie) also immediately added a book to my reading list – I’m also on hold at the library for The Gratitude Diaries, and may even have received a copy of it by the time this post goes up (love borrowing ebooks – they just magically arrive on my device!) I’ve also requested the 4 x 4 Diet, as it sounds interesting.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

RebeccaRebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier by Daphne Du Maurier

My in-person book club’s March pick, and we picked it to go along with our annual tea party.

Maybe not quite as perfect a book for a tea party as some of our other choices (like The Road from Coorain, or The Secret Keeper), but any book with a British setting still feels appropriate for the tea party. :)

I’d read Rebecca years ago – in high school, or perhaps right after I graduated. While I expected that I’d have forgotten most of it, I didn’t find that to be the case, and almost all of the book was familiar. The advantage of that was it let me see how du Maurier structured the book and set up the surprises. The disadvantage was that I wasn’t surprised by any of the reveals, and I didn’t feel compelled to read the last chapter or two when I ran out of time before book club. Yes, that’s right. I didn’t read the very end in my book, and instead went online and found spoilers to confirm that what I thought I remembered is what happened.

Rebecca makes for a good discussion book – there’s a lot to chat about and debate. Where it gets slightly tedious is the nameless main character – constantly calling her “the main character” or “the second Mrs. DeWinter” got tiring, and eventually we started referring to her as nameless. Certainly not a reason to skip discussing the book, but it wasn’t anything I had anticipated.

While I wish I could say that I loved the book, I didn’t. I enjoyed the writing (so beautiful and atmospheric!), and her characterizations include some standouts. However, I was also so annoyed with some of the plotting that it detracted from the overall enjoyment of the book. I do think it works so well as a discussion book though, that I’d still highly recommend it for that purpose. Even if you’re not reading it for a book club, I still think it a worthwhile choice for general cultural literacy. Maybe you’ll be a bigger fan than I was of it, but even if you’re not, some books are worth reading.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .”

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.

Book Details

Title: RebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Category: Fiction / Classic
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Cooking the Book: ANZAC Biscuits