October’s Essential Oils: Ningxia Red, Tangerine, and it smells like Fall around here

October 2014 essential oilsOctober’s colorful oils order was all about red. And tangerine. And orange too!

Ok, not really – I’m just amusing myself by the realization that I ordered Ningxia Red (not an oil, but a drink), and tangerine oil. And I got orange oil as a freebie, along with clove and nutmeg. So I did have red, tangerine, and orange in this order.

Ningxia Red has been an acquired taste for me. I still don’t love it, but I can tolerate it, and I do seem to have more energy on days when I have it in the morning. I’ve found it’s most tolerable when it’s COLD, and then followed by grape juice. I heard some recommendations to add a drop of lemon oil to it, but I found that to be completely disgusting so that’s not something I’m going to continue. :)

Tangerine has been on my list of oils to try and it got picked this month because it was the right amount to fill out my order total. Why yes, that is one of my considerations when I’m finishing off an order.

I’m happy to receive the orange, clove, and nutmeg as freebies – I’m imagining some delicious diffusing in my future, with lots of great fall smells!

As always, I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I’m just talking about what I’m ordering and using for myself and my family.

What the Kids are Reading (in November 2014)

Recently it’s been almost all about the science books and/or Dr. Seuss for our library book reading. We still repeat our favorites that we own, but for new material we’ve had a heavy rotation of:

I Can Name 50 Trees TodayI Can Name 50 Trees Today!I Can Name 50 Trees Today!: All About Trees (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu.

A Cat in the Hat Learning Library Title, and I’ll be looking for more of them. It’s got lots of info, but in a fun style that keeps the kids listening, and keeps me reading happily.

Why Oh Why Are Deserts DryWhy Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

Another Cat in the Hat Learning Library book. This series has been a good discovery for us, and I’m thrilled to see how many titles have been published (and are available through our library). They seem perfect for G’s age (5) and interest level as well.

The Wild Leaf RideThe Wild Leaf RideThe Wild Leaf Ride (Magic School Bus, Scholastic Reader, Level 2) by Judith Stamper, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken by Judith Stamper, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken.

Both kids love this one, which is part of The Magic School Bus series. I kind of hate it – after a half dozen times through it I was ready to hide it until it could go back. Fortunately it’s an early reader type book, and my son isn’t far away from being able to read it himself. I’ll look for another one in the series after he gets a bit farther along in his reading lessons and see if he can handle it all on his own, so I don’t have to repeat these titles.

Hop on PopHop on Pop (I Can Read It All By Myself)Hop on Pop  (I Can Read It All By Myself) by Dr Seuss by Dr Seuss.

Read by G with very minimal help (as in, only a couple of words – mother/father/sister/brother tripped him up, and maybe something else I’m forgetting).

We did also read two picture books:
Pumpkin BabyPumpkin BabyPumpkin Baby by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Susan Mitchell by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Susan Mitchell

Usually I like Yolen’s books, but didn’t care for this one, and I whisked it away before the kids could ask for it repeatedly. The language wasn’t as easy to read aloud as it typically is for her works.

What's in the Egg Little PipWhat’s in the Egg, Little Pip?What's in the Egg, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

I didn’t realize what either of the picture book titles were about when I brought them home, and was amused that they both dealt with new babies coming into the family and the big sister’s feelings about that. How appropriate for us right now, although I could have used the Little Pip title even earlier – this one would work during a pregnancy that might be keeping mom from playing in the same ways as before. Great illustrations and very readable – I’ll look for more Little Pip titles, and other books by the author.

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Etiquette and Espionage

Etiquette and EspionageEtiquette & Espionage Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger

Did you like Cinder? Then try this one.

Ok, you want more? I wasn’t expecting that much from Etiquette & Espionage – it could be fun, it could be ridiculous. Turns out it was delightful, in that same “I wasn’t expecting this” mode as Cinder. The tone reminded me of Cinder as well. I liked it so much I immediately wanted to read the next in the series, and was somewhat dismayed to realized I’d done it to myself again – fallen for a series where the final books won’t be published for ages.

If you hate fantasy, this will probably annoy you. It’s a mish-mash of fantasy and steampunk, and if I hadn’t been in the right mood I’m sure it would have seemed ridiculously silly. Instead it was lots of fun. [Read more...]

Shelf Life

Shelf LifeShelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama. and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a BookstoreShelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama. and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Bookstore by Suzanne Strempek Shea by Suzanne Strempek Shea

Why I read this book: I love books, and even worked in a bookstore. I love reading about books. I love memoirs. It all seemed like it would add up to a book that I’d LOVE.

And I didn’t. It’s not a bad book by any means – I liked it, I just didn’t love it like I hoped I would.

Some of it was that the book didn’t seem to match the subtitle. There isn’t really any romance, mystery or drama, and definitely no page-turning adventure. It’s a much quieter story than that. I don’t mind quiet stories, but when I’m expecting page-turning, it’s a bit of a let down to have it be so completely not page-turning.

It also reads at times like it’s not sure what it is. Is it memoir of a year working in a bookstore? Or is it a collection of travel memories from the author’s book signings across the country? The comparison of the bookstores she’s usually in to her bookstore doesn’t really work to make those anecdotes feel integrated into the story; they felt very tacked-on and disjointed.

Parts of it I really enjoyed – reading about how she constructs the holiday displays brought back good memories not only of my bookstore days, but also from working in libraries and museums where we would regularly change out displays.

Parts of it I didn’t enjoy at all. The pages of magazine titles carried by her store. Really? Some of the town history also had me skimming the text to get to something else.

If my expectations had been lower I likely would have enjoyed the book more – I hoped for and even expected more from it and that led to extra disappointment.

Publisher’s Description:
Suzanne Shea has always loved a good book–and she’s written five of them, all acclaimed. In the course of her ten-year career, she’s done a good bit of touring, including readings and drop-ins at literally hundreds of bookstores. She never visited one that wasn’t memorable.

Two years ago, while recovering from radiation therapy, Shea heard from a friend who was looking for help at her bookstore. Shea volunteered, seeing it as nothing more than a way to get out of her pajamas and back into the world. But over next twelve months, from St. Patrick’s Day through Poetry Month, graduation/Father’s Day/summer reading/Christmas and back again to those shamrock displays, Shea lived and breathed books in a place she says sells “ideas, stories, encouragement, answers, solace, validation, the basic ammunition for daily life.” Her work was briefly interrupted by an author tour that took her to other great bookstores.

Descriptions of these and her memories of book-lined rooms reaching all the way back to childhood visits to the Bookmobile are scattered throughout this charming, humorous, and engrossing account of reading and rejuvenation.

For anyone who loves books, and especially for anyone who has fallen under the spell of a special bookstore, Shelf Life will be required reading.

Book Details

Title: Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama. and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a BookstoreShelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama. and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Bookstore by Suzanne Strempek Shea
Author: Suzanne Strempek Shea
Category: Nonfiction / Memoir
My Rating: 3 Stars

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New on My Bookcase (vol. 25)

I’m changing things up a bit here, and instead of just listing the latest (physical) library books I’ve borrowed, I’m sharing all of the books I added to my collection in October, either purchased, borrowed, or gifted, physical books or electronic versions.

Nonfiction

Love and SaltLove & Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in LettersLove & Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters by Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith by Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith
How did I get it: Sent to me by a friend who thought it sounded just like my sort of book. And yes, yes it does – epistolary nonfiction!

The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure TuberculosisThe Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz by Thomas Goetz
How did I get it: Borrowed from the library.
Why did I get it: I love medical history books like this.

The America’s Test Kitchen DIY CookbookThe America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook
How did I get it: Borrowed from the library.
Why did I get it: Because I love reading cookbooks, and I love America’s Test Kitchen books especially.

The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth CenturyThe Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds by David Reynolds
How did I get it: Borrowed from the library.
Why did I get it: It’s a holds book that I’d forgotten to postpone. It’s going back unread, at least for now. It requires more concentrated reading focus than I have to give currently.

The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic RevolutionThe Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution by Keith Devlin by Keith Devlin
How did I get it: Borrowed electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: Sounded interesting, although I’m not sure it’s right for me right now (see above book).

Fiction

Curtsies and ConspiraciesVelvetVelvet by Mary Hooper by Mary Hooper
How did I get it: Borrowed from the library.
Why did I get it: I’ve liked Hooper’s books in the past.

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School Book 2)Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School Book 2) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger
How did I get it: Borrowed electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I loved Etiquette & Espionage Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger, book one in the series (review of Etiquette & Espionage posting on Wednesday!).

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag: A Flavia de Luce NovelThe Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley by Alan Bradley
How did I get it: Borrowed electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I loved book one in the series.

The Murder of Roger AckroydThe Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot series Book 4) by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie
How did I get it: Borrowed electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I’m reading my way through Christie’s works.

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger
How did I get it: Borrowed electronically from the library.
Why did I get it: I loved Carriger’s Finishing School series, which is a spin-off of this one.

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Twitterature: Recent Reads about Homeschooling

recent reads, twitterature-style

The Everything Homeschooling Book: All You Need To Create the Best Curriculum and Learning Environment for Your Child by Sherri Linsenbach
I liked this one – the best general homeschooling book I’ve seen. If you’re new to it, or considering it, this has a good overview of it and some brief information about homeschooling for different ages and stages. The best part is probably the resource lists it includes – there are a ton.

Homeschooling For DummiesHomeschooling For Dummies by Jennifer Kaufeld by Jennifer Kaufeld
Not bad, but so outdated. Really surprised there hasn’t been an update published for it.

A Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God’s WordA Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God's Word by Ruth Beechick by Ruth Beechick
Didn’t care for it much, which surprised me as I liked her Three R’s book. This one had a very dogmatic tone.

How to Homeschool Your Child From Preschool Through High SchoolHow to Homeschool Your Child From Preschool Through High School by Rosanne Muncy by Rosanne Muncy
I almost didn’t link to this on Amazon, because it’s $9.99 for Kindle and it is so not worth that price. Not recommended at all – don’t waste your time or money.

Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory SchoolingWeapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto by John Taylor Gatto
Mixed feelings on this one – compelling stories, and lots of reinforcement if you’re on the fence about why you should homeschool. But it’s meandering in structure and repetitive and his tone was off-putting. And I’m a fan of homeschooling – I can’t imagine how I’d have liked the overall tone of the book if I weren’t already on his side if you will.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

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

Twerp

TwerpTwerpTwerp by Mark Goldblatt by Mark Goldblatt

The premise of the book reminded me a bit of The Wednesday Wars (such a great book!), but the many similarities between the two are superficial at best. Both involve an extra project for a teacher. Both have a Shakespeare connection, and an older sister. Both are set in New York in the 1960s. Both have a likeable male main character/narrator.

And they’re both worth reading. I do prefer The Wednesday Wars, but my affection for that book is so strong it’s no surprise this one doesn’t quite match it. Think of this more of as another good choice for after you’ve read The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now.

Twerp also tackles some tougher issues, and it’s done in such a believable way that it was a bit harder to read. I read it half-dreading what the big reveal might be, and cringing for Julian at some of the events as well. It’s rated as a middle-school read, and I agree with that, but I wouldn’t hand it over to a younger reader without knowing them and how they can handle some harder material. It might be a good bridge read between completely gentle books and tougher older reads. It addresses bullying and peer pressure, but in a softer manner than most titles. [Read more...]

Poirot Investigates

Poirot InvestigatesPoirot Investigates: A Hercule Poirot CollectionPoirot Investigates: Hercule Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie

My first experience with Christie’s short stories, and I LOVED them. I’ve said that I think I prefer Miss Marple, but after this book I might have to change my allegiance to Poirot. Or maybe it’s just that I liked him so much in this format; we’ll see as I continue reading through all of the books.

Hastings has annoyed me in the past, and this time he made me chuckle at his self-delusions. I loved the opportunity to see if I could solve the puzzle before the answer was revealed, and the short format worked perfectly for that – it’s hard to hide a lot of red herrings when each entry is so brief!

Super fun read, and it has me wishing for lots more short stories from Christie. [Read more...]

Ghost Ship

Ghost ShipGhost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing CrewGhost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew by Brian Hicks by Brian Hicks

My knowledge of the Mary Celeste was all but non-existant before reading Hick’s account. She was the ship found without anyone on board, and no one knew what happened to the crew and passengers.

Well, I guess we still don’t 100% know what happened to the people on board, but Hicks gives a very believable explanation of the most likely cause of their disappearance. No spoilers here, and you’ll have to wait until the very end of the book before he shares the theory.

Until then there’s historical information on the ship, and her crew – mostly the captain and his family. There are also details on the ship that found the Mary Celeste and worked so hard to bring her in – not that they got the reward they were hoping for those efforts!

The book is hard to read at times, imagining what happened to them, and also thinking about the effects on the families left back at home.

Fascinating, if not a completely engrossing read. I really enjoyed it, but don’t know that it’s got enough of a “can’t put this down” quality to recommend it wholeheartedly.

Publisher’s Description:
On December 4th, 1872, a 100-foot brigantine was discovered drifting through the North Atlantic without a soul on board. Not a sign of struggle, not a shred of damage, no ransacked cargo—and not a trace of the captain, his wife and daughter, or the crew. What happened on board the ghost ship Mary Celeste has baffled and tantalized the world for 130 years. In his stunning new book, award-winning journalist Brian Hicks plumbs the depths of this fabled nautical mystery and finally uncovers the truth.

The Mary Celeste was cursed as soon as she was launched on the Bay of Fundy in the spring of 1861. Her first captain died before completing the maiden voyage. In London she accidentally rammed and sank an English brig. Later she was abandoned after a storm drove her ashore at Cape Breton. But somehow the ship was recovered and refitted, and in the autumn of 1872 she fell to the reluctant command of a seasoned mariner named Benjamin Spooner Briggs. It was Briggs who was at the helm when the Mary Celeste sailed into history.

In Brian Hicks’s skilled hands, the story of the Mary Celeste becomes the quintessential tale of men lost at sea. Hicks vividly recreates the events leading up to the crew’s disappearance and then unfolds the complicated and bizarre aftermath—the dark suspicions that fell on the officers of the ship that intercepted her; the farcical Admiralty Court salvage hearing in Gibraltar; the wild myths that circulated after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published a thinly disguised short story sensationalizing the mystery. Everything from a voodoo curse to an alien abduction has been hauled out to explain the fate of the Mary Celeste. But, as Brian Hicks reveals, the truth is actually grounded in the combined tragedies of human error and bad luck. The story of the Mary Celeste acquired yet another twist in 2001, when a team of divers funded by novelist Clive Cussler located the wreck in a coral reef off Haiti.

Written with the suspense of a thriller and the vivid accuracy of the best popular history, Ghost Ship tells the unforgettable true story of the most famous and most fascinating maritime mystery of all time.

Book Details

Title: Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing CrewGhost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew by Brian Hicks
Author: Brian Hicks
Category: Nonfiction / History
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Bookworm Problems: Storage, because there are never enough bookcases

#BookwormProblems Bookworm Problems -It’s fairly obvious, isn’t it? If you love books, you probably own a lot of them. Which means you’ve either got storage problems, or a way bigger house than I do, or you’ve limited yourself to electronic ones only.

I’m a bit too embarassed to say just how many bookcases I have in this house, so let’s just say: it’s a lot. And my book collection is just one reason my husband wants us to never move houses again.

In recent years our books have mostly increased thanks to buying kids’ books and homeschool materials – I buy very few for myself that aren’t electronic, although I do make an exception for cookbooks. Those I prefer to have a physical copy! I think my “real” book purchases are probably about 20 a year, which might seem like a lot to some, but is down quite a bit from years P.C. (that would be pre-children).

But we’re using a book-intensive homeschool program, and limiting my book buying to mostly children’s materials isn’t helping all that much. If we keep this up, I’m not even sure how or where we’ll fit everything in another year or two. Add in me trying to keep track of everything for the younger kid coming along later and I may lose my mind.

Anyone ready to share how many book cases they have? I’ll admit to having 4 of varying sizes in my closet/office, plus one part of the closet has shelves installed and I’ve got books on the bottom shelf there. And yes, that’s just in one part of the house, and it’s why if you come over it might not initially look like we have that many books in our house. Most of them are in non-public areas. :)

Visit Quirky Bookworm for more #bookwormproblems!