"Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself." - George Bernard Shaw
This is the first of what I hope will be a series of monthly posts dedicated to...books!
The idea is to divide it into two sections; in one to focus on some of the books Emma has enjoyed each month and in the other to write a little about a book I've been reading. Realistically, that's unlikely to be more than one - I confess that after family and home, work and blogging, not much time is left for reading! However, the more I get into a book, the more time I find to keep reading.
Obviously, my daughter and I don't read books in the same way at all. I'm more of a serial monogamist, finishing one book then going on to the next. Occasionally, I may leave a book unfinished to come back to later (I have a few that have been waiting patiently for years for me to finish them!) or start reading two at the same time - I find this difficult though, and one almost always ends up getting dumped.
My daughter, on the other hand, views books as another type of toy, to play with, look at, interact with and have them read to her over and over again, selecting several books at a time. Perhaps the most important aspect of books for her is sharing them with someone who will interact with her and the book. She will show you things in the book, pointing and making appropriate noises (animal sounds or car noises, for example!), or you ask her questions about things in the pictures and tell her a story - it's unlikely she will let you actually read the whole story to her unless the text is very very short! She's now 19 months old so her books are picture books and board books, books with flaps and puppets and other things you can move. She loves magnet books, too, but there are always missing pieces that turn up days later in odd places!
I won't be writing full book reviews, just some brief comments on each book I feature.
What Emma's reading:
Owl Babies is a cute story about three baby owls waiting for their mother to come home. It was a present from my parents on their first visit here a year ago. It has beautiful illustrations of the pale fluffy owl babies and the dark wood where they perch on a branch wondering where their mummy is. Of course it has a happy and reassuring ending. All in all it's very loveable.
What I'm reading:
I started reading Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell more than a couple of months ago and am just about to finish it. I bought it on my last trip to the UK over two years ago in a second-hand shop in Sheringham, Norfolk. All the paperbacks were a pound so I bought quite a few, although not as many as I would've liked as I was worried about having to pay excess baggage on the way back! I wish we had bookshops like that here.
You can tell by the state of the book in the photo that it has spent the past two and a half months being carried around in my bag, taken out at odd moments, quiet evenings and weekend mornings when I have the chance to read. Actually, I have really enjoyed those moments and become really involved in the story of social realism, romance, tragedy and drama among the families of poor workers and rich mill owners in 19th century Manchester. The novel has some harrowing descriptions of the terrible poverty suffered by some of the characters, like the following heartbreaking passage which really stuck in my mind:
"Many a penny that would have gone little way enough in oatmeal or potatoes, bought opium to still the hungry little ones, and make them forget their uneasiness in heavy troubled sleep. It was a mother's mercy."
Imagine. That really makes me thankful for everything I have.