Summer reads: this post is the first in a series of short reviews of books I’ve enjoyed.
In preparation for an upcoming visit to Napa Valley, I went looking for a book about wine, wine history and wine tasting intending to educate myself on the wine industry in the U.S. I got pleasantly sidetracked by Wine and War, a book about French vintners during World War II.
The book starts in a fairly gushy, breathless tone, the author obviously a francophile and a wine lover, reveling in the opportunity to write about his favorite subjects. But, like a good wine, it opens up nicely bringing in perspectives of large and small French vintners, some who spent the war scrabbling at home and some who spent it fighting or in enemy camps. The stories of resistance are inspiring. The descriptions of broken men coming home to pick up the pieces of family and home are tenderly written. The author’s descriptions of the experiences of Germans who were involved in the wine-trade before the war who then found themselves back in France as representatives of the Third Reich are plainly and fairly written. This is not a heavy historical tome, it’s a short, fun read. I didn’t double-check the facts because I need to go check out all the many wine brands and vintages mentioned in the book – they were so numerous I may be busy for a while
My boys are currently almost 10 (this week!) and 14. I really didn’t have to work at coming up with entries in a list of books for tween boys, I just had to sit down and think about the authors and titles I’ve seen as I’ve picked up after my kids over the past three-to-four years. (Well, OK, I’ve picked up, sat down and read many of these books too!). I’ve included quite a few book series because I’ve found that when you have a reluctant reader, finding a series that he will read is like hitting the jackpot since you get not just one book or one author, but a whole set that will keep your child going for weeks.
Additionally, I’ve included single titles from great authors such as Louis Sachar, Sharon Creech, Nancy Farmer and more. If you can, encourage your child to try other books by these authors – he won’t be disappointed.
That’s it for book lists from me for now, but please, do add your suggestions in the comments below – I’m really enjoying learning about new authors and titles this way.
My boys have started their own blog where they have posts about our travels and reviews of books they’ve enjoyed. The links below are to their review of the title in question.
I am struggling with deciding on reading material for my children for during our family world trip. If you know me, you will understand that this is particularly annoying a) because I love to read and can easily rattle off suitable titles for any child, any interest, any age (it’s my own personal rain-man habit) and b) because I like to check my to-do boxes. We’re six weeks from leaving and I have something I can’t tick off. This is very, very stressful.
Why is this happening? Well, firstly because my children are very independent and equally strong-willed (I wonder where they got that from?). Neither of them likes anyone telling them what to do particularly when it comes to choosing what to do to relax i.e read a book. Secondly, I’m their mom. This is a disadvantage in understanding the relaxation needs of a teenage boy. I’d be the first to admit that I have no clue in understanding what such a creature needs to read to chill out.
So I crowd-sourced. I reached out to friends and asked for their suggestions and ideas. I am hugely indebted to my friend Stuart for sending me a long and detailed list of books. I appreciate that my buddy Barry took the time from his busy tech-start-up day at Opscode to send my his ideas.
Many of the books recommended are books I know and love but many more are books and authors I’d never heard of – which is something I’m used to since I realized a long time ago that although I loved Milly Molly Mandy in grade-school in Ireland, that doesn’t mean that my parent-peers in Seattle either (a) had ever heard of those books or (b) thought they were any good. I’ve started a shared list of books for teenage boys on Amazon. I’ll keep adding to it as I parse through the recommendations I’ve received through email and facebook.
I’ll also be sharing my tween-age boy recommendations next week. If you want to add to either list, leave a comment below.