Recent Reads: Magazines

garden projects.jpgI read a lot of magazines. They’re kind of perfect Image result for the atlantic coverfor reading with meals. I usually have my breakfast alone, and it’s nice to have something to look at. I can’t read books at meals – the book doesn’t stay open, it takes too much culture.jpgconcentration to manage the pages and breakfast and keeping track of the story. Magazines don’t take nearly as much effort for me while I’m eating.

I subscribe to a small handful of magazines, and get the rest at thrift stores and from friends. Sometimes I’ll trade out magazines in a waiting room (I usually check with the front desk first). Most of f&w.jpgthe stuff I like to read, it’s not time-sensitive like news is, so it doesn’t matter if I find copies that are a year or three old. I’ve tried putting them out in the Little interweave.jpgFree Library with mixed results – sometimes they’ll sit inside for weeks before I finally toss them. Other times, they disappear in a day or two. Once in a while, the magazines disappeared – along with everything else in the LFL!

I do prefer hard-copy magazines. Sometimes I’ll tear out pages to save (I don’t usually put them in the LFL or waiting rooms in that case). Hard-copy magazines are easier on my bust.jpgeyes. I get frustrated easily with trying to maneuver within online magazines. And, as with books, I like the feel of the pages in my hands.

My favorites related to food/cooking, making stuff Image result for oregon humanities cover(especially crochet and a few other crafts), gardening/homesteading, science, literary arts, world news, and local reporting. I’ll occasionally read lifestyle magazines too, if they’re available for really cheap or free – I do sometimes like reading O and Martha Stewart Living and GQ.

What kind of magazines do you like to read?


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Recent Reads


Seventeenth Century Prose and Poetry, selected and edited by Witherspoon and Warnke – I think this is the only college textbook I still own. Turns out, I’m rather fond of some of the metaphysical and cavalier poets of 17th century England. One of my absolute favorite poets is Robert Herrick (up there with Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein & Emily Dickinson). In addition to these lovely poems, you might also check out this rather smutty one.

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How to Be a Better Foodie: A Bulging Little Book for the Truly Epicurious, by Sudi Pigott – It’s kind of fun in a surface-of-the-topic way. Lots of little info and details about different foods, cuisines, food traditions and more. Not terribly helpful on the How To part unless you’re absolutely brand-new to the idea of being a Foodie.


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Sweet Shoes for Wee Ones, by Kristi Simpson for Annie’s Crochet – not all reading is about books!  I mostly crochet squares for washcloths and blankets, and the occasional circle/tube for hats. I haven’t done a lot with shaping (aside from a couple of stuffed elephants and a misguided series of little vegetable-shaped bags). I recently got the urge to make some baby shower presents. So far, I’ve made two pair of one pattern – not terribly difficult, and the booties are so cute!

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Image result for bear in underwearBear in Underwear, by Todd H. Doodle – I found this book in the LFL a while back. So much fun! Terribly goofy! I took it to work and left it on my desk for a couple of weeks. Some of my co-workers got a big kick out of it. (some not quite as much…)  It’s a bit on the long side, but I may have to put together a unit on this for my kids at work.


So this happened…

So this happened yesterday. We found it as we were leaving to do errands. Someone thinking they were being cool by throwing all the books on the ground? Someone trying to take all the books but their paper bag fell apart, and the person took off?  The weird thing was, the LFL was very deliberately emptied of books, but the DampRid was still inside.

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Snowpocalypse 2019

We’re making our way through this Snowstorm-To-End-All-Snowstormssnowy LFL.jpg today.  Other parts of town haven’t gotten so much as a single flake, but out here in southeast PDX, it’s madness, MADNESS I TELL YOU. A whole 1.5″ of snow last night!  It of course hasn’t snowed since 8am or so, but it might!

And so goes the usual manic overhype of the weather this time of year. Still, you never know what’s going to happen with the weather until it actually happens. Please, do what you need to do to stay safe – icy roads are no joke. If you have the option, stay home and do home things. Feed the birds. Order some socks and mittens to be sent to your local shelters. Make stew or hot chocolate. Read a book – for yourself, out loud to your kid or your sweetie or your pet. Listen to an audiobook while relaxing or doing dishes.  Go outside on the porch or sidewalk and enjoy the winter day. Take a walk and see what’s at the Little Free Library near you.

bird tracks.jpgI braved the chill Arctic winds to put some books out in the Division92 LFL. On my way out, I noticed we’d had visitors last night or early this morning.

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Also bunnies, I think. A couple of them. Looks like they were busy.mixed tracks.jpg

We are almost out of bird food, so we don’t have many visitors right now of any species. Hopefully the bird food will show up in the post today. Need to get on to making some hummingbird food too – those little guys will really need it!

Meanwhile, maybe I can make a dent in my To Be Read pile this weekend!

Recent Reads

Books I’ve recently read

Image result for midwinter blood mons kallentoftMidwinter Blood, by Mons Kallentoft – this one was a slog for me. I love murder mysteries and detective novels. This was definitely not one of my favorites. I’ll try another Swedish novel or two, by a different author, before I give up on Nordic Noir. I do have Wallender on my list of Stuff To Read Someday. This book was just unsatisfying for me.



Image result for harriet gets carried awayHarriet Gets Carried Away, by Jesse Sima – We found this in the gift shop at the end of our trip to see Zoolights. I’m totally loving it! I also discovered this is the same author who did Not Quite Narwhal, a household favorite!





year of the jungle.jpgYear of the Jungle, by Suzanne Collins – This is a recently published book about the author’s life in 1968, when she was a little girl and her father was deployed to Vietnam. It’s very much a young children’s book, and is beautifully done. And for a family in a similar situation, it would be easy enough to substitute the name of the appropriate country, substitute a few other key words and some photos. For some other resources for supporting children and their family’s participation in it, you might check out the Sesame Street/USO project for Military Families, Operation We Are Here, and Everyone Serves.

princess or dragon.jpgWould You Rather Be a Princess or a Dragon?, by Barney Saltzberg – This is a rather silly question. Who wouldn’t want to be both? While this book could have been a little more solid on this point, it does get there eventually. Very cute illustrations, good back and forth on how Princesses *can* be different from Dragons (though I’ve seen far more overlap!). Fortunately, this decision doesn’t stop when you grow up – I’m currently living my best Princess/Dragon life!


On the Magic of Reading Aloud

When I was little, both my parents read to me. They even read in a couple of different languages that they were fluent in. I had a couple of children’s books in French, which my mom read to me. My dad read us a couple of children’s books in German and in Russian. When I was in early elementary school, I liked when the teachers read stories because they would show the pictures, they would alter their voices slightly to indicate different characters and moods. Even when my fourth grade teacher read A Wrinkle in Time, with hardly any pictures, she still made it interesting. When I hit sixth grade and my teacher read aloud, I came to hate it. There were no pictures anymore. She read straight off the page – no inflections, no animated intonation, just boring. And I could read for myself much faster than I could listen to her read. Blah.

Skip ahead to me working in various child care settings. I *love* to read stories with little kids. I worked in a variety of child care settings for the better part of 15 years. I now work in a county-based special education preschool program as a speech-language pathologist. I do a ton of stuff with children’s books. The fact that I can write a lot of these books off for work on my taxes helps out enormously, as good-quality picture books are pretty much my crack habit.

Even better, my partner is happy to read these picture books to me sometimes at bedtime. He does voices and everything!  Once in a while, when we’re feeling up to the commitment, we’ll find a grown-up book for him to read over several nights. We rarely do this on consecutive nights due to our schedules, so it can take us a long time to finish a book. But even when it’s a grown-up book, he’ll do inflection and intonation to make it interesting. And we’ve found we’ll talk about the book the next day or two as well, so it makes for some good conversation. It’s one of my favorite forms of “together time” with him.

As we head into the holiday week, here’s a suggestion for when your flight is delayed, or you just can’t possibly watch any more football. Get a book and read out loud.

But don’t just gather the kids and the grandkids.

Tonight, beloved children’s book author Kate DiCamillo shares her humble opinion on the universal and age-defying magic of listening to a shared story.

Check out the video

(you can also read the transcript here)

Build Your Own Library/Bookstore

Fat Brain Toys DIY Miniature Model Kit: “Harper’s Library”

Image result for fat brains miniature libraryIt’s labeled “library”, but it sure looks like a bookstore. Either way, it’s a room PACKED with books, and the lights even work! I’m pretty sure you could adjust it so it feels more like one or the other. From the various reviews I found (Amazon, Fat Brain Toys), it looks like a lot of the items are made from paper, and the wiring for the chandelier is fairly delicate. It also looks like it will take about 20 hours to complete – and that’s depending on your patience as well as your skill levels. So maybe not the best kit for a kid. Being made primarily with paper products, I don’t know how how long it will last, either. It definitely won’t make it more than a few days in my house with my 3 rambunctious cats! Still, it’s awfully cute and could be a neat project to work on, by yourself or with a friend.

If you do end up buying one, please let me know what you think of it, even if you don’t get around to finishing it. I’m curious what the materials and the directions are really like, and how it all works.

Just a reminder – I do not have any affiliation with any businesses here – I just thought this looked like a bit of fun.