• Our read-aloud of Winter Holiday, which we began in (gulp) September.
• Our new read-aloud of The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas. This one’ll be a cinch (she says recklessly)—it’s a shortish book, something between a very long picture book and a children’s novella. Although it features one of my favorite fictional families in all the world, I’ve never read this particular L’Engle tale before.
• Two Mental Multivitamin recommendations I began a long while back and set aside only because I had a guilt-inducing stack of review copies awaiting me (most of which I still haven’t read):
—Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul. I checked this out from the library over the summer (I think it was) and devoured the first couple of chapters, pausing frequently to read out long passages to Jane—who was so interested in the material that I wound up buying a copy to keep. She snapped it up and regaled me in turn with anecdotes about eccentric, passionate birdwatchers.
—Great Books by David Denby. Oh good grief, I see I posted a quote from it way back in January—that’s how long ago I started reading this book, and again I only read the first couple of chapters despite finding it completely engaging and memorable. Wait a second. I just realized that post is dated January 11th. I gave birth two days later. Well, that explains it. Ha.
Anyway, here is the M-MV post that piqued my interest in Denby’s book. As I recall, she said it was “one for the permanent library,” and I took her word for it and didn’t even bother previewing a library copy; I ordered it straightaway and it has been sitting on Scott’s nightstand ever since I laid it aside on January 12th or thereabouts. It must have been too thick and heavy to read while nursing a newborn. Babymoons are a time for comfortably slim (but not necessarily slight) works of fiction. Looking over my January reading notes, I note several titles I read on my iPod, and most of the others are one-hand-able paperbacks. Ah, yes, that was a great month for reading. Gatsby, Daisy Miller, Lolita, World Made by Hand. My rate of reading had slowed considerably by the fall—probably in proportion to the distance my inquisitive infant son has managed to travel away from my protective embrace. It’s hard to keep a baby out of mischief when your nose is in a book.
“Once there was a very fine clock named Ticky.”
Cool Girls of Children’s Literature