Reading with toddlers: rereading the same book over and over… and over again

Recently, we’ve been obsessing over the original Very Hungry Caterpillar book. Like, I’m not even exaggerating when I say we read it ten times last Sunday. We even got to the point where I was so sick of reading it over and over that day, that I let Bella watch YouTube videos of caterpillars turning into butterflies for an hour. Oh and guess what? Thanks to YouTube showing related videos, my toddler found… that’s right, you guessed it… a video of someone reading the Hungry Hungry Caterpillar! Yay! As if I hadn’t had enough already. And instead of me reading it ten more times I got to hear someone else read it 5 more times. At which point I was caterpillar’d out and it was bedtime for Bella. The resulting toddler meltdown was almost comical with her sobs of “I want paterpiller (caterpillar)”.

Now of course, this is not a new thing. Our trusty standby and all time favorite, The Cat in the Hat, is read so often that we’ve literally memorized it. And we’ve read The Little Red Hen so many times that the last page fell out.

But the funny thing is, I’m not even mad. Yea it may get mind numbing after a while, but toddlers learn a lot through repetition and I couldn’t be happier that story time is one of her favorite daily activities… and that she wants to spend time with ME. Just to see her wide grin when I sit and listen to her “reading” the same book back to me is worth it.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s abc

Happy Sunday! Or happy whatever-day-you-are-Reading-this! So, my daughter Bella immediately spotted this book at Barnes and Noble the other day because she’s a huge fan of the original Very Hungry Caterpillar Book and even though we have several other abc books, I bought it because I typically have a rule that I never say no to buying a book (within reason). Well we brought it home and have been going through it everyday for the last couple weeks and I have to say that I didn’t expect to like it this much.

Bella’s thoughts:

She likes the paterpiller (Caterpillar) and the letters. “It’s so funny”.

My thoughts:

I love the bright colors because it instantly draws the eye to the page and Makes it easy for a two and three year old to focus as you read through the letters. Since the book features the same Caterpillar and art work from the original book, it makes it easily recognizable and I appreciate that for Bella who loves the original book. Another thing that I love is the fact that each letter takes up most of the page. I was getting really tired of books that feature the letter and then a picture of some sort and some words because often it distracts a small child from the main point, which is the letter. But what I love most about this book is that it is all lower case letters. Most of what they read is in lower case and it is often recommended to begin there. Of course, the kids are going to learn all their letters regardless, but if I can help my daughter become a confident reader in any way, I will try.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was the height of the letters. In trying to make the letters cute and chubby, some of the letters are not tall enough. As an example, Bella is constantly confusing d and a because the tall part of the lower case d is not that tall so it looks a bit like an a and I can easily see why she keeps making that mistake.

All in all it’s adorable and engaging for a little one who’s interested in “doing letters” and learning to read.

Last Year in Books

One of my favorite things about the end of one year and the beginning of another is reading people’s posts about what they accomplished and what they plan to accomplish upcoming year. When it comes to books, I genuinely believe that reading even one book a year is something to be proud of in a day and age where a large percentage of society picks up Zero books per year. That being said, I am so happy with how my 2018 reading goals were accomplished, not because of the number, but because I enjoyed myself and I exceeded my goal without panicking and reading books I didn’t want to read.

I love tracking my books read both on Goodreads and in my reading journal. This not only gives me a nice boost to my ego every time I look at it 😉 but it also allows me to further analyze my reading habits by seeing what genres I read the most of and what I’m NOT reading. So breaking it down by category, in 2018 I read:

  • Nonfiction: 2
  • Mystery: 11
  • Classics: 17
  • Middle Grade: 7
  • Fantasy: 29
  • Romance: 8
  • Science fiction: 3

Of these books, 3 were audiobooks. I also found it interesting that I read through 3 series.

The first thing that jumps out at me when looking at this breakdown is how few nonfiction I read. I was actually a little disappointed with myself at first and then I gave myself a little pep talk. I mean I read 87 books, and of those, 17 were classics. 17 classics, most of which apply towards my 5 Year (60 book) Classics Reading Challenge. So when I look at it like that I become very proud of myself. I had a great reading year because I enjoyed most of what I read and I made a sizable dent in my Classics challenge.

So although I do have reading resolutions and things I’d like to change in my reading life this year, I can look back on this past year and smile… and I hope all of you are doing the same in regards to your Reading lives! Happy New Year…

Angry Book Reviewers

We’ve all seen it. We finish a book we love and we eagerly go to to goodreads or another social media platform because we NEED to talk about this book we loved and in the midst of all the other glowing reviews or book discussions there’s 20 comments from people who absolutely HATED it. Not just simple “I didn’t like this book because insert reason here” comments, but scathing, insulting “you must be stupid, your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries and you are basically the worst if you like this book” or insulting comments towards the author. In a day and age where cyber bullying is widely recognized as a legitimate thing, the book community is the last place I expect to see this kind of thing, but there it is. Over the last few weeks I’ve seen quite a few nasty encounters while scrolling through goodreads and it absolutely boggles my mind. Since when did it become ok to insult others because they like something you don’t? And how dare people insult an author because a book was not for them. What’s worse is that these nasty comments are no longer confined to their own posts, often these types of things get posted in response to someone who writes a positive review. So today I just have a few of things to say. If you are being harassed by one of these losers, paper cut that B. If you are an author who spent countless hours working on a book from your heart, thank you for your hard work and for giving readers one more book to choose from. If you are one of those losers who thinks it’s ok to insult people whether they created something you don’t like or they like something you don’t, cut that shit out. And if you choose to bless me with some insults on social media because I like a book, I will not hesitate to paper cut you.

Messy bookshelves

It’s Shelfie Sunday and I thought I would start off this series with a topic I’ve been thinking about for a few days now.

While scrolling through Bookstagram recently, it hit me that while I may LOVE gazing lovingly at my bookshelves, they look nothing like those beautiful every-book-the-same-size rainbow organized shelves I see.

Sure I own some pop funkos and flowers that I display and I love decorating them for the holidays. And sure, I have some beautiful editions of books. But I display them alongside my well loved paperbacks and mismatched series. But I’ve also run out of room so I double stack my books wherever they fit. My organization makes sense only to me and now that I’ve resorted to double stacking, my books are less “organized” and more… let’s say (air quotes) “haphazardly arranged wherever the f they fit.” I’m in the market for a new shelf so I will be rearranging them back into a more cohesive system soon, but as of right now, we are stuffing books everywhere.

I get a lot of pleasure out of scrolling through bookstagram but I get the same pleasure out of walking around a library or a musty smelling used book store and just looking around. The same pleasure I get from my own shelves. I just love books and anytime there’s a stack of them somewhere, I look and I admire.

So despite my tacky arrangement of pop funkos, anime characters, and random memorabilia I’ve collected while traveling the world, I can honestly say that I believe my shelves have a lot of character. My shelves may not conform to the modern ideal of sleek shelves full of perfectly placed decor and hardback books, but they are beautiful to me and more importantly, they are full of friends both old and new, books I love. ❤️❤️

*As an afterthought I’d like to say that I just discovered the #messybooks posts on bookstagram and I’m in love*

So does anyone else suffer from messy books syndrome?

The dilemma of traveling with books

Have you ever been packing for a trip and heard one of your friends or loved ones utter the words “You don’t need to bring that many books!”?  Well I’m here today to tell you, IGNORE THAT SH*T.

A week ago, three of my coworkers and I went on a week long work trip that required us to fly across the country to D.C. and for the first time EVER I decided to conform and I packed light. Like really light. I listened to those lunatics who always tell me I don’t need to pack so many books and so the night before I piled a bunch of books on the couch and agonized over which book I absolutely needed to bring with me. I ended up settling on two paperbacks plus the one I was reading on my kindle app on iPad. I packed one book in my suitcase and my iPad and the other book in my purse. I figured if I ran out of reading material at the airport that I would just buy one at the airport like I usually do. Unfortunately, while browsing the bookshop at the first airport I didn’t find anything worth spending full airport price for and I didn’t have time to shop at the layover airport. Well friends, let’s just say IT HAPPENED. Yes, THAT. The thing we all dread. With 10 hours of travel time I RAN OUT OF BOOKS TO READ. I was reading this really great series (more on that in another post) on my iPad and I finished the book on the plane. The plane had WiFi so I thought I’d download the next book because I NEEDED to know what happened next and the freaking thing wouldn’t download.

I looked around the plane in a panic trying to figure out wtf people DO on a plane when they’re not reading and I figured it out… they get up repeatedly to use the restroom and stand in the aisles with their butts in your face.  When we finally landed in D.C. I was able to download it during the hour and a half ride to our hotel but can I just point out how nerve wracking it is to actually run out of books to read???

In an effort to put all this behind me, I’ve decided to consider this a learning experience.  I think it’s safe to say I will never go against my book hoarding instincts again.  The next person who tells me not to pack so many books is sure to receive a penetrating stare or a swift kick to the shin from me.

So remember friends, when someone tells you not to bring any more books on a trip, just ignore them because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

 

My Agatha Christie Collection

I have enjoyed Agatha Christie since my middle school days. Call it a fondness if you will (or maybe an obsession).

Ever since I was 13 years old and my school’s summer reading list included And Then There Were None. I remember clearly when my mom handed me $10 and I walked to a little used bookshop in New York and asked for any title off my list. I remember the elderly shop owner who asked me what kind of books I liked (I was into Goosebumps and the Boxcar Children at the time). He said “ah, you like mysteries so why not try this one” as he handed me an old copy of And Then There Were None. I was intrigued and with my $8 change I was able to get myself some snacks (yayyy) and I rushed home to read my new book. I couldn’t have planned it better because that evening there was a thunder storm and I settled in with my snacks and started reading. My friend called me to come over and I remember telling her I was grounded. I wasn’t. I was engrossed in my new book. I was creeped out and terrified. I was hooked.

Very few books hold such vivid memories for me but reading And Then There Were None was a milestone in my reading life. It was my first experience with an adult mystery book and I loved it. When I looked on the inside cover and saw how many other books she had written I was thrilled. Of her 80 something works I have now read 75 of them. I am not sure if it’s nostalgia, a love of cozy mysteries, or the quality of the books but these are books I have come back to again and again. Whenever I’m in a reading rut I can always pick up an A.C. and I’m all better. I think she had such an understanding of human nature and it reflects in the genius of her mysteries.

Fast forward 20 years and I’ve acquired a few of her books. When I started collecting her books, I had mainly used mass market paperback versions of her books and I still have quite a few of them. But when I saw these William Morrow Harper Collins versions, I decided to start slowly collecting them.

They are a very nice size and feel great in my hand but I don’t think I can bring myself to get rid of my older books.

I also recently acquired this beautiful leather bound version of Murder on the Orient Express.

These endpapers are just the greatest.

My shelf stats are as follows:

Print copies: 40

E-book: 1

Standalones: 5

Ms. Marples: 7

Hercule Poirots: 29

Spin-offs: 2

So there’s my modest collection. Eventually I will own all of her books and short stories. And while it will probably always be a mismatched collection, I couldn’t care less. I love them all.

If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, feel free to check out my post on Project Poirot (a reading project I saw on booktube) as I read through all of her Poirot books in order.

Thank you so much for stopping by!