Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Reading 2013

This summer the books I chose for my son and I to read together were, "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame, and "Ribsy" by Beverly Cleary. The former, a classic fictional story, the latter, a book I read as a child that I knew he'd enjoy because of his love for our new pup. We are still in the middle of "Ribsy".

"The Wind in the Willows" took us about 4 weeks to read due to various camps and summer fun. It is a very sweet book about friendship and devotion, and includes some very fun characters and plots (why, oh, why did Disney have to deconstruct Mr. Toad's Wild Ride?). It can be very descriptive and abstract at times, which would sometimes lose my son, so I would have to check in with him every now and then to make sure he was following the story. As a warning, the animals often call each other an "ass" (kind of surprising, but I believe that was not a curse word at the time), drink beer, and smoke. Makes for some good discussion.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from "The Wind in the Willows":

Mole, on leaving work behind to explore above ground-
"It all seemed too good to be true. Hither and thither through the meadows he rambled busily, along the hedgerows, across the copses, finding everywhere birds building, flowers budding, leaves thrusting- everything happy, and progressive, and occupied. And instead of having an uneasy conscience pricking him and whispering 'Whitewash!' he somehow could only feel how jolly it was to be the only idle dog among all these busy citizens. After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working."


Water Rat, the unapologetic homebody, not understanding a desire for change in migratory animals-
"O, we're not off yet, if that's what you mean," replied the first swallow, "We're only making plans and arranging things. Talking it over, you know - what route we're taking this year, and where we'll stop, and so on. That's half the fun!"
"Fun?" said the Rat; "now that's just what I don't understand. If you've got to leave this pleasant place, and your friends who will miss you, and your snug homes that you've just settled into, why, when the hour strikes I've no doubt you'll go bravely, and face all the trouble and discomfort and change and newness, and make believe that you're not very unhappy. But to want to talk about it, or even think about it, till you really need--"
"No, you don't understand, naturally," said the second swallow. "First, we feel it stirring within us, a sweet unrest; then back come the recollections one by one, like homing pigeons. They flutter through our dreams at night, they fly with us in our wheelings and circlings by day. We hunger to inquire of each other, to compare notes and assure ourselves that it was all really true, as one by one the scents and sounds and names of long-forgotten places come gradually back and beckon to us."

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