What I’ve Been Reading: December 2017

Joining Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I’ve been reading lately.

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

This book was absolutely fascinating.  It’s written by a 13 year old Japanese boy who has severe Autism and is nonverbal.  He wrote it through the use of a letter grid. It completely changed my understanding of Autism. Not only that, but it helped me to understand my son better.  Our 4 year old, Elijah is not Autistic, but he does have Sensory Processing Disorder which a lot of kids with Autism have  (he is a sensory seeker rather than an avoider). A lot of his behaviors are a more mild version of things Naoki described in The Reason I Jump, but his explanations about why he does those things has helped me to have a little more patience with Elijah.  The book reminded me of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a little bit, it’s surprisingly well-written considering the author was only 13.



Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty

This book has been on my to-read list for a long time. I’m so glad I finally read it. Since then I’ve been talking about it a lot. This is a sweeping novel set in the last days of the Wild West. It covers several different groups of people and how their lives intertwine. I loved how real the characters were; I identified with each one on some level. Because it is really rough around the edges (as you might imagine a Wild West novel being), I feel like I need to include a warning about language, sex and violence. I felt for the most part like it was handled well, but there is a lot of all of those things throughout the book.

Hidden Figures by Margot Shetterly

My question all throughout this book was, “WHY do we not know about these brilliant women already?  Why was none of this included in my history classes?” It’s staggering to think of the amount of discrimination they faced; these Hidden Figures with brilliant minds wanted only to be treated as they deserved and allowed to do their jobs.  I must admit, I was so disappointed by this book.  I have a hard and fast rule that I must read the book before we see the movie, because the book is (almost) always better, right?  In this case, the opposite is true.  The book is crammed with fascinating information, but it’s told in such a dry, disconnected way that I couldn’t keep any of the women or their stories straight.  This was not a work of beautifully written narrative non-fiction. I loved learning about the women hidden from the world and the important role they played in NACA/NASA’s history, but I would have loved to connect more with them. There are some interesting facts in the book, but I feel like it missed the mark by not focusing more on the lives and stories of the women.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This story took a little while to get going for me.  But about 1/3 of the way in I couldn’t put it down.  The characters are so endearing and the adventure so engaging that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. Magic+ defeating the Bad Guy + family love and relationships + courageous female characters. It would make a great read aloud for older kids, too.

All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton

I come from a family of bookish people and we’ve been passing this book around.  I learned so much about Pearl Harbor and WWII from this book.  I’ve read many, many books set during this time period, but this explained the war from a completely different perspective. Donald Stratton was on the USS Arizona when it was attacked in Pearl Harbor.  He narrowly escaped death, spent months recovering from horrific burns to the majority of his body and then re-enlisted and continued to fight for our freedom.  He has the distinction of fighting in the opening WWII battle for America (Pearl Harbor) as well as the final battle before Japan surrendered. His story of valor is simply incredible.  He is honest about his internal struggle to uphold his Christian beliefs and to forgive the horrors he endured. As I read I was constantly leaning over to share interesting facts and statistics with my husband. While the book was filled with facts and statistics it was told in such an engaging way that it was not dry at all.

What have you been reading lately?