Friday, January 11, 2013

The Reading Race

Last year I lost the contest.

This year I intend to win...BIG.

A year ago I challenged my boy, the most eager reader of my gang, to a contest: who could read the most books in 2012? Turns out, he could. I gave him a good game though.

I began the year with a fun mystery in a favorite series. He started with a favorite series mystery too which, I'm just now noticing was only 24 pages long? Hmmmmmmm.

I landed next in France with this lovely book and my kiddo read Star of Stone which comes in at a redeeming 300+ pages.

Further down on my list were a few books I'd read aloud to the kids. I feel I should get extra points for reading every word of these out loud, but Cole threw a red flag up when I suggested that especially since I told him that he couldn't count them at all even though he'd listened to every word along with his siblings. Read aloud last year:

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Lovely! Lovely! Kate and Molly and I are reading another by the same author right now.)
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (We started this one years ago and didn't finish, we still wanted to know what happened so we began once more and were so glad we did!)
  • The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders (This was a short read, completed in two sittings. It was lots of fun and interesting for the little girls and equally interesting and very thought provoking to the older kids and reader as well. The illustrations by Lane Smith were wonderful and the main character's name is a real winner: Capable!)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (What a treat is was to read one of my childhood favorites to my kids. It took us three starts through the last two years to get a good momentum going with this one and then it just flew! We plan on reading the next in the series this year.)
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (I read this to Kate as part of her school work this year. Cole and Meg and I read it years ago when they were in 2nd grade. This was the first time I'd read it to a child who had already seen the movie and that certainly put an interesting spin on it. This reading was from The 60th Anniversary edition with a forward by Kate DiCamillo which in itself is worth the price of the book! A treasure.)

Cole, after years of hesitation from his parents, took to the Harry Potter series with a vengeance and completed the first three in the series.

I, too, was reading in a sort of theme-driven way and was attempting to hone my writing skills by reading Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), The Writing Life, and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

At some point during the year Cole's father insisted on him adding some non-fiction to his list and Cole appeased with the likes of Jesus Freaks: Stories of Those Who Stood for Jesus, The Good Life by Tripp Lee and Matt Chandler, Stop Dating the Church by Josh Harris,  City on Our Knees by Toby Mac and Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow.

My non-fiction section looked something like a foodie's buffet with Yes, Chef, Food Rules, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Then to work off all of that food knowledge, I plunged into another theme with Born To Run, and Run Like a Mother.

With the end of the year approaching and the time for reading was dwindling quickly, and we did the best we could up until Christmas and then we discovered that to the best of each of our records we were TIED at 23 books each. This would never do. In the precious days between Christmas and New Years Eve, each of us could be found reading with purpose! Cole was intent on finishing some of his books by his new fav author Ted Dekker: Identity, Lunatic, The Martyr's Song.

I read fervently and finished a book on December 30, so did Cole. Not to be out done, I polished off another the very same did Cole and just before the year ticked to an end the next day, he finished another  (all of this while sticking to a vigorous college football bowl viewing schedule) AND he remembered two or three more books that he'd forgotten to list earlier and cinched the victory! My Man, trying to come to my aid suggested that we instead count pages read and not the number of books. Quickly, behind Cole's back, I waved off that suggestion knowing that I'd been well creamed in the page count too.

Soundly skunked.

Since my defeat at the hands of a thirteen-year-old I have spent a happy hour or two or maybe three (?) consulting "Best of" and "Highly Anticipated" lists as well as my smart phone** to compile, in scary uncharacteristic detail, my 2013 Reading List. Cole has chosen, in an equally uncharacteristic move to keep his list less formal and not really have an official list at all?!?!

Here's what I the end of the year...ONLY the books that are actually ON the "Books Completed" LIST will be counted! (Thus sayeth the MOM, a.k.a. the loser of last year's contest.)

I'm excited to report that as of today I am two or three books ahead of The Boy and I plan to keep things that way!!

*WHAT, you may be wondering, has my smart phone got to do with my book list for the year? Well, when I come across book that interests me that I'm not ready to read yet but know that I'm going to want to remember, I snap a picture of it (and also of any the children are interested in) so I'll not forget.

 When I'm ready for a new book, all I have to do is look at my photo gallery on my phone!

Wishing you 
many happy reads
 in 2013!

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