Hooray! I was able to read four books for this month’s Reading Roundup. Yes, two of them were books I read in less than 36 hours each…but still! That just means I really am weeding down my YA bookshelves! And, sadly, there were a few disappointments in this month’s set of books.
Bendon Junior Classic Abridged Version of Moby Dick by Herman Melville
I have never ever read Moby Dick before. I always felt it would be too boring. So, when I bought the abridged version, I knew I had to read it. And, to be honest, it was dull and anti-climatic. It reminded me of a sad-ending version of The Old Man and the Sea.
We all know what Moby Dick is about–Captain Ahab hates this big white whale because the whale bit off the captain’s leg and now he vows revenge against the animal. Maybe it was the elementary retelling, but it wasn’t scary or thrilling at all. It was quite predictable. I won’t spoil the ending for you if you haven’t read it, but you pretty much knew what was going to happen.
Once I got to know Herman Melville a little bit more from the back (this series always has a one-page bio of the author) and realized he had actually been on ships quite a lot and knew a lot about the “science” of whales, it made it seem a little more realistic. But, I thought he tried too hard to make it a “high-sea adventure” type of book…there was a Native American who was really good at whaling, a big African who was really strong, a Pacific Islander who had tattoos all over his body who was good with weapons, and a creepy mystical Turkish guy. I also thought it was kind of funny (albeit understanding) that Melville, as well as probably the entire population at the time, believed that whales were fish rather than mammals.
I’m sure the real version went more into detail about the science and business of whaling as well as the skills to sail, but the abridged didn’t. To be completely honest, I know this series included Moby Dick because it was a classic, but I wouldn’t have ever had my class read it because they’d be bored out of their mind (as would I).Click To Tweet
Bendon Junior Classic Abridged Version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
I was excited to read this book since I already knew the tale. Ichabod Crane is a new teacher in Sleepy Hollow, an old Dutch village in New England. He is tall, skinny, and awkward looking. He falls in love with Katrina Van Tassell, the daughter of a prominent and wealthy farmer. But, Brom Bones, a popular and mischevious man wants her too. After a party hosted by the Van Tassells, Brom Bones tells a spooky story about the haunted Headless Horserider. Crane, being superstitious, is scared on his way home…and he encounters the Headless Horsrider…or is it Bones? No one knows since, after that night, no one saw Crane again because he ran away scared.
Growing up, the only version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow I knew of was the old Disney version. So, even though the abridged version had pictures on every other page, and most of Ichabod Crane, I only pictured the Disney version. And it’s interesting. The Disney version makes him seem more of a gawky, awkward goof rather than a gawky, awkward greedy, self-serving teacher.
I really enjoyed the way this book was written. Of course, it was abridged, but this series does it’s best to preserve the style and voice of the original authors. And no wonder I enjoyed the way it was written–Irving is known as the father of American novels.
And, I was lucky. This book also included Rip Van Winkle…the short story about an old lazy, peaceful Dutch farmer who goes to sleep for 80 years and wakes up seeing that it’s 80 years later. And, another one of his short stories called The Spector Bridegroom, which I’d never heard before. But, it was interesting.
I would definitely recommend this book to any upper elementary (or even 6th or 7th grade) class, especially if they are doing a unit on American Literature or learning about the colonial and Revolutionary eras of America.Who's afraid of the Headless Horseman? Book review on Legend of Sleepy Hollow. #readingroundup Click To Tweet
Successful Women of the Bible by Katara Washington Patton
I was very excited when a good friend of mine sent me this book. She knows I’ve recently been really into women and the Gospel and women and the priesthood. So, I was excited to study these women in the scriptures.
The book focuses on Esther, Miriam, Deborah, Hagar, Eunice, Lois, Lydia, Priscilla, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Mary. Katara Washington tries to bring the lessons these women learned into a 21st-century perspective. She tried to compare their trials and how they overcame to the trials we would have in today’s society. And to be honest, I think that’s where she started to fail. It was a bit of a disconnect. She attempted to focus on eternal values and lessons, but while focusing on social media and pop culture, it didn’t really work out.
I also thought this would be more of a Bible story, but there was hardly any Bible in it. It was more of Washington’s own interpretation of the story and impact of these women. So, I was a little disappointed in that. I wouldn’t consider it a devotional book because of the lack of scripture study in it.
But, I now want to focus more on these women and get to know them better, so it did spark more of a Bible study drive in me.Did you know there were a TON of successful women in the Bible? Learn from them! #bookreview… Click To Tweet
The Lost Husband by Katherine Center
This was our church’s book for book club this month. And to be completely honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the description in the back…it didn’t seem interesting to me at all. Libby, a widow with two kids, has lived with her overbearing, Narcissistic mother for the past few years. Then, her mysterious hippie farmer aunt Jean sends her a letter to “rescue” Libby and come live with her. Unsure, Libby takes the offer and begins working on Jean’s goat farm in the tiny town of Atwater, Texas. She has an awkward relationship with the farm hand, O’Connor, and is thrown off by his hairy, hairy, hairy bushman appearance. She is also thrown off by Sunshine, a girl who claims she can speak to the dead but turns out to be a teenage superstar who went into “hiding” after drugs, sex, etc. This is the story of how Libby comes to find herself and a place to call home and family.
Realistic fiction is boring to me. I read historical fiction, fantasy, adventure, YA. If I’m going to read realistic fiction, I might as well be reading memoirs. At least those are funny. Plus, it seemed like it was going to focus on the paranormal seances between Libby and her late husband, Danny. Instead, it turned into a PG-rated romance novel between Libby and O’Connor. Boring. I don’t read romance novels.
However, there were some points I did like. I loved the character of Jean. She is so sweet and authentic. And, when Libby’s daughter was getting bullied at the small elementary school because of the scar on her leg from the car accident that killed Danny, my heart went out to both Libby and her daughter. Libby didn’t know how to handle it–I wouldn’t know from a parent’s perspective. I was also angry at the school for Libby and because I am a teacher myself. I would’ve definitely stopped the bullying once and for all.
But, if you like sweet, soft romance novels that are also about discovering (or rediscovering) yourself, you’d love this book because Libby does change. She goes from an uptight helicopter mom who didn’t have a lot of self-confidence or happiness, to someone who went with the flow and allowed her kids to be kids. And, it has a bit of a cloyingly sweet ending where everything ends up perfect.How would you like to move to Atwater, TX & become a hippie goat farmer? #readingroundup… Click To Tweet
This year, I’ve decided to reopen up Reading Roundup to other to linkup with! I’ve partnered up with two good blogger friends who love books too!
Meet Your Hosts
How It Works:
- Reading Roundup will happen the last Tuesday of every month! The linkup will be open for two weeks!
- There really aren’t “rules.” This is free and open. We are book lovers and want to read about your books!
- Link up a post of a book review you did from this month. Or, a roundup of book reviews you did this month.
- Try to hop around and engage on other people’s book reviews! Make some new friends!
- Grab this pinnable image to put on the bottom of your post! (But, no pressure to do so!)