Every now and again I like to share what I am currently reading as well as what is awaiting me in my immediate TBR pile, which is to say, on my desk! We shall disregard the many written notes and digital lists (that I may or may not be running side by side) at this point…

I think of myself as having many reading brains and consequently I usually read several books concurrently. I have my comfort reading brain, many of the books I read with this brain I have yet to divulge! I have my reading aloud brain for sharing stories with my son and this one is quite active as it is one of my greatest joys in life trying to predict which book will ignite his imagination and be enjoyable for both of us to read. I have my ‘grown up’ brain which is reserved for the professional, buried in me somewhere that likes to keep up its knowledge and skills and I have my curious brain which takes me down unpredictable paths and to many extents this brain is my favourite as it challenges my preconceptions and allows me to learn about new things.

If you think that paragraph was a little bit off piste, I must assure you that it was necessary to explain my reading! I hope that as you are reading this you might find something that appeals to you and your reading ‘brain(s)’.

Okay so I will start with my grown up list and I am particularly interested in reading for empathy, the health benefits of reading, the social and educational benefits of reading and the importance of reading and sharing stories with children. I have three books right next to me at the moment:

First thing this morning I read a few pages of Unselfie: Why Empathetic kids Succeed in our All-About-Me World by Michelle Borba and am already hooked; it is well written and engaging so it is not a chore and if you are in anyway interested in this topic or maybe have not read anything about it before, I think you would enjoy this book.

Next up is The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon. I have been reading this one slowly over time, it is quite a long book and I feel time is needed to absorb the information. I will probably finish this over the weekend and would recommend to anyone wanting to find out more about the science behind reading aloud and why it is so important & beneficial. I particularly like this description from the back cover:

“A miraculous alchemy occurs when one person reads to another, transforming the simple stuff of a book, a voice and a bit of time into complex and powerful fuel for the heart, brain and imagination.”

Last up for this brain is Developing Empathy in The Early Years: A Guide for Practitioners by Helen Garnett. This is definitely not an introductory type of text, indeed it describes itself as “pithy and practical”, not something that immediately sparks joy in my heart but I am reading nevertheless just to see if there is anything I can pick up/adopt for my working practices. This is a book that I will flick through chapter by chapter, more of a scan read, taking the occasional notes than a discovery read…


Which brain next? Let’s go with the reading aloud brain as it seems to follow through from the last selection. As I say to anyone willing to listen, reading with my son is one of my greatest joys in life and watching his engagement when we are choosing/discussing books is indescribable. We talk about what we are reading all the time in my house, we discuss what has happened, what we think is going to happen, who we like, who we hate and what we are going to read next, as no one likes the idea of having nothing to read (do they?). At the moment we are reading the last in Maz Evans’ Who Let the Gods Out series – Against All Gods, a series which I can quite honestly say we have both loved! My son loved that characters, the balance of humour and threat and I love any stories based on the Greek gods, especially in a modern setting, so win win. I also really rate this series for the way it tackles some really serious topics in a gentle sympathetic way. Elliot’s mums illness and his coping mechanisms could have been the subject of a hard hitting angsty text that I would have avoided reading with my sensitive son but instead has been written in a way that lets us absorb and discuss these issues which is always to be applauded.

If you want to try this series, it is available on BorrowBox so you can download from home.

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My son really enjoys listening to audio books and I recently introduced him to  BorrowBox and interestingly he has chosen to listen to Bear Grylls which is brilliant for me as I really wouldn’t enjoy reading it aloud and he is branching out in his interests.

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I know that you will all obviously be wondering about what is next after Against All Gods so I can confirm that we chose the next story at the weekend and it is going to be The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.  You can’t see me right now (I hope) so you can’t see just how excited I am about this as there have been many (many) nostalgic suggestions from my good self in the past which have been shot down in a blaze of casual indifference but Earthsea was a go and I can’t wait!!!

I just want to take a moment here to salute all adults who have ever undertaken the feat of reading the entire Harry Potter series to their child, there was a point in my life when I thought I would never read another line of text again that was not Harry Potter! I started with high spirits as I do enjoy the Potterverse but my enjoyment waned somewhere around the The Prisoner of Azkaban and was never regained… On this matter I will say that we have a lot to thank Mr Stephen Fry for, as without his audio books I fear we may have had to embark on the whole journey again.

Thank you Stephen.


 

Be sure to read tomorrows post to find out what my other brains have been reading…

Stephanie.