I just finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I love the way Setterfield writes. She writes for a reader about readers. Her language is rich and her story is full of intrigue. She doesn't rely on shock value, sex, or vulgarity. Incest and rape are there, but we don't encounter a graphic retelling in which the writer is proving her willingness to address the language and horror. What we get is a more mature approach to story telling where the writer trusts the reader to have certain knowledge, to intuit, and to enjoy a less immediate gratification.
With the children I am reading these:
- The Ancient Egyptian World is our current book in the The World in Ancient Times Series. I still like the primary sources provided with the series in the reference volume. The pictures are wonderful, the writing lively, and the history verifiable. Egypt is such a fun study because of the possibilities. We have made Egyptian sandals, papyrus paper, and will make a sculpty step pyramid with individual blocks.
- The Cat of Bubastes by G.A. Henty is part of our Egyptian study. We are only a few chapters into the book so will reserve judgment until later. This book may be a bit mature for my children. I am not sure what the recommended ages are.
- The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss is our bedtime story. The children love the book. I, though I like the story, am curious about the messages I am sending by reading this book. The shoot everything in sight regardless of whether it will make a good food or not mentality is not comforting. I am inspired by the family's resourcefulness and positive attitude. We have been attempting to identify the point of shipwreck globally and find it positively frustrating. The animals are too diverse to make it believable - kangaroos, buffalo, jackal, onager, penguins, flamingos, and, eagles . . . The flora is just as elusive. Being unable to pin down the location will make it difficult for us to ship wreck there, which is what my children long to do.