Tag Archives: reading fun

Encouraging Your Children to Read

I was just over at Molly’s blog, and I really enjoyed reading her post answering today’s Booking Through Thursday question:

How can you encourage a non-reading child to read? What about a teen-ager? Would you require books to be read in the hopes that they would enjoy them once they got into them, or offer incentives, or just suggest interesting books? If you do offer incentives and suggestions and that doesn’t work, would you then require a certain amount of reading? At what point do you just accept that your child is a non-reader?

In the book Gifted Hands by brilliant surgeon Ben Carson, one of the things that turned his life around was his mother’s requirement that he and his brother read books and write book reports for her. That approach worked with him, but I have been afraid to try it. My children don’t need to “turn their lives around,” but they would gain so much from reading and I think they would enjoy it so much if they would just stop telling themselves, “I just don’t like to read.”

I decided to play, too!

I’ve always read to my children, from the time each of them were very small, far too small to understand words; I remember being so excited by the way their eyes absorbed the shapes and colors in whatever board book I was reading to them.

My older two are two years apart, and as they got older, I took to reading middle grade novels to them, like the Harry Potter stories. Eventually, when they were almost in double digits in age, reading aloud to them before bed had turned into an hour-long ritual, since they had different tastes and I would find myself reading aloud a chapter from two different books every night.

It was at this point that we stopped the bedtime reading ritual; to this day though, we have lots of laughing moments during which we fondly remember Bunnicula, and Harry, and, from a bit farther back in their childhood, Amelia Bedelia and Captain Underpants.

When my youngest was born (he’s six now), I of course began the bedtime reading ritual with him again. He can now read, so bedtime always includes his reading a book to us – this is something I didn’t do with my older two, both of whom always preferred to be read to, but since we are homeschooling Dylan, it’s an easy way of adding more learning into the day.

I’ve written in the past about my older son, the “non-reader” who actually does like to read, although he’d never admit to being a reader. Late last year, for example, I won a copy of Stephen King’s latest, Under the Dome, and he polished it off in about three days. This is a big, doorstopper of a novel, but he got so into it, he even took it to school with him to read during his spare period!

My daughter is, however, a true “non-reader”. She’s never liked to read, and in fact, during her last three years in primary school, she actually decided to sign up for the local Battle of the Books contest in the hopes that she would learn to like reading.

I was stunned when she came home and announced she had joined up (actually, I probably won most unsupportive mother of the year award that year, because I recall bursting out laughing – I thought she was joking). We all knew how much she disliked reading, and the Battle of the Books requires participants to read up to 38 books. The “battle” consists of answering questions about each of the books.

Participating in the Battle of the Books didn’t work out quite the way she’d planned. She had a great deal of fun, and was usually appointed spokesperson because she speaks clearly and loudly, but even after two years of participating in the event, she still didn’t like to read books.

She does find the occasional book that she enjoys, like Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, by Shyam Selvadurai; she even made a short film of a scene from the book as her English project that year.

Very much like Molly’s son, my daughter is an auditory learner. She can watch a movie and then repeat lines verbatim (she’s always been great at doing impressions; when she was younger, her goal was to do stand-up comedy). She also watches a lot of movies and has made over 100 short films.

I’ve come to understand that for her, films are very much like books. She can watch a movie and dissect it the way one dissects a book for an English essay. She can see the archetypal structure of the storyline, and all the symbolism the director has used. There are, apparently, reasons for using certain camera angles other than “it looks good” …

Somewhat surprisingly, despite being a non-reader she is an incredibly good writer; she has always excelled in her English classes and has even won the award for having the highest English mark. But even though she’s good at writing, she still doesn’t feel any urge to read for fun.

Luckily, it appears that I finally do have a child who loves to read; Dylan, our youngest, has just learned to read, and loves both reading and being read to. The other day we had to cut short our weekly trip to the library to pick up my daughter from school, and he kept crying, “But I want to get another Dr. Seuss book first … I want to get another Dr. Seuss book NOW”. (He already had four of them in his book bag.)

So I have high hopes that there’s now another book nut in the family! But at the same time, I’ve learned to accept the different reading styles (or non-reading style, in my daughter’s case) of all my children.

I continue to buy and borrow books for my older son that I know will interest him, and he continues to read them. He still hates to go to the library or to a book store, though; but that’s all right, since I enjoy such trips immensely and it’s all the more rewarding when I come home with a few books for him. I suspect when he’s in his 30s I’ll still be dropping in with a load of books under my arm!

And I am so often in awe of my daughter’s filmmaking creativity; she’s really taught me a lot about films, and the kind of background things that go into making a good film. These things are very similar to the kinds of things that go into writing a good book, and I can see how very like a good book the better movies really are.

And as for my youngest, I’ll continue to nurture his love of reading as best as I can; I can hardly wait until he gets into chapter books and I can begin sharing with him the books I loved best as a child.

Comfort Reads (42nd Bookworms Carnival)

imageI’m just tickled to be hosting this 42nd Bookworms Carnival! Thank you to everyone who sent in their links on such short notice.

I chose the topic of Comfort Reads because there are always those times in life when a much-loved, well-read book is exactly what I need, and I’m hoping you all feel the same, too.

The desire for a spot of comfort reading hits me most often during the winter: usually at night, when it’s toasty warm inside and bitterly cold outside. I look at my special reading armchair and thoughts of a good, familiar book and a mug of hot tea come to mind.

I’ve enjoyed seeing the titles my fellow bloggers turn to when they’re up for some comfort reading; there are many old favorites of mine in the group, plus some new titles that of course I’ve now added to my list of books to get my hands on. All I can say is, it’s a good thing Christmas is just around the corner!

Classics

Ah, the classics! I have quite a few classics on my own list – especially Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, A Room with a View, by E. M. Forster, and The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford. Only one person submitted a classic, but it’s a lovely one for reading on a cold night, all warm and cozy in front of the fire.

Heather from Age 30+ … A Lifetime of Books submitted Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. If you’re like me, whenever you think of Wuthering Heights you think of Heathcliff. I also tend to think of dark and glowering brows, too! Heather has included a great detailed list of the cast of characters that does a wonderful job of refreshing your memory about this classic if it’s been a while since you’ve read it.

Fantasy

There’s something about a good fantasy that gives that old favorite one an edge when it comes to being a comfort read. I think it’s because the world you dip into is so different and all-encompassing (with the best fantasies, anyway), that you literally are swept away for those few hours you’re re-reading.

Heather submitted as another comfort read, Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of my own favorite reads. I’ve always had a fondness for retellings of the King Arthur story, and I read this when I was a teen and just adored it. Heather says, “I guess I’d have to say that if you DO find it challenging, it is VERY worth the effort you put into it. For me, this is a “must read” for just about everyone.” And I agree totally!

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series is another series I turn to in my own comfort reading, so I was pleased to see it showing up in the submissions. Zee at Notes from the North recommends listening to the Dragonsinger series in audio, which sounds like a great idea. Jemi at Just Jemi has also included the Pern series in her list of comfort reads, and I am in complete agreement with her! I recently bought the first three books in the series in ebook format, so that I’ll always have them to dip into.

Zee also includes in her list a fantasy series by David Eddings, the Belgariad and Mallorean series; I’ve read a few books by Edding, and she’s reminded me it’s time for a revisit.

Jackie at Literary Escapism submitted three urban fantasy books that sound like fantastic reads; I haven’t read any of them, and have added them to my list. There’s Friday Night Bites, by Chloe Neill, a novel about the Chicagoland vampires, and Destined for an Early Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, another novel about vampires. And I’ve had the Riley Jensen series, by Keri Arthur, on my list for a while now; the latest installment, Bound to Shadows, sounds so good.

Sheila, from One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books, picks The Three Sisters Trilogy, by Nora Roberts as her comfort reads; I haven’t read very many books by Nora Roberts, but as soon as I read Sheila’s post, I immediately added these books to my list – I love the concept of three independent women who are all witches. In her email to me, Sheila wrote, “These three books are favorites of mine and are always a “go to” series if I need to just sink into characters that are like old friends to me. Even talking about them now makes me want to go visit them between the pages of these books.”

Mysteries

There’s nothing more perfect than curling up with a good mystery, and with the passage of time, I find that my memory of exactly whodunnit has dimmed enough for old favorites to be just as enjoyable as they were the first time I read them.

For Aarti, at Booklust, Footsteps in the Dark, by Georgette Heyer, is a favorite read. She says, “Footsteps in the Dark is a thriller mystery of the first order, complete with secret passageways, priest holes, skeletons and a cowled monk.” She definitely has me sold on this one! I’ve never read a Georgette Heyer, and one of her mysteries seems like a good place to start.

Candace, at Beth Fish Reads, submitted a book from one of my new personal favorites: the Hamish Macbeth series by M.C. Beaton. In her review of Death of a Travelling Man, she notes that she started this series in audio mainly because of the narrator, Davina Porter. Candace likes to read her series in order, but I tend to grab hold of whatever I can find; I seem to have started the series at the opposite end, and the majority of the ones I’ve listened to have been narrated by Graeme Malcolm. I like Porter’s narration a bit better, but Malcolm does some great accents.

Zee’s picks include J.D. Robb’s In Death series. This is a series I’ve been meaning to read for a while; Zee writes, “This series makes me laugh and the characters feel very real …”

And I’m very glad Jemi included Agatha Christie in her list. She says, “Agatha Christie’s mysteries are kind of like chocolate for me,” and that’s such a perfect description of how the Christie books feel to me, too. My memory isn’t as good as Jemi’s, though – I’ve been rereading Christie in audio, and I find that I’ve forgotten who the culprit is in most of the novels!

Children’s Books

The books I read as a child will always hold a special place in my heart; one of the first things I did as a “real grown-up” holding down a job (ie finally having a bit of money to spend) was to start buying copies of all the old favorites that I’d borrowed time and again from the library when I was little.

I grew up with Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, so I was so glad to see that Jessica, of The Bluestocking Society, and Jemi both chose Anne Shirley as one of their favorite comfort reads. I have read and reread the whole Anne of Green Gables series so many times, I can quote whole sections from the book. Jemi writes, “As a shy, serious girl, I wanted to be Anne’s friend.” I could have written that! I remember wishing I knew someone like Anne, too; the term “kindred spirits” will always hold a special place in my heart.

Jemi also includes The Hobbit in her list of comfort reads – another one of my favorites! I couldn’t decide whether to put this under Fantasy or children’s books, but since I’ll always associate The Hobbit with childhood, I decided this was the proper place for it. (I read The Hobbit long before any of other The Lord of the Rings books.)

Food Writing

There’s something just so comforting to me about reading about food; I go on occasional food-writing splurges, during which time I’ll read nothing but food writing. I also come out of these splurges with a few extra pounds, I think, because one thing about good food writing – it makes you hungry!

Margot, of Joyfully Retired, has submitted a book that’s one of my personal favorites: Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, by Laurie Colwin. As Margot points out, “Her tone is strictly conversational – just as if you are sitting in her kitchen talking about food.” That’s what makes this book such a charming book for me; I loved Margot’s example of having a conversation with the author as she was reading it!

General Fiction

A lot of the books in my own comfort reading pile fall into a general, non-genre category. When I look at them, I see that a charming, cozy feel is a common element.

I loved Jessica’s review of 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff. This is a book that has long been on my “I really want to read that” list, and her review is a good reminder that I really do need to get to it.

Amy, from Amy Reads Good Books, submitted Trouble, by Kate Christensen. I’ve never read any novels by Christensen, but Amy’s caught my attention with this: “it was a thoughtful meditation on how we do or do not bounce back from trauma as we age.” Another interesting book!

Jackie at Farm Lane Books has chosen The Nutmeg Tree by Margery Sharp as her comfort read – Sharp’s books are out of print, but she was lucky enough to find three of them! Ever since I read Jackie’s review of The Nutmeg Tree, I’ve been on the lookout for books by Sharp. They sound like the perfect comfort read.

Myrthe, at The Armenian Odar Reads, submitted The Chosen, by Chaim Potok. This is a lovely review; she writes, “It is the one book that still makes me cry all through the last chapter, a book that I immediately want to start again when I finish it.” I haven’t read The Chosen yet; it sounds like such a beautiful coming-of-age story.

I was also thrilled to see that Melanie, at The Indextrous Reader, submitted Alexander McCall Smith: “My version of comfort reading must always include Alexander McCall Smith,” she says in her post. Me too! She has great things to say about both the Mma Ramotswe series and the Scotland Street series. I haven’t yet fallen under the allure of the Mma Ramotswe series yet, but McCall Smith’s Scotland Street and Isabel Dalhousie series are both very near and dear to me.

Melanie also submitted The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice. The title is so charming. Melanie writes, “Full of eccentric English characters, revealing social conditions, ancient houses, True Love, teatime and Selfridge’s, I greatly enjoyed this lovely and unusual novel.” I think it will be one I’ll enjoy too.

Finally, Meg’s review of The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen, at Write Meg is so enticing; this is another book I’m adding to my burgeoning list of books to get my hot little hands on. Meg calls The Sugar Queen a “seriously delightful, magical story”, and reading her review, it sounds absolutely charming and whimsical, with dashes of mystery and magic.

This ends the Comfort Reads edition of the Bookworms Carnival! I hope you’ve rediscovered some old favorites in this list, and perhaps added a few to your list that you haven’t read before.

Play along with us! What are some of your comfort reads?

Go Readers Go!

This post is going live at 8:00 am today, which is when the October 24-hour-readathon starts. I’m actually writing this right now at 12:52 am (Toronto time) because no way am I going to be up at 8:00 am. Try 10:00 am and we’re looking at a possibility.

So it’s a good thing I’m a cheerleader for this wonderful reading event, and not an actual reader, since the aim is to read for the 24 hours.

I’m a member of the Romantics cheerleading squad, and I’ve committed to four hours of cheering.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re looking forward to an event, and you’ve been talking it up with your family the whole day before. “Yes, I’m cheering for the 24-hour readathon tomorrow. I’ll be making lots of comments. Writing lots of tweets on Twitter.”

In the meantime, your husband is preparing for another event that you also “know” is happening – except that it’s the kind of “knowing” that hasn’t quite sunk in.

Two hours ago, I realized, “OMG, that’s right. We’re having a DINNER PARTY tomorrow night!”

Now, you may not think this is a problem. But around here, a dinner party means “having people over” which automatically turns things into a full-day event.

Because, you see, the house has to be cleaned. At least, the parts of it guests will have access to.

Not only does my husband usually teach on Saturday mornings, this particular Saturday morning he has a student grading (he runs a martial arts dojo), which means he’ll be home even later in the afternoon than usual.

He normally does more of the housework around here than I do, but because of the grading, me and my current audiobook (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) will be shouldering most of the cleaning-the-house burden.

I’m also responsible for the usual host duties once our guests arrive, since my husband will be in the kitchen, chopping away and performing his usual food magic. And I think everyone does expect me to sit down to dinner with them.

I don’t know HOW the fact that these two events are actually occurring within the same time frame could have possibly slipped my notice. After all, I knew that today is the readathon. I also knew we are having a dinner party today.

I just didn’t put two and two together adequately enough to notice that they would be happening at the same time.

(Did you notice? No-one around here – ie my husband – clued in to the fact that both events were taking place at the same time, either.)

Thankfully, I’ve committed to four hours of cheering. I can do four hours. I’ll be commenting during my breaks from cleaning the house. I might have to discreetly keep my iPhone on my lap under my napkin at dinner and tweet encouragement to various readers, but I will meet my commitment.

In fact, I’m hoping to exceed those four hours. Plus, everyone who’s coming has either young kids, or teenagers who play hockey at the ridiculous hour of 4:00 in the morning on Sundays. They’ll all be out of here by 11:00 (okay, 12:00 at the latest), and since I’m a night owl, that still leaves me a couple of hours to cheer before bed.

I will update this post with my cheerleading thoughts as the day progresses.

Good luck, everyone! And have fun! I know I will.

Cheerleading Update Number 1 (1:24 pm Toronto time)

Cleaning? What cleaning? :) I’m going to start now. I have now visited 85 blogs and commented at every one of them that had a readathon post up.

I also spent about half an hour on Twitter, having fun tweeting away.

I didn’t know cheerleading could be so fun. But … my husband is vacuuming and I’m feeling mighty guilty. A-cleaning I go!

Good luck, everyone!\

Cheerleading Update No. 2: 1:11 am Toronto Time

I think I must be doing a good cheering job – I just got booted off Twitter for making too many updates!

My Favorite Book Hooks

Word Lily recently had a post about the things that make her want to pick up that book – “book hooks”. Coming up with a list sounded like such fun, so I thought I’d give it a try, too.

Off the top of my head, here are 20 things that will make me pick up a book:

1. magic in our world, preferably with wizards

2. a bookstore (the cozier it sounds, the better)

3. food

4. art

5. a mystery

6. psychic powers

7. a Cinderella angle

8. an underdog

9. a library

10. a museum

11. detectives (I especially like a team)

12. very smart kids

13. computer whizzes

14. ghosts

15. artifacts

16. self-discovery

17. hidden talents

18. codes/ciphers

19. Arthur/Merlin. Preferably now rather than the past.

20. strange quirks

I usually like a combination of these hooks, but if a book has at least one, I’m sure to pick it up and take a closer look. If you haven’t read Word Lily’s post yet, check it out – she’s got a great list of book hooks up.

What about you? Are there any specific hooks that virtually guarantee you’ll give a book a closer look?

The Art of the Insult

When was the last time you heard a really good insult? I mean, one that wasn’t accompanied by certain select four letter words and other modern expletives?

I recently received an email from an artist friend of mine on classy insults from back in the days when they could craft some really good ones, and had absolutely no compunction about doing so.

This one has probably been making the email rounds, but there are so many good ones in the list, I can’t resist posting them here, especially since a few of them supposedly come from some of our greatest literary heroes. (I say supposedly because I haven’t verified that these quotes actually come from the sources indicated; even if they didn’t, they’re still pretty good examples of the lost art of the insult!)

So here you go: enjoy!

*************************************

In an exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor:

She said, “If you were my husband, I’d give you poisoned tea.”

He answered, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

***

A member of Parliament to Prime Minister Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”

“That depends, Sir”, said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

***

“He had delusions of adequacy” – Walter Kerr

***

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

***

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow

***

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

***

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

***

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

***

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”  – Oscar Wilde

***

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…. if you have one.”  – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.”- Winston Churchill, in response.

***

“I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.” – Comedian Kip Adota

***

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

***

“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.”  – Irvin S. Cobb

***

“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

***

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

***

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand

***

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

***

“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

***

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

***

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” –  Oscar Wilde

***

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

***

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

***

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

*********************************************

Aren’t these such fun? Not that I’m prone to giving insults, of course, but still, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it with a bit of class, right? Have you heard of any other deliciously insulting quotes?

Mailbox Mondays: Cats, cats, cats

I’ve already spotted quite a few Mailbox Monday posts in my feed reader – it occurs to me I’m always running a bit later than everyone else when it comes to posting. Actually, it occurs to me that most book bloggers have a TON of energy and I’m not sure how they do it!

I seem to find my blogging rhythm in the evenings, as I’m settling down to more fun and unwinding before bed …

Here’s what came in the mail for me this past week: I’m very excited about these two books – I first read these when I was in my early twenties, borrowed from the library, and they were out of print even then so I could never get my own copy, and I wanted my own copies so very much!

I’ve had them in the back of my mind for ages, and kept meaning to wander over to Abe Books to see if I could find a copy or two or four. Then last month, for some reason, I decided to check Amazon – and discovered they were re-released last November! So I bought these as a post-holiday treat for myself, and I’m so looking forward to reading these back-to-back! Both my Siamese cats have passed on, and I won’t be able to get another one for a while, as our resident feline is a holy terror and would gobble up a kitten alive, but I’ll be able to dip back into my memories with both these books.

Cats in the BelfryMemoir/Non-fiction: Cats in the Belfry, by Doreen Tovey. Don’t those two little imps look so mischievous? I remember laughing my way through this book, and at the same time, felt such familiarity with the antics of Sugieh and later on, her kittens. They were so much like my own cats. This first book starts with the adventures of Sugieh, and then her two darling kittens, Sheba and Solomon.

Cats in MayMemoir/Non-Fiction: Cats in May, by Doreen Tovey. Cats in May is the sequel to Cats in the Belfry, and continues to follow the antics of Sheba and Solomon.

I’m still waiting for The New Boy and Double Trouble to be available, but in the meantime, I just know I’m going to fall in love with these two books again. If you’re a cat lover – and especially if at some time you’ve been (or are) the slave companion to a Siamese cat (or two or more) – I definitely recommend both these books.

Mailbox Monday – Now to find time to read them all …

This was a much better week in terms of incoming books! The only problem is that, with the holidays coming up (and I haven’t done much in terms of shopping yet), it will be a challenge finding time to sit down with these. And I really want to!

So here’s what came this past week:

Children’s Books: My One Hundred Adventures, by Polly Horvath

Children’s Books: The Case of the Missing Marquess, by Nancy Springer

Mystery: The Cure for All Diseases, by Reginald Hill

Young Adult: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart

Mystery: The Victoria Vanishes, by Christopher Fowler

Chick Lit/Romance: Certain Girls, by Jennifer Weiner

What did everyone else get in the mail?

BTT: Reading Time

Today’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?

The answer to this question, at this time of the year, is no. Unfortunately. I’m a freelancer in the publishing industry and fall and winter are my most busy times of the year. Come spring and summer, though, things get much less hectic. That’s when I find myself with ample time to read.

Despite a lack of time right now, last month I made a commitment to reading every day. It’s made a real difference to me, I’ve been finding. Somehow, that little bit of time to escape into a book eases away the stress of deadlines. Even if it’s only a chapter or two each day, it’s like magic.

2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

Everything in my TBR pile. Which actually includes everything listed above.

Mailbox Monday: Hey! Where Did All The Books Go?

A very odd thing has happened: for today’s edition of Mailbox Monday here at MsBookish.com there is very little to report. (Mailbox Mondays is hosted every week by The Printed Page, for those who want to join in on the fun.)

It feels odd because my entire week has been swimming with books; but when I sat down to write this post, I discovered there wasn’t much to report in terms of new arrivals for my TBR pile.

Here’s what came to the Ms. Bookish household this past week (yes, it’s a scant list …):

Triskellion, by Will Peterson. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

A sense of foreboding sets in the moment fourteen-year-old twins Rachel and Adam arrive from New York to visit their English grandmother. The station is empty, village streets are deserted, locals are hostile, and even their frail Granny Root is oddly distant. And what about the bees that appear to follow a mysterious force? It all seems tied up with the Triskellion — an intertwining symbol etched in chalk on the moors. With a growing sense of danger and white-knuckle suspense, the twins are compelled to unearth a secret that has protected the village for centuries, one that reveals a shocking truth about their ancestors — and themselves.

I also received a couple of audiobooks. These didn’t arrive in my mailbox, but I think audiobook downloads fall within the spirit of Mailbox Monday, don’t you? So here they are:

Holidays on Ice (unabridged), by David Sedaris. Thanks to Kathy for suggesting this one. I’ve been listening to it at night, and it’s very funny. Sedaris’ voice is a perfect match to the tone of his essays.

Tomb of the Golden Bird (unabridged), by Elizabeth Peters. I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Peters, but it’s been a while since I picked up an Amelia Peabody book, so I thought I’d give the audio version a try, since I’ve heard great things about the narrator of the series.

So that’s it for this week. I’m hoping next Monday the list will be a bit better.