Book DNA: Have Book, Will Travel

I may be fond of order, but I think it would be more exciting to explore my book DNA map out of chronological order. So, today, I bring you a book recently added to my list: A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor. I am sharing this reading experience with my soon-to-be nine year-old daughter. Try this with your child, spouse, or friend. You don’t have to purchase expensive airfare or hotels to experience different cultures and escape.


Project

  • Each day, we read (together) a chapter from the book, A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor.
  • At the end of the chapter, we discuss and focus on what one new item she learned and / or found interesting.
  • I pre-read each chapter and develop five questions that my daughter will answer on her own after we read the chapter – the answers are not to be regurgitated from the reading material. Each question requires an answer with multiple sentences and a formed argument. Half of the questions also require my daughter to go to the website and search for additional details on the timeline or review other pre-approved sources (Ted talks, history sites / relevant news articles).
  • The questions serve three purposes:
    • Expand vocabulary; 
    • Learn how to search on websites and define a relevant search / search terms; and
    • Form an argument.

Reminders

Each week we will explore the next five all time favorite and impactful books that have shaped my book DNA. For additional reading recommendations, please review the Book DNA category.

Book DNA: October Book Club Selection

We did it! Last week, we held our first Book DNA club (virtual) meeting to discuss the book, The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont. And yes, we chatted an ENTIRE hour via Google Hangout just about the book. On a scale of one-to-five (one being the least desirable read and five being a Book DNA selection), I would give this book a solid three. If you have not read the book or are in the middle of the book, trudge through to the end.

This book has a lot of layers transcending teen angst. Perhaps that is the biggest downfall of the book? There are just too many layers being woven into a Big Idea that is fuzzy at best. With the exception of the protagonist, all other characters are one-dimensional. It is hard to care for any one of them…there are so many characters! But perhaps that is the point? As one reader suggested, maybe this lack of development was intentional by the author and each character represents an attribute of the protagonist. One can only have fun speculating.

We won’t ruin the ending for you (except to tell you that it was tied too neatly with a bow), but we would like to share some interesting tidbits from the book:

  • Novels referenced in this book: O Pioneers, The Awakening, The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, The Sun Also Rises, and The Motion of Light in Water. In fact, in keeping with the Book DNA theme, we wanted to choose The Motion of Light in Water as our October book, but the text was not available in large quantity on Amazon or in digital format.
  • The character names, Aidan, Nadia, and Diana are all anagrams. <—Isn’t that neat? On purpose?
  • If you are a sailor or feel the love of the sea, this book will speak to you and the metaphors may make more sense than they did for me (but I didn’t shy away from looking up the meaning of those nautical terms).

The October book has been randomly selected from the list of suggestions requested in August. If you would like to add to the list, please add to the post comments. We will be discussing The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul on Wednesday, 10 October at 8:30pm.

If you would like to continue the September book or RSVP for the virtual meeting on 10 October, let me know and I will include you in the No Nonsense Book DNA Club. There are no rules. Drop in every month or every two months. All we ask is that we RSVP the day before so we can schedule a Hangout or conference bridge. Let’s have fun! Be respectful. Broaden perspectives…diversify your book DNA.

Book DNA: Summer Book Club, 5 September

Calling all people with a thirst for adventure and taste for controversial conversations (OK, maybe , not every meeting)! The first meeting / melding of the minds is 5 September to discuss The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (Kindle version and Nook version). RSVP here.  The next book will be randomly selected next Wednesday for discussion 3 October. The books up for selection include:

If you have other books you would like added to this list, please add a comment to this post.

One more week until I have to hit the books again for school, but this will not stop me from reading for fun! I have spent the past month turning my Book DNA list into a mind map. I will add links as I finish each section in the vlog series. There are some entries where only the author’s name is listed because I read everything in sight by that author and the mind map entry requires a bit of fleshing out. The vlog series returns from summer break next Friday!

Each week we will explore the next five all time favorite and impactful books that have shaped my book DNA. For additional reading recommendations, please review the Book DNA category.

Book DNA: Summer Book Club

Calling all people with a thirst for adventure and taste for controversial conversations (OK, maybe , not every meeting)! Suggestions requested for summer book selection. The first meeting / melding of the minds is 19 August via Google+ hangout. See you there!

Each week we will explore the next five all time favorite and impactful books that have shaped my book DNA. For additional reading recommendations, please review the Book DNA category.

Book DNA: Fairy Tales & Poetry

Thank you for joining me on this adventure and challenge of mapping the connections between the books I have read and why these stories have had a personal impact – positive and negative. The books read to me in the early days lay the foundation for the characters and stories that would become my best friends and the safe places to escape.

 

  1. Serendipity Book Series by Stephen Grove, with illustrations by Robin James: I worry a lot. As a kid, I worried even more. My mother told me to shut my eyes and create an enchanted forest in my dreams and bury my fears. The place that took shape in my mind was inspired by the illustrations in this series.
  2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: Many children gravitated to the popular Silverstein collection, Where the Sidewalk Ends. I enjoyed those poems, but preferred the single story of the giving tree and the lesser known collections like, Runny Babbit. I have always wondered what the older version of me would tell the younger Lauren.
  3. The Bremen Town Musicians by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: I clearly remember this being the tale that had me running back to the library for additional stories to capture the imagination and flame the requests of penance.
  4. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter: As a child living in England, you could not escape the adventures of Peter Rabbit. This story opened the door into a parallel English countryside where I could get into mischief with Benjamin Bunny (my favorite of the clan) or learn grace and discipline from Miss Tiggy Winkle.
  5. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson: When I think of a fairy tale, I shy away from the Disney interpretations and focus on the moral tales and short stories of legend. Despite the limited length of the story, there was more to the tale than what you read. I learned to read between the lines and look beyond the surface of the story for the lessons to be learned and insights into the culture at the time the story was told and written.

Each week we will explore the next five all time favorite and impactful books that have shaped my book DNA. For additional reading recommendations, please review the Book DNA category.

Book DNA: The Beginning, Part 2

Last week, we started the adventure and challenge of mapping the connections between the books I have read and why these stories have had a personal impact – positive and negative. The books read to me in the early days lay the foundation for the characters and stories that would become my best friends and the safe places to escape.

 

6. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – I distinctly remember scenes from this book plastered on the walls of my first elementary school library. I envied the independence of Max. I wanted to sail away on my own adventure and befriend wild creatures. This book took on new meaning as I re-read it over the years. I still wanted to be Max and now recognized his fear and longing for a wild adventure at home. With the help of my mother and sister, I painted a life-size mural of scenes from the book on the walls of my first daughter’s nursery. Teeth and all. I was sharing the adventure of Max and spirit of independence to the fresh mind of my child.

7. Peel, the Extraordinary Elephant by Susan Joyce – It is not so much the story that had me hooked , but because it is the very first book I had autographed. The author and illustrator visited and held a reading at our Department of Defense elementary school. It was that feeling of awe and anticipation I felt and can still recall when I knew I wanted to weave stories of my own one day.

8.  Little Witch’s Big Night by Deborah Hautzig – If you have not already guessed, I am a fan of strong, independent characters who have a taste for adventure. The crazy spells roll deliciously across your tongue as you say them aloud. Similarly to Where the Wild Things Are, Little Witch seeks out the frightening outside world, encounters and embraces diversity, but still feels a connection and longing for home.

9. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola– Alright, so I may be drawn to witches too.  It was about this age that I recognized and requested to read books by the same author. This fable held the secret of magic and had me bubbling over in excitement for more stories and distinct illustrations. As an adult living in Texas for eight years, I was drawn to the tale of The Legend of the Bluebonnet.

10. All by Myself by Mercer Mayer – Little Critter adventures showed me that you didn’t always have to be a big kid to do what you wanted and have fun. You could have independence balanced with family responsibilities. And, you don’t always get what you want. Life lesson learned: Mama Critter is always right!

Each week we will explore the next five all time favorite and impactful books that have shaped my book DNA. For additional reading recommendations, please review the Book DNA category.