Reading Report from Northern, Central Texas: April 2017

This final day of April has been lovely here in my part of central Texas!  It started out gloomy and cool and has ended sunny and mild.  From my new blogging spot, I can see our backyard bathed in the late evening sunshine.  It is a lovely evening.

Can you believe that a full quarter of 2017 has sped by?  I can’t imagine where the time has gone.  I would have liked to have spent more time reading.


This book’s title looks interesting.  I need to get a copy for myself.  I will get him to write a guest post, when he finishes it.

  • Krauss, Lawrence M. The Greatest Story Ever Told So Far: Why Are We Here? New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017.


Sarah had a little extra time for reading this month.  Here is a partial list for her and some of the comments she posted on Facebook about these books.

  • Wiles, Deborah. Countdown. New York: Scholastic, 2010.

So, my car is in the shop this week so no dance for me so I’ve been doing some extra reading. I started with this book, Countdown, and what a great read! It’s a historical fiction documentary type book that centers around the life of an 11-year old girl during the Cuban missile crisis.

“There are always scary things happening in the world. There are always wonderful things happening. And it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to approach the world… how you’re going to live in it, and what you’re going to do.”

  • Lorenzi, Natalie Dias. Flying the Dragon. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2012

Yesterday’s book, Flying the Dragon, was a fun short read. The story focuses on two children Skye Tsuki and Hiroshi Tsuki.

Skye lives near Washington DC. Her mother is an American and her father is Japanese. She has never really explored or taken an interest in her Japanese heritage until she is forced to when her cousin Hiroshi’s family and her Grandfather move from Japan into the neighborhood.

Hiroshi loves living in Japan, he especially loves spending time with his grandfather who is a master kite maker and the rokkaku champion of their village. Hiroshi must now move to America with is family and encounters many challenges at school and at home.

  • Dauvillier, Loïc. Illustrated by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo. Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust. New York: First Second, 2012.

Hidden is a short book about a little girl who wakes up one night to find that her grandmother is recovering from a nightmare. When the little girl inquires about her grandmother’s dream she is told the story of her grandmother growing up as a little Jewish girl in France during WW2.


As always, our most prolific reader.  Here are some of the books she read this month.

  • Griffith, Clay and Susan Griffith. The Shadow Revolution. New York: Del Rey, 2015.
  • Martin, Nancy. Dead Girls Don’t Wear Diamonds. New York: Signet, 2003.
  • Haines, Carolyn. Greedy Bones. New York: Minotaur, 2010.
  • Alt, Madelyn. No Rest for the Wiccan. New York: Berkley, 2008
  • Alt, Madelyn. Where There’s a Witch. New York: Berkley, 2009
  • Alt, Madelyn. A Witch in Time. New York: Berkley, 2011
  • Page, Katherine Hall. The Body in the Vestibule. New York: Avon, 1997.
  • Haydon, Elizabeth. Rhapsody. New York: Tor, 1999


This month I finally finished the first book of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe.  Considered a classic of science fiction, I am glad to have persevered through it.  At one point in my life, I might have liked this book, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought.  It puts me in mind of  Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan, also considered a classic, and I feel the same way about both books.  They are dark and dystopian.

  • Wiles, Deborah. New York: Scholastic, 2010.
  • MacAvoy, R.A. The Book of Kells. New York: Open Road, 1985.
  • Chesterton, G.K. The Complete Father Brown Stories. Herefordshire, England: Wordsworth Classics, 1972.
  • Cline, Ernest. Armada. New York: Broadway, 2015
  • Wolfe, Gene. Book of the New Sun (The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator). London: Orion, 1980, 1981.

March 2017: Reading Report from Northern, Central Texas


March was a very busy month!  The weather was mild and we spent extra time outside.  The whole of central Texas turned green.  It is always amazing to see the springtime transformation.  We had rain so the roadways are abundantly decorated with wildflowers.  You see Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush and a variety of yellow blooms almost everywhere you look.  In my yard, I have Anemones, Prairie Verbena, False Garlic and Yellow Evening Primrose.  It is a beautiful time of the year.  I spent much of my time working in my gardens to spruce them up for the coming year.  I was tired at the end of the day so my before bed reading time was diminished.  Despite the extra yard work, I was able to finish a good book or two.

Green Trees Texas
My backyard this afternoon.  Look at how green it is.


One of my favorites this month, was Newt’s Emerald.  It was written by Garth Nix.  Some of you may know him from his Old Kingdom Trilogy: Sabriel, Arbhorsen, and Lirael. Newt’s Emerald is a charming Regency romance, think Georgette Heyer.  How can you fail to love a character named Lady Truthful Newington, Newt to her family. It was fun to read.

  • Nix, Garth.  Newt’s Emerald.  New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2015.
  • Cho, Zen.  Sorcerer to the Crown.  New York: Ace Books, 2015.
  • Bujold, Lois McMaster. Pendric’s Mission.  New York: Spectrum Literary Agency, 2016 [eBook].
  • MacAvoy, R.A. The Book of Kells. New York, Open Road, 1985.
  • Chesterton, G.K. The Complete Father Brown Stories. Herefordshire, England: Wordsworth Classics, 1992.
  • Cline, Ernest.  Armada.  New York: Broadway Books, 2015.


  • Robinson, Kim Stanley.  2312. New York: Orbit, 2012
  • McDevitt, Jack.  Hercules Text. New York: Ace Books, 1986.

Jim invested several months in the book 2312. He wrote a guest post for this blog earlier this month [] on this book.


  • Nix, Garth.  Newt’s Emerald.  New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2015.
  • Knight, Jim.  Better Conversations: Coaching Ourselves and Each Other to Be More Credible, Caring and Connected.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2016.
  • Connoly, Tina.  Seriously Wicked. New York: Tom Doherty & Associates Books, 2015.
  • Griffith, Clay and Susan Griffith. The Shadow Revolution. New York: Del Rey, 2015.

2016: A Year in Review

collage1_2016Happy New Year! I am starting 2017 with a review of books from 2016. Here is the consolidated list (libraryrecap).

I have enjoyed writing this blog. I began writing to explain to my new nephew, why I chose the books he received as a birth gift. My family encouraged me to write a blog.  They seem to think that I know something about children’s books.  They are so lovely and kind!  What I know about children’s books is that I like them.  If I could, I would inspire every child with the love of reading.  I like reading books. I like paring books with ideas, events and activities.

Since they encouraged me to write, I have been writing this blog for my pleasure and practice. Sometimes, but not often, it gets me out of dinner dishes (I can’t do dishes tonight, I have to work on my blog).  If I had stopped with the volumes purchased for my new nephew,  it would have been a very short blog. When I finished his list I segued to the rest of my children’s book collection.  Many of these books are old favorites of mine. It has been a lovely walk down memory lane. As I reread and write about these books, I remember snuggling up with my girls and sharing these stories.  Reading to children is a wonderful activity. It was fun, fun, fun to read and discover these books with my girls. It was fun, fun, fun to remember that time through this blog.

My family has become accustom to keeping a list of their readings for the monthly reading report. I hope that you have enjoyed these reports.  2016 was a very enjoyable reading year!  I hope it is another good year for reading and for all other endeavors.

Happy New Year to everyone! May your year be productive, satisfying and fun! Find some good books to read. Here are some of the books that were read in Haus Reimund in 2016.collage2_2016

November 2016 Reading Report from Northern, Central Texas

nov2016This month our stack is not so tall.  We did a lot of reading, but some of us read on electronics.


It was a busy month for me so I didn’t have as much time to read.  I am still reading the first volume of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe that I started at the end of last month. It was on a list of the best Science Fiction books.  It is the dense, rich fantasy type of novel that I really enjoy.  Despite its appeal, I did take time out to read the book on the top of the stack,  The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley for a future blog posting.

  • Wolfe, Gene. Book of the New Sun, Volume I. London: Gollancz, 1981.


This month Jim finished The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, the second book of the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy.  He is onto the final volume Death’s End.  He finds the books very dense and intriguing.

  • Liu, Cixin. The Dark Forest.  Translated by Ken Liu. New York: Tor, 2014.
  • Liu, Cixin. Death’s End. Translated by Ken Liu.  New York: Tor, 2016.


Sarah had extra reading time this month.  She spent quality time with her tablet and read much of Thanksgiving week.  They were all humorous books and she loved them. She liked the Maggie books.  Maggie’s a writer whose characters are so lifelike, they come out of her books and begin to solve mysteries with their author.

  • Pratchett, Terry. Wee Free Men. New York: Harper Collins, 2006.
  • Pratchett, Terry.  A Hat Full of Sky. New York: Harper Collins, 2005.
  • Michaels, Kasey. Maggie Has an Alibi.  New York: Kensington Books, 2003.
  • Michaels, Kasey. Maggie by the Book. New York: Kensington Books, 2004.
  • Michaels, Kasey. Maggie without a Clue. New York: Kensington Books, 2005.


Like most months, the lion’s share of the stack is Alexis’ reading.  She is in the process of reading all the rest of the books in the stack.  She seems to be a serial reader.  She was very excited this month that Grunt by Mary Roach became available at the library.  She has had this book on hold for 6 months or more.  This book has the subtitle of “The curious science of humans at war.”  She has enjoyed other books from this author like Stiff and Spook.  She has also been reading The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp. She started to tell me about this book’s two anti-heroes, a thief and a warrior-priest.  The more she described the book to me, the more I thought Fritz Leiber and his great characters Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.  She said, “Yes, it is a lot like his books.”  Then I turned the book over and a reviewer referred to this book as a “sword and sorcery at its rollicking best, after the fashion of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser.” I may have to check it out and read it myself.

  • Roach, Mary. Grunt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016.
  • Kemp, Paul S. The Hammer and the Blade. New York: Del Rey, 2012.
  • Palma, Felix J. The Map of Time.  Translated by Nick Caistor. New York: Atria Paperpacks, 2008.
  • Stross, Charles.  The Atrocity Archives.  New York: Ace Books, 2004.

Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship and Astrotwins: Project Blastoff

discoveryThis summer I was luck enough to visit the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum.  It is in a huge hangar at the Dulles Airport.  It has an impressive display of all kinds of airplanes and space vehicles, including the shuttle Discovery.  It was grand and amazing place. We had such a fun time there.  Before we left, I needed a souvenir to remember my visit.  I chose Mark Kelly’s book.

rocketboys2As I was looking for a book for this blog, I remembered this purchasing this book.  In the meantime I was perusing the bookshelf and I found Jim’s stash of Tom Swift, Jr. books.  I decided to read both of them and report out.

  • Appleton II, Victor. Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1954.
  • Kelly, Mark. Astrotwins: Project Blastoff. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2015.

Tom Swift and his friend, Bud Barclay are preparing a rocket ship.  Tom and Bud along with a significant staff provided by his family’s company want to win the Rocket Race among Nations. Tom, Jr. is an inventory extraordinaire!  He has invented several things to gain advantage for the upcoming orbital flight around the earth.  He wants to win that race.  With a large lab for their work and an island to assemble the rocket, you might think it would be a shoe-in.  However, Tom has problems.  He has to contend with spies and saboteurs. A shady competitor, Rotzog, also wants to win Rocket Race.  Rotzog is determined to win and he doesn’t care what happens to Tom and Bud.  He thinks the race will help him be master of the world.  How do Tom and Bud escape this nefarious devil?  Do Tom & Bud win the Rocket Race of Nations? Find a copy of this book and find out.

As you can tell by the title, Mark Kelly’s book is about twins.  They are 11-year-old Mark and Scott.  It is summer and although they have chores to do and bikes to ride, they get restless.  The first thing they do is dismantle their Dad’s calculator, which lands them in hot water.  They are sent to visit their Grandpa.  This isn’t really a problem as they love to visit him.  Despite the chores Grandpa assigns and all the activities at his home, they get bored and begin to bicker. Their very smart Grandpa suggested that they practice détente and work on a project together.  One that will keep them out of trouble and from destroying things. The project they decided upon was to build and launch a rocket ship.  With plenty of help old friend, Barry and their new friends, Jenny (Egg), Howard and Lisa. They build a replica of John Glenn’s Friendship 7 capsule.  Was it easy? No!  They actually had to go to the library and study!  Who gets to fly it?  How will they power it?  Where will they launch it?  All the questions and more are answered in this very entertaining book.

The Grim Legacy

thegrimmlegacyShulman, Polly.  The Grim Legacy.  New York: Puffin Books, 2010.

This is a book that my daughter, Sarah bought for me.  She thought I would like a book base on fairy tales and she was right!  Thank you, Sarah!

This is an amusing riff on “What if magic is real.”  Who would collect all the magical artifacts from fairy tales and other tales of magic? Warehouse 13? Well they might get some competition from the New York Circulating Material Repository.  Just think, a library for magic items! This illustrious institution loans artifacts to patrons for a small cost: your first-born child or your sense of direction or some other personal item.  You get your deposit back as long as you return the magical item intact with all its attributes.

The story’s heroine, Elizabeth Rew has a Cinderella like back story.  Her mom has died.  Her dad has remarried.  She has two-step sisters.  Her stepmom is not evil, but Elizabeth misses the closeness she had with her dad.  By good luck she is recommended for an after-school job at the repository by her history teacher, Mr. Mauskopf.

The repository is a grand and mysterious place. It is Tardis-like, bigger on the inside than the outside.  One of the most mysterious collections in the repository is the Grimm Collection.  If you have ever read any of the Grimm Fairy Tales you may know that some of the tales were bloody and gruesome.  It goes without saying that some of the items in the Grimm Collection are very dangerous.  Elizabeth and her friends discover that someone has been stealing items from the library and more worrisome items specifically from the Grimm Collection.

I love fairy tales!  Does Elizabeth use the magic cloak the soldier used to follow the dancing princess?  Does she use a pair of the dancing slippers?  When she and her friends discover the thief, what kind of magic will they deploy to foil him/her.  Read this book for yourself or read it to a young friend!  It is a very clever and fun read.

Reading Report from North Central, Texas: September 2016

sept2016September has come and gone.  What a month! Everyone here was very busy.  Imagine my surprise when I saw our reading stack for this month!  I thought there would only be 3 or 4 books, I guess we made more time for reading than I thought!


In September, Alexis made ample use of the library.  She found a new author to read, Dorothy Cannell.  Her heroine, Ellie Haskell triumps over her problems, solves mysteries and marries her handsome friend, Ben.  She revisited Superfreakonomic.  This is not the entire list of her readings, just what I was able to notice this month.

  • Cannell, Dorothy. The Thin Woman.  New York: St. Martin’s, 1984.
  • Cannell, Dorothy.  The Widows Club.  New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
  • Cannell, Dorothy. Mum’s the Word.  New York: Bantam Books, 1990.
  • Cannell, Dorothy. Femmes Fatal.   New York: Bantam Books, 1992.
  • Levitt, Steven D. & Stephen J. Dubsner. Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitues and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance.   New York: Harper Perennial, 2009.


You will notice that David Sedaris’ book, When You Are Engulfed in Falmes appears on my list again this month.  I finally finished it!  I think David is an excellent writer, but I was hoping for a very funny book and this book was only vaguely amusing to me.

I celebrated the old fashioned romance/mystery by reading a couple of the Dorothy Cannell books Alexis brought home from the library.  The two I read were fun, easy reads.  Ellie Haskell has a very eccentric family.

My favorite reads in September were the two novellas by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Lord Penric is a gentle, humble soul probably the last person you would expect to obtain a Bastard’s Demon and control it.  These novellas were set in the world of the five gods.  The first in the series is the Curse of Chalion, which I mentioned in an earlier post.

  • Sedaris, David. When You Are Engufled in Flames.  New York: Back Bay Books, 2008.
  • Cannell, Dorothy. The Thin Woman.  New York: St. Martin’s, 1984.
  • Cannell, Dorothy.  The Widows Club.  New York: Bantam Books, 1988.
  • Bujold, Lois McMaster. Penric’s Demon.  Kindle Version, 2015
  • Bujold, Lois McMaster. Penric’s Demon.  Kindle Version, 2016.
  • Schulman, Polly.  The Grimm Legacy. New York: Puffin Books, 2010.
  • Bell, CeCe. El Deafo.  New York: Amulet Books, 2014.


In September, Jim finished the book Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. He has started on a book Alexis read a few month back The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu.  Also Inside PixInsight, a book he ordered early in the spring was finally released and came in the mail. PixInsight is the software that runs his new mount and telescope.  He is learning more about this every day.


The new school year has begun.  Sarah has been busy with school.  We have both been so busy this month that I haven’t had time to follow up with her on the literacy pieces she incorporates into her music classes.  I will catch up and report next month.  She is reading Everything, Everything  by Nicola Yoon.  She is reading this as part of Austin ISD’s books study.

  • Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. New York, Delacorte Books, 2015.
  • Hoke, Helen, editor.  Dragons, Dragons, Dragons.  Carol Baker, Illustrator.  New York: Franklin Watts, 1972.