We drove down to the Cape Friday night and Ally sang along to her favorite music the whole way. Even while wearing headphones, she can’t resist a full-throated chorus. She also currently has very questionable taste in music. Which is completely fine. Taste and appreciation largely come from time and experience. I’m careful not to completely betray my feelings (at least up until the 14th consecutive playing of Geronimo or The Village People). I believe my job as a Dad is to encourage and let them roam (sort of like raising sheep dogs) and look for opportunities to help their taste expand and grown.
When Cecilia was selected for the jazz band last year, I would occasional slip on a Coltrane track when she wasn’t paying attention.
When Ally started singing and composing on the piano, I played her a song Lorde wrote at 16 and we put GarageBand on her phone.
When their interests and my interests intersect, we get those special opportunities to connect and share together. This past week at Dad Camp, I put their arts and crafts enthusiasm to good use as we built a small outdoor brick oven and cooked some pizzas for dinner. Even though there was no glitter or glue stick involved in the masonry, I hope that’s a day they remember. Continue Reading
The girls had a half day of school on Friday. Cecilia walked to town with friends for lunch and shopping. Typically the shopping involves Starbucks, candy, and random…trinkets (trying to be generous) from the local bookstore. This time was much the same, trinkets included, but she also bought a book. On her own. With no prompting or side eye parental guilt. My hope is that my long twelve year quest to raise a reader is starting to bear fruit.
Lewin’s equation states that behavior is a function of a person and their environment. Our habits and actions are largely determined by our surroundings. So to build a reader, surround them with books. Show them you’re a reader. Celebrate libraries and bookstores. If they aren’t surrounded by books, how else could they possibly become a reader?
It’s not like flipping a switch but, shhhh, I think it’s working. Continue Reading
Between working, writing, parenting, and homeschooling my energy at the end of the day is pretty well tapped out. I’ve found very energy or patience for binging on shows. I just can’t seem to commit and rarely get past browsing the various streaming menus. I’ve found myself craving the comfort food of familiar authors, series and sometimes books I’ve read in the past. I need to know the energy I put out is going to be worth it.
Here’s what I’ve read, and the few things I’ve watched, since being being inside since March 15th. Continue Reading
Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited are very similar in terms of how you use and enjoy books. But there are a couple key differences. Prime Reading is a benefit of a Prime membership ($119 a year) and gives you access to one free book from the Kindle Unlimited library each month. The available books rotate in and out. Kindle Unlimited is a separate service for $10 a month (currently with a two-month free trial) where you can borrow as many as you like (ebooks, audios, magazines) with no due dates and can hold up to 10 at a time.
Both are great deals for bibliophiles but if you are balking at subscribing to yet one more service and already have Prime (like over 65% of Americans!) than 12 free books a year is still a good deal and can further help you recoup the cost of that 2-day shipping membership.
I read a lot of books each year. If I bought each book I read it would put a serious dent in our budget. Luckily, if you know where to look there are a lot of options, both online and offline, to get free (or heavily discounted) quality mysteries and thrillers.
Here are my 5 favorite places to hunt down free mystery and thriller books. Continue Reading
The girls started back to school this week and Cecilia had a rough re-entry. Maybe it was a holiday hangover. Maybe it was just this lingering cold that won’t quit. Maybe it was something else. Whatever it was it was immediately clear she wasn’t her normal self when she returned to the house Thursday afternoon. She was moody and mopey. That might be the new normal in a couple years but right now she’s usually pretty happy and resilient.
I immediately jumped in Dad problem solver mode. This is what I do. I have valuable life experience. I was an introverted moody kid. I can probably handle this and ice these cupcakes at the same time…I immediately hit a brick wall. This will also likely become the new normal soon. Hanging out with your Dad (especially when he has a world-famous blog) is not high on many pre-teens’s to-do list.
I realized that I’m going to have to learn that moods and feelings are not problems for me to solve. They are facts. They are, in some way, announcements. It’s an impossible task to try to stop my kids ever being moody or heartbroken or angry. What I can do is listen to them. Try to hear them. And try to understand. No more. No less. Continuing to ice cupcakes probably won’t hurt either.
There is no better feeling that being the first person to crack a new library book’s spine. Here are the mysteries and thrillers that I’ve already requested from the library and mentally slotted into my always growing TBR pile for 2020. Continue Reading