Shared Winter Reading: Curious George, Dostoevsky, & Mantel

Cold weather is for reading and there’s nothing like a grandson and a favorite book to spend a wintery afternoon. My son surprised his wife with a few days away this week and asked me to help his sister-in-law (their new nanny) with the kids. The eldest had been coughing a couple days and missed school. Curious George is the perfect anecdote for three-year-old boredom; we snuggled up and I read and reread and reread and reread adventure after adventure.

I read the books, leaving out some key words for him to fill in, like “curious,” or “yellow.” Or sometimes to be silly I say George was always very “sad or happy,” and substitute purple for yellow—just to see if my listener is paying attention and to have some fun. Curious George was among the holiday gifts I gave the grands, which also included a Lyle the Crocodile story collection for our three-year-old grand-daughter, and BJ Novak’s The Book with No Pictures for our five –year- old grandson. As the title suggests, there are no illustrations and no real plot. Instead there are funny words that allow each reader to interpret with different sounds – perfect word play.

The littler ones got board and fabric books and I gave my daughter, a new dog owner, Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs.

I’ve amassed a stack of books myself, including two that I’m reading in a “shared” experience. My eldest son invited me to read a classic together that we’d analyze and discuss, comparing characterizations with ourselves. We selected Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. The reading is dense and the discussions, given that we each have busy lives, also a bit slow. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up my commitment.

My husband ordered tickets to see the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies, accounts of British Tudor history that have been adapted to the stage. He ordered copies of the books and we hope to read them together before our NYC theater date late March.

Book sharing seems like a great way to read with the young ones when they’re reading themselves. A friend shared a list of favorite titles he has read with his three grand-daughters, ranging in age  from 6-11:

The “Just Grace” series
“Lilly Lemon Blossom” series
“The Land of Stories”  Chris Colfer
“The Fault in our Stars”   John Green
“Number the Stars” Lois Lowry
All of Roald Dahl
“Holes”  Louis Sacher
“Out of My Mind” Sharon M. Draper
“The One and Only Ivan”  Katherine Applegate
“A Tale Dark and Grimm Adam Gidwitz
“The Mother Daughter Book Club” Heather Frederick
“Wonder” R.J. Palacio”
The Magic Tree House series

Something to look forward to. Happy Winter Reading!





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8 Responses to Shared Winter Reading: Curious George, Dostoevsky, & Mantel

  1. I love the image of you reading “Curious George” to you grandson. So sweet. So many great kids’ books to look forward to reading the grandchildren that we have in our house. My husband says I should have a garage sale and get rid of them…but ahh. the memories.


  2. I did weed out some books but kept lots, especially fairy and folk tales, and beautifully illustrated picture books. I find the kids gravitate to the shelves– I put them where they can reach– and love hearing books I read to their abas!


  3. It’s true Lisa! Winter is a great time for reading and reading with youngsters is doubly enjoyable! You’re a good grandma! ❤
    Diana xo


  4. The members of my writing group are forever telling me that Wolf Hall is one of THE best books ever… But, VERY difficult to get through. I’ll be curious to see what you think, Lisa. I saw the ads for it, when we were in NYC and thought it would be wonderful to see. I’ve just registered for BlogHer15. It’s in NYC this summer, so I’ll be back! 😉


  5. Great- I hope we can get together! I think WH is tough and not really for me. I know I’ll love the plays and love experiences like that but not that interested in the lives of these people. Much better with contemporary fiction or non-fiction.


  6. Colline says:

    Reading is defi itely something that helps chase away the winter blues.


  7. Do I remember reading “Curious George” to you and your siblings, and also “Lyle the Crocodile”. What fun! Matthew always had an interest in the Tudors. What is your favorite book in that list?
    Makes me want to run to the book store


  8. hugmamma says:

    I’m with you…amassing books to read. Love it!


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