Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Your Stocking with Laura Robey

Book Your Stocking: December 29

Welcome back to Book Your Stocking, the holiday reading series in which readers of all stripes recommend their favorite books and share what books they'd like to become their favorites, if someone would do the honors. The official gift-giving day has passed, but New Year's Eve moves ever closer, and seems a very good excuse to give words, and find words, that draw us back to ourselves and the ideas of others. 

Here's a new list of wishes and gifts from today's reader, and my childhood friend, Laura Robey.


My Wish List 

I am going to continue working my way through all of the Newberry Award (and Honors) books. This year, I decided that I would like to own them all because that is the kind of treasure I want to keep. As a reading challenge and as a fun hobby, I began looking for the books at garage sales, used book stores, and library sales. Yeah, I could go online and find them, but the discovery and the actual reading of a well-loved edition simply makes me happy. 

Anyone who has spent anytime with me knows that I throughly enjoy quality children’s literature. I think it is the most overlooked genre. Although YA is certainly receiving plenty of attention now, adults who only look for a reading “challenge” are missing some of the most thought-provoking literature. Re-reading a book from your childhood is an intensely emotional experience that deserves time for contemplation and discussion.

Speaking of which, I have throughly enjoyed sharing my collection with my four daughters. I am able to read aloud to my 7-year old and share with my three teens. “Mom, do you have anything good to read?”  I simply take them to my growing Newberry Collection! 

After all that talk about simple books (from American authors no less), my other Wish List Item is a large leap. For the past few years, I have been drawn to the intimidating world of Russian Literature. Notice I said drawn to…I have yet to dive in. I attempted but quickly realized that I lack the language, historical knowledge, and cultural understanding was holding me back. I haven’t had the time to immerse myself in any of that but I am getting closer. So my goal this year is to spend time with Leo Tolstoy, specifically his short stories

My Gift-Giving List

Hard-Cover Gift Book for Anyone (And my go-to Baby Shower Gift)
I read this book for the first time earlier this year and “haven’t put it down yet.”  I purchased the audio version which is read by the author. It is my go-to to fall asleep, listen to in the car, and well, anytime I just need quality words. 

For My Seven-Year Old
A shared audible library with me
Sharing books this way has given me accountability in reading quality and classics. Playing alone in her room or laying in bed at night are her main listening times. For me, it is while driving or walking the track. Through audiobooks, we are spending time with the same “people” and in the same places, even when we are not together! Does she understand it all? Certainly not, but her vocabulary is increasing, and we have plenty to talk about. Our favorites: Little Women and Black Beauty. I just asked her which ones are her favorites and she is still listing, “Wizard of OzLittle HouseThe MoffatsMary Poppins…”

For My Teens
Yes, it is a religious self-help book so I am completely aware it isn’t for everyone. The book is meant to be read a chapter-a-day for 40 days. We read it together to begin our school day during the first quarter of the school year so it was it wasn’t exactly that. Rather it was a jumping off point for some serious discussion. The subtitle of the book  is “What on Earth Am I Here For?” and I can’t think of a more important time in your life to seriously contemplate that question! It gave me such insight into the way their brains/hearts process life. In addition to encouraging service to others and truly knowing yourself, it was filled with affirmations: You are valuable. You have unique gifts and abilities. You are necessary.  

For My Husband 
I read this book for the first time this year as I was trying to finish up last year’s goal of reading all of Steinbeck. (((Sigh.)))  I LOVED IT. I forced myself to read only a little each day so that this thin, little book would last me longer. Pretty much all I want right now is a camper…and to retire and travel. Since that isn’t going to happen for “a while” (see above mention of the 3 high schoolers and the 1st-grader!), he can read it and dream along with me until that time.


About today's reader:

Laura Robey is a homeschool mom of four who lives in central Illinois. Her two oldest daughters joined the family through international adoption as teenagers, whose native language is Russian. (Hence the interest in Russian Lit.) In her spare time she reads, works part-time, taxies her children, and sings to her cat. She casually and rarely blogs at


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