Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Favorite Books of the Summer

on October 11, 2014

( A note of caution: if you just want to see the list of books I recommend, skip to end of this post. I’m afraid I might be a little wordy explaining why I’m writing this post in the first place. Sorry, but that’s my linguistic intelligence getting the better of me.)



Whenever I take a Multiple Intelligence survey, one of my strongest intelligences is always linguistic. I spoke early as a child, was always encouraged to write, and of course, I read dozens and dozens of books, especially in elementary school. So you would think I would continue to read lots of books as an adult.

I certainly had great role models. Both of my parents were voracious readers. One of my childhood homes was one block away from our school, a park, and a small county library. I think my parents purchased the house for its locale, certainly not for its dark wallpaper, termite issues, and abundance of ivy which seemed to attract vermin (although my parents quickly remedied these drawbacks). My mother walked all of us kiddos to the library every week. Children were limited to three books, but adults could check out many more. My mother would carry home a huge stack of books each week, and she would finish them all! (As far as I know, she only read at night after we were all fed and bathed, so she either read very fast or stayed up late reading.)

My dad went to the library also, but he additionally loved to buy used books. In every home he has had as an adult, one entire side of the garage has always been filled floor to ceiling with used books displayed on homemade bookshelves. (When he decides to move into an assisted living residence in the future, I have no idea where we will put all his books!)

But when I became an adult, even though I still had a passion to read lots of books, I just didn’t seem to make recreational reading a priority compared to all my other responsibilities. That is, until I joined a book club. Then I became motivated to get at least the book club selection finished each month, and sometimes I even read an additional book of my own choosing.  Eventually I was so busy at work, I couldn’t even attend book club meetings. I always had a nightstand stacked with books, however, and found time to read several books each year, usually during summer break.

So as I got older and my retirement neared, I looked forward to having all this free time to read to my heart’s content. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I remember a familiar quote of Aristotle: “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Well, apparently so does retirement.

Don’t get me wrong. The people and activities that have filled my life since my retirement give me a tremendous amount of joy! But time for my recreational reading wasn’t fulfilling my expectations.

So I joined another book club a year ago. Problem solved. Now I make reading a priority (because who wants to admit to not finishing the book club selection when you gather with your club friends). Of course, another benefit of a book club is delving into books you wouldn’t normally have chosen. Now I don’t believe every book we chose is a literary masterpiece, but along the way I’ve been rewarded with some real gems that wouldn’t have received a second glance from me at the library or bookstore.  And I think good books should be shared ( or at least their titles publicized). So that is why I’m taking a break from describing how I teach my grandsons with multiple intelligence strategies, and instead making a list of my favorite reads of this past summer.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks…This was one of those books that once you became involved with the characters, you couldn’t put down. Budo is the imaginary ( or is he real?) friend of eight year old Max, an autistic boy who doesn’t understand other people very well. Fortunately, Budo is very savvy and the book’s main focus revolves around Budo’s actions to save Max from a dangerous situation. Since Budo can’t communicate with “real” humans, he uses the help of the other imaginary friends he has met.  Our book club members are all involved in education in some way, so our discussion hit very close to home as we thought about the “Max” students we have encountered in our careers. We also became very attached to Budo, and a few of the other imaginary friends in the story.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan…Wow! A bookstore that is open 24 hours a day seems like a dream come true, except this bookstore doesn’t get very much traffic. And when a customer does come in, they are asking for unusual books that are found in the top recesses at the back of the store. Main character Clay Jannon, a former web designer who takes on the job as a late night clerk in this puzzling establishment, is intrigued by the customers and their choices of books. As he investigates the real purpose of the bookstore, we meet some very eccentric, but lovable characters. This was another book that I couldn’t put down, and the rest of the book club found it as enchanting as I did.

The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion…Genetics professor Don Tillman is looking for a wife. However, he has difficulty relating to most people (much like Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”) so he devises a way to find the perfect wife: through a survey that he has meticulously created. Along the way he meets  Rosie Jarman, who involves Professor Tillman in a search for the identity of her biological father. Free-spirit Rosie doesn’t match any of the qualifications for his perfect wife, yet she helps Tillman discover a more enriching and full life. This book is very charming, and the author has written a sequel to be released soon.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle…I suggested this book to the book club members because I had read about it on someone else’s blog. I have been a fan of Madeleine L’Engle ever since I read A Wrinkle in Time to my fourth grade classroom. So a “journal” type book written by L’Engle sounded intriguing. It was! This is a book  that I want to keep, reread, ponder, and underline passages. It is full of family anecdotes, but more than that, it is a dialogue of her writing philosophy. This isn’t just a book for fans of Madeleine L’Engle; those who love to write, or want to become writers will find so much inspiration and encouragement as she explains her passion for writing even when A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by many publishers.

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg…O.K. I’m cheating by including this book because I actually read this book last fall. However, I just had to include it because the entire book club thoroughly enjoyed this book and part of its plot relates to the little known, but important contribution women aviators accomplished during World War II. Mrs. Sookie Poole, an Alabama matron who has just married off the third of her four children, has her comfortable life interrupted when she receives a registered letter from Texas. In her quest to uncover a secret about her parentage, she uncovers the history of a hardworking family in Wisconsin, and their amazing daughters who became WASPs during World War II. It is a story filled with humor and warmth.

For my next post, I will begin a new series on how I use Multiple Intelligence (M. I.) strategies to teach my grandsons about short vowels. I hope it will give you some inspiration on using M. I. when planning lessons or activities for the children in your care.



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