Vacation Time! (What to Read?)

We’re leaving tomorrow morning for the beach – Kill Devil Hills, NC (Outer Banks.)  I’ve been to South Carolina beaches many times, but never to the Outer Banks.   We like to go on vacation in the off-season, before it gets too crowded and expensive. We’re not big on swimming in the ocean, so the cooler temps won’t bother us.  In my book, here’s nothing better than walking on the beach.  (And with an almost four-year-old boy, there’s not much sitting allowed!)  I’m so excited!  I’ve got a lot of packing to do, and of course, I’m packing some books. Trouble is, I’m not sure what I’ll want to read.

I finished my last book yesterday Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives.  I don’t know if you’ve ever read any of her other books – The Happiness Project or Happier at Home.   Personally, I find her incredibly irritating.  But I can’t make myself stop reading her books!  It’s like she’s got a weird mind control hold on me or something.  I’m also a terrible sucker for self-help books, so that’s part of it. Especially about happiness/de-cluttering/habits/food and weight issues, all of which make the core of her latest book.  I found this one to be better and more helpful than the previous two, and found Rubin herself to be not as annoying a presence.  She seems to be owning up to her rigidity, and recognizing that not everyone is like her, for which I give her some credit.  Still, it didn’t light up my life, so I gave it three stars out of five.

I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get done next week – but I know that before bed I’ll read a bit, as is my habit, and I’ll probably get to read some during my son’s nap time.  (Assuming he takes a nap!)  So I’m taking a few books with me, in case I start something that I’m just not in the mood for.  Here’s what I’ve got:

None of these is exactly what you’d call a “beach read.”  But I don’t really subscribe to the notion that one has to read lighter fare when on vacation.  Who says?  So I’ll read my nonfiction, my dark fiction, and my translations, thank you very much. Or maybe I won’t read much of anything next week at all.  Who knows?  I just want a couple of sunny days to romp around on the beach and explore the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park – tallest sand dunes in the Eastern United States! Doesn’t that sound cool?

So what kinds of books do you like to take along with you on your vacations?  Do you take e-books or audio books, or are you a physical book devotee?  Or do you usually not read much at all when you’re away on holiday?

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My Son is Reading!

My husband, son, and I went to the public library (the one in our county, not the one where I work) today.  I bring Little J., who will be four in July, all sorts of books from my library, but I like to take him to the other one so he can pick out books on his own.  They also have puzzles and blocks and Legos and things, so he likes going there.  It’s important that the library seems like a fun, pleasurable place to be – building good associations with reading, hopefully for a lifetime!

He’s been on a real dinosaur kick for a while now, and we’ve been checking out non-fiction books about them.  I’ve learned more than I ever imagined I would about dinosaurs myself.  It’s kind of fun, I have to admit!  He chose four books about dinosaurs and one Duck and Goose book by Tad Hills.  (We love the Duck and Goose books.)

At nap time my husband had Little J. in his lap, and they read the Rookie Reader book about velociraptors together.  Little J. read most of the book BY HIMSELF. He had help on some bigger words, but he got most of it on his own.  It was amazing.  He’s been recognizing sight words for a few months now, but very recently he’s been able to start reading easy sentences.  Hubby and I are, of course, thrilled and full of pride.  It’s so cool to see J.’s development as a reader.

A friend of mine asked me last night how we nurtured J. into a reader at such a young age.  I think it’s a combination of a lot of things.  We have books around the house – our own and our son’s.  (His bookshelf is insane.)  We go to the library together.  We model reading for him, as both of us are readers ourselves.  We’ve read to J. ever since he was born – every single night, and most nap times as well. We read a lot of the same books over and over, and that fosters familiarity with words.  We’ve used a dry erase board to write letters and numbers and words, and our son enjoys doing that.  I even have a terrific app on my phone called Endless Reader that my son likes, and I truly think it helped him recognize sight words.

It’s some combination of genetics and our actions that’s leading him into reading early.  Whatever the cause, I’m so excited.  I have to be careful and dial it down a bit because I’m such a crazy book lady.  I don’t want to push him, or make reading a chore in any way. All I can do is model my own love of reading and hopefully, together, we’ll find great books that we can share and enjoy as he gets older.