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Reading Resolutions from our Giveaway Contest

April 19th, 2018

{photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash}

Our recent giveaway contest centered around our Reading Resolutions blog series – where people share the stack of books they are either currently reading or hoping to read soon (or just like to have nearby on their nightstand). Thank you to everyone who entered! Today we will share the books from our fellow SLOCA parents who participated, giving you a peek at what others are reading, and maybe some interesting recommendations. So when you think about it, we are all winners here!

Gina Planeta

Track B mom of Emmaline (Kinder) and Penelope (Preschool)

Currently reading:

  • Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff – I'm really enjoying it so far. It's a cohesive story that breaks apart into sections that deal with a different vintage Lovecraft style story.  Somehow it still comes together and also offers a really important look at race relations in the 1950s.
  • A Mencken Chrestomathy by H.L. Mencken – A collection of his works compiled in the 1940s. I read a bit on the Kindle when I help the smaller human rest for nap.

Upcoming – I keep a stash of upcoming books on my nightstand.  I struggle to pick what to read next so I pile all the immediate ones there and use a random number generator to decide what's next.  There's a lot of them, but I'm most looking forward to:

  • Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens – the last book in my mental list of Dickens to read over the last year.  So far A Tale of Two Cities is the one to beat in my mind.
  • The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis and others – deals with adoption and bonding.  May need that info soon.
  • Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by James Andrew Miller – I have loved SNL since I was first allowed to watch as a pre-teen.  I’m looking forward to reading the cast snippets!
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne – not looking forward to this one but will read it because I love the originals and am a completist.


Joy Newman

Track A mom of Eli (HS Freshman), Abraham (LMS), Esther (LMS), and Ezra (Primary)

  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Kitty, My Rib by E. Jane Mall
  • The Iliad by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald
  • The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis and others
  • Image Journal


Cindy Ecret

Track B mom of Zechariah (UMS), Elijah (LMS), and Amos (Intermediate)

  • Mindset by Carol Dweck
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Aeneid by Virgil


Jennifer Martinez

Track B mom of Aria (Kinder)

  • Anything is Possible by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout was recommended by Barack Obama last year, and I'd been amazed by how little happened in the two books I'd previously read by the author (Olive Kittredge and My Name is Lucy Barton) and yet how utterly captivating they were. If you're searching for character-driven writing, Strout is your woman.
  • Little Fires Everywhere was the highly anticipated second novel for author Celeste Ng, and I'd say it was even better than her first (celebrated) novel, Everything I Never Told You. An interesting choice Ng makes in both novels as an Asian writer is to have a mostly Caucasian cast with a few Asians included, and one of the interesting conflicts in this book is who "deserves" a little Chinese baby: the mom who abandoned it but changed her mind, or the wealthy Caucasian couple that wants to lavish the baby with everything she could possibly want. 
  • Triumphs of Experience by George E. Vaillant is about a (maybe the longest) longitudinal study of adult development which tracks successful young men at Harvard through their entire lives, and its conclusions for what constitutes lives worth living are good lessons for us all (at any age).
  • When by Daniel H. Pink is the fascinating alternative to all of the "how" books. Pink argues that the "when" is just as important if not more so, and he shows that timing is both an art and a science, with tons of practical applications we can all use to improve our everyday lives.
  • The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff is fiction but based on a lot of fascinating (and sometimes heartbreaking) research about circuses during World War II. A page-turner that my book club enjoyed.
  • How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen is by Joanna Faber and Julie King – the daughter and childhood best friend of the guru, Adele Faber (who wrote How to Talks So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, also highly recommended), and this book is great for parents of 2-7-year-olds. It reminds us where they are developmentally and how to engage them in useful dialogue in a way that is accessible and palatable for their age level. At the very least, it should prevent you from pulling your hair out in frustration.


Seth Neuschwander

Track A dad of Scott (Primary) and Rachel (Kinder)

  • Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Meg Meeker
  • The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau by Alex Kershaw
  • Escape from the Deep: A True Story of Courage and Survival During World War II by Alex Kershaw
  • Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
  • About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior by Colonel David H. Hackworth and‎ Julie Sherman 


Cheryl McCabe

Track B mom of Aidan (LMS), Owyn (Intermediate), and Quinlan (Kinder)

  • Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • The Core by Leigh A. Bortins
  • Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History by Richard M. Hannula
  • The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer



Stephanie Ridley

Track B mom of Isobel (UMS), Sibylla (Intermediate), and Ensio (Jr Kinder)

Current reads:

  • Plutarch's Lives - This is not a cover to cover read, but I am really enjoying reading about some of our Greek and Roman leaders.
  • Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff - After Lisa Ann's general recommendation to all of us, I started this one and I like her take on Cleopatra, along with how she is piecing her life together.

Next reads:

  • The Republic by Plato - I cannot believe that I have never read most of this, pieces in college don't count!
  • The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles - I feel the need to keep up with the high school students for this one!
  • The Once and Future King by TH White - I am gearing up for next year... and I like to have a longer, more 'story’-like book going as well.

Ongoing reads:

  • Eden's Outcast by John Matteson - I am admitting to having not finished it yet.  I was inspired to read it, even though it is far from my normal choices, after he was here last year.  But then I got distracted from it by other more pressing reads.
  • Brainstorm by Daniel Siegal - I also have gotten distracted from this by other reads, but need to go back to it to finish.  But even after finishing, I know I will keep referencing it as Isobel continues into these teen years...

Thanks again for sharing your book stacks, everyone!


SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above-mentioned authors or books.