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It’s probably got something to do with the winter season that lingers, but I’ve been bit with a serious book bug. I have a large stack of library books that I’m currently reading or hope to read soon, plus many books I own and want to re-read, plus books on my Amazon wish list that I’m hoping to buy soon (yay for Swagbucks gift cards!). Whatever the reason, I have a lot on my to-read list:

Queen of Attolia (Megan Whalen Turner) – re-read
King of Attolia (Megan Whalen Turner) – re-read
A Conspiracy of Kings (Megan Whalen Turner) – new
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America (Jeanette Wingold) – new
The Art of Keeping Cool (Janet Taylor Lisle) – new
The Shadow Project (Herbie Brennan) – new
Dug Down Deep (Joshua Harris) – new

Currently, I’m reading Ten Circles Upon the Pond, a fascinating memoir about life in a large family as written by a Catholic mother of ten children. It’s amazing to see the parallels between their experiences and life in our large family. One quote I found both hilarious and especially true:

Because cooperation, not competition, is the required course in large families, such families are natural schools of democracy, especially if parents limit themselves to the role of firm advisers. What Ned and I gradually learned was that a firm advisory capacity is the only sustainable energy policy. Democractic collaboration among brothers and sisters is inefficient and sometimes drifts towards a Darwinian free-for-all. It’s tempting to avoide open friction with preventive measures–separate teenage phone lines, individual television sets, a room per child. In a large family, this is impractical; siblings have to work things out and learn to distribute priveleges and obligations fairly. Doing so gives them a chance to experience the power of making choices and exerting influence. They develop a sense of responsibility to the group and can relate in ways impossible to parents…

…Sibling truth telling can nip in the bud annoying habits and obnoxious behaviors a spouse might have to endure later. They’re quick to spot the log in a brother’s eye and eager to dislodge it. Younger children, candid if not always kind, provide a reality for teenage fantasies. “You look like a lion,” a five-year-old blurts at the sight of a sister’s untamed hairstyle. A three-year-old beating on the bathroom door, screaming, “I have to go NOW,” simultaneously abbreviates a twenty-minute leg-shaving shower, lowers the electric bill, and does the Earth an environmental favor.

Oh yes, you definitely learn to grow thicker skin in a large family and showers can be an interesting experience (especially if you’re the last one in line and discover only cold water left!). As all my siblings get older, I find universal parallels with other large families, in books and in real-life. For instance, I think I have an inkling of how the oldest Gilbreth girls in Belles on Their Toes (Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank Gilbreth) felt when suitors came to call on their family. Yes, you can’t get away from teasing in a large family, there’s no way around it.

So, ramblings about large families aside, what are you currently reading? What’s on your to-read list?

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