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spires from Carfax

reading at seven and a half

Helen is rarely an avid reader. If she gets stuck into something she'll go through it eagerly, and she can reread books or entire series she loves, but otherwise she'll pretty much never sit down and start reading if there's playing to be done instead. Most of her reading is done in bed, before going to sleep or (in these days without school) on waking up.

The major constraint on her reading is scariness, which includes broader emotional stress - Hugh and Jonathan parting in Brother Dusty-Feet (which I had to read the last chapters of to her) was almost as bad as Pheasant being shot in The Animals of Farthing Wood (which she abandoned). Once she knows a book she's usually ok to read it again (though she's stalled at "Riddles in the Dark" in The Hobbit, which I've read to her).

Fiction favourites during the last six months have included Elizabeth Beresford's Wombles books, Astrid Lindgren's Pippi books, some Rosemary Sutcliff historical novels (The Armourer's House, Brother Dusty-Feet, Black Ships Before Troy), Jean Merrill's The Pushcart War, the D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths and some current (Weirdo books by Anh Do) and classic (Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding) Australian books. She's also gone back and read books I read to her years ago, such as Esther Averill's The Hotel Cat and Captains of the City Streets and the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.

Helen has read (and reread) the Bulbul Sharma Ramayana and versions of the Mahabharata by Namita Gokhale and R.K. Narayan — and she's half way through Carole Satyamurti's 850 page version (which she is reading on a Kindle, where she's using the dictionary lookup).

Helen's non-fiction reading has had a strong bias towards biology and history. Here I often read with her, alternating sections, as for some of it she needs conceptual or contextual support. (And in some cases the books err or are deficient.)


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