I have learned that to be with those I like is enough. —Walt Whitman
At first glance, I thought I had a quibble with Walt. I was tempted to tweak his lovely line by replacing like with love. Who do I think I am, second guessing a wordsmith like Walt? An amateur, that's what I am. Walt knew that it can be far easier to love someone than like them. I spent the morning with my kids and four of my brothers' kids whom I not only love, but happen to like a whole lot.
We made my niece Mariah's famous buttermilk pancakes topped with her perhaps even more famous buttermilk syrup. Look out boys, these are marriage-proposal good. Although the chef that comes with them is the real prize.
We talked about an assignment my girls were given in one of their college courses to meet three new people by midnight. Everyone weighed in on how they approach people they don't know. My nephew Gavin has no problem with the direct, straight up approach. Mariah finds it easier to talk to people sitting next to her in class and she reminded us that everyone likes to have someone to talk to. Her brother, Cameron, said he's found you can't go wrong with a compliment.
Our conversation then turned to where so many of them do: books we love. Here are some top picks from some of the people I like most:
Cameron, the consummate capitalist, loves how Ayn Rand, who wrote Atlas Shrugged in the 1950s, so accurately depicted some of the economic events that have shaped today's society.
Chad, who spent two years serving a mission for our church in South Korea, is a huge fan of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Orphan Master's Son.
We were able to distract Gavin long enough from his upcoming nuptials to find that one of his favorites is a favorite of mine as well. I am so glad Gavin reminded me of Peace Like a River. This one is due for a re-read. Another favorite of Gavin's is also by Enger: So Brave, Young, and Handsome. A book, that according to its title, Chad is certain must be about him.
Mariah wants to make it known that Harry Potter is and forever will be her top pick. (My kids' picks come with the same disclaimer.) She once wrote a paper for Tracy's Beginning Writing course advocating Harry Potter be added to the canon. A more recent read Mariah likes is The Life of Pi.
My daughter Emma especially loves the Peter and the Starcatchers series. I think she read her first one in 6th or 7th grade. She's in college now and still goes back to that series when asked about books that matter to her. Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl series makes that list as well.
Susannah is by far my biggest reader. She's responsible for a large portion of our Kid Lit and Young Adult picks. She was aghast to find I'd left one of her favorites, The Mysterious Benedict Society, off the list. She recommends the entire series for ages 9 and up. For a real treat, after your kids read the book have them go here.
What can I say about Robot Wars except that he's found a book he likes so I'm not complaining. If you have a boy that loves robots, Mars, and action-packed prose, this book is a sure bet.