Thursday, May 20, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Useful Book is Useful

This week's question:
What’s the most useful book you’ve ever read? And, why?

I'm going to cheat a bit on this question, because the book I would point to as the most useful thus far in my life isn't a book that I read during the period of time that it was useful to me. Stay with me, the previous sentence will make sense eventually.

I grew up as the only child of a work-at-home single mother. I was usually content to play by myself when I was at home and my mom had to work, and I was also enrolled in a couple of fantastic pre-schools (one during the school year, another run by a church over the summer) that gave her several hours of uninterrupted time that she could use for work. But there were those inevitable moments when I was bored and my mom needed to work for awhile longer before she could play with me, and a very special book helped with these situations.

My aunt, herself a mother of two young children, sent my mom a copy of Teaching Montessori in the Home when I was small. She even took the time to write tips in the margins of the book, highlighting specific activities that my older cousins had particularly enjoyed. My mom made great use of this book and it offered me hours of stimulating activities that engaged my senses.

My favorite activity, which could occupy me for hours on end, involved sorting different varieties of beans. My mom bought a few bags of kidney, lima and pinto beans at the grocery store and I absolutely loved playing with those. Sorting them into piles, pouring them out on the floor and gathering them up again, letting them run through my hands and noticing the different textures, lining them up by color to make designs or patterns -- the possibilities were endless.

I didn't read the book until I discovered it stored away in a box as an adult, and I was delighted to find my much-loved "bean game" described within its pages. When I have children of my own, Teaching Montessori in the Home is definitely going to be very useful to me yet again.


  1. What a wonderful memory of what is obviously a very important book in relation to your childhood. I am off to add it to my TBR list, as this is exactly the type of tool that I will appreciate when raising my future children. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a great memory! I hope all is well and your just busy getting ready for your run.

  3. mine is a little more dull.
    Reader's digest complete do-it-yourself manual...I re-did a whole bathroom, down to the studs, with the help of this book when I was a teenager.

  4. I think mine is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. It's about a Hmong Child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. This was a book for a class that I was forced to read. It is definitely something I would have never chosen to read on my own. I ended up loving this book. In fact it is one of my all time favorites. Because of this book I learned to try different genres even if I "think" I don't like them. I can't believe all the great books I would have missed out on if I had never read this book. Not to mention the contents of this book are flipping amazing!

  5. What a wonderful memory you have with relation to your childhood. Very nice blog.

  6. Sorry to be off topic. Just wanted to let you know that I've missed you. I hope you are just busy and happy with real life things in general. Realistically (since I have fibro too) the monster may have you in its grip right now. Things will pick up again for you. I look forward to seeing you post again when you can. Your readers will still be here when you do. Take care of yourself first.:)