Saturday, May 23, 2009

What We're Reading

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barabara Kingsolver.

The story of one family's attempt to eat locally. I haven't gotten much further in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle since the day I used it as a teeny tiny pillow for my back yard nap in the sun. It's been sitting Under Things. You know that's an actual place, right? Under Things. It's near its sister city Behind Things, on the way to On The Floor. It has been recently recovered from Out of Sight, Out of Mind, the province in which Under Things and so forth are located. Actually, it was under my Rainbow Resource catalog, and I re-found Animal, Vegetable once I finally placed my curriculum order. My dear friend B passed this book my way once she'd finished, and the first couple chapters have been engaging and fun to read. I can't wait to finish. But first I've got to finish my other books in progress.

The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry, Wendell Berry.
The Art of the Commonplace is taking some time to read. Partly because I keep losing it. Mostly because Berry's essays are rich and thought-provoking, beautifully written. Trying to read the entire book at once would be like trying to eat an entire cheesecake in one sitting. Once I finish reading an essay, or even a part of one, I need time to process what I've read before beginning the next. Berry focuses on the importance of community and advocates a return to a more organic agrarian-based model for society. Read a Wendell Berry essay online: "The Pleasure of Eating"

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story, Diane Ackerman.
A true story of a Polish family, a zookeeper and his wife, who saved the lives of Polish Jews during WWII by hiding them at the Warsaw zoo. It's a remarkable story about remarkable and brave people.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built: A No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel, Alexander McCall Smith.
I'm a fan of Mma Ramotswe and her old Botswana ways. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels are charming and delightful. I recommend them to many friends looking for a good book for leisurely reading. I've been enjoying the series on television, as the books have been turned into an HBO series. Botswana is beautiful, and unlike most television series these days, the HBO version of McCall's books are good clean fun.

Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers.
Four-year-old gent has asked me to teach him to read, so I'm digging the Bob books out of the basement and reading of the adventures of Mat and Sam once more. Predictable plot, flat characters. But who could ever tire of "Mat sat on Sam. Sam sat on Mat."???? I already know how the story ends, but the giggles never get old.

The Twenty-One Balloons, William Pene du Bois.
"It's good," says fine young gent, 8. He should write book reviews. Heck, maybe I'll start reviewing books like that. Good. Bad. Okay. Heh. It would be easier than trying to find something to say. I've never read The Twenty-One Balloons, so I can't say if it's Good, Bad or Okay. But fine young gent seems to like it.

Island of the Giant Pokemon (Pokemon Chapter Book #2), Tracey West.
As great literature goes, eh. But six-year-old gent's first chapter book was a Pokemon book from the library. He's reading and enjoying, and I'm sure I read plenty of fluff when I was a kid too.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5), J. K. Rowling.
Fine young gent, 8, finished The Goblet of Fire and watched the movie. As per our agreement, I am now reading number 5. Why, oh why did I agree to this? The last time I read a Potter book out loud, I swore I'd never do so again. Not because I don't enjoy the stories, but they're so long. And the gents insist I do voices, which is a challenge both because my British accents stink and because there are so darn many characters that it's hard to come up with a distinctive voice for each. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our children! Ah, it's not that bad. I'm a Potter fan, and one of the benefits of reading the books out loud is that I get to experience the story with my gents.

Serving Up the Harvest: Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh Vegetables, Andrea Chesman.
And a gardening/cooking book, my Mother's Day present to myself. A seasonal cookbook based on the produce available throughout the year, Serving Up the Harvest will come in handy this summer when we get our CSA box, and when we harvest our own veg from the garden. Who knew reading vegetable recipes would make me hungry and impatient to get into the kitchen? I've got plans for the spinach in the garden already! Yum.

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