Sunday, July 11, 2010

over the last few days

So, I'm getting a little lazy here...been a few days since I updated. And silly, silly, silly me (which is my polite way of saying "stupid me") has started numerous books in those few days. What can I say--when I made my blame game post on my other blog, I realized I had all these library books to get read. So yeah, I'm sort of reading them all at once. :P

I did finish The Stand: American Nightmares. Graphic. Enough even to catch Rich's attention while he was driving and I was sitting in the passenger's seat reading. But then, the novel has some ugly shit going on, so I guess that's understandable. As I said last time, I'm not really sure how to "judge" it, because I know the novel so well and I think I'm automatically filling in details when they aren't there without even thinking about it. Anyway, I enjoyed it...and will definitely pick up the next installment when it comes out.

I read a couple articles (9 pages) in Urban Farm. A couple of really great articles. One about this incredible lady (the lemon lady :D) who pretty much single-handedly has taken thousands of pounds of fresh fruit to her local food pantries. Fruit that would otherwise have gone to waste on people's fruit trees. Definitely one inspiring woman! And I also read an article about raising chickens in your backyard. I was already determined to do it when we have the ability to move, but damn if this article didn't just make me horribly impatient!

Twelve more pages down in The Biodiversity Crisis. A very short little case study about the decline of coral reefs, the introduction to the third section of the collection (the third section being about strategies and solutions for saving biodiversity), and a very prescient essay taken from Fairfield Osborn's 1948 book, Our Plundered Planet.

And now on to all the library books I was talking about--first up, Get Crafty. I've only read the first 8 pages (the introduction), but I'm already in love. In fact, I may end up having to buy this book. ;)  Jean Railla is just so fun. In the intro, she tells the story of how, being a strong feminist, right down to being a woman's studies major at UCLA, she came to view all things domestic as "bad." She says, "I spent most of my twenties defining myself as a feminist not by what I did, but what I didn't do. I didn't keep house. I didn't get married. I didn't cook very often. I didn't knit or sew." And you know, while I hope that attitude is less prevalent today, it certainly hasn't disappeared. Things happened in her life, and her eyes opened. She no longer viewed domestic activities as "bad." Being forced by a society or culture to stay home and wash dirty diapers and cook meals is wrong, choosing to do so of one's own free will is not. She says, "Don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting that every woman should enjoy knitting and cooking and embroidery. But I am suggesting the we give women's work its props as something valuable, interesting, and important, just as knowing how to build a house, keeping accounting records, or playing basketball is." (Though I do have a problem with her calling it "women's work"! If we could just stop labelling activities as in the realm of "women" or in the realm of "men," we'd be a lot further along towards equality.) Anyway, I haven't even gotten to any of the craft projects, and I'm already thoroughly enjoying this book.

I also started Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children's Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green. Haven't gotten far, just the first twelve pages. I do hope that I can get the boys to read it...though I'm not optimistic that it will be any time soon, as they're both sucked into their current reading obsessions. There was a line in the introduction that totally made me smile. "The next time your mother tells you to clean your room, tell her you will when she helps clean up the atmosphere." That is sooooo something I can hear popping out of Gray's mouth. :)  Anyway, I've only read the contributions of the first few authors, and they've had nothing to offer that we don't already do, but they're fun to read nonetheless. Thus far, they've been written in a very humorous manner.

Also begun is The Storm in the Barn. Read the first 63 pages. I have to say that I'm really, really enjoying it so far. I know both Chris and Staci liked it, but didn't love it...but while it may be too early to judge, I think I might be falling closer to the love category. I didn't realize it was set during the Dust Bowl--a definitely plus for me.

And finally from the library stack, I started Junk Beautiful (21 pages). If I remember correctly, they feature seven room makeovers in this book. I've read the first. And I adore this book! While the room featured in the first chapter is definitely not my style (too flowery formal), I absolutely loved some of the projects they showcased. And I'm eager to get to the next chapter, a room that seems much more fitting my style overall.

Okay, and this may be the dumbest reason ever for starting a book...I was moving some books around on my fiction shelves to put away some new acquisitions. Well, let's just say it appears that I really need to stop with the new acquisitions, because there is just no room! Anyway, I ended up not being able to fit this book, Never Tell Him You're Alone, back where it goes. I figured it was a book I was unlikely to want to keep after I'd read it, so I might as well just read it so I can hand it off to the library book sale or something. Besides, it's been a long time since I've indulged in a thriller, and it sounded like a good idea. ;)  After the first 24 pages, I'm not even sure if I'll end up finishing it (as far as thrillers go, I'm not finding it all that "thrilling" so far)...I'll give it a couple more chapters before deciding for sure.

And finally, I read 4 pages in Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm. "Rapunzel" to be exact. I can't be faulted for starting this though...I'm beginning to prepare for the next school year. But I do have to admit that I'm thrilled to be reading fairy tales again. I don't know why I don't make time for reading them more often, because I just so very much enjoy them!

And in the dangerous world of blog reading, these have been added to my wish list:

*Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (thanks to Campaign for the American Reader)
*The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters (thanks to the lovely Ms. Ana's review)
*Disrupting Grace by Kristen Richburg (thanks to Staci's poignant and very personal review)


  1. I think it makes perfect sense to start a book because you doubt you'll keep it once you've finished! In fact, that's all I've been doing for the last 2 months. I'm trying to get rid of as many books on my shelves as possible, so I'm reading what i think I won't want to keep. I'm giving each book 50 pages and if I'm not convinced, out they go without finishing them. If I am, I'll read it all the way through. Of all of them, I think I've decided to keep 2 instead of putting them in the Half Price Books pile. I need to be better about using the library instead of acquiring books!

  2. Yay!!! Google is letting me comment on your blogs again :D Ok, first of all I love the lady who wrote that crafting book :D That's a big problem that I have with the feminist movement many women feel like they're not supposed to cook and clean and craft even if they enjoy it! I'm totally with you though as far as labeling it "women's work" :( Dammit, I like those things too.

    I think I'm caught up with you now in Urban Farm! I absolutely love the Lemon Lady :D She's incredible!! And she has a blog that I plan on adding to my reader today. I want chickens too by the way!! I loved that article.

    Glad you're enjoying The Storm in the Barn better than I did. I don't know what it just didn't click for me...and there was that scene with the rabbits that just disturbed the living hell out of me. Did you get there yet?

    I think you'll like Recycle this Book as you get more into it. There's lots that I do already too, but just the idea of the book is something I love. That kids will read it and change the world. I did learn some new ideas though that I find myself putting into practice! And I think you'll like learning new things like the fact that Lois Lowry hangs her sheets outside to dry too :)

    And I laughed my ass off when I saw that you added The Amelia Peabody series to your wishlist too because we add EVERY book that Ana reads to our wishlist :p

  3. Get Crafty sounds like something right up my alley! I've always been really into domestic 'women's work' even while being a strong girl/woman and feminist. Have you read any of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's popular history books? They're sooo good and set in New England. :)