I am So Easy To Please

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over & over again, there is no use in reading it at all. -Oscar Wilde


I had been in a book-drought. I couldn’t find anything really good. And then, I ended up with 3 winners in a row, & a stack more which are promising.

No Biking in the House without a Helmethttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9972050-no-biking-in-the-house-without-a-helmet

Yes, this is about adoptions. Yes, it’s about Ethiopia. But it is mostly about family…and it is totally hysterical. I kept having to read sections aloud to my family, usually through tears of laughter. I told my daughter that I had to put the book down & send the author a “friend request” on FB, because we were obviously meant to be BFFs! I mean, who else has a Squirrel Story? Good stuff, & some really deep stuff too. Don’t miss it just because your children are all biological. Some of my best friends have only biological children.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lackshttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6493208-the-immortal-life-of-henrietta-lacks

I have been meaning to read this since I first heard of it from my aunt. I even suggested it to my book club before I even read it. Or got it! Eventually it DID make it’s way onto our list, via someone else, but as of yet we haven’t had the discussion. Very thought-provoking book. Falls into the catagory of Things I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know.

Oryx and Crakehttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46756.Oryx_and_Crake

I’ve checked this out of the library before. Maybe even a few times! And only just read it. What was I waiting for? Appocolyptic, Biblical, and Funny. In case you don’t know, “funny” isn’t typically something I want in a book. But it was so unexpected! Long story short: 2 friends growing up unsupervised in the near future, the internet is a free-for-all, with easy access to genocide, gang rape, stonings, mass destruction, ect., and leads to the inspiration of one friend’s creation of a new “human” race. Instead of “progress” (whatever that is), Science is now for recreation & consumerism. I was so suprised by this book, I can’t believe I hadn’t read it sooner.

I felt like I hit the jackpot, finding so many good books!



My Fall of Giants

Tonight I’ll be finishing Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett. I absolutely loved (& read a dozen times) Pillars of the Earth. Although I can’t say he is a favorite author  of mine, these are both great reads!

Cover of "Fall of Giants (The Century Tri...

Cover of Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)

FoG pretty much gripped me on page one. And it never let up. I was surprised that, with the large cast of charachters, he was able to bring them all to life & I was able to keep them all straight & care about them! With all of the WWII stories I have read, WWI stories are in the single digits. Now I know more about it. And the picture it painted of Wales, Britian, & Russia at that time were vivid.

One of the reasons it got me on the first page is the story about the Welsh coalminers. Early in the century, the coalminers striked. The book (*which I haven’t read. yet.) & movie How Green Was My Valley chronicles some of their trials. I only watched the movie after being pressured by my Mom. Her mother, my beloved “Nan”, grew up a Welsh coalminer’s daughter. I have been told that when they striked, Nan’s father never worked again. And my Mom says that when she visited Wales as a child the scene of the coalminers coming down the hill covered in soot is just what you see in the movie.

So that definately endeared the story to me. As the book was wrapping up, the war is ending & soldiers are returning “home”. It occurred to me that I never heard Nan talk about this period. Or even what it was like growing up in a coal town. My Mom died 363 days ago. I know there’s been a few times over the last year that I thought, for a split second, “I should ask Mom”. I don’t remember what those things are, but obviously the “what” isn’t the important part. That I missed the boat on any more questions is What Sucks.

I do, however, have a consolation prize. My aunt gave me (loaned me) my Nan’s manuscript of her life. I am going to have it copied & bound for a few family members.

I can’t think of anything better to do

Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a serious reader.

I always loved reading. My sister & brother weren’t born until I was 11 & 13 yrs old, so my house was pretty quiet. I don’t know that that made reading easier, but I suspect it did! I clearly remember my Mom & aunts & grandmother discussing books. In fact, I remember what many of those books were: The Thornbirds, Sophie’s Choice, & a Michener (Alaska? Chesapeake?) (I’ve never read any of these, even though I’m pretty sure I would love The Thornbirds and Sophie’s Choice!). And another aunt gave me my first “trash” book, Flowers in the Attic (which I first read at 14 & then at least 2 dozen more times…a year or 2 ago my teenage daughter was thick into Twilight, & trying to get her away from it a got her FitA…I read it too, wondering if it could be as good at 37 as it was at 17…It was!!)

Original cover of Flowers in the Attic.

Image via Wikipedia

Besides my Mom’s example, I also remember seeing my Dad read. Once I took a book from his night table & read it, so I KNOW that he occasionally read fiction, but mostly he read/reads non-fiction. And most of it is political. One of the books on my https://peanutbutterinjerasandwiches.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/required-reading/list Endurance, is a recommendation of his.

When I was growing up reading wasn’t homework. Reading wasn’t something I “had” to do, it was something I got yelled at for doing when I was supposed to be sleeping hours ago. We went for trips to the library regularly. We’d check out used bookstores when we vacationed. When visiting people’s homes, their bookcase would be inspected. I remember babysitting for someone’s sleeping children, bored out of my mind, & not able to find anything to read in the house. I decided not to sit for them again.

Almost 4 years ago I started a reading journal. It’s a list of titles & authors, the month/year, & a short thought about the book. I just love entering books into it! It would be nice if someone occasionally gave me a sticker for how many titles I’ve finished. Or a thumb’s up on my selection of great literature. Oddly, that rarely happens. Okay. Never. Anyway, I had been reading about 55-65 books a year, but this year it has been much less. I’ve got….3? days left of 2011, I don’t think I’ll be adding more than one more.

So has all this reading benefited me? I do think I’m pretty smart! And I know about a lot of things/history/cultures I otherwise wouldn’t. AND, I had a great job running a reading supplementation program at the elementary school for several years. Oh, when I say “job”, I mean a volunteer job. But it did, eventually, (like 5 years), make me the first pick for a paying part time job as a reading aid.

Yes, I realize that some people just aren’t readers. But honestly, I don’t “get” it! They are missing out!

Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City,...

Image via Wikipedia

And, BTW, when we have out-of-town guests, I’m very likely to take (drag) them to the Salt Lake City Library.

Required Reading

Yes, I have a Required Reading List. Don’t you? These are books that I strongly believe everyone should read. If you have a suggestion of how I can enforce this, please share.

Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It, David Batsonehttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/178477.Not_for_Sale

The Lorax, Dr Seus http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7784.The_Lorax

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/191632.The_Womanly_Art_of_Breastfeeding

Eleni, Nick Gage http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/224285.Eleni

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1519922.Endurance

The Gulag Archipelego (all 3 volumes), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/914229.The_Gulag_Archipelago_1918_1956

There is No Me Without You, Melissa Faye Green http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/119729.There_Is_No_Me_Without_You

Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/385254.Fast_Food_Nation

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/152.Anna_Karenina

Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M Auel http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1295.The_Clan_of_the_Cave_Bear

ThePoisonwoodBible,BarbaraKingsolver  (*this is my FAVORITE book)http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7244.The_Poisonwood_Bible

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4395.The_Grapes_of_Wrath

Look at that, I got started.

When we got back from our first Africa trip, I intended to make a blog. That was about 53 weeks ago. Basically, 2 things were stopping me….

1) I was too lazy to look into how.

2) I wanted a good name.

The name was inspired by the book Kimchi  & Calamari by Rose Kent (which I haven’t actually read).  Our family loves food, & we’re combining cultures….no, I haven’t actually made a peanut butter injera sandwich YET, but I see it in the future.