Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What I've been reading

Y'all know I read a lot.  I read so much that people tell me I need a hobby, to which I respond that reading IS my hobby.

There are a few missing, partly because I have zillions of books on my Kindle, but also because books tend to disappear into troll holes around here, only to be found thousands of years later, petrified with sap along with dinosaur DNA.

A few worth discussing: Bucolic Plague is the tale of two citified gentlemen who buy an estate in upstate New York as a weekend getaway.  They turn their lives into blog-worthy fodder (partly boosted by one's employment with Martha Stewart), but the image they portray on their blog is not exactly what's going on behind the scenes.  Very very funny. Very very gay.  Probably explains why an 18 month old book (practically brand new!!) would be discarded from the library...in conservative Utah (Did you know you can buy used books on Amazon and use Prime shipping benefits?  Yikes, it's been hard on my wallet, but I've ended up with lots of discarded library books).

The Dirty Life.  Another NYCer-turned-country story, except this gal becomes a big-time farmer.  Kristin and her husband have a unique business model of providing all the food a person can eat through a huge annual farm share ($3000/year/person or so) rather than the tiny $17/week we'll be paying through our CSA.  The writing is beautiful, and I could relate to the writer--frightened of long term commitment, always seeking new things, loving horses (that last one isn't quite true.  Wait, it's a lie, I really do not like spending time with horses, although I appreciate their contribution to agriculture and other things, whatever those things happen to be).

Anything Barbara Kingsolver.  About seven years ago when I was teaching high school (a time I have tried to block from my memory), a colleague recommended The Poisonwood Bible.  At the time, it was on everyone's to-read list and teachers loved using it in their literature courses. That immediately turned me off because I find that when everyone loves it, I often don't.  Partly because of my indisputably "superior" taste in literature, but also because I'm a natural contrarian (yes, mother, you were right. And it hurts to admit that).  Anywho, I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a couple years back and have returned to it many times, so I had to finally jump into TPB.  The basic plot centers around a family of missionaries in the Congo over fifty years ago.  Voices abound in the book, and the ending is quite cathartic.  Loved it.  I then had to read a couple more (nonfiction) books on the Congo, a country that is still in bad shape all these years later.

For those who don't know, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, is Kingsolver's account of a year of local eating with her family. She grew much of her own food and sought out ways to get everything else she needed within a rather small radius (except coffee, spices, and a few other things).  My only beef with the story is that it can make somebody like me, with my less than 1/5 acre and general lack of funds, feel a tad inadequate.  It's best to take what you can from the book without feeling judged because having read some of her other stuff, I don't think food elitism is her goal at all.

I'll save the rest of my thoughts of food snobbery for another post, but it's been on my mind lately.  More to come.  And lots more reading material for you.  I seriously have dozens of books I could talk about.

P.S. I won't spend a post rambling about Simplicity Parenting, but I do recommend it, even though I typically hate parenting books.  Next time you're feeling overwhelmed by your kids' schedules, pick up a copy.

P.P.S I think y'all would know this, but I haven't been comped for any of these book recs.  The authors and publishers don't even know I exist.


  1. So many books! I'm currently re-reading the Hunger Games, and after that I will probably re-read 50 Shades of Grey.

    Sometimes you just need easy reads!

    1. I haven't read 50 Shades of Grey--perhaps I should since Ryan's novella falls a bit into erotic fiction.

  2. I'm proud of any influence I might have had in getting your contrary ass to read The Poisonwood Bible. :) I'd love to reread it, but my sister borrowed my copy and lost it on the bus. I should remind her that she owes me....

    1. Heather, you were so right. It's a great read.

  3. I have read Bucolic Plague, but not your other selections. Leaving for Hawaii soon and need a book to read on the long, long , long flight, I believe I will try reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Thanks for the book recommendations.

    1. AVM would be a good choice for a plane ride. I hope you enjoy it!


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