I finished The Curious Incident... in under 24 hours. That is how much I loved the book. I felt it really accurately captured most family life with a...moreI finished The Curious Incident... in under 24 hours. That is how much I loved the book. I felt it really accurately captured most family life with a special needs child, and it really brought autism to light. Christopher's interactions during his adventure reminded a bit of how people treat the main character in Alan Lightman's The Diagnosis. And the talk of math and science make me think it would be a great choice for BGSU's Common Reading Experience. (Check out the CRE blog too for reading suggestions and the next possible CRE book!) I heard a rumor, though, that Mark Haddon doesn't like to travel, which wouldn't work to well, considering we like to have the author come to campus for a reading and meet and greets...
I tried so hard to like Kaufmann's The Sister, but I couldn't. I stopped reading it after page 50. Emily's sister was annoying me. I thought it would be a good esoteric read for my sister project (a collection of essays about my sister that I'm working on--however, it's taking me years to write them) and because I love Emily Dickinson. The Sister just bored me though, and I had to move on. I have to get through a lot of books before the new Harry Potter comes out. I don't have time to waste on being bored, which significantly slows down my reading! If anyone has read The Sister, liked it, and wants to shed some light on it for me, I'd be more than happy to listen. I've found with many books that if I wait a couple of years and to read it again, things click for me and I like it. Maybe I'll try again in 2010.
I'm having a frustrating week (I realize it's only Tuesday). I've been thinking lot and internalizing a lot and I feel like I have something to say, but I don't feel like being verbal, and when I am verbal I end up not communicating properly and sounding like an idiot or a bitch. Today while working out I realized I get like this when I'm starting a writing project and/or writing. I have two ideas I'm working on, and have been taking notes in my head, my computer's post-its, and in my dream journal. But I didn't really realize I was working on anything until last night when I was trying to go to sleep. Tomorrow I plan on writing. I'm hearing some language and feeling "disturbed," which are good things for me, but they may not be so good for people I try to talk with. I thank God every day for FD b/c he's the same way and we can understand each other. It's the people at the grocery store, the bank, etc.--whoever we run into that I feel for. Sometimes I wish I could just wear a fashionable shirt that said, "I'm not mad (as in upset and crazy), I'm just thinking." (It would be a really cute shirt if it had a LV on it or a Lilly Pulitzer palm tree.) And when I'm thinking really hard sometimes I wish every place was automated so I could think and do my chores and not talk and save my energy for writing.
I guess it's a blessing I do have a faculty job and I have the summer off and I don't get like this too much when I'm teaching. Normally, I get it over breaks. Or just in the morning before I teach. So I guess it would be a blessing that right now as I'm sitting here in the Student Athletics think tank no athletes are showing up. Would I sound like a complete ass right now if I tried to talk about writing?
Maybe that's why I like Christopher in The Curious Incident...Maybe because he was a thinker and I'm in that mode today.
I gotta stop. Writing of this thinking while thinking the thinking and thinking of how to write the thinking is driving me stinking crazy.
Sidenote: While here tutoring, I came to find out it is one my favorite people's in the Student Athletics Department birthday! And she called this (June) her "birthmonth" as well. See, I'm not the only one!(less)
I just finished The Jane Austen Book Club. So good. I'm craving Jane Austen now. I just want to go through each novel in order. I just might. I can't...moreI just finished The Jane Austen Book Club. So good. I'm craving Jane Austen now. I just want to go through each novel in order. I just might. I can't decide. I am a quite reliable multi-tasker...
If you love Jane Austen, I think you will really appreciate the book. Even if you don't love Jane Austen, I think you will appreciate the book and maybe come to appreciate Jane Austen more.
It was really good. Four Hello Kittys.
My favorite Jane Austen book is Pride and Prejudice. I heart Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I'm dying to hear what any one else's favorite Austen is. She's such a master with characters and keen observer of relationships. I love her.
One of my favorite classes I took in grad school was on Jane Austen. Besides my poetry classes, it's probably the one class I remember quite vividly and am most fond of. I wrote a great paper on Jane Austen paper dolls.
I finished Fowler's novel this evening by our outdoor fireplace. FD got a really perfect fire going; he used some of our applewood we bought last fall from a local orchard. We smell woodsy and wholesome and happy. Very simply happy.
When the fire got low, our neighbor boy Joe, crept between the pines in our backyards, apologized for interrupting my reading and asked if he and his brother could get me more wood. It was really sweet. I thanked him and told him it was sweet, but we were letting it burn out. He crept back between the trees and continued playing. It was such a small act, but it really made my night.
Tonight has been on those nights where everything feels good and perfect and calm. Everything feels full of love and goodness. We had a hearty meal, a glowing fire, fine reading, quiet conversations, good neighbors. It was one of those precious nights that if you don't record it becomes lost in all the hum-drum of the quick days that slide by. It was an evening worthy to share.(less)
Pollan's _The Omnivore's Dilemma_ is an informative and thoughtful reflection on food and where it comes...moreWhile I want to buy this book I'm scared to.
Pollan's _The Omnivore's Dilemma_ is an informative and thoughtful reflection on food and where it comes from in our modern culture. Pollan splices journalistic accounts of his own experiences buying food, working on a farm, hunting and gathering and buying a cow with countless other sources to help credit his arguments and with historical information about food to inform us of the four meals possible in our culture: the processed, organic, grass-fed, and hunted/gathered.
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the processed, organic, and grass-fed sections, I wasn't as much of a fan of the hunted/gathered section. This particular section seemed a bit over the top for me, especially as a wife of a hunter and fisherman. I've become accustomed to seeing my meal in its dead form as well as in the necessary butchering stage so it can be eaten and discussing it during the meal in terms of the exact hunt, location, weather, circumstances related to the specific day that meal was caught. So when Pollan talks about hunting it's a little over-sensationalized for me. However, I appreciate his newly found respect for hunting.
Some of my fav passages which I'm putting in the review because I couldn't mark up the library book:
page 215 Arthur Koestler's definition of "holon": "an entity that from one perspective appears self-contained whole, and from another a different part."
page 248 The Weston Price Foundation
page 254 "A protest of what exactly is harder to pin down...expense to opt out...distrusting Walmart...wanting to keep their food dollars in town..."
page 257 "Local food, as opposed to organic, implies a new economy as well as a new agriculture--new social and economic relationships as well as ecological ones. It's a lot more complicated."
page 264 descriptions of the grass-fed meal.
page 281 description of his food journey in the simplest of terms "...to look into the food chains that support us as I could look, and recover the fundamental biological realities that the complexities of modern industrialized eating keep from our view."
page 285 "'Nature,' as Woody Allen character says in _Love and Death_, 'is like an enormous restaurant."
By far the most hopeful and mind-blowing part of the book hands-down belongs to the Grass-fed section. I can't explain how I would irrationally move to Virginia just to be near to Polyface Farms even though I have found my own quite fabulous grass-farmer here in Ohio--Luginbill Farms.
Why would I be scared to own this book? Because it's made me so much in-the-know that I can't go to the grocery store without being hyper-sensitive and critical about what I'm putting in my cart, emotionally, politically, and psychologically, which then led me to become obsessed with the food I eat at the wide variety of restaurants we patron. The only time I feel content eating now is after we visit the Farmers Market and return with our local fruits and veggies or at Revolver Restaurant where they tell patrons on the menu which farms the food came from. While I'm not sure all the food we buy at the Farmers Markets grows on sustainable farms, I do feel better about buying food straight from our local farmers.
My recommendation is this: If you sincerely want to know what is happening in America's food culture, read this book. You'll be forever changed.
If you want to be able to happily eat whatever you wish without thinking about it, don't read this book. You'll be in the dark, and that will be a happy, easy place to remain.
As much as I sometimes wish I was in the dark, especially so I could enjoy restaurant eating again, I'm happy I'm in-the-know.
Today while tutoring, I've met with one student right at 1 and another at 4. In between those times, I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Perha...moreToday while tutoring, I've met with one student right at 1 and another at 4. In between those times, I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Perhaps that was not the smartest thing to do...
Sometimes I find the book so funny that I laugh out loud. Which is fine if I had a quiet laugh, but I don't. And I tutor in a common meeting space which is a center room with offices surrounding it. Clearly, everyone in the office knew I was getting paid to laugh at what I was reading. I felt bad; if I was working, I wouldn't want to hear someone who was getting paid to read laughing. In my defense, at least everyone could see that writing matters to me and I appreciate quality literature, which further proves my already-established qualifications as a tutor.
But then I got to the climax of the book, and I was moved by how the climax was written because it felt so "real" to me, because it captured how I feel and think (if those things could be replicated in language other than poetry), and I loved the characters as I love my families, and I loved the twist in the plot and how it came together in a way I didn't think it would come together because I was being skeptical and I thought it would be more trite, so I'm reading in the middle of this common room but I wouldn't call it reading as much as I would call it immersing myself into the novel when I start crying. Once the tears got in the way of my reading, I looked away from the page to wipe them, and realized I wasn't at home. I was in the Student-Athletics Department. I was tutoring. I had to pull my shit together.
What I love is that a book could do that to me. That it could inspire me--to write, to live, to not be afraid, to not be embarrassed when I bawl at work. I love this book so much I'm going to buy a copy of it. I would marry it if I wasn't married to FD. I want to put Kiedrowski's frosting on it and eat it.
I love the multi-genre-ness of it. It's brave and out-there and absolutely gorgeous.
I still have one chapter left. Once I started crying, I thought maybe I should wait until I was home to finish it--just in case I need to sob for a couple of minutes or hours.
It's moments like these that make me happy to be a reader, and even more so a writer...
It's almost 9 p.m., and I finished the book. I didn't cry. I didn't sob. I just finished it while BBQ-ing tonight's dinner (Chicken, roasted potatoes, and broccoli), ate dinner while watching the newest Deadliest Catch, cleaned-up, and talked to Pops. What's funny is, though, all the while I was doing this business, I was thinking about this book. And I have a feeling I'm going to think about this book for a long while. Like when I see a great film that moves me, it sticks with me, such as Dancer in the Dark.
And when I read something so good, like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I believe in God more than any other time in my life. Because without God how could such a great book come into existence? Or such a great author who is able to write such a great book? And then such a great mind? And the food such a great mind eats? And the air such a great mind breathes? (You probably can see where this is going.)
I can't review this book like other books. Mostly because I'm too emotional right now. But I can say if you read this blog, you should this book, if you haven't already.
And before I give my HK rating, a fellow McGuire/Facebook buddy said about Foer's book, "it's seriously chronic. i already bought Everything is Illuminated." Chronic, people! Dr. Dre and Snoop would be up on this shit! C'mon!
For the first time ever and maybe only time ever...5 Hello Kittys.(less)
Donald Miller's writing style reminded me of someone-I-know's writing style...
He cracked me up. He made me think. He made sense. He answered a lot of...moreDonald Miller's writing style reminded me of someone-I-know's writing style...
He cracked me up. He made me think. He made sense. He answered a lot of my questions. He counter-argued my skepticism. He used examples from pop culture to talk about Christian spirituality: Jane Austen, Ethan Hawke, Emily Dickinson, and Ani Difranco to name a few. He listens to Wilco, the Boss, Patty Griffin, Eliot Smith, and Whiskeytown to name a few. I believed him.
Donald Miller renewed my spirituality and helped me understand how I can have a relationship with God (and Jesus) that actually makes sense.
This book is a worthwhile read, especially if you are like me and have your doubts about faith and Christianity. Now the rest is up to me.
Thank you, Terence, for giving me a copy and sharing Miller with me. I hope you did give me this copy. I wrote all over it. I underlined favorite phrases. I doodled in the margins while reading. I seriously loved it!