Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Books...and books...and books

I have been on something of a reading binge lately. Partly because I had so many books I wanted to read and a couple were due back at the library. Partly because I was at home alone more than usual so it made reading...easier.

I did keep up with basic housework and actually mopped my kitchen floor when I had a bit more energy than usual (it doesn't need it often). Loved the aroma of the Mrs. Meyers honeysuckle cleaner and thankful I had some left. I wasn't able to purchase any of the products this time as I had hoped. We had a car breakdown instead (yuk). However, I digress...

I love it when I can read one book after another in a series. Given that the Time books were written over many years, it wasn't possible to do that when they were first written.

They became so real to me this time that it was my own world that began to dim and I'd have to shake my head and come back to reality at the words, "What is for dinner??".

I do plan to read the fourth in the series soon (Many Waters), and...while doing some research, I found out there is a FIFTH! Did you know that? It is called An Acceptable Time. It centers around Meg and Calvin's daughter, Polly.

The other book I tried to read all the way through was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I admit I had to skim the last half as it was due back at the library. Since it has a long line of holds on it (I had to wait awhile), it could not be renewed. I had mixed feelings about this book. Mostly I liked it a lot and I think it is a very important book to read for anyone concerned about our food, how it is grown, and how it is transported from all over the world.

I've been eating seasonly as much as possible since, well...forever. Mostly because it costs less to eat foods in season (except for those frozen, which I do often purchase). However, I've been doing a lot more thinking about eating as locally grown foods as possible...when possible. I have always chosen local honey at the farmer's market as it is suppose to help allergies. This takes it a step farther and I believe what she has to say is important.

What I didn't like about it? Well, it is a little difficult to read but I think that may be because it is written by someone who is more used to writing fiction. There are a lot of descriptions and details given. I also may have had a problem because I was trying to skim and it is a book that demands attention. I did find myself talking back to it a few times, as when she writes that we no longer believe in evolution because we are not in touch with the earth as we once were. No, I don't believe in evolution because I find even the science doesn't show proof (cross species evolution, that is). Given everything, it's a great book. I'm going to watch for it in paperback.

I was thinking of this book as I chose to drive home the "long way" the past few days when I was alone in the car. It takes me past farms and fields and lots (I repeat...lots) of corn. If corn can be gorgeous, that is what these corn crops are right now. Things of beauty, sculptures built by seeds, and soil, and rain, and sun, and...God. :)

The other book I had to skim is much smaller but oh, so charming. It is called Gardening Letters to My Daughter by Anne Scott-James. It was published around 1990 and it is by an English gardener (and garden writer) who decides to write letters about her own garden to her daughter, who lives in a country cottage next door to her. I had to read it quickly but it was quite wonderful. It goes on my "to purchase" list. It's a bit like Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden, only in letter format (they were real letters sent to her daughter and there are some responses from her). As with Mrs. Whaley, there are only pen and ink pictures but beautiful prose.

Just before this book binge, I read 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff the day after I bought it at the library sale. I've read it once before and I've seen the movie a couple of times. It is such a fun book to read. As mentioned in an earlier post, I purchased the sequel at the library sale along with this one. It will probably be read come September (when I finish my Summer Reading Challenge). I couldn't help sneaking this one in, though.

I looked through two other books before the book binge (gosh, I have been busy!). They were also skimmed but they are the kind of books that lend themselves to skimming. The first, A Time to Blossom; Mothers, Daughters, and Flowers by Tovah Martin (of Victoria) and Richard W. Brown. It is a delightful coffee table size book that Tovah writes about her mother's gardens. It made for a very pleasant afternoon's reading (and viewing) pleasure. :)

The other book was I Like You; Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris. Next to this title in the notebook where I list books read is just one word...yuk. Why some women think to be profane and vulgar is funny is beyond me. I guess to a new generation of women, it is funny.

On a much brighter note, I read The Pantry, It's History and Modern Uses by Catherine Seiberling Pond. I've already written a review of it but it truly is a great book. I'm going to send it to my daughter as it is a book a busy mom can read a little at a time (or at least look at the beautiful photography).

Since this pretty much covers "books read in July", I'll just say that I brought home a stack of cooking and decorating books from the library this morning to peruse. As far as real reading, I have Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World (purchased at the library sale) that I am going to start soon. For the next selection from my Summer Challenge, I'm going to read The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith.

How do I find time to read these books? Well, I have no little children around and the small TV in my living room is not picking up too many stations. I think we need a new antanne and that is not a top priority in the budget right now. I rarely watch any shows on Direct TV at night. I also tend to balance easy books with those which require more attention. So...once dinner dishes are draining away in the red Rubbermaid drainer, I head for the living room sofa with a cup of tea and a book.

We won't say anything about the mums waiting to be planted, the clothes needing to be mended, or that my husband reminded me this morning he needs a load of "darks" washed. No...we won't mention that. Off to start the washing machine now...


Donetta said...

A lovely post Dear, I agree I do not enjoy Women or Elders being profane. I really bugs me. I feel embarrassed for them.
I do have small children now. i had non for 16 years. I once read and enjoyed tea. I will again by and by.

Tealady Tammy said...

I love books so I enjoyed this post immensely. My children are old enough now that I have more time to read. Tea is perfect with a good book. I was wondering where you get all your beautiful graphics that you use...so delightful to my soul