Thursday, February 25, 2010

Outside Of A Dog, A Book Is A Man's Best Friend

I love to read, it’s something I get from my mom I guess. My mom, besides being an amazing mother (another thing I hope I inherit) is a wonderful writer, taught me the joys of a good book and works as a librarian for the second time in her life.

My mom has her own library at home; I’ve never actually seen so many books in a private collection. The walls are lined with huge shelves that go up to the ceiling, all full, many books lying sideways on top of their vertically shelved friends, plus stacks and stacks of loose books, boxes full and she’s still bringing them home faster than she can read them. All of her books are categorized, fiction, biographies, religion, theory, art, and so many more. It’s incredible the collection she has achieved. My mom has a book on every subject you can imagine, and if it’s a particularly good book, she’s probably got multiple copies.

Hubby and I can be home in less than 8 hours by car, and we’re lucky that his immediate family and his wonderful grandmother live just one city over from my sister and brother-in law. My mom and youngest brother and sister live just less than 2 hours away from them (My parents are still together, for those of you wondering. My dad has been working in Iraq and Afghanistan since July 4, 2004). We appreciate the “killing 2 birds with one stone” aspect of everyone being right there, but it can make for less than relaxing trips once we’ve done all that dividing of time in order to see everyone.

I may be bias, but I love visiting my family. Besides the good company, staying with them is always quite enjoyable. My folks worked hard to be able to build their dream home, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, beautiful hardwood floors and a kitchen to die for (I get my love of cooking from my dad). There is a jet tub in the master bedroom, marble floors and a sky light, I love bringing a glass of wine and relaxing there. The house is set in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on 10 acres with a spectacular view.

Our dogs love visiting my family, too, where they can run for miles, chase rabbits or antelope. My parents own 3 dogs, 2 cats and keep for a friend 11 alpacas and an alpaca-attendant dog. My parents’ dogs are always finding treasures: rib cages, skulls and other bones and gross things that come from dead animals. They have taken over an area we now refer to as “The Bone Yard”. Our city-dogs think this is heaven.

When we leave, our dogs bring home a few bones, and I take a box full of books.

I thought I’d share the list of books I’ve read this year (Since Jan 1, 2010)

Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village -Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
Hubby is a double major, World History and for Foreign Language (Arabic) he had to read this book, he loved it and suggested I read it also. I also loved it. This is wonderful story of self-discovery and gained appreciation of others.

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
I didn’t care for this book, and actually attempted to just stop reading it a few times (Once I start a book, I HAVE to finish). It’s really quite upsetting, but being such a talked about book, I suppose I’m glad I now can say I’m familiar with it.

Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved - Kate Whouley
A memoir, my favorite kind of book, telling the story of a woman who purchases a cottage and attaches it to her existing home. Cute book.

Hit by a Farm - Catherine Friend
Another memoir, very sweet story of a woman and her partner who have no experience farming, but together buy and operate a sheep farm. Full of funny stories and author learning who she is.

On Rue Tatin, Living and Cooking in a French Town -Susan Herrmann Loomis
My favorite thing about this memoir is the recipes! Every chapter describes in great detail the delicious food she cooks, and at the end of each chapter, she shares the recipes! Yum! The goat cheese sauce is de-lish!

Lucky: A Memoir – Alice Sebold
This is the only memoir I’ve read and not liked. It’s the story of how the author was raped and how it affected her life. Spoiler alert: I hoped it would show growth and over-coming tragedy, but it doesn’t. She seems like a lonely and troubled person. I was quite disappointed to have felt so much pain for her throughout the book and not see her recover in the end.

A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
This was also a somewhat upsetting memoir, due to the graphic description of the things the author endured as a child. I blazed through this one in one day, just so I wasn’t left to lie awake that night thinking about it. It’s really a remarkable story. If you plan to read it, I’d recommend you have the next two books on hand to follow it. I have heard that the story is fabricated, and perhaps some of the things he describes are exaggerated, but I wasn’t there, it’s not my place to say, and I could never bring myself to question someone who claims to have endured abuse as a child.

The Lost Boy: A Foster Child's Search for the Love of a Family- Dave Pelzer
The second book in this trilogy. This book focuses on the author’s time in foster care and the new challenges he faced as he learned to cope with his childhood.

A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness - Dave Pelzer
The 3rd book in the series, this book offers some closure and you see how the author’s life turns out.

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana - Haven Kimmel
Cute memoir, “scrapbook” is the word I would use to describe it. All of the stories are related, being about her childhood, but not necessarily reliant on each other.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter- Kim Edwards
Before reading this story, “Life of Pi” (by Yann Martel) was my sole favorite book; this one has joined it at the top. A fictional story of 2 babies, twins, separated at birth because the girl has Down syndrome. Following the lives of both and their families, this book’s characters are all “gray” as hubby would call them. Neither good, nor bad people, just very real, you see their faults and weaknesses along with good intentions and strengths. Very good story, and I’m told the movie is good as well.

Animal Farm - George Orwell
A re-read, or to be more honest, a re-re-re-re-read. I love this book, and it's a short one so it can be enjoyed over and over again!

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx

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