Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reading... or...

...what I like to do when I have a brain.

I am 30 weeks along in my sixth pregnancy and for the particular brand of pregnancies God has granted me, this means that I have been enjoying the Return of My Brain for about 8 or 9 weeks now.

My whole family benefits from this slow return of my ability to function. I am once again able to live the Suzy Homemaker life that I truly do enjoy.

One of the sad things to me about spending so much time on the couch resting during those first months of pregnancy is this: if I had a brain during that time, I would spend at least some of that rest reading! But, generally, I don't. It's just not in me to be interested in any thinking at that time.

But around May of this year, I started lurking around our bookshelves for something light to peruse (you know, things I've read a zillion times since childhood like Cadie Woodlawn and the What Katy Did series) and then earlier this month it really hit me: I needed some books!

This is what I've been reading:

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and his wife Faith D'Aluisio

Filled with photographs of the families they interviewed from all over the world, this book gives an interesting picture of the foods that are consumed and their costs. Each family is photographed with the amount of food they normally consume in a week's time. For some, the sprawling pile of pre-packaged items fills the entire kitchen. For others, meals for an entire week hunch together on a dirt floor.

Aren't you curious now? How would your week's amount of food compare to those pictured in this book?

Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison

My friend Stacy over at With Great Joy read this a few years ago, I think, and I've been meaning to read it for awhile. The author writes about her experiences with the foster children in her home.

Another author, Augusten Burroughs is quoted on the front of the book, saying that Harrison's story is "...shocking, brutal, heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive..." After reading it, and passing it along to my husband to read as well just so I could discuss it with him, I'd say Burroughs got three out of four right. Harrison's depiction of the failings of the foster care system and the damaging effects on the children within it is shocking, brutal and heartbreaking because for most of the children she writes about, there is no ultimate redemption. While it left me with a sad heart, this story has grown my desire to do something in response to God's exhortation in James 1:27.

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

Protecting the Gift:Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) by Gavin De Becker

The kids and I have been learning about various ways to "be safe" in our Personal Safety Unit. We've memorized our address and practiced calling 911. We visited the police station once and crossed the road the correct way several times. We've also talked about privacy and taking good care of our bodies. So it made sense for me to read a book about good ways to teach our kids about safety. De Becker does a complete and thorough job of categorizing what we should watch out for and how to protect ourselves and our kids. I would consider this book a good resource if you want to recognize a predator with plenty of time to be the survivor rather than the victim in many different dangerous scenarios.

That said, I didn't really enjoy reading this book because it was scary. I'm pretty sure the author intended the information he shares to be more empowering than scary but reading about all the many ways our kids can get into trouble and the many kinds of trouble that are out there looking for our kids was, well, scary.

Maybe I read it too fast. Gulp, gulp, gulp! I'll get through this icky casserole quickly so I can
move on to what I really want to be ingesting: dessert!

And currently, my dessert: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

I've enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver's snappy writing since I read The Bean Trees in high school... (or maybe it was Pigs in Heaven). This particular title, a memoir of sorts about a family and their attempt to grow what they eat and only eat what they can grow, give or take some farmers' market items, comes to me at the perfect time. The experimental garden in our backyard has begun to add to our salads and I'm ripe and ready for any ways I can add more healthy, cheap eats to our table.

I'm only a few chapters in so I'll have to save my complete thoughts on this book until I'm finished. I will say this: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle brought me out of almost napping mode to a full sitting, no, I think a standing position today so that I could find my phone. I had to call my mom and tell her the amazing information I had just gleaned from Chapter 2 about the real life experiences of the asparagus plant. Really? The asparagus grows into a four foot tree?! I was shocked to learn that this vegetable that both my mom and I enjoy only looks as we see it in the supermarket for maybe one day of it's life... and it was banned from nunneries during the Renaissance. You could probably google that and find out why.

There you have it! You could call it proof that my brain has been at least partially functional for the last month or so.

Oh and please tell me what you are reading or wanting to read right now! Midway through writing this post, I thought of another book I wanted to read and had to skip over to my library's webpage to put it on hold.

I love doing that!


Jodi said...

Well thanks! I just put your first two on hold at our library! :)

Stacy said...

Yes. I thought that about Another Place at the Table, too. It struck me so much after reading that book (and her other one) that what she was offering them in terms of healing and love was so incomplete without Jesus in the equation. How desperately these children need Him!

I recently finished Three Cups of Tea, and I'm currently reading The Hole in Our Gospel. I hope to blog about it when I'm finished.

Soccermama said...

I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It was a book that truly changed forever the way I think about food. I was sorry that she so missed the beauty of God's creation, being such a good secular humanist and all. But her awesome prose, and clear sense of moral responsibility shine through. In pure terms of stewardship, it really got me thinking of the true cost of our food to others (are we using too much precious resource to buy somehing that could have been locally produced)? I now buy much of our meat from local farmers, a large number of whom turn out to be Christian homeschoolers! Anyway thanks for the great book list of things to read (what the world eats looks great) and enjoy the return of your brain (before it leaves in the last month to resurface a few months postpartum... about the time the hair starts falling out!!! :O) LOL. Miss you!

amy said...

I hesitate to add what I am reading because of how long it takes me o finish books. I just don't work on them every day, so if you ask the same question in 6 months my answer might be the same!
But I just re-read "Babywise" (you can guess why). And I am working on re-reading "Created to Be His Helpmeet." And I am also reading "The 100 most important events in Christian History." All good books.
For me, blogs are a more regular fare especially as I have a laptop right near where I nurse. Cooking blogs, friends blogs and Doug Wilson and Nancy Wilson's blogs are my favorites.
Happy reading!
Oh and sometime I want to hear more on your thoughts about fostering...