What I'm Reading lately:
Guide to Childbirth
I'm about to have my first baby! It's understandable that my reading list has been hyper focused on this subject lately. But if I had to choose one essential guide it would be this gem, by Ina May Gaskin. I don't think this book is only for expecting mothers and father either. It's beautifully written. It makes you laugh and cry, and it covers the most fundamental aspect of love and life, human birth! This fascinating process has for the most part been stigmatized greatly in our country, so much so that women often believe from the very start of their pregnancies that they are deficient somehow and in need of intense medical scrutiny. Ladies! We are not sick, or fundamentally flawed. Read this book and be informed about how strong and capable you really are!
The Land of Painted Caves
By Jean M. Auel. I read the first book of this series at the impressionable young age of eleven. I had run out of Narnia Chronicles to obsess over and it wasn't Friday yet. Thursday was Daddy's pay day, so we got our allowance on Friday mornings. My brothers and I would use our hard earned dishes and wood chopping money to indulge in comics at the local cigar store. It was probably a Tuesday and I was dreading the three day eternity I would have to wait for new reading material. Perusing my mothers book shelve in the den, I came across "The Clan of the Cave Bear". Looking back I realize why my mother absolutely freaked when she found me curled up by the fireplace the following day halfway through the book. It was, I suppose, a little mature for me. She took it away, but I found it at the community college library the next day. Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover this final installment of the series recently, as the main character Ayla finally builds a home and brings her story full circle as she adjusts to living with her own people once again.
I have to admit, the only Stephen King book I've ever read was "On Writing" this past summer. My husband purchased this latest book, a short novella, and completely devoured it on the plane ride to Iceland last week. At only 146 pages this might not seem like a big deal, but my husband usually falls asleep after reading one sentence of any other book. It was uncanny and enjoyable. Though it was bizarre to discuss book notes with my hubby, definitely something I could get used to!
Orson Scott Card wrote two of my favorite book collections the "Ender's Quintet" as well as the "Ender's Shadow Series". I was delighted recently to discover a fantasy story he wrote in 1999. Wandering through the secluded upper level of my local library I found this modern fairy-tale. There's a head strong Princess and less then likely hero, who have to find a way to cope with evil magic, time travel, and of course there feelings for one another. Supposedly based on a Russian version of Sleeping Beauty, this story has it all and certainly earned it's place on my top ten, at least for now.
The Trolls In The Knolls
35 Icelandic folk and fairy tales
On a recent trip to Iceland, I ran into a small book store to avoid a sudden burst of rain. There was a limited English reading section, but I managed to find this intriguing book. The mix of old lore with bits of Christianity thrown in is amusing. As if the story teller was obligated to add one or two comments about Mass or Jesus. Some of the tales were familiar to me. Like the one about a man who steals the skin of a seal and hides it, only to marry the silky women and keep her for decades as a human companion. I did not remember, however, hearing the one about "Hallgerdur of Blafell", or "The Lady Would Like Her Head's Worth" . Totally cool collection of tales, worth a peak.
Lincoln In The Bardo
A Novel by George Saunders
This is a beautifully written book. From the start I was hooked. It was surprising to notice the reviews today when looking for a website link to post for you. So many people found this book "difficult" I even saw "boring". Well I disagree wholeheartedly. Here's what I have to say, if you don't want to do the work don't complain about your lackluster journey. I'll be over here enjoying nuance and nostalgia.
A memoir and writing instruction by Stephen King. Need I say more? In this amusing book are stories of the authors upbringing and the journey from comic loving kid to one of the best known authors today. This book is witty and precise, you don't have to be a writer to read it, but you might be convinced to give it a try by the end.
Next of Kin
Some books deserve to stay on this list forever. This book by Roger Fouts changed my life. If you haven't read it, buy it, and set aside half a day, because you won't want to put it down. In this compelling memoir you are introduced to the idea that humans are not the only thinking, feeling beings on the planet Earth (Go figure...). As a graduate student Fouts was given the task of caring for a young Chimpanzee named Washoe. She is vivacious, and troublesome, as any toddler is, oh, and she thinks she's a human. In the 1970's scientists ran experiments and cross-fostered Chimps as humans. They were raised in normal households and taught sign language. Roger expertly tells the tale of her adolescence and adulthood and all the troubles that come with finding out you are a actually a member of a completely different species.
Most of us read Lois Lowry's The Giver in middle school but did you know there is a whole quartet? Gathering Blue is the second book in the series and it does not disappoint. Technically this book is considered a Young Adult novel, but we all secretly love those anyway right!?
The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicine to Life on Earth
I've read this book a couple of times, but it's wonderful to pick it up again. The author Stephen Harrod Buhner artfully describes his lifelong connection with nature, and how crucial our relationship to plants is to our well-being. This is a wonderful read for spring!