Monday, May 26, 2008

Playing Catch Up

I've been trying to grow grass and scrape my porch stairs this week - two very laborious processes. While I move my sprinkler around every 1o minues, I've managed to squeeze in brief bits of reading that have resulted in the completion of two books . Neither of them were one of my Southern Reading Challenge books but I hope to start that this week. Gotta finish my book group book first though! I'm a lousy book reviewer but I will do my best.

Last Sunday I finished Garrison Keilor's Pontoon. As usual he manages to create a varied collection of "unique" individuals from Lake Woebegon and weave together a very entertaining story. The conclusion had my laughing so hard I was in tears which doesn't happen to me very often. I could so picture the complete chaos he was describing it was incredible.

I also read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. This was an extremely interesting book and I think I will have to see if my library has his other book The Omnivore's Dilemma. The premise of the book is that as a result of "nutritionism", the FDA, the marketing industry and other scientific entities (just to name a few) we've gotten away from eating "food" as a result of focusing on nutrients - antioxidants, omega-3s, etc. In our quest to eat "healthy", we've gotten so confused by all the various claims and counterclaims of assorted diet fads and nutrition recommendations that have not really resulted in making us healthier. Pollan's premise is that the "western" diet most of us eat is actually worse for our health than if we ate traditional diets our ancestors did - a Mediterranean, Asian or other ethnic culture. I found the book very thought provoking.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Name Your Homeplace - Casapearl

Maggie has a contest going related to naming your homeplace. This is Casapearl. She is a 1920 California Craftsman bungalow on Pearl Street. I bought this house three years ago and almost immediately named her Casapearl and that's how I always think of her.

She is my refuge in a town I don't always like living in but I love my neighborhood. No matter how bad a day I've had, there is a relief to pulling into the driveway and knowing I'm home. She has windows in every room which means tons of light and gorgeous hardwood floors throughout. Not a huge yard but enough to keep me busy. The kitchen is short on countertops and electrical outlets but funky isn't always a bad thing!

And the porch.... what can I say? I fell in love with the house just walking up onto that old porch. Even when the house looked like this! I knew she had to be mine. I plant the window boxes every spring and sit out on the porch knitting or reading when it gets warm. I decorate her for fall and for winter. She's a jewel box and probably the most perfect house I will ever own.

She's allowed me to feel at home in my town and to get to know my neighbors all along my street - a very unusual thing in today's world. Last year the woman who grew up in her stopped to take a little tour. She left me with the original architectural blueprints for which I am extremely grateful. I will leave them with her next owner and take a copy to someday maybe build another just like her. She is my dream home - Casapearl.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Library at Night

One of my strongest childhood memories is going to the library and it's a pleasure that has never really grown old. The anticipation of what you might find on the shelves continually lures readers in. I recently picked up The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel. I used to have a copy of his book The History of Reading but it's either been donated or lost - I never got around to reading it but would like to someday.
I was lured into this book by both the title and the photo on the dust jacket - isn't it neat? This book is an exploration of various libraries throughout history including ones the author encountered in his own life as well as the one he created at his home in the south of France. It was a pleasurable read and I enjoyed learning about the histories of the various libraries around the world. Many no longer exist but the writing allows you to imagine what they might have been like. The author is formidably well read -a bit intimidating in a sense but the bibliography allows me hope that I might expand my horizons a bit by tracking down some of the books he mentions. A worthwhile read if you're a library fan.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Southern Reading Challenge Choices

Well, I've decided on what my three books will be for the Southern Reading Challenge which starts on Thursday.

1. Gods in Alabama -Joshilyn Jackson
2. Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen -this is actually my book pick for my book group in July
3. Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes - Cathy Holton

I got Gods in Alabama in the mail yesterday from Booksfree so I'm all set to start reading on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Y'all its summer southern reading time!

I've been hoping that Maggie was going to host another Southern Reading Challenge as I really enjoyed participating last year. I did read three southern books but didn't finish my final one until after the time frame had passed. I plan to do much better this year!

So far I know my first book will be Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson. Now I've got to find two more to add to my summer reading. Maggie has provided several excellent suggestions so I'll have to see if my library has any of them.