Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What I've Been Reading...

"Wholesome" is the first word that comes to mind after reading Little Britches (Father and I Were Ranchers) by Ralph Moody. This classic is a favorite of my friend, Missy. Since she has impeccable taste, I thought it was worth the read. Moody tells the story of his family's move from the East to a ranch in Colorado in 1906. This book is rich in the values of honesty, patience, having a strong work ethic, and family unity. Moody's father is wise and gives lessons in character building that we all hope to instill in our children...and really need to be reminded of ourselves. It's a nice readbeforeyougotobed, feel good kind of book.

I heard so many rave reviews about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that I just had to read it for myself. It is charming and certainly worth the read. It is, "traditional without seeming stale and romantic without being naive." It is a novel comprised entirely of letters. You fall in love with the characters as they describe life on Guernsey island during the Nazi occupation. Read this one.

It really is amazing that any of us are born at all. My friend, Rachel, highly recommended BIRTH The Surprising History of How We Are Born. It is written by Tina Cassady, a reporter who looks for a history of birthing methods and is shocked at how little she finds. This book describes how birthing theories have evolved including tools (a seriously disturbing chapter), the introduction of doctors, midwives, C-Sections, and "twilight sleep" to name a few. It is written like a textbook but is very readable. I found it fascinating and somewhat shocking. It is amazing how we are still changing opinions and recommendations on a process that has been around since, well, the beginning.

Sense and Sensibility ranks above Emma and below Pride and Prejudice on my Austen scale. 'nough said.

One of the best and most interesting books I've read this year. Outliers is a must for your book club. After almost every chapter, I wanted to call my friend to discuss Gladwell's observations.

a review from amazon...

Malcolm Gladwell poses a provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

Outliers can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendants of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps--Gladwell invites conversations about the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture. He leaves us pondering the gifts of our own history, and how the world could benefit if more of our kids were granted the opportunities to fulfill their remarkable potential. --Mari Malcolm

You certainly won't have to try hard to have a book discussion after reading this one.
What have you been reading recently?


Andrea @ The Train to Crazy said...

My dad read Little Britches to us aloud when we were little! This brings back memories!

I just finished one book and am moving on to Crazy Love by Francis Chan. (still reading 2 others :)

Just Mom said...

The back of a box of Pop Tarts.


Amanda Evans said...

I'm always amazed at how many books you read! Good for you! As for me...well, it has been a while! I'm not much of a reader. But I have been getting caught up on scrapbooking with my spare time!

krista said...

The BIRTH one sounds fascinating to me. I'm glad to know the full title and author now...couldn't remember that from our earlier discussion.

I'd rate the Austen titles you mentioned similarly. Have you ever read Persuasion? I really enjoyed that one!

I just finished Gap Creek by Robert Morgan and felt it gave me a needed reminder of how good I've got it. It's set in the mountains of South Carolina at the turn of the century and is essentially about the survival of a newly married couple.

On my to-read list: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

Christie said...

Oh no! Now I'm going to have to buy more books!

Musicaljean said...

That childbirth book sounds interesting.

Anthony has Outliers lying around here. Now I'm interested in reading it.

Kristen said...

i always look forward to your book reviews... thank you.

i have so many on my list and so little time. maybe over christmas break i can get caught up a bit :o)

Jenni S. said...

Thanks for the book reviews. I'll have some time over Christmas, maybe I'll try to pick one or two up!