Book Report

Here's what I've been reading lately:

Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World by Mark Frauenfelder, Founder of Boing Boing and Editor in Chief of Make.

I received a review copy of this book, which is part of a trendy DIY, getting back to basics wave. It seems to me that the kind of thrifty, bootstrappers who adore this genre are more likely to check books out of a library than purchase them outright, but that's a story for another day.

We haven't thrown away most of our possessions, but in the last couple of years, we have stored, donated or sold much of it, and it really does make a person think. Think about our stuff. Realize how much of it we have and how unnecessary and meaningless much of it is. It's actually been a rather freeing and enlightening process (she says until she realizes she has a very empty new house).

So this book came to me at a good time. I was intrigued Frauenfelder's efforts to slow down and unplug. I enjoyed reading about his exploits keeping chickens and bees, making kombucha, carving wooden spoons, and whatnot, though admittedly I was curious what his wife and kids were doing while he spent an afternoon carving spoons.

His efforts were not always successful, but Frauenfelder always walked away from a project with a new appreciation and a few lessons learned. I liked that.

I don't think I'll be carving spoons for teacher gifts this year ("Thank goodness," sigh the ones who read this blog), but I just might turn our (theoretical) new lawn into a vegetable garden and if I could figure out a way to keep keep chickens, I'd do it.

This book is an interesting read, especially for an aspiring DIY-er.

Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps, Edited by Dave Isay.
I enjoy the Story Corps bits when I catch them on NPR, so this book caught my eye at the local library. Isay (yes, ironic name) compiled previously recorded StoryCorp conversations with and about mothers. Many of the stories were quite touching, bringing tears to my eyes, others made me smile and warmed my heart. This delightful little read would be an excellent Mother's Day present or a nice gift for a new mom.

I couldn't get this to embed and it's not in the book, but this lovely interview by a 12-year-old boy who has Asperger's and his mother on the StoryCorps site is worth a look/listen. (Plan to stay there a while!)

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.
Another library pick. Although the co-author (or translator) did not speak in the voice of a young girl, the book provided a shocking glimpse into this true story of a ten-year-old Yemeni girl who was forcibly married off to a much older man. Breaking with tribal custom, she managed to get a divorce. (I don't recall this from the book, but wikipedia suggests that the judge initially suggested she return to the husband who raped and beat her after she had grown up a bit and matured physically. Oy.) It's a very quick read and made me thankful to live in a free country.

Sarah's Key
A good, if somewhat contrived, story shedding light on the French government's mistreatment of Jews during WWII. The real story here is that this was the first book I read on my new Kindle! The new Kindle is more compact and lighter than the original and oh so easy on aging eyes.

When I first charged it up, my instinct was to touch the Kindle's screen to get it going, but it's no iPod/Pad, it's a reader. Also the monitor is monochrome. Limitations aside, I was up and running, er, reading, in no time.

I have more exploring to do on and with the device, but my first book on the Kindle was a joy (depressing storyline aside, of course).

Disclosure: the Kindle was a gift from my mom. She did not require me to write about it, nor did she influence my opinions about it. That said, she is sharing her Kindle library with me, which makes it and her even more awesome.

What are you reading these days?
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