Monday, March 13, 2017

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating

Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating by Moira Weigel
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Leaving at post office in Tucker

I heard an interview with Moira Weigel on Real Simple's Adulthood Made Easy podcast and was instantly interested in reading it.  I will really miss that podcast!  I really enjoyed this book and discovered random little tidbits I had no idea about--like TGIF restaurants initially starting as singles clubs.  AND that they were inspired by gay bars.  That was exciting and fun trivia.  I appreciated that this book was not just heteronormative and did include some information about queered dating.  It tried to dip its toes into the differences in dating between white and black people, but I felt like that was one portion that was just too little too late.  It felt like it was just peppered in and without a lot of substance.  I wish there had been more of it but, if there was only going to be a seasoning, maybe she should have left it out.  I don't know.  There were very important differences that made "dating" more dangerous for the black community.  It seems like in many eras the line between dating, sex work, trading sex, going steady wasn't always clear, at least to other people looking in at those relationships. 

I left this book at the post office and hope someone else gets some enjoyment out of it too!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
Weight: 13 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving somewhere in Tucker or Decatur

I am sometimes terrified, sometimes ready to rise up, and most often overwhelmed and sad.  In an effort to prepare myself for my own future and for America's future, I am reading books that apply immediately to the current world climate.  I read Obama's biography in the month before he left the White House and his presidency ended.  I loved it.  I found it inspirational, and I was shocked about his life and how he came to be president.  It gave me hope--how Obama-cliche is that?--but it did.  It showed me what made Obama such an amazing leader, though I simultaneously mourned the life our new president had led in comparison.  Looking at Trump's past there is none of the passion for social work and people, none of the world experience and travel that led Obama to have an incredible amount of empathy, none of the strong family ties, and deep-rooted morals.  I am hoping that when I pass this book on it is picked up by someone else that needs inspiration, hope, and an extra push.  I hope it makes them feel that they can stand up, voice their opinions, listen to others, and make a difference.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Weight: 8 oz
Method of Disposal: Leave in a Lending Library

There are no words other than the author's own to explain what happened to him and those around him.  The horror of his story is more than could be imagined.  One piece that haunts me even weeks later is the way the war followed him.  Each time he thought he was safe the war would catch up to him.  The pain of losing those he loved over and over and over again.  I cannot help but wonder what Ishmael is doing now and what he thinks about America in her current state.  Is he afraid?  Is he done being afraid?  Is this nothing to worry about?

I hope, so much, that he never has to experience violence again and that he will be happy.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Charles Mackay
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Leaving in Decatur, GA

2017.  It is quickly becoming a year that will be difficult to forget.  We have elected a monster, and he is proving himself to be more immoral/vindictive/cruel than simply dumb.  People are standing up for justice in cities all over the country, though we fluctuate between being frightened and furious.  You cannot look at your phone without another news story popping up that makes you feel like you have swallowed bricks.

I am scrambling to find my footing and a focus for my action.  I feel attacked on all sides.  Our president says he does not read.  He is a quoted as saying to Megyn Kelly in and interview, "I read passages, I read areas, chapters, I don't have the time.  When was the last time I watched a baseball game? I'm watching you all the time."  I am still reading, pouring through pages and pages, looking for some answer to this mania, this complete breakdown of human decency.

I did not find the answer in Extraordinary Popular Delusions, but you can understand why I looked there.  I did find more evidence that I should, in fact, be worried and that en masse people can be nonsensical,unreasonable, and incredibly dangerous.  I am not a religious person, but God help us.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The United States of Poetry

The United States of Poetry
Joshua Blum Bob Holman Mark Pellington
Weight: 2.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving Somewhere

I bought this book in the 90s and just now read it in 2016, but I am glad I saved it all this time.  I also think it is better it is released now rather than later.  It seems like there is less poetry out there.  I do, however, find it amusing that I am now married to someone who had a total mental collapse when she realized I was reading a book of poetry next to her.  She has some deep-seated disdain for poetry we need to overcome, apparently.

I picked up this book and read it last weekend, after we had to euthanize our beloved Chihuahua-Potato, Bayah.  I thought she would live for at least two decades and never imagined we would lose her in the 8-12 year old range.  She was rescued with her baby, Aires, from a puppy mill and brought to PAWS Atlanta around 4.5 years ago.  Harriet and her then boyfriend, Connor, took Bayah in as a foster.  She was seemingly young and feisty.

She was adopted out and about a year later she came back looking terrible.  She was overweight, had hair loss, and her teeth were completely rotten.  Harriet had moved back to England, and there was no room at the shelter.  Having started falling in love with the now single Harriet, I could not let anything happen to her foster pup and so I took Bayah home as my own foster.  I fell in love with her too.  And hard.  I tried to adopt her out, but when she came back a week later (she wasn't housebroken) I was so relieved to scoop her back up.  I finalized her adoption that day--April 18, 2013.  I was able to be her family for a little over three years.  That's it.

She was my little hot potato and my co-pilot. She was the dog I could take with me everywhere.  She was relaxed and loving and not at all worried about adult strangers.  Children were slightly alarming, but she would not hurt them, and I always made sure they were sweet with her too.  She fit perfectly in my arms.  She would not lay down or rest until she found a comfy bed to rest on but, if you put her in a bed, she would not budge again until you made her or until you took out some food.  She loved to eat more than anything else in the world and on her last night we gave her chocolate and chicken jerky, which she scarfed down as ferociously as ever.

She developed a head tilt and was diagnosed with vestibular disease, but three weeks went by, and she did not get better.  We got a third opinion.  We were told she had a brain tumor and our time with her was short and, even with the warning, there was not enough time spent together.  There never could be.  That's the thing about death.  No matter how much life allows you to prepare for it you cannot prepare for it.  It feels sudden or unexpected even when it is not.  If it doesn't feel that way then you have likely suffered terribly and for awhile.

That last night was the first time she flinched when someone went to hold her or when her canine best friend, Savannah, got near her.  She was in pain.  The tumor was putting pressure on her eye.  She had gone blind in that eye just a few weeks before. The only option was surgery, and she was not a candidate for surgery at her age and in her condition.  She left us before we left her, and our hearts broke into a million Bayah-sized pieces as we drove away from that hospital and home to a house that felt empty even though it was full of dogs.  I funnel my affections into her best friend and my other dogs, but nothing touches that place within me where the memory of her lives.  It is heavy and damp, soaked through with my sadness.  I know that as time goes on it will fill with positive memories and funny anecdotes, but right now I just miss my beloved little Chihuahua and the tongue that always hung out of her mouth as she sauntered along.  The low, sweet bark she let out when she got really excited and the warmth of her small body resting next to me.  I will love you forever, Bayah.