Sunday, January 22, 2012

Astronomy 365

Astronomy 365 Days: The Best of the Astronomy Picture of the Day Website  by Jerry T Bonnell and Robert J. Neimiroff
Weight: 4.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Selling

In a time when “space junk” is a widely used term and  said junk is falling from the sky frequently, I thought I would put this beautiful astronomy book out there to remind people of the natural beauty of space—the hardly tampered with or never tampered with parts.  It is starting to seem like every time you turn on the news a satellite or failed probe is descending ominously on earth. According to the LA Times,  we have had 3 large items come down in the last 4 months and “three or four times a year, witnesses on the ground see debris fall — and if the researchers are very lucky, they'll get an email letting them know. If the item has come from an Air Force launch, the military picks it up and brings it back to El Segundo” (,0,819657.story)

In this book you see Saturn’s rings and moons, Andromeda’s Core,  star clouds, comets.  I wish I could spend my time in these pages.  Daydreaming and wandering.  Wishing there was some safe, easy, inexpensive way for me to float from planet to planet in a timely manner and beat the crowds.  Alas, it is time for me to go to work. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Healing Foods

The Healing Foods Patricia Hausman and Judith Benn Hurley
Herb Bible  Peter McHoy and Pamela Westland
Herbs and Things  Jeanne Rose
Natural Medicines and Cures Your Doctor Never Tells You About
Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-Z Reference to Drug Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, and Food Supplements James F Balch and Phyllis A Balch
Weight: 11 lbs
Method of Disposal: Gave to Mom for Christmas

I gave these books as gifts, along with some newly purchased ones, to my mother for Christmas.  It is funny that I am just now getting rid of them right as I am starting to develop an interest in healing foods.  I kept my juicing book and bought a juicer, and it has been fabulous.  I love that little Omega.  I am constantly making juice.  I lug it with me when I go to friend’s houses and use it often at home.  The Farmer’s Market really helps keep the costs lower.  I have to use a lot of fruits and vegetables to get the amount of juice I want, but it is absolutely worth it.  The best tasting recipe is apples, pears, and fennel.  Mmmmhmmm.  But I am loving the beet juice too.

These books came from a variety of places, but some were probably mom’s before she moved to Taiwan so they have gone back to their original and rightful home.  She seems to be getting good use out of them and shares plenty of valuable information with me.  I am currently learning about the wonders of wheat grass, seaweed, beets, and other nutrient packed foods.  I think even writing this has made me thirsty.  I am off to make carrot juice!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Heartbeat

My Heartbeart  by Garret Freymann-Weyr
Weight: 11.2 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating or Giving away

It is probably fairly obvious by now why this book made it to my shelves.  It is 1) a young adult book and 2) a book that deals with queer issues—or at least an affluent, gay, male teenager.  I was impressed that the book made it into the bookstores and that it won several awards, but I felt neither here nor there about it.

A teenage girl loves hanging out with her brother, Link, and his bestfriend, James.  Then, someone at school asserts that her brother is gay and things start to spiral past her understanding.  I do like that this book does not follow typical themes.  The mother is open and knowledgeable.  It is the sibling relationship that falters.  There are not over-exaggerated theatrics or unnecessary acts of violence.  Sexuality is not completely binary and stagnant.  I don’t know.  Let me know if you want to check it out, and it is yours free.  I would love it if you told me what you thought.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Plain Seeing

Plain Seeing  by Sandra Scofield
Weight: 6 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating or giving to the first person who asks for it

I chose this book from a shelf of books I have never read, but I have owned for some time.  I had no idea what it was about when I started reading it.  Strangely, I started reading it right after the credits rolled for Grapes of Wrath.  This book tells multiple stories.   The first one talking about a family making ends meet during the Depression.  Women, throughout the generations, are the focus of this book.  We hear a lot from daughters about their mothers, and mothers about their daughters.  The book can be confusing at times, as it skips around from character to character and from one time period to another.  At the start of the book, I was convinced it was bad and was tempted not to read it through.  I am glad I stuck with it.

The characters were often self-absorbed and yet likeable.  I could see people I knew in them and was frightened to see myself sometimes.  I really liked to see the different vectors each characters’ lives took.  You could follow people who came from the same circumstance and watch them grow up.  The reader is there for the big decisions that lead the character from their dreams to their disappointing reality.  Like watching someone you love making a mistake, you have to stand on the sidelines, be supportive and worry, but ultimately let it unfold before your eyes.  The book felt genuine.  It felt like growing older and losing sight of oneself.  It felt like that moment when you realize that there are mistakes you make that you can never fix, things you will never be able to change or get back.  

If you are looking for an uplifting read this is not it, but if you want to get very close to some interesting and strong women who just cannot seem to live to their full potential then this is the book for you.  I was pleasantly surprised by how it lingered with me in the day after I finished it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sing Down the Moon

Sing Down the Moon 1992
Island of the Blue Dolphins 1987
Scott O’Dell
Weight: 7 oz
Method of Disposal: Recycling

These two O’Dell books were popular amongst my peers growing up.  I really do not remember how I felt about them as a child.  I had to re-read them last month because I could not remember what they were about, and I know a lot of the magic was lost.  I was not sure how to read it as an adult.  I was pleased and excited that the lead characters were both strong-willed and courageous girls.  It was a comforting juxtaposition to the likes of the Twilight series, where the lead girl is not independent or intelligent.  I was glad to think that children were being introduced to Native American (for lack of better words) experiences, but equally concerned that they were being written by a non-native writer.   The misinformation is spread early.  I am glad O’Dell wrote about people in a positive and affirming manner, but it is disappointing that I did not grow up reading any award winning Native American authors.  Kids should learn about The Trail of Tears and the destruction of life and land carried (being carried) out by white people.  It is important, despite their youth, so that they can begin to see the world as it is and imagine it as it hopefully will be when they help reshape it.

In the spirit of America, the O’Dell books were offered up in our public schools, while we were also being embedded with racism.  We sat in a circle singing “I’m an Indian Chief in my wigwam high, see my tom toms beat, hear my arrow fly.  I ride my pony every day.  I ride it fast and far away.  I-yi-yi-yi-yi, I yi-yi-yi-yi, How.”  I still remember it!  What is that?!  We learned it because we had a “real Indian” visiting our classroom!  I went to Braves games and held my tom tom proudly in the air.  I stomped all over Rock Eagle without thinking a thing about it.  There was one group, Native Americans, not many tribes and many people.  My mother had me read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which was great, but I was getting mixed messages and not learning a whole lot.  Does this begin to, kind of, explain my discomfort when re-reading O’Dell’s books?  What was I willingly ingesting?

On a side note, I am not sure if children should or should not be allowed to write reviews about books online.  They are horrible, sometimes wonderful, and almost always amusing.  A lot of kids liked O’Dell, but the image above shows some of the comments from those who did not.  Enjoy!