OMG. I read a LOT.
I've read a lot of books in the last couple of weeks that I'm not going to post about separately.
I just finished reading the Yarn Harlot's new book Free-Range Knitter, which was quite funny, as always. When talking about why she knits (because she doesn't get any "points" for it):
"The only voice that isn't going to bother to lie to preserve our relationship is the voice of my inner self, and that's who I've got to be doing this for. My inner self is, like most inner selves, a very harsh person who I am not always convinced is on my side." She continues on to say that she can find something likable about just about everyone she meets, but can barely stand up under her own harsh self assessments. I identified ;-)
I also read the book Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven (I was reviewing it for an organization). I appreciated the reference in it to LLL Leaders as "goddesses" ;-) Overall, this seemed like first an animal rights book, second a book about nutrition (specifically veganism) and third a book about pregnancy. The language in it was coarse throughout (as the title would suggest), which I had trouble getting past. (I emailed some colleagues to see if I was just being an uptight-goody-two-shoes-prude. They said no, but I had to acknowledge to myself that the description kind of fits, irrespective of this particular book!)
And, I finished reading Busy, but Balanced, which I've been reading month-by-month over the course of the year (it is organized by month). I didn't actually glean that much from it that I didn't already know/have in other books. It did suggest having special family days once a month and we've implemented that with fair regularity throughout the year--like taking a day and actually writing on the calendar that it is going to be family day and then spending a fun day together. Related to this is that I also had several tea parties with my boys this year--planned, written on the calendar--and they had SO much fun doing that (mostly because of the sugar cubes). I was playing dinosaurs with Z a couple of days ago and he picked out a baby dino for each big dino and made me make each dino hold her baby (some required rubber bands). They had been fighting and growling and generally being ferocious, but then the big t-rex said, "you want have tea party?!" and proceeded to get imaginary cups for all the other dinos and so forth...really cute.
Along with the balance theme, I also finished reading Being in Balance. Usually, I love anything by Wayne Dyer, but this one was pretty forgettable (kind of re-hash, quick-lets-publish-a-new-book thing). In the section titled "you can't kiss your own ear," he said something that I found really true: "You want the truth of who you are to mesh with what you're projecting outward. If this is unsuccessful, you're aware of it, even if you opt to ignore it." I want my two selves to be harmonized (and I think usually they are). My goal in life is to live it authentically, deeply, richly, and truly.
I also read A Country Year: Living the Questions. The program chair at church does readings from this book a lot and I providentially found it at a thrift shop for a nickel recently. It was good. Reminded me of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle it its "smallness" of scope and richness of depth. She has that ability to capture the importance of the mundane, small, day-to-day things. This book had me all interested in termites, brown recluses, bees, and more. The author lives in Missouri (a beekeeper), which made it all the more relevant. Then, of course, this related quote showed up on my $1 Shop Zen calendar:
"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, indescribably magnificent world in itself"
This is what Sue Hubbell and Barbara Kingsolver have in common--they pay close attention and write about it very well. From Hubbell's book comes this quote more succintly summing up something I was just recently trying to explain to a friend (too bad I hadn't read this first and I could have just quoted it!):
"Since then waves of people who find the cities too complicated have come here [to the Ozarks], meaning to live lives of simplicity. What they have not yet discovered is that a life is as simple or as complicated as the person living it, and that people who have found life in the city overwhelming will find it even more so here..."
Basically, what I was trying to tell my friend is that regardless of where you move, or what changes you make, or how much clutter you get rid of, you're still you...
Okay, so I also re-read the short book Joyful Birth . It comes with two CDs and is a really quick read. I had a quote that I will share on my birth blog and then this one about motherhood here:
"The path of motherhood has a beginning, but no end. It's constantly changing and constantly challenging. along the way, we encounter our personal limits over and over. We fall in love over and over. We ride the sharp edge of hope and fear. On this path of discovery, as on any spiritual path, our pretensions are shattered, our minds are blown, and our hearts are opened. We cry, we laugh, we bumble around and make countless mistakes. Through it all, we are gently--or abruptly--poked into greater honesty, lovingkindness, and understanding. It is a truly joyful path."
And along the mothering theme, the last book I wanted to post about today (yes, I have about 5 more in my pile waiting...) is A Dozen Invisible Pieces and Other Confessions of Motherhood . This was another book I was reviewing. The author is a childbirth educator, so I connected with her there. I also appreciated her explorations of life-work balance and, among other things, deeply identified with this:
"For a parent who makes the choice to stay at home with his or her children, rather than return to or enter the employed workforce, she effectively ejects herself from the recognition and reward system she was raised in. This happened to me. Before becoming a mother, I lived in that system for thirty years. I memorized the protocol of: 1. Do good work. 2. Have good work recognized by others. 3. Feel compelled to do more good work. 4. Do more good work."
I have lots more to say, but I'm out of time! At least I feel a little more caught up now!
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