Books, Family

Weekend Reading Notes: March 18

Monday through Friday were spent in the hospital, waiting for my daughter to heal enough from her spinal fusion surgery (for aggressive scoliosis) to come home. And come home, on Friday, we did! There wasn’t much opportunity for in depth reading, between medicine dosages, walks and exercises, and sleep, blessed sleep. I mainly read comics, the first 3 volumes of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan to be exact. She has made a lot of progress, with a lot more to go.

Since we got home, I have been giving The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats by Daniel Stone all my attention (what little is free). I first heard about this book on an episode of the Smithsonian’s podcast, Sidedoor (america’s first food spy). I could not hear of the existence of a food spy without wanting to read the book. It just pushes all my buttons; food, history, and espionage. Do you know where avocados came from? Mangos? The wheat and cotton and kale and lemons and grapes and pomegranates and hops we use? That we now take for granted? THEY WERE NOT ALWAYS HERE. Do you know where the came from? And what (mainly) one man did to get them here?  You may think it’s not exciting, but it is.

Especially the seedless grapes. I just love that story.

Just a small tidbit:

In 1876 at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia, a delicacy called a banana, originally a crop of the Malay Islands, made its public debut in the United States, selling for a dime apiece and wrapped in tinfoil to prevent its phallic shape from offending the crowd’s Victorian sensibilities. How else to eat one but with a fork and knife?

How great is that?

One night in the hospital, when I couldn’t sleep, I read quite a bit of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. A shy, introverted teen named Vivian, with a former Riot Grrl for a mother, is fed up with the gender bias of the faculty and staff at her high school and the harassment from the asshole guys in her school. Struggling to find a way to protest and blow off some steam in a way her introverted self can stand, she starts a feminist zine called Moxie. I haven’t read a lot of Young Adult lately and I am appreciating the writing and the story, even if it feels a little predictable. I can’t wait to see how the story resolves.

On that note, I’m going to go read some more while my daughter rests. Have a lovely Sunday!

Books, Family, Food

Currently // March 4, 2018

I made this excellent ragu last night for dinner. Isn’t it funny how fancy “ragu” sounds? It really isn’t. It is so easy to make and delicious. It’s basically a sort of beef and tomato stew served over pasta. And O.M.G. I love it. I may love it more than spaghetti sauce. I’m not a huge fan of ground beef, so anything that uses shredded instead is preferable in my book. Since I can’t have regular pasta, and can’t find a gluten free pappardelle noodle, I used gf rotini. I also added a ton of mushrooms because my family adores mushrooms.

I finished Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders (5 very enthusiastic stars) yesterday. I am still in Book Mourning. The audio was cluster for me (I felt too claustrophobic and distracted when listening to it) but I knew the book sounded like something I’d love. Turns out I was right. Reading the novel was the way to go for me. Now that I know the story, I’m going to go back and listen again. (Thanks for the advice Michelle!)

I thought I wouldn’t be able to get into a new book right away, because FEELINGS, but turns out I was wrong! Thanks to my daughter’s surgery rapidly approaching, I have been desperate for ways to disconnect for a bit. I heard Daniel Stone on the Smithsonian’s Side Door Podcast and knew knew KNEW I had to read his book about David Fairchild. The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats is just flat out fascinating. Who knew being a Food Spy was a thing??? I’m going to love this book.

Speaking of podcasts, Alie Ward has a fantastic one called Ologies. She interviews different “ologists” about their field and guys, it. is. amazing. The latest one was Teuthology, the study of cephalopods (squid, octopus, etc) and it was excellent. The last one was mythology and it was even. better. Listen, you won’t regret it.

That’s all for me now! Have a great week!

Books, Family

Reading Plea…

My reading has ground to a halt. You see, earlier this month we got the news that my 14 year old daughter, who has scoliosis, needs surgery to correct her curve. She went from a 49 degree curve, to a 70 degree curve, in just 6 months. For now, everything else looks good. Her nerves are fine. Her internal organs are fine. Let unchecked however, they may not stay that way. We’ve accepted it, it’s coming very soon, we’re scared, \ and wow. Our lives are very confused right now.

And, I have been distracted ever since.

The books I was reading have been pushed to the side. I’m not even completely sure what I WAS reading. Now, I’m flitting between books, trying to find something comforting and familiar. I started A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my very favorite books, in audio and I’m not even sure it is going to work. Same with Pride and Prejudice. I managed a short story in the collection, The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova, but I haven’t exactly raced back for another one.

What do you read when you want to be distracted, but can’t seem to be? I usually turn to an old favorite, but like I said, I’m not sure it’s going to work. I’m not in a rush to get back to it. Sometimes nonfiction works. Short stories? What have you read in times of crisis for comfort?