Welcome to the Harvest Moon Edition of You Are What You Read. We are big believers that the folklore of the Full Moon is indeed based on some serious fact and if you saw what we see you would be too. You will notice that there is some decidedly odd stuff going on with us this week. Sweet Ann has no words of wisdom, Barbara M. is watching lots and lots of TV, I have been watching golf on TV, and Pat S. is considering hunkering down to watch some football on TV and Patty McC is asking that we remain calm. In related news, Sweet Ann compared me to a ‘schoolgirl’ earlier this week. Those of you who know me recognize the unlikeliness of this comparison. But we love Sweet Ann just the same. I am hopeful that by next week we will have shaken the effects of the lunar pull and be back to ourselves. Our words of wisdom this week come from my dear friend Carrie A. Carrie, who after delivering me a lovely bag full of goodness from her garden left me with these words: “Remember that there is magic out there and sometimes we get to see it.” Sweet Ann is in total agreement so we wish you some visible magic not only for this weekend but for the season to come. This week we have meth, death, the Ottoman Empire, the 2011 NFL draft, some rugby, some freak out with a playlist, brunch and crack.
Let us begin.
Miss Kiera of the CL has just finished the young adult drama If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch. “Fifteen-year-old Carey lives in the middle of the Obed National Park in a camper with her younger sister Nessa and their sometimes-there, often-abusive meth-head mama. Carey and Nessa get by on canned beans, small game that Carey is able to hunt with her riffle, and the comforting words of Nessa's Pooh books. Despite the fact that Nessa is virtually mute, Carey teaches her to read, write, and do sums from old textbooks Mama once brought home. During a stretch when Mama's been gone for over five weeks, two strangers arrive in their camp: a social worker and the man who claims he's Carey's father. Carey has been the caretaker and substitute mother for Nessa for years. Can she transition to being just a normal teenage girl? Will her dark memories and deep secrets stay hidden in the forest? This is a haunting story that is at times heartbreaking and brutal. And yet, it's a hopeful tale of survival, strength, and family. Carey is a character who stays with you even after the last page. This is recommended for older teens and adults.”
Abby is wild for Five Days at Memorial; Life and Death in a Storm Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink.” Fink is well qualified as an investigative journalist, MD, PhD, and relief worker to dive into the events at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. While I like to keep up on current events, I didn’t know how the three Memorial staff members who had charges brought against them were resolved. This made the book that much more nerve wracking and suspenseful. One of the things this book points out is the difficulties involved with moral absolutes. Page to page, my thoughts on how I would react, and what I would or not condone as far as withholding medical treatment, and possibly performing euthanasia on human patients changed. It can be a fine line between providing medications to relieve stress and suffering, and ending someone’s life. Even the Epilogue was thought provoking and demonstrates the enormous challenges faced by health care workers and administrators about how to handle large scale emergencies and as Fink points out, there are no easy answers.”
Barbara M. continues to mystify. Discuss. “For the past five days my life was consumed by a DVD. I watched more television in those five days than I usually watch in a month. It used up my reading time and I couldn’t stop until the last episode of the second season of Homeland. I’ve finally gotten my reading time back and have started Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson. T.E. Lawrence is an incredibly complex and interesting personality. Was he altruistic, idealistic, vain, glory-seeking, insane, or maybe all of these things? What occurred in the Middle East at the time Lawrence was there, at the time of the demise of the Ottoman Empire, has influenced many of the conflicts which exist today. Anderson’s book makes history very accessible and I’m not sure he can add anything new but it is very well written and so far concentrates on the key players in that conflict. “
Speaking of mystification; Pat S. is reading a book about football. This is the equivalent of waking up and finding a backyard filled with unicorns and leprechauns. Meaning? This is not something that should ever happen or that you should ever see. At least not if you are in your right mind. “This is a complete shock, I know, but I am completely riveted by the new Nicholas Dawidoff book Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football. Who knew that the NFL and the Jets in particular, could be so fascinating? For a sport which is described as 2% play and 98% practice/planning, this book delves into all the behind-the-scenes strategies that go into the running of the NFL and its’ individual franchises. I was spellbound reading about the 2011 draft: there was risk, suspense, moving personal portraits-all fueled by the passion to create that winning chemistry that would bring the team to the championship. By putting names and faces to the coaches, players, managers, and scouts, Dawidoff skillfully brings to life all the moving parts that create this enterprise called football. I am actually thinking of watching a game in the near future. I’ll let you know how that works out!” How abnormal is this? It’s like me watching golf. This actually is something I have been doing. Don’t ask.
Steph is enjoying some Young Adult lit. “Winger by Andrew Smith looks like a lighthearted book about a private-school kid who plays rugby and generally is confused about life and girls but is somewhat lovable, now that you are old enough to be amused by teenage boys. And indeed, it is such a book, in part. But like those confused-but-lovable teenage boys, it’s much deeper and darker than I could have imagined. I loved it. I was stunned not to see it on the National Book Award longlist for Young People’s Literature, because I think it represents an important step forward for YA in a few quiet ways. This is a must-read for YA fans.”
The ever lovable Patty McC. has some timely advice for us this week: “Well, here we are back-to-school. My hope is that all our children have found a warm, nurturing, just-right teacher who is engaged and will discover what makes them tick as a student. Speaking of ticks and all things bug related it’s that time of year when many critters make themselves known. Critters like, ticks, chiggers and lice. Wait! We’ve got books for that! I recently read Bugs in My Hair by Catherine Stier. I read this picture book to a second grade class and you’ll be happy to know that they are experts. We learned that bad things NEVER happened to perfect Ellie. Until the day she got lice! We learned that even the cleanest, most tidy hair can get critters and that we can share what is learned from the experience with others through writing about the experience. My favorite lesson from the story was DON’T FREAK OUT! With this in mind, I’ve curated a new Spotify playlist of songs titled, DL Don't Freak Out 2013.I recommend that you listen to this in shuffle mode. Now, please don’t freak out everything is going to be fine, until it’s not.”
Jeanne is remaining true to herself and still doing two things at once. At least one of us is not being swayed by the moon. “Sometimes after I have read too many sad or tragic stories, I feel like reading something lighter, but still compelling. I found these two e-books: Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl and Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into Our Home Sweet Home by Matthew Batt are fitting that bill. Sure they are filled with cliché, but these are cleverly written memoirs and both are interesting, heartfelt and easy to read. The first is about growing up in a family of eleven. Yes, that is nine kids and they all helped out in Dad’s Milwaukee restaurant, especially for Sunday brunch, which incidentally lasted 40 years! The second is the story of a couple, perpetual students, who realize they want to join their peers by making the big move from apartment living to home owning in Salt Lake City. They did not plan to buy a crack house, but if the price is right. Both Pandl and Batt tell their stories in a funny, sometimes hilarious way that shares many character-building stories.”