What I've Been Reading Instead of Cleaning My House

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

While spring cleaning, Nigel found an old paycheck from 1995 that he never cashed from when he used to teach school.

Not to be outdone, I found an old birthday check from my grandma and grandpa dated 1980.

Ha, take that!

Reading Update

So I finished "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."

Loved it. It was a fun and easy read. You just need to remember that this is a memoir, NOT a how-to book. What would be even more interesting is a book written by her husband that shows his side of the story. I don't think that the kids could write an honest one until many years go by.

I also finished "Mockingbird."

I had a hard time getting into it, but then I really liked it. It was fascinating to see how the girl's mind worked. The Asperger story went well with the school shooting story, but did the mother have to be dead from cancer, too? I thought that was a little much.

I finished reading "Eat More, Weigh Less," too.

An interesting health and diet book, especially since it was written during the whole "no-fat" 1990s and there's chapters on how olive oil, avocados, nuts and salmon are all bad for you. We mostly got it for the vegetarian recipes in the back. So far I've made a sweet potato and tofu stew (delicious -- and I even got to use parsnips and turnips!) and mung bean dumplings (a lot of work for something that is not very yummy -- but I got to use lemongrass and Nigel rigged up a steamer for me). Tonight I'm making roasted eggplant sandwiches.

I'm now reading "The Book Thief."

After much support from people who have loved this book, I've decided to give it another go. I'm starting to get into the story and I'm anxious to use my new vocabulary of German swear words.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Trilogy is Not For Me

Twenty years ago, I loved book series. I read every "Fletch" book, everything written by Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Patricia Cornwell, all five books in the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" trilogy, etc. I would find an author I liked and read everything by them, and then go on to the next set.

I still love reading, but I just can't get into series anymore. I have the attention span of a gnat. I get bored reading about the same characters. To be completely honest, I find myself forgetting who the characters are and it's frustrating that I have to keep re-reading the books to remember who everyone is.

I can't even tell you which "Harry Potter" books I've read. They all blend together and as soon as I've finished one, I don't even know what the plot was (then again, I also fall asleep during the movies).

I read "Twilight," but had no interest in reading the other novels. I read "The Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire," but couldn't get past chapter two of "Mockingjay." I read "Uglies" and "Pretties," but couldn't make it through "Specials" (or is it "Extras"?).

I'm noticing a trend. Maybe it's not that I can't stand to read series, but it's that I can't bear to read YOUNG ADULT novel series.

So what am I reading now? Right now on my nightstand are:

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. It seems that everyone is reading this book. I'm only on chapter two, but I have no idea what's going on (this does not bode well for me). I think I may have a hard time getting into this one.

"Mockingbird" by Kathryn Erskine. I'm kind of liking it so far. The main character is a girl with Asperger's, but it seems to be muddled with taking on a school shooting, too. Maybe the author bit off more than she could chew in one small book.

"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua. So far I am loving this book. I can't put it down. It's about an American woman raising her children in the traditional Chinese way. My only question is, how does this work in China? How can EVERY kid be first in their class? How can EVERY kid be two years ahead of their peers in math? Since they can only play the piano or the violin, are Chinese orchestras seriously lacking? Is Yo-Yo Ma a huge failure because he plays the cello?

This is the book I SHOULD be reading, but of course it's the one at the bottom of my pile. March was going to be my "get healthy" month, but so far I'm failing miserably.

What are you reading?