Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So much nonfiction this summer

This summer was the  summer of nonfiction,which is quite unlike most of my summers, during which I usually read tons of YA fiction. In fact, I rarely read nonfiction, although because I carefully choose my nonfiction, I almost always like it, so you'd think I'd do it more often. Go figure.

Anyway, here's my list of nonfiction titles for this summer with a short blurb about each.  Most of these would not appeal to readers younger than high school.

Bindi Girl - A young woman's journey to India, back to the US, and back to India again. Fascinating stuff to someone like me who's obsessed with India. Of course I immediately wanted to go there.

The Elephant Whisperer - this is the one book middle schoolers might enjoy, this is the story of a wild animal refuge in Africa that takes on a troublesome herd of elephants.  Amazing!

To See Every Bird on Earth - The story of a man whose father was obsessed with birds. Heartbreaking and exalting by turns. I, bird nerd that I am, adored this book.  It was my favorite of the summer.

The Year of Living Biblically - Very interesting book by AJ Jacobs, one of the quirkiest guys I know who in this book set out to follow every law in the Bible for an entire year.  turns out that's challenging for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is all the contradictory laws.

Kitchen Confidential - Lots of bad language in this book, but it was really interesting to hear about the subculture of fancy restaurants. Written by Anthony Bourdain of TV fame. Longer review here.

Butterfly Mosque - this was the book that I thought I'd like the best but which turned out just not to pull me in deeply as I'd expected it would. It's a love story between a Muslim man and a woman who converts to Islam. Longer review here.

Gift from the Sea - A lovely book written on Sanibel Island where I was visiting this summer.  Perfect to read a chapter at a time during my stay. Lots of philosophizing on being a woman.  I really enjoyed reading it the way I did surrounded by the things Ann Morrow Lindbergh was when she wrote it. Even so many years later, many of her thoughts ring true.

Not quite finished with Steve Jobs but it is also fascinating stuff.  that guy was surely a genius, but he was also a head case and I don't think I would have liked him very well personally.  I certainly would not have liked working for him!

How Many Baby Pandas, Sandra Markle

If this isn't just the cutest book ever, I don't know what is.  It's got pictures of baby pandas on every page.  Amazing.  Pandas are fairly ugly when they're born, though, did you know that?  They are hairless and pink and their eyes are closed.  On the left you can see a photo of one of the newborn baby pandas from the Animal Planet website.  See what I'm saying?

This nonfiction, informational book is about sixteen baby pandas that were born China's Wolong Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center and raised with the help of scientists.  It incorporates basic counting lessons into the panda information, and like I said, it has all kinds of adorable pictures of the pandas as they grow. My favorite picture in the book, I think, is at the very end where they show the scientists all holding the pandas in a row. 

If you like to learn about animals, this is a great book for you.

I checked this book out from the Highland Elementary School library, but it is also available at the Multnomah County Public Library.

Two mysteries

A Red Herring without Mustard, A Flavia DeLuce mystery and Elegy for Eddie, a Maisie Dobbs mystery.

These are both mysteries from series, and I have read several of the books in these series previously.  I listened to both of these and checked them out from the Multnomah County Public Library.

A Red Herring Without Mustard is by Alan Bradley and is a series about a young girl named Flavia deLuce who is a devilish young scientist who's always got her nose in other people's business and is, consequently, always getting herself into a jam.  This story involves murder, stealing, a fire, and a near kidnapping.  Flavia fancies herself somewhat of a detective and is always investigating things on her own, much to the chagrin of the local constables.  These are fairly slow moving mysteries, but I enjoy them quite a bit.

Elegy for Eddie is maybe the seventh Maisie Dobbs mystery I've read, and I love these books.  the main character in these stories is also a female detective, but she's a grown-up and really Is a detective; she doesn't just fancy herself as one.  This novel involves a supposed suicide, a gruesome death (or is it a murder?) in  a newspaper factory, and government officials acting suspiciously.  This story is set between World War I and World war II and is historical fiction as much as mystery.  I really enjoy how the author of this series continually infuses these stories with history.  Again, these are not the fastest moving mysteries, but they are very well told and have excellent character development.  It's so nice to come back to my friend Maisie Dobbs time and time again. 

I recommend these for middle school and up.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Poetry Saturday

Picked these plums from my parents' tree today, and all afternoon I've been thinking of this poem. It's one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy it.  And I hope you get to eat some delicious plums, soon, too.

This Is Just To Say

by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold