Below are a few books I read in 2009 (most in the fall) that have helped to shape my thinking of the world and things around me.
Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together - The title is a good descriptor of the book. It was a powerful read. Highly recommended.
Animal, Vegetable Miracle: A Year of Food Life -Written in memoir style, Kingsolver writes almost poetically about her family's journey to eat locally for a year. Easy, though thought provoking read. Food has been in the forefront of my brain for the last 12-15 months and this book brought new things to ponder. Specifically, the stewardship of eating non-local foods, especially out of season, has caused me to wrestle with food purchases. She pointed to the gallons of petroleum used to ship bananas to my table. Stepping more on my toes, was the story shared about local farmers being stuck with truck loads of organic tomatoes. The same product shipped across the country was cheaper at Whole Foods, because of government gasoline subsidies. And we wonder why we pay such taxes?! This book was a reminder that I vote three times a day. Highly recommended.
My Life in France - Seeing Julie & Julia piqued my interest in the autobiography of the food goddess, Julia Child. I really enjoyed the book and it made me want to cook from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Anything by David McCullough is a good book, in my mind. An interesting compilation of essays and quick read from him is found in Brave Companions.
After reading Brave Companions, I wanted to know more about Teddy Roosevelt. Hubby recommended The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, and I now do, too. Before reading that biography, I didn't know much about one of the faces of Mt. Rushmore but now I have such an admiration for a man of great character.
Which is what I cannot say of his cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, after reading Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. FDR may have been the right politician for America during WWII but his personal ethic was not something to be admired. The book was helpful for me to understand more of the political details, or relationships, during WWII.
Autobiographies/biographies are my favorite genre of books but I also enjoy learning more about WWII. Hubby and his mom are also history buffs. She loaned us Things We Couldn't Say: A dramatic account of Christian resistance in Holland during WWII.
Jon Krakauer is another favored author and I was excited to know he recently released another book, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman. Because I enjoy biographies, I was excited to read this story. Tillman, a Phoenix Cardinals NFL player, left a lucrative career to fight terrorism as an Army Ranger shortly after September 11, 2001. He was tragically killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. However, Krakauer greatly disappointed me by interjecting so much of his personal political thoughts. The book would have been much better if he had stayed with Tillman's life story.
In late October Hubby traveled to Rwanda and his trip increased our desire to learn more about that small central African country. I only vaguely remember any details from their genocide in 1994. Wanting to learn more, I read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families. The author delved into political history as well as shared personal stories. However, a better read (for an autobiography lover, at least) was Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. The author, then 22 years-old, hid -starving- in a cramped bathroom with seven other women for 91 terrifying days.
And currently? I'm reading The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. Weighing in at a hefty 864 pages it is quite the read but I am so inspired and encouraged! This copy is borrowed from the library but I'm contemplating purchasing it for my personal library. The list of recommended resources at the end of each chapter is worth the price of the book, alone.
Lastly on the reading table is Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child. Some friends and I are going to discuss it in the evening of January 21. If you're interested in joining the discussion email me or leave a comment and I'll give you more details. The Amazon.com reviewer says this about the book:
What are you reading in 2010?Health-care practitioners are a polarized lot: generally speaking, either they subscribe wholeheartedly to conventional medical treatments, or they eschew them altogether. This can be a great source of frustration to parents, whose natural response to a child's illness is a desire to do everything possible to make that child well. Written by a natural-medicine practitioner, a traditionally licensed doctor, and a pediatric nurse, Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child presents an integrated approach to children's health care that allows a parent to do just that. This excellent reference applies a full spectrum of responses to common childhood health problems: conventional medical treatments, dietary guidelines, nutritional supplements, herbal treatments, homeopathy, and acupressure; for each ailment, general recommendations and preventive measures are also offered. The book's authors explain that their approach to health care "considers all treatment possibilities and draws on what works. Sometimes this will be an herb, sometimes an antibiotic, sometimes both." This well-researched, balanced, and clearly written reference belongs on every parent's bookshelf.