Friday, March 01, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ed! (and a little book talk)

Ed is 53 today!  He's got a year reprieve (at least!) on the spinal cord surgery, an eclair cake and a steak in the fridge, and some presents (thanks, Mom!) on the mantelpiece. Looks like a pretty good day! And have I mentioned lately how grateful I am to share life with such a sweet, funny, forgiving man? Well, I am. Happy birthday, honeybunch. I love you!

And now the books. According to my Homeschool Tracker book log, I read nothing in February, aside from a couple read-alouds with the kids. But that's not really true. I read a lot, but I didn't finish anything. Once again, I've grabbed too much from the buffet and am overwhelmed by the bounty on my plate. Overwhelmed, but not unhappy! So, here's what I've got....

The Golden Ocean, by Patrick O'Brian, is on my mp3 player. It is very good, and I've got less than two hours left, but the weather has not been "walking weather" and Ed gets cranky when I wear the earphones around the house.

Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and the Iliad, by Eva Brann. This is excellent! Lovely, short pieces on various aspects of Homer. Perfect for reading in bits and snatches. On a related note, I haven't found time lately for Elizabeth Vandiver's lectures on The Odyssey, which I was enjoying very much. Sigh.

Mr. Scarborough's Family, but Anthony Trollope. Nearly to the end of this one, but I then need to go back and read the first twenty-six chapters. This is one of the two books I'm working on for Librivox, which is probably the biggest reason I haven't actually finished a book this month. Still, it is a fun book, and I highly recommend that you download it and listen to it. Someday. When it is finished!

Sunbeams, by George W. Peck. The public domain book I'm reading for Librivox as a duet with my dad, with my mom as Dedicated Listener. I'm only reading the pieces I'm recording (it is a collection of newspaper editorials, published in 1900), but when we're finished I'll listen to the ones my dad is recording.

I'm also reading a couple books on the Kindle which were on sale at irresistible "cup of coffee" prices. The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, by James Martin (who also wrote the excellent My Life with the Saints) and She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth, by Helen Castor. I've just dipped in to both, so far, but they seem very promising.

And then, yesterday, I got a notice from the library that my turn had come for The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe, so, of course, I downloaded it (I love borrowing library books on the Kindle!) and started that too. I'd read a review somewhere and it looked interesting, and it really is! It sounds a bit gloomy -- the author and his mother discussing books during his mother's treatment for cancer -- but so far it  isn't too bad. It probably doesn't hurt that, in describing his mother's and his whole family's many amazing accomplishments and sophisticated lives he makes them seem somewhat "unreal."  Still, I love reading books about books, and these people know books! Also, in the first couple pages, the author mentions that his parents had a house (one of several) in Vero Beach, my home town, and that they loved it there. I love the idea of a mother and son discussing Life's Big Questions through book discussions, and, frankly, the only way I'm ever going to experience it is vicariously. I'm pretty sure about that. Travis reads, but his spoken insights rarely go beyond, "It was okay," or, "It was pretty good." And, in fairness, I'm not that clever at sparkling book discussion myself.
But anyway, this Will Schwalbe and his mother read books and get stuff out of them. His mother was involved in humanitarian work in Afghanistan, and he talks about The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both by Khaled Hosseini, with such enthusiasm that I now want to read those. And he also mentions working (as editor) on David Halberstam's book on the Korean War, which is caught my eye because I recently added Halberstam's The Fifties to my reading list, to go with our history studies. So you see my problem. Books always lead to books, and I am turning into a reading butterfly. I will make an effort to be a bit more focused in March!

And just to show that, while flitter-ish, I am not wicked, I did return The Detour, by Patricia McGregor, to the friend at church who loaned it to me. And I did want to read it! Bishop McGregor (he was or is Bishop of Madagascar) has visited our church, with his wife, Patsy, a couple times, and they are coming again in a few months. They are wonderful people. Apparently Patsy is going to give a talk, and my friend with the book thought it would be good if a few of us had read it. I kept it on my bedside table for two weeks, then admitted to myself that the visit would probably have come and gone before I got to it, and so I gave it back, allowing someone less scattered could read it. So there!

And.... have I mentioned that it is Ed's Birthday? Much as I love books, I love Ed even better! Wow.
Fortunately, he doesn't make me choose!

Here he is with his gifts from his children. They are not imaginative gift givers, but they do know what their daddy likes!

Travis, with a bow. Like a cat.

My wonderful (if slightly blurry) family!

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