What’s NOT the best choice for a bedtime story? Ballad of the Harp-Weaver.

There sat my mother
   With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
   And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
   And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
   Frozen dead.

 

Since I was lucky enough to become a grandma (thank you DIL!) I’m always searching for new and interesting books to tempt Angel Boy 2.0 and his voracious appetite for words and pictures and language. One of my favorite photos was of AB 2.0 at around two months looking intently at AB 1.0 while he read a story. We swear he was paying attention. Maybe/maybe not, but we like to think so.

I went to our local library where they have a store staffed by volunteers and always find great books-sadly some never even cracked open-and grabbed an armful.

I parked myself in a little child-sized chair and briefly skimmed through my treasures. I found a book by one of my son’s favorite authors, James Herriot, who wrote All Creatures Great and Small and Moses the Kitten, along with about a dozen other really good stories, mostly about animals (my personal interests shining through).

Somehow, though, this book slipped by…

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay, illustrated by Beth Peek.

Visually stunning, I anticipated a lovely illustrated poem that Theo would enjoy, but waited until I had already driven home to fully read this one.

UH OH, thank goodness I read it first and I’m even more grateful that Theo can’t read at all.

I know I initially read it in high school, because as soon as I saw this page, the horror I had initially felt–returned.

A bedtime story? I think not. Not unless you want to seed some traumatic nightmares! I can’t imagine what kind of positive life lesson there could be here, can you?

I didn’t remember that it ended with the mom dying, having sacrificed her life for her son, and it’s not even that I DISAGREE with that concept because I believe a good parent should place her/his needs beneath those of the innocents we bring into this universe, BUT the guilt trip that little guy will most likely endure isn’t an equivalent value for having his loving mother ALIVE.

No wonder it appeared that this book looked as if it had never been touched.

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver

“Son,” said my mother,
   When I was knee-high,
“You’ve need of clothes to cover you,
   And not a rag have I.
“There’s nothing in the house
   To make a boy breeches,
Nor shears to cut a cloth with
   Nor thread to take stitches.
“There’s nothing in the house
   But a loaf-end of rye,
And a harp with a woman’s head
   Nobody will buy,”
   And she began to cry.
That was in the early fall.
   When came the late fall,
“Son,” she said, “the sight of you
   Makes your mother’s blood crawl,—
“Little skinny shoulder-blades
   Sticking through your clothes!
And where you’ll get a jacket from
   God above knows.
“It’s lucky for me, lad,
   Your daddy’s in the ground,
And can’t see the way I let
   His son go around!”
   And she made a queer sound.
That was in the late fall.
   When the winter came,
I’d not a pair of breeches
   Nor a shirt to my name.
I couldn’t go to school,
   Or out of doors to play.
And all the other little boys
   Passed our way.
“Son,” said my mother,
   “Come, climb into my lap,
And I’ll chafe your little bones
   While you take a nap.”
And, oh, but we were silly
   For half an hour or more,
Me with my long legs
   Dragging on the floor,
A-rock-rock-rocking
   To a mother-goose rhyme!
Oh, but we were happy
   For half an hour’s time!
But there was I, a great boy,
   And what would folks say
To hear my mother singing me
   To sleep all day,
   In such a daft way?
Men say the winter
   Was bad that year;
Fuel was scarce,
   And food was dear.
A wind with a wolf’s head
   Howled about our door,
And we burned up the chairs
   And sat on the floor.
All that was left us
   Was a chair we couldn’t break,
And the harp with a woman’s head
   Nobody would take,
   For song or pity’s sake.
The night before Christmas
   I cried with the cold,
I cried myself to sleep
   Like a two-year-old.
And in the deep night
   I felt my mother rise,
And stare down upon me
   With love in her eyes.
I saw my mother sitting
   On the one good chair,
A light falling on her
   From I couldn’t tell where,
Looking nineteen,
   And not a day older,
And the harp with a woman’s head
   Leaned against her shoulder.
Her thin fingers, moving
   In the thin, tall strings,
Were weav-weav-weaving
   Wonderful things.
Many bright threads,
   From where I couldn’t see,
Were running through the harp-strings
  Rapidly,
And gold threads whistling
   Through my mother’s hand.
I saw the web grow,
   And the pattern expand.
She wove a child’s jacket,
   And when it was done
She laid it on the floor
   And wove another one.
She wove a red cloak
   So regal to see,
“She’s made it for a king’s son,”
   I said, “and not for me.”
   But I knew it was for me.
She wove a pair of breeches
   Quicker than that!
She wove a pair of boots
   And a little cocked hat.
She wove a pair of mittens,
   She wove a little blouse,
She wove all night
   In the still, cold house.
She sang as she worked,
   And the harp-strings spoke;
Her voice never faltered,
   And the thread never broke.
   And when I awoke,—
There sat my mother
   With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
   And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
   And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
   Frozen dead.
And piled up beside her
   And toppling to the skies,
Were the clothes of a king’s son,
   Just my size.
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Wild Times: Sex, Drugs, and Mammoth Mountain

I have a friend who wrote a book, which in and of itself is an amazing accomplishment since my own book is stuck in limbo somewhere between my head and a few notes in this computer, but this isn’t even his first foray into publishing-he authored Zen and the Art of Surfing, too.

Greg Gutierrez is an amazing human for many reasons. He’s an artist, an educator, a vocal supporter of the environment, and a powerful local community activist.

Also a surfer. Also a skier.

When I first started to read Mammoth Mountain, I was immediately transported back to my own college years when I split my time between San Diego State University and Mammoth, where I lived part of the year on Lupin St. For me, those were spectacular days with tons of snow, skiing from first light to dark. If I didn’t have a ride up to the mountain, I’d start walking and someone would always pick me up. It was a great little community before the whole mountain exploded in condos and timeshares and tourism.

I never met Greg back then–our paths never crossed–two ships in the night and all that, and my own experiences in Mammoth were TAME compared to his, that’s for sure!

The subtitle of Mammoth Mountain is “Follow the 1980’s life of Drew, a pot smoking, thieving, womanizer…”

Now I don’t have PROOF that Drew is Greg…but I’m kinda sorta connecting the dots, if you know what I mean.

I don’t want to give away the storyline or the ending, but this is way more than a journal that chronicles one debauchery after another…there’s serious substance here, a coming of age, a rite of passage, painful growth, self examination, and enlightenment.

He lost his way, his life went off course, but what did he find?

He found himself.

There’s love, there’s a lot of love here, and at the end of the day, that’s all we have. That’s all that really matters. To love and be loved.

And if we don’t love ourselves, we can never truly know love.

P.S. Who should read this book? EVERYONE. 

I stole a book and I liked it.

Sing it to the tune of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”

 

Of COURSE I didn’t really STEAL it; well, I kinda did. While I was visiting Angel Boy 2.0, I found an intriguing book that belonged to my son and it sorta made its way into my carryon.

By CAConrad, Ecodeviance (Soma)tics for the Future Wildnerness is a book of poetry and essays that demands attention. This is not a quicky beach read.

There’s humor, pathos, despair; references to Reiki and crystals. There is love and death.This is a polar shift diversion from my usual reading fare of romance novels and vegan cookbooks. It’s like this…it’s as if you’re driving down the highway on your regular commute and all of a sudden you slam on the brakes, and while they’re squealing and smoking, you completely turn around and speed 100mph in the opposite direction.

Not only is that an apt description of me and this book; it’s a metaphor for my life right about now.

Conrad has become known for his “(Soma)tic” poetry — works that are part map of his process, part writing exercises, part final product, and that emphasize doing and living in a body. In an interview in the film, Conrad calls the (Soma)tics “ritualized structures where being anything but present was next to impossible.” [From http://www.notey.com/@hyperallergic_unofficial/external/8647290/the-ritualized-anger-of-a-queer-poet.html]

“What would you wear for camouflage if you were hiding in a gingerbread house?
I’m NOT hiding, I WANT the witch to eat me!”

From the Poetry Foundation website:

Poet CAConrad grew up in Pennsylvania, where he helped to support his single mother during his difficult youth. Influenced by Eileen Myles,Audre Lorde, Alice Notley, and Emily Dickinson, he writes poems in which stark images of sex, violence, and defiance build a bridge between fable and confession. In a 2010 interview with Luke Degnan for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBlog, Conrad discussed his approach to poetry, which focuses on process and on engaging the permeability of the border between self and other. “Ultimately, I want my (Soma)tic poetry and poetics to help us realize at least two things. That everything around us has a creative viability with the potential to spur new thinking and imaginative output and that the most necessary ingredient to bringing the sustainable, humane changes we need and want for our world requires creativity in all lives, every single day.” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/c-a-conrad

CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift.  He is the author of eight books of poetry and essays. A Pew Fellow , he has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, and Ucross.

For his books and details on the documentary The Book of Conrad (Delinquent Films, 2016), visit http://CAConrad.blogspot.com

Two of my favorites:

PRETERNATURAL CONVERSATIONS

for Dana Ward

Every once in awhile I think something about a stranger on the sidewalk and they dart a glance at me and I get it—I GET IT—we are one! Allow seven consecutive days for this exercise. DAY ONE, think about a woman you know, think about experiences you have had with her. Think about conversations you have had, think about the things she wears, eats, her way of walking, her laugh. Think about every detail you can imagine. See if she calls you or emails you. Take notes about this attempt at psychic connection.

DAY TWO, do everything you did in DAY ONE, but for a man you know. DAY THREE, go out to the streets and follow someone walking a dog. Look closely at the dog, study the dog’s movements. Whistle in your head, bark in your head. Imagine throwing a stick, yelling “GOOD DOG! GOOD DOG! YOU ARE A VERY GOOD DOG!” Does the dog respond to this? If so, how? Take notes.

DAYS FOUR, FIVE, SIX, and SEVEN are for strangers. In cafes or restaurants, or followed briefly on the sidewalk. Try to connect with two women and two men, complete strangers out in the world. Study them in cafes, museums, going up escalators, or maybe standing in line at the bank. Aim your attention at the clothing they wear, or the way they chew food. Envision saying HELLO, and tugging their sleeve. TUG IT with your mind, punctuated with putting an imaginary hand on their shoulder and saying, “Don’t I know you?” Imagine clapping and shouting “HEY! HEY! HEY YOU!” Did they look at you WHILE you were walking behind them? Communicating beyond the auditory is our goal. What are their reactions? How do you feel about it? Take these seven days of notes and form your poem(s).

 

SEVEN

if i had been
there when they
invented the word
chair
things would
be different would sound better
look at this amazing
structure holding
our bodies in place
to write
to quarrel with ourselves and others
to eat and sing
to launch forth new ideas
to comfort the sphincter
chair is a ridiculous word
monosyllabic NONSENSE
i love chairs but remain
annoyed by their name
living in this post vocabulary
chosen without
imagination
chair chair chair CHAIR
nothing less than
seven syllables will do

CAConrad reads “Preternatural Conversations”

Super Baby Food Cookbook: Review

In the summer of 1981 when my Angel Boy was about four months old and just starting solid foods (in addition to breast milk), I thought seriously about imitating animals who pre-digest their food.

From Wiki:

Premastication, pre-chewing, or kiss feeding is the act of chewing food for the purpose of physically breaking it down in order to feed another that is incapable of masticating the food by themselves. This is often done by the mother to produce baby food capable of being consumed by the child during the weaning process. 

The behaviour was common throughout human history and societies and observed in non-human animals. While premastication is less common in present-day Western societies it was commonly practiced, and is still done in more traditional cultures. Although the health benefits of premastication is still being actively studied the practice appears to confer certain nutritional and immunological benefits to the infant.

I didn’t actually go to those lengths, but I did make all of his baby food from scratch. I don’t think I bought those little Gerber jars except when I had a sick kitty that needed to be nursed back to health.

Now that I’m going to be a first-time grandma, I’ve learned just how much things have changed in thirty-plus years.

I was sent this amazing book to read and review by Ruth Yaron,  Super Baby Food Cookbook.

When Ruth Yaron’s twin boys were born premature and very sick, she knew the most important thing she could do for them was to feed them the healthiest diet possible.
Unhappy with the information that was available to her, Ruth decided to do her own exhaustive research on nutrition and health food.

Although she was a whiz at programming satellites for NASA, Ruth was an inexperienced cook. She utilized her skills, developed writing technical manuals, to diligently record her research of homemade, mostly organic, whole grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables, as well as the best storing and freezing methods.

The results of her phenomenal efforts are found in her remarkable first book, Super Baby Food, which has sold over half a million copies and is now in its 3rd edition.  Fans have asked Ruth for a cookbook with pictures of their favorite recipes and in the Super Baby Food Cookbook she has delivered.

The Super Baby Food Cookbook is fully illustrated in color and includes Ruth’s easy and complete system of baby and toddler food preparation.

The “Super Baby Food Diet” is an extremely healthy diet composed of only whole, natural foods.

It is based on these major components: whole grain cereals, vegetables and fruits, yogurt and other dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Pediatricians and nutritionists agree that a semi-vegetarian diet (a lacto-ovo diet containing milk products and eggs) fulfills all of a growing baby’s nutritional requirements.

While I’m  a vegan, I understand the need for calcium and really like how these recipes include breast milk as an ingredient.

As an aside, if anyone has ever made cheese from breast milk, I’d be interested in chatting.

Yaron provides the essentials for preparing all sorts of foods for babies and young children.

The book includes baby favorites such as avocado, carrots, peaches, and pears.

Discover a bonus of “healthy extra” tips and how to use them in recipes, including chia seeds, wheat germ sprinkles, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and more so that every bite counts.

Here’s a small sampling of the dozens of kid-pleasing recipes contained in the Super Baby Food Cookbook:

Displaying Displaying Blueberry Purée

 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup water

Put water in a pan and bring to boil.
Add blueberries and reduce heat.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes; blueberries should be soft and tender.Remove blueberries from pan using a slotted spoon and transfer directly to a blender or processor. Purée away.Freeze any leftovers.

Apple Smiley Face

1 apple (peeled and cored)
1 tablespoon peanut or other butter
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup or blackstrap molasses (optional)
1 pinch ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Grate the apple in a food processor.
Mix with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or other nut butter.
Add 1 teaspoon honey, maple syrup or blackstrap molasses and a pinch of cinnamon and/or nutmeg, if desired.
Add Healthy Extras —grated carrots are good.
Place on small plate and form into pancake-shaped face. Use berries or other fruit for your own decorative touches to create eyes, nose, hair, etc.

For more information visit www.superbabyfood.com or www.ruthyaron.com

“The Happy Vegan” by Russell Simmons

51SMARDTY0L._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_I’m trying to stand as tall as I can and at a vertically challenged sixty inches, that’s all I have to offer, because I need to give hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons a big huge, gigantic, massive

APOLOGY.

Why?

I misjudged him.

When I was sent his book, The Happy Vegan, to read and review, I thought it was going to be another superficial and chichi vanity publication written by a “famous person” in order to jump on the trendy new “vegan” bandwagon.

I admit that I started to read it with a closed mind.

I’ve been a vegan since 1970 and confess that I’m kind of a vegan snob, but I’m happy to say that I was wrong!

Yes, you heard me correctly; I was WRONG. (This doesn’t often happen haha)

This is a thoughtful, mindful, compassionate, and informative read about Russell Simmons’ journey and his guide to living a long, healthy, and successful life.

His writing style is down-to-earth, relatable, and I truly feel like he cares very much about getting his/our message out about the health benefits of a vegan life.

Not only is he a big name in hip-hop and a fashion entrepreneur, he’s a devout yogi, and for nearly seventeen years, Russell Simmons has been a vegan.

In The Happy Vegan, Simmons clears up misconceptions people might have about veganism and lays out reasons adopting a vegan lifestyle is in everyone’s best interest.

If Mr. Simmons can hear me…”I’m sorry. I was wrong to have misjudged you. I wish I could have met you when you were recently in SoCal. The Happy Vegan is an awesome book!”

Wondering what to give (or get) this holiday season?

I 1000% recommend The Happy Vegan, authored by Russell Simmons and Chris Morrow.

Namaste.

P.S. The moral of THIS story? One should never judge a book by a preconceived notion.

Book Review: Drowning by Jassy de Jong

book review cover

With my broken toe limiting all sorts of athletic activity, I cracked open my e-reader ‘cos I accepted a request to review an advance copy of Drowning by Jassy de Jong.

Hand to heart, I didn’t stop reading until I finished it at 1:30 a.m.

That’s how much I enjoyed reading Drowning by Jassy de Jong.

I admit to a certain amount of anxiety about the setting — a lodge in South Africa  –because I didn’t want to discover that I’d be immersed in a sub-plot about hunting, but I was relieved and SO pleased that the characters (and the author) are advocates for conserving and protecting animals from poachers. Yay and double yay!

Drowning won me over with an intriguing story, great dialogue, and an ending that left me wanting more.

Don’t you love it when you turn that final page and wish it went on and on because you’ve become emotionally invested in the characters?

Me too!

Here’s a short description to whet your appetite:

Erin Mitchel doesn’t remember drowning, or how a mysterious, brilliant and handsome stranger saved her life. Forgotten, too, is her bleak marriage to an abusive husband. Now, stranded indefinitely at the luxurious Leopard Rock Resort with her impossibly irresistible savior, she’s faced with a dilemma: remain faithful to a man she vowed to love forever or give in to wild lustful desires in the steamy heat of South Africa.

Author Jassy de Jong was inspired to write her first novel, Random Violence, after getting hijacked at gunpoint in her own driveway. She has written several other thrillers including Stolen Lives and The Place for Fallen Horses. De Jong also edits a hair and beauty magazine. She lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg with her partner Dion, two horses and two cats.”

One more thing…Most reviews never address the nuts and bolts of publishing, but I’d like to offer kudos the proofreaders and editors for doing such a great job. With a discerning eye like mine, I’m always the one who can pick out spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors — I’m happy to report this book seemed to be error-free!

RATING: Drowning by Jassy de Jong 5 Louboutins out of 5. 

louboutin

Amazon: http://amzn.to/10jRnom

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1xwZLPm

Astor+Blue: http://bit.ly/1u8LJk5

 

 

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards…S-E-X-Y Book Review

9781938231476[4][3][63]Confession time ‘cos well, that’s what Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife does from time to time…

Here I am, home alone, my handsome tugboat man far, far away floating on the big blue ocean, and what do I love to do?

Besides shopping, I mean…

Give up?

I LOVE to read. I read ALL the time and if I’m sent an advance copy to read and review, so much the better, ya know?

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards is an enchanting and sensuous series about an actual historical figure, the notorious Lola Montez, who changed Europe through her beauty and strong, sexually liberated personality.

A young, beautiful dancer, Lola Montez, charms her way into the upper ranks of society using only her wits and her signature whip and fan.

Set in the 19th century, this hot tamale attracts trouble and finds herself in desperate situations that send her on jaunts all over Europe.

I was hooked from the beginning.

I LOVE novels that open with dialogue; I’m drawn into the characters right off the bat. (It’s a great device —  I need to remember and use it more often in my own writing.)

I don’t want to give too much away, but you might NEED a fan to cool you down after some of the super sexy bits!

Spying —  clandestine meetings — sexy interludes — AND a true story.

Whether you have a completely empty nest like me, or you’re just looking for a good read, I recommend Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards.

Have you read any good books lately? Let me know!


Astor + Blue Editions presents, Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards (ISBN: 978-1-938231-47-6; Trade Paperback; Romance, Historical, Women’s Fiction; US $14.95 CAN $14.95; February, 2013), the rollicking first installment of a new series by debut author, Kit Brennan.  The Whip Smart series begins during the historic week that marks the actual birthdate of Lola Montez. (February 17). 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kit Brennan is a nationally produced, award-winning playwright, and teaches writing and storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

The Victorian era and its personalities have always been of major interest to Brennan. Her play Tiger’s Heart explores the life of Dr. James Barry, who was actually a woman living a double life disguised as a man in order to practice medicine, which was not an option open to women at the time.

Kit divides her time between the vibrant city of Montreal and the quiet lake wilderness of Ontario alongside her husband, Andrew, and a variety of animal friends.  Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards is her debut novel.

Visit her online at www.kitbrennan.com.

Buy Whip Smart now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nwgjg5

Buy Whip Smart now from Barnes and Noblehttp://bit.ly/1mh9tL5

Visit Astor and Blue Editions: http://astorandblue.com/

Coming THIS October: The third installment of Kit Brennan’s series! 

 

 

Build Your Running Body: Book Review

“This is so good. Honestly, I think this is the best running book ever.
–Bob Anderson, Founder of Runner’s World

Every so often I’ll accept an emailed request to read and review a book and it was that quote that caught my eye.

I’ve always wanted to run, but I don’t have great lung capacity. It’s no problem for me to hike ten miles and I regularly do high intensive boot camp-style training, but I don’t have the stamina for long distance running.

This easy-to-navigate book authored by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer, is full of valuable advice about training, healthy nutrition, and recipes.

I’m super motivated to start slowly and work my way up to at least a 5K.

Whether you’re a miler or an ultramarathoner, if you want a fit, fast, and injury-resistant running body, there’s a better way to train than relentlessly pursuing mileage.

This easy-to-use workout manual draws on the latest research in running physiology to target all the components that go into every stride—including muscles, connective tissue, cardiovascular fitness, energy production, the nervous system, hormones, and the brain.

With the breakthrough whole-body training program in Build Your Running Body, runners will improve their times, run longer and more comfortably, and reduce injury.

With more than 150 workouts—from weightlifting and cross-training to resistance exercises and plyometrics—fine-tuned to individual skill levels and performance goals.

buildyourrunningbody

Photographs © Diana Hernandez, 2014

• 393 photos that make it easy to follow every step of every workout
• 10 training programs to help runners of all levels integrate the total-body plan into their daily routines
• Interviews with leading runners, exercise scientists, and coaches—learn how elite runners train today
• Race strategy for the crucial weeks leading up to the competition and through to the finish line
• Exercises to prevent injury and rehabilitate common running ailments
• Seasoned insight on barefoot running, the pros and cons of stretching, and other hot-button topics
• Nutrition guidance on carbs, proteins, fats, and weight loss
• More than 30 recipes to speed recovery and cement fitness gains
• Beginners‘ guidelines every step of the way
• Valuable tips on proper apparel, tracking your progress, and more!


I give Build Your Running Body 5 out of 5 Louboutans

louboutin(Not running shoes LOL)

 

Credit line: Excerpt from Build Your Running Body: A Total-Body Fitness Plan for All Distance Runners, from Milers to Ultramarathoners—Run Farther, Faster, and Injury-Free © Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer, 2014

 

 

What’s on your bedside table and your bookcase?

When I got back from my (retail) therapy sesh, I was in a much better state of mind. A little purchase can do wonders! Check out my new Hello Kitty laptop bag. It got its first unsolicited compliment from the Apple employee who was trying to help me figure out my MacAir. I’m scheduled to go back tomorrow and have a technician re-install iLife, which somehow isn’t there. All I know is that the store was packed full of women who, shall we say, all fall into the category of needing reading glasses and who were passionately attempting to learn how to work macs or iphones. It was pretty funny and revealing. From a marketing standpoint, does Apple even know who their primary demographic is, at least in the La Costa/San Diego area? It’s not young urban professionals, it’s women like me! Ha ha ha, or maybe the joke’s on me? Whatev.

I decided to expand the theme of reading material, and walk around the house and list all the books and mags that belong to my Merchant Marine tugboat captain husband. He has a lot of time to read while he’s out to sea with no TV, mostly no internet, and he’s limited to the DVDs of movies and television shows that he brings with him.  And yeah, there seems to be a recurring theme here.

Magazines:
Marine Technology Reporter
Marine News
Power Ships
Maritime Professional

Books:
Raising the Hunley Bryan Hicks and Schuyler Kropf

In Danger at Sea  Samuel Cottle

Titanics Last Secrets John Chatterton

No Country For Old Men Cormac McCarthy

The Secret Knowledge of Water Craig Childs

George Washington’s Secret Navy James L. Nelson

A Stranger Came to Port  and I Cover the Waterfront Max Miller

Desert Solitaire Edward Abbey

A lot of Joseph Conrad, who was a Merchant Marine.

Heart of Darkness, The Secret AgentNostromoUnder Western Eyes

The Rediscovery of North America Barry Lopez

Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond

Inside Mavericks, a photo book of the surf spot by Doug Acton

Here’s mine:

Afoot and Afield in San Diego Jerry Schad (one of the greatest hiking guides ever written)

Of Wolves and Men Barry Lopez

Love in the time of Cholera  Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Lots of cookbooks, including  Joy of Cooking of course.

Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special

Martha Stewart Cookbooks

Light in August William Faulkner

How To Raise a Jewish Dog Ellis Wiener and Barbara Davilman

…and all the other chick lit books that are in print.

What’s on your shelves?

Recent Reads

When my brother and I were little, we were both voracious readers; books, magazines, newspapers, street signs, cereal boxes, anything and everything. Since I know he reads my blog, I’ll give him a shout out–“Hi, Skip!” He’s much, much older than I am, practically doddering, as it were. He told me that he really began to feel old when he got his Medicare card. It represented the symbolic confirmation that he’s… OLD!  Ha ha ha. It was nice to grow up having an extremely older big (old) brother. I was the baby (still am) and could torture him all the time and never fear retaliation! All kidding aside, he was a great big brother until he went off to college and I was all alone with no one to torture except for our parents; they bore the brunt of my rebellious teenage “boy crazy” escapades. Ah, the good old days of ditching school and hanging out at Plum Street and listening to the Doors at ear screeching volume for hours on end!

Environmental/Animal Rights:
I’m not sure if he still reads as much as I do, but I am lost without a book.  I was out of chick books and picked up a novel my son sent to the captain, T.C. Boyle‘s When The Killing’s Done. It’s a real departure from my normal fantasy-based romance and witty banter menu, but it is a must-read; savagely compelling.  It’s based on the true story of how the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy rid the  Channel Islands (off the California coast) of  sheep, pigs, black rats and, finally, opportunistic golden eagles, in order to give the rare island fox and some nomadic seabirds a fighting chance for survival. As expected, animal rights activists protest and actively thwart the efforts by attempting to sabotage the killing of some species to “save” others. It’s not all about the animals; there are relationship subplots and twists and turns that made it impossible to stop reading. I had to skip over a few of the more graphic paragraphs (thanks to my son who warned me), but I don’t think that minimized the brilliance of the writing nor the importance  of the subject matter. It was an especially timely read for me during our great squirrel relocation program last week.
Nautical:
When I finished that book, I was searching around the house for something else to read and picked up one of the magazines delivered to the captain every few months. If you love nautical/maritime reads, you will love this. It was really interesting with beautiful pictures. Power Ships is a publication of the Steamship Historical Society of America. In this issue, they highlight the Providence Steamship Company. In the 1920’s the owner’s wife took over management of the tugboat company when her husband died. Some say she was the inspiration for the popular “Tugboat Annie” character.

Enough of that, I said to myself. I am excited to start reading Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand novel.