Saturday, November 14, 2009

catching up with bookish matters

I feel like I shall never catch up. *sigh* I kept track--77 hours on homeschool stuff this past week. And of course, there's still three sweet munchkins that need me for all the normal things unrelated to school. Not to mention laundry and cooking and cleaning. Oops--scrap cleaning...I didn't really do any of that. ;)  I know, I know...what a whiner I am!!!! And I hate being this way. I really do. After all, who isn't busy?!! We're all busy. All the time. So why I am feeling so utterly depressed and out of sorts these days is beyond me. And I apologize for all the bitching and complaining.

Anyway, I figured if I didn't soon do a bit of book babbling, I'd never get around to it. So, the quick, itty bitty version:

Where the Wild Things Were by William Stolzenburg.

There are so many issues in this world to care about, so many things that deserve our attention. So many things that literally cause me to lose sleep at night as I tumble them around in my head. But for me, the loss of biodiversity stands near the top of the list. And because of this, I want to thank William Stolzenburg for writing this book, a book that captures a piece of the story of biodiversity. I already had a halfway decent understanding of ecology and already understood the concept of trophic cascade. I already knew about many of the examples Stolzenburg discussed in this book, and yet I still found this book so very worthwhile. It was engaging, and it was heartbreaking.

Why do we need these predators we've historically been so eager to eradicate? The answers go so much deeper than many people realize, or care to admit. Honestly, I wish everyone would read this book. Everyone.

 Monsters are Afraid of the Moon by Marjane Satrapi.

Okay, as silly as it sounds, this book sort of relates to the one above. It's the story of a little girl who "changes nature" by stealing the moon to scare away monsters in her room and the catastrophic consequences that occur. It is such a cute little picture book! Here's what Max had to say:

Me: Verdict? Did you like the book?

Max: Yes.

Me: Care to elaborate? What did you like most?

Max: Cats! And monsters.

Me: And monsters are good?

Max: Well, I like monsters.

Me: Did you like everything about the book?

Max: NO!!! I didn't like it when the cats got hurt! Or that the rats took over the town. I wish the cats had taken over the town instead!

Me: Anything else you want to say about the book?

Max: I like the pictures! And the Cat King.

Green Angel by Alice Hoffman.

Been weeks since I read this (back during the read-a-thon), but it has stuck with me. I absolutely adored this book. Everything about it. It had a very fairy tale quality about it (well, I thought so anyway). It was dark and sad and unsettling. And it was beautiful and hopeful and human. It is the story of a somewhat introverted, somewhat solitary teenage girl who looses all she ever knew and loved in the world. It's the story of how she tries to lose herself as well, but finds that she has more strength and courage and life within her than she ever could have imagined.

Really, I loved this little book so much that I'm already eager to read it again.

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.

Whew. This one is about as far from a "happy" book as you can get. If I had to choose one word, it would have to be "disturbing." But please don't think that I'm equating that with a judgment call of bad or good...I'm not. To be perfectly honest, I can't even decide if I liked it. I thought that maybe time would help me sort it out, but I read it back during the read-a-thon, which was weeks ago, and I still haven't got a handle on my feelings. I can say this without question--it was compelling! It most definitely kept me turning the pages.  And a different ending (while I really "wanted" it to end differently!) would have ruined it entirely. I think the ending was the only realistic ending possible. Actually, I guess there's another ending that would have worked, but it would have been even more depressing. Gee. I'm oh-so-helpful, huh?

Anyway, I am definitely not one to keep Annie from reading books she wants to read. And I wouldn't stop her from reading this one either. But honestly, I won't recommend it to her. I know it would upset her. And while I sometimes "assign" her books for school that I know will upset her, there's always a reason or something to be gained from it. With this book, I'm just not sure what that might be.

Well, crap. I've been trying to get this post finished for the past two days. I still haven't caught up on my book babbling. And I still have a bit of blame to dole out. But I fear if I don't just post this, it may never get done. But we'll just try another post later, I suppose.


Jean said...

Hey! At least you're posting something! I keep putting "blog" on my list of things to do, and it never gets done. Instead, I got a lomography fisheye camera to play with, which in the end means more fun things I could put on the blog. I wish I could say I haven't been cleaning, but a party looms. Four hours of kendo tomorrow plus some errands writes another day off. See? You're not at all whiny compared to me! Hang in there! We love you!

Amanda said...

I'm terrified of that Living Dead Girl book. I saw a review of it at The Infinite Shelf and said there was NO WAY I'd read it, but then I found out it's my YA Book Club selection in December. :S

But that Marjane SAtrapi book sounds interesting!

Megan said...

Catching up? What is this you speak of? I'm sure that it must be a myth that's totally out of my reach (though I do plan to "catch up" with my Google Reader before I hit the sack tonight with the help of a certain dreaded button *sigh*).

But enough about me - I'll have to put Where the Wild Things Were on my wishlist. I've got a baseline understanding of biodiversity, but I think I need a few more weapons in my arsenal when it comes to, say, explaining to people I know why Yellowstone should really have some wolves ("'s *supposed* to" isn't a line of reasoning that usually wins fans for my way of thinking...LOL).

Kailana said...

I hadn't heard of that Marjane Satrapi! Great reviews. :) Have a great weekend!

Vivienne said...

This is a difficult time to keep up with everything in the run up to Christmas. So totally feel for you. I love the look of Green Angel.

DesLily said...

I remember that when my kids were young I was in a constant "catch up" ....and I don't think I ever really caught up! Things just changed as to what I was trying to catch up to!
you are better than me.. after a great RIP run of books I seem to have come to a crawl, and I do enjoy the book I am ready very much... and it looks more like I have a pond photo blog instead of being about books...but the alternative is to keep the same post up for long periods of time since my reading has slowed...not sure which to do....but you are doing just fine always! argh! how DO you do it?

Nymeth said...

I also hadn't heard of that Marjane Satrapi book! And thank you, Debi - I will definitely read Where The Wild Things Were.

I've been on the fence about Living Dead Girl ever since Dewey reviewed it. I remember she said she didn't like it much because it sort of reinforced the stranger-jumping-from-behind-the-bushes myth about rape. That doesn't make it a bad book necessarily, and strangers DO jump from behind bushes sometimes. And it's not like people who go through something like that don't deserve to have their story told. But it seems that those stories are overrepresented, as opposed to the kind that we see in Tender Morsels, for example. I guess that no matter what statistics tell us, the idea that an abuser will likely not be a stranger is still something people would rather not face.

Anonymous said...

I must read that Marjane Satrapi book!

When oldest kid was in jr high, one of his friends gave me Green Angel to read. It stuck w/ me,too

Jason Gignac said...

I'm sorry you're feeling in the dumps a bit, I hope it gets better soon. On the subject of biodiversity - have you read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson? In the interest of muckrackers (more modern ones albeit) I'd like to read it soon. And Green Angel has a beautiful cover! But, more importantly, I relal ydo hope you feel better. Get some rest! Take some debitime!

Care said...

too many things I want to comment that I'm sure I'll forget them all.... first off, I was wondering why you were cleaning scraps. oh! SCRAp the cleaning! I get it - made me chuckle. And... the Max review reminded me that we saw Cats&Dogs the movie this morning and it was very funny. and, if Annie does read that book you aren't sure you'd rec her to read, I bet you have a fascinating discussion about it after? just on that topic, I imagine. Take a deep breath, thanks so much for visiting my blog. I'm always happy to see your comments. :) Cheers for an awesome week.

Anonymous said...

You are not whiny. *swats with a newspaper* Hun, that sounds insanely busy. 77 hours on just school work? That's almost TWICE the amount of hours in a full work week!

I don't blame you for not having gotten around to blogging. (When did you sleep, woman?!)

*hugs* Take care, hun! May next week treat you a little nicer!

Eva said...

Almost 80 hours?!?! That's not whiny! That's insane. I'm seconding everything libirtouches says. :p

Now I want to read Green Angel.

Beth F said...

Unrelated comment here: Is Annie going to host What's in a Name 3? I just love that challenge. I hope it's a go.

Staci said...

Hi Debi,
You know what I noticed about us moms, wives, and women in general? That we always think we have to be caught up. I'm a type A personality but this year after having some health/anxiety/depression issues I've decided that I'm just going to take one day at a time and go from there. Your munchkins will only be little once so relax and just spend that time with them. Things eventually will get done...I learned this the hard way while going back to school to get my degree. Marc was in 4th grade and one night he started to cry and told me how much he missed me. That was it for me. I finished my classes and put "me" on the back burner. He's a freshman now but I still don't regret doing that because I can never go back in time and relive those little moments of togetherness. Whew...I didn't mean to write a novel!!

((hugs to you))

Carl V. said...

"Well, I like monsters."

That is a perfect life slogan right there! I'd love to have that sewn on a pillow on my bed. :)

Melanie said...

I read Living Dead Girl almost a year ago and i still haven't decided if i actually liked it. i also wished for a different ending at the time, one where the main character was a bit more proactive maybe?