Thursday, March 12, 2009

Books, Books, Books

I have to admit, I absolutely love books and reading. Although I remember enjoying learning to read in school, my fondest memories of books go back to my early childhood. Each night before bed, my mother would come to tuck me in and read to me. When I was quite little we read picture books together and when I grew older she continued to read to me and my brother. Even when we could read for ourselves, the nightly reading ritual continued. It was such a fun way to experience the story - as a family and it made each book so memorable. 

Another way my mother shared her love of books with me was through gifts. We didn't have much money growing up but our family loves giving gifts and birthdays were always a big event. Each year my mother would give me a beautiful new hard bound book for my birthday (and often for Christmas too) with a special dedication inscription. She chose classics for me like, "Little Women," "Heidi," and "Alice in Wonderland." My brother got manly classics such as, "Peter Pan," and "Bambi." But we read them all together and got to enjoy all of the stories. 

My all time favorite stories my mother gave and read to me when I was little were the "Anne of Green Gables" series. Woodley and I have been re-reading them together and have gotten up to "Anne of the Island." They are such sweet, dear books, full of beautiful scenery, funny encounters, and excellent moral lessons. Above is a picture of my copy of "Anne of Avonlea." My mother gave it to my for my 8th birthday. Below is a picture of her inscription. 

Unfortunately I have the very bad habit of starting one book and then starting about 5 others before I finish the first one. Usually this happens most with non-fiction books, but I have been known to read three or four novels at the same time also. To help me actually get motivated to finish my current books, I thought I would write about them in my blog so that I could keep track of them and so that I would feel accountable to someone to actually finish them. :) 

So, here are some of the books that I am currently reading (or have read recently and enjoyed). There are several types of books. 

First, there are baby books that I am reading to fulfill the requirements for my DONA doula training. My goal is to read about an hour of these books per day so that I can get through them all in the next few months. Currently I'm reading "The Baby Book" by Sears and Sears. It is HUGE and I think it will take me forever to finish. But it does seem to be full of interesting information. I'm not so sure what I think of the front cover. Couldn't they have put some clothes on those babies?

Second, there are other baby and child rearing books that I've heard about through my doula training. These aren't ones that are recommended by DONA, but I'm reading them anyways because they are well researched and interesting. The one I just bought and am excited to start reading is, "Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food" by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. It has information about an exciting new method of transitioning babies to solid foods that is quite different (and I think makes a lot more sense) than the mushy canned peas and carrots method of spoon feeding. I've done a lot of that during my babysitting career and when I heard that there might be another way I wanted to learn all about it, before my children come along. I'll have to report back later, after I finish it. 

Then there are the decorating and housekeeping books that I try to flip through and read from time to time to help me become a better housekeeper. I'm trying to figure out what decorating style I like the best so I've been browsing magazines and looking through books. My most recent find (on sale!) is "The Shabby Chic Home" by Rachel Ashwell. 

I'm still trying to decide exactly what I think of the whole "shabby chic" movement and style. I do love many aspects of the that type of design - the use of gorgeous heritage roses and lace are some of my favorites. But I'm not so into the extreme use of white - I like a bit more color in my environment. I really enjoyed looking through "The Shabby Chic Home" though. My favorite part was the pictures of her roses and lovely dishes. I am so inspired to start developing a collection of mismatched but lovely china after seeing the photos of Rachel Ashwell's china!

Another housekeeping/everything book I recently found is "Back to Basics - A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills" edited by Abigail R. Gehring. It was discussed on San Francisco's version of which I am a member of because of my doula aspirations. It sounded very interesting, so we picked up a copy in Portland last weekend. 

It has information about doing simply everything the old fashioned way! It is an absolutely fabulous resource, but I can't imagine reading it cover to cover. I think it would take me a year - it is so packed full of helpful details and information! The sections it covers include, "Land: Buying It - Building on It," "Energy From Wood, Water, Wind, and Sun," "Raising Your Own Vegetables, Fruit, and Livestock," Enjoying Your Harvest The Year Round," "Skills and Crafts for House and Homestead," and "Recreation at Home and in the Wild." See below for a picture from the section on creating an herb garden. 

And now, I'd better get back to my to do list for the day. Tomorrow I hope to have time to report on my recent gardening endevors (as much as I love cooking, baking, and reading, I am terribly scared and unskilled when it comes to gardening - but I'm going to try to learn how!) and also on our special dinner with the neighbors from last week.

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