In The Language of Flowers: A Novel, a girl who ages out of the foster care system, finds her family after many years. This is very sweetly written, and actually is surprisingly positive for all the challenges that this group of people face. There is a certain feeling of destiny as the main character falls back into the family she bonded with most strongly. Yet, she is still unable to make a family.
What I found the most surprising was the idea that being a part of a family takes skills, and if these skills are not taught, the next generation won’t have any idea how to make a family.
I love the layering of meaning that the author, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, creates with the flower meanings. She is very kind to her characters, giving them space to find their way, but not making them perfect, just true.
I have an interest in the farming movement, the hippie return to the land movement. I saw this autobiography, This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family’s Heartbreak (P.S.) at Mother Earth magazine. Melissa Coleman’s parents, Eliot and Sue, were some of the pioneers in this movement. They moved to a small piece of land in Maine and built their farm from nothing. Yet, this is Ms. Coleman’s autobiography of this time, told first from her perspective and then adding to her memories with talking to others. She was frustrated with her father’s drive to make the farm succeed, at, what she believes, the expense of his family. It is interesting to read how even though she loves her parents, and she tries to understand them, she does hold them in a bit of judgement for her unconventional childhood. It seems a reoccurring theme with the books I read lately, of the parent’s selfish dream overtaking the child’s need for a childhood.
This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family’s Heartbreak (P.S.)
My neighbor just opened a little free library. Now, if you don’t know about this movement check out their website at Little Free Library. Essentially you buy or build a small box about the size of a bread box. Then it’s like the “leave a penny, take a penny”, but with books! In other words, if you see a book you like take it, return it if you like when you are done or put different one in.
Our neighbor had a little party with cookies and lemonade for the grand opening. Many neighbors came down to bring books and take books home. I traded Swiss Family Robinson and Eastern Mushrooms for Girl with a Pearl Earring and Trout Country. Steve also donated a copy of his book: How I met Van and Numan Future, Present and Past: Or my first impression of the future by So Cal Punk. It was a great evening of visiting with neighbors who are obviously readers!
Thomas Thwaites chose an interesting thesis project: build an industrial object on your own from absolute start to finish. He attempts this with sort of perverse success and good humour. He deconstructs an inexpensive toaster and then sets up his parameters. He travels to several places on a student’s budget for raw materials and resources several different people to gain ideas on how to manufacture a single toaster. While he is semi-successful in that he has semi-functional toaster, he is too afraid by its odd construction to turn it on.
The book is written in the same sort of voice as A.J. Jacobs. Mr. Thwaites struggles to sustain the voice through the whole book, even though the book is rather short. The end seems rushed, possibly because he had a deadline for his thesis.
The Toaster Project: Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch by Thomas Thwaites
Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Rom
In this book, Peggy Orenstein documents her rocky path to parenthood. Unlike many of us, who had a child by doing less, i.e. stop actively trying to not having a child, her path was much harder because she struggled with a long period of infertility. As a journalist, she is very detailed about the ordeal she went through. She is also very honest about her obsessive feelings during that time, how it nearly ruined her marriage and had health consequences. She talks about how some doctors had slightly dishonest ways of presenting information to her and her husband, and the common difficulties they had with adoption. She also very frankly deals with her own feelings of guilt that she didn’t start the child making process earlier when she was more fertile. It is a wonderful story, very well written and personal.
Waiting for Daisy, Peggy Orenstein, Bloomsbury 2007