Good Books and Good Dishes

My brother Andrew, designed these, and I just love them. They are sold at Crate and Barrel, who contacted him after they saw some of his work on Facebook.  He is an artist and lives in Ireland with his wife and two little children.  I couldn't wait to buy them-it's just so neat.  I am a proponent of "do what you love".  My Abbey is planning on majoring in Fine Arts in college and has and will field the question, "But what you are going to DO with that degree?"  She will do what she loves passionately, and find a way to make a living from it-hard work, and financial sacrifice involved of course.  I am grateful to point out several examples of "do what you love" in my own family and Andy and Rose certainly fit that bill.

When it comes to good books, boy, I was on such a good roll.  And then I hit two bumps in the road with really really lame (best seller's list?  PLEASE, no way!) books that I finished (why?) but just rolled my eyes at and skimmed paragraphs towards the end, and thought, "Oh heck if this being on the best seller's list is a reflection of literary aptitude in our country, we are in trouble!" I will confess that as soon as I was finished with the last bad one, I threw it away in the garbage.  I felt it was my duty to not allow anyone else to kill their brain cells and fill their mind with ridiculousness by passing it on.

On to the good stuff...

My favorite ever, I read and reread, and every time, I cry at the stories and think how grateful I am that I live in this country.  I've turned down many corners of the stories that really strike a chord with me.  Some stories are just a long paragraph, others are a few pages long,they are divided by country.  I think this book should be a required read in every high school.  What generations before us went through to get to this country, the reasons they wanted to come, how they made it-hard hard work, close supportive family life, and a deep love and appreciation for the freedoms in this country-it is just a beautiful book that reminds of all of this, every time I read it.

"My parents were very happy. They never wanted to go back. They didn't always have a lot of money, they struggled. But everything here was paradise.  I lost a son two years ago, and my son always said that he worships his grandfather, my father. He was the most wonderful thing, to think that he had the foresight to come to America and that's how all of us felt. All us children, we always felt that way. No matter what hardships we go through here, you can complain about your presidents, it's still the best place in the world.-Esther Gidiwicz,emigrated in 1905 at age 5.

A friend whose son read this for a home school course, recommended it to me, and I loved it.  So much intelligence about mankind, and about education, and overcoming hardship.

"No, it was not luck.  Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work."

"I early learned that it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him, and that this is more often accomplished by giving credit for all the praiseworthy actions performed than by calling attention alone to all the evil done." 

(So easy as a parent to fall into a constant corrective habit, instead of acknowledgement and appreciation of all the good little things our children do every day-and when I remember to do that, those good things grow and grow.)

"I have found that the happiest people are those who do the most for others, and most miserable are those who do the least."  

Maybe I talked about this book already?  Beautiful, beautiful, piece of art.  Anthony Doerr is not just an author-he is an artist and words are his medium.  This will always be one of my favorite books.

I don't know how I came to buy this book, but I'm glad I did.  Miriam Grossman is not anonymous anymore-this is an old copy of her book.  It's eye-opening-she exposes the lies our teens and young adults-mostly women- are told about sexually transmitted diseases, "safe" sex, pregnancy, abortion, etc.-basically how our bodies and mind work as females. This book is not told from a political or religious bias, but straight up medical facts and her observations as a psychiatrist on a college campus led her to write this book.

Last but not least:

I describe this book as the Chinese version of "Unbroken"-just an incredible against-all-odds survival story where, just like in Unbroken, I thought, "How much more horror could one person live through?"  So so good and very intelligently written.  It makes me think of how much more I'd have learned about world history if I could have had the class taught, not from a boring textbook, but from reading memoirs and auto-biographies and even historical fiction.  This is another book I read that makes me feel so very patriotic and appreciative of our freedoms here.  I gleaned SO much from this book.

That's all folks.  If you have any good suggestions for me send them on!