July 17, 2008

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Boy, do I love a good read, and sometimes, little man Milo loves helping me enjoy them.  Thanks to Nancy Pearl, I no longer suffer any guilt when considering not finishing a book, which is good, because I’ve started a lot of books this year!  Life is too short to suffer through a story, no matter how much praise it has received.

Here, in no particular order, are some that I’ve liked this year, and rather oddly, all of them are non-fiction!  It’s not as though I haven’t tried.  I’ve read quite a few works of fiction, but, frankly, they haven’t done much for me, well, except for The Little House on the Prairie  series, which I am half-way through for the first time in over twenty-five years.

Being Caribou – Karsten Heuer

Just after being married, Karsten and his wife set off in the Alaskan Wilderness to follow the caribou across the trackless tundra – flying, skiing, walking, and paddling, all in hopes of keeping up with the herd and learning about their migration patterns.  During their adventure, they witness births, deaths, and the incredible stamina of these beautiful creatures, while also learning about the beauty, tenacity and grace they possess themselves.  A terrific book that, for me, reiterates the importance of keeping the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge a wild place.

The Last American Man – Elizabeth Gilbert

This fascinating book describes the life of Eustace Conway, possibly the last of the breed of man who can live completely off the land – growing food, killing his dinner, making an outfit out of its hide, all while living in a tee-pee.  This guy is really the most self-sufficient and efficient modern man I’ve ever heard of.  He certainly doesn’t know how to do anything halfway, which is highly admirable, but there is a dark side to all of this, too.  He doesn’t know how to sustain a relationship, particularly with women.  Perhaps he’s like superheros, you can’t have both?

A Thousand Names for Joy – Byron Katie

I’m actually rather surprised that I haven’t gushed to you about Byron Katie before, because, my friends, she is just amazing.  After years and years of being stuck in a serious depression, she woke up to The Work, a system of four basic questions that brought her back to life (www.thework.com).  In this book, she goes through the ancient Tao, putting it into her words, so to speak.  It is a simple and practical way of looking at the world, all in keeping with the Truth.

 Grayson – Lynne Cox

A short and sweet story of a teenage girl who helps a baby whale find it’s mother.  Oh my goodness!  I love how people and animals can come together and create something beautiful and magical.  We really are one world.  This would be a terrific story to read with kids.

 Audition – Barbara Walters

My, what a fascinating life she’s had.  It is really interesting, too, how after seeing her father lose everything, twice, she remained, for most of her life, terrified of meeting the same fate.  She is ballsy, insecure, smart, and believe it or not, very funny!

Freakonomics – Steven Leavitt and Steven Dubner

A surprising and sometimes shocking look at our world via the minds of economists.  Funny and riveting!