Posts Tagged ‘Plum Picks’

“Now we must redefine ‘tool’, redefine ‘man’, or accept chimpanzees as humans.”

September 18, 2010

That’s what paleontologist Louis Leakey wrote about his protege Jane Goodall’s 1963 observation that chimpanzees make and use tools, previously thought to be the sole dominion of man. How cool is that!

I’m reading “Jane: Fifty Years at Gombe” by David Quammen in the October 2010 issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. I highly recommend it. I knew Jane was out there studying chimps, but I didn’t know much about her or her work.

I think it’s so exciting that we can observe creation and discover that we had been thinking about things the wrong way! Don’t you?

What a challenge, to have eyes that see and ears that hear!


And it reminds me of another interesting book I read this summer about a woman who studied bonobos in the Congo and her adopted daughter, “Lucy” by Laurence Gonzales. You should read that one, too.


What is your sentence?

September 2, 2010

I just finished Elizabeth Berg’s “The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted,” and there’s one more thought I want to share.

In the final story, one of the characters says, “What if I had only one sentence that I could say to my children? One sentence that tried to let them know everything I wanted to tell them. Something more than ‘I love you.'”

What would my sentence be? What would you say?

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted (Plum Picks)

August 29, 2010

When Jill originally suggested writing about the books that I read, this isn’t really what I had in mind, but I picked up this one off the clearance table at the Le Moyne College Bookstore yesterday, and I have to share it.

“The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation” by Elizabeth Berg (Random House, 2008)

Elizabeth Berg’s “Talk Before Sleep” is one of my favorite books, telling the story of a group of women who gather around to support one of their own as she battles and eventually succumbs to breast cancer. It really captures how wonderful it is to have the kind of friends that I have. I love it.

But this book is not really like that. “The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted” is a series of short stories, many dealing with struggles with weight, another topic that hits close to home for me. The stories are both hilarious and horrifyingly real. I am reading and laughing and crying….it’s a great book so far.

Here is a sample:
“My exercise plan by Melody Peterson: Every day take a walk unless you are too tired or it’s cold outside. Do not pass grocery stores. Or bakeries. Basically, walk in the woods and worry that someone will kill you for recreational sport before you even come close to your target weight. You might try, “Oh, Mr. Murderer, please don’t kill me, I only have fifteen pounds to go.” It might work. Because he has his own troubles, obviously, and he might relate.”

That just makes me chuckle!

Now, I am off to walk in the battlefield, hoping to avoid the occasional psycho-killer tourist, as well as the distracted re-enactors and harried soccer parents who are driving like crazy people all over our little town this weekend.

Coming Soon: Plum Picks

July 31, 2010

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy. ~Edward P. Morgan

Sitting at the kitchen table reading….that is always the first image that comes to mind of my father. “Voracious reader” must have my dad’s picture next to it in the dictionary. It was easy to know what to get him for Christmas or his birthday, the challenge was to find a perfect book that none of the other eight kids thought of first! I used to hide the books I was reading from him when I was little, not because I didn’t want him to know what I was reading, but because he would read anything — including our text books — and I wanted to have whatever I was reading available to me when I wanted to read it. (I’m still that way. I am guilty of buying more that one copy of a book that I know someone else in the house will want to read at the same time. Once, I had the newest Harry Potter delivered by amazon, picked up from the library, and purchased at a store on the day it was released.)

When I was in college, working the four-to-midnight shift at the tannery each summer, Dad and I often read the same books and would compare notes at the kitchen table where he always waited, book in hand, for the last of the Hart kids to arrive home. We ribbed him for his habit of reading the “good parts” out loud to us. I think over the years, I heard all of his favorite, C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I find myself doing the same thing when I am reading or re-reading a book that I find interesting or entertaining… Steve and the kids will roll their eyes at the mention of one of my favorite titles.

I love to read. There are few pleasures that I take as much delight in as reading a good story or conversing with another bluestocking or bibliophile over a good cuppa. On the way home from Foggy Bottom last night, Sarah’s best friend and unofficial Neitz kid JP2 requested that I begin a new feature on books I am reading — what a fun idea! In her honor, I’m calling it “Plum Picks.” Watch for it!

(I’ll love to hear what you are reading, too!)

If you have never said “Excuse me” to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time. ~Sherri Chasin Calvo