Friday, July 8, 2011

If you were going to visit family in Colorado for a week, which books would you pack?

I'm here on a blow-up mattress in the basement of my sister's house in Colorado.  Nora is asleep now after complaining of an upset tummy.  We gave her half a Tums, which she sucked on for about 10 minutes.  "You should just chew that up, Nora.  It will work faster."  "Me?  You mean I should chew it up this year?"  She wasn't even being sarcastic, that sweetheart.  She really wanted to know if she could eat it this year.  Anyway, back to my theme for the evening.

The first thing I will say is that I rarely read while I'm visiting my family.  In fact, I don't really do much reading at all these days.  (Let me qualify:  I don't do much "leisure reading" these days.)   This might sound silly, but I've prayed about this, something to the effect of "Lord, please help me not miss reading so much while I'm in this particularly busy season of life.  You could also help me not think about nachos so much, too."    I even tracked Pastor Jurchen down once to ask his opinion about whether or not there would be libraries in heaven.  I remember before I gave birth to Nora, I read voraciously.  I think in one week, I read the entire Lord of the Rings series including The Hobbit.  The next week, I hardly left the bed, turning page after page of the Clan of the Cave Bear series, finally making it to the last book (1 million pages later) when Ayla gives birth to her new daughter.  I think Nora showed up the next day.  This probably explains why I requested sagebrush tea instead of any of the other drugs they had available for childbirth.  Oh, I even read the Lonesome Dove series, too.  (I think I'm simply trying to impress all of you with the shear volume of reading I am capable of completing in a single week.  Yeah, I didn't think it was working either.)  Boy, I'm really having a hard time staying on track here tonight.

So, here's what I packed for the trip:

1.  The Bible (for obvious reasons)

2.  The Earth Moved:  On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms by Amy Stewart

Yes, this is a real book, weighing in at a little over 200 pages.  I too am wondering how much you can really say about worms.  But in order to earn my Composting badge for the Farmgirl sisterhood, I have to maintain a compost bin for over a year (this is year two for me), produce at least 5 gallons of  "black gold" compost (I've definitely done this), use it on your garden (have you seen the zucchini?), and read this book.  I want that badge, so I'm reading this book.  If you see me in front of every 8th grade science classroom next year with a sign that says, "Earthworms have hearts, too!  Somewhere..." in protest of their seasonal dissection, you'll know why.  At 200 pages, I'm expecting there to be a little romance in this one.

3.  Eats, Shoots, and Leaves:  The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

Yep.  Another Farmgirl badge.   And there are other reasons.  Okay.  I'm going to just admit this to all of you:  I am an English professor, and I am terrified of grammar.  There.  I said it.  Grammar is an issue of confidence for me, not so much confidence in my grammar skills but confidence in myself as a human being who can remember things and use them.  The basic premise of an education, which I've had, stems from these two ideas, right?  What is knowledge?  Something you remember and use.  I'm convinced that I've forgotten everything I know about grammar, about vocabulary, about...almost everything.   Perhaps this is part of the process of becoming "new."  I'm praying about this one, too.

So, there you have it.  Worship.  Worms.  Words.  That's what you'd bring to Colorado for a week-long vacation.


  1. Sounds delightful. Can't wait to hear how those are!! Happy reading! :)

  2. I'm happy about your reading projects for this trip. :) (Don't forget you have some home-grown-words from your loving students as well.) And I am thoroughly impressed that you read the entire "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" in a week. ;) Have a lovely vacation!

  3. I agree with Anna--I am seriously impressed that you read all four of those Tolkien books within a week! My goodness!!

    That sounds like a lovely combination of books. Hahahaha...yes, I have seen the zucchini. The compost must be working. :D

    The title of the third book is involved in one of my favorite jokes (one of my favorites because it is a grammar joke!). And I share your secret, too: I'm horrible at grammar. Not using it--I can put a sentence together with (usually) perfectly accurate grammar. But labeling every word in a sentence with its corresponding part of speech? That I find nearly impossible!

  4. Seriously impressed, yes.
    I'm a fast reader - one of those freaky fast ones. But it's not just the quickness - it's the content of what you read that is impressive.