Egypt is in, amoebas are out. Junior's library haul this week included David Macaulay's Pyramid, from 1975. He's also poring over Make It Work! Ancient Egypt, by Andrew Haslam and Alexandra Parsons. Every once and a while he drops a few random facts about biomes, which they're studying at school. "Ah, savannas," he said with a sigh the other night, "the grassy plains."
I've been doing some reading about reading, and delved into Maureen Corrigan's Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading! and Nick Hornby's Polysyllabic Spree. Corrigan, the book reviewer for NPR's "Fresh Air," combines literary scholarship (very readable, don't worry) and autobiography in a series of essays. Inveterate readers will relate to how much Corrigan, a Sunnyside, Queens, girl with a Ph.D in English, filters her experiences through books.
I made a long list of recommendations from Leave Me Alone, and have already finished Anna Quindlen's novel Black and Blue, which I avoided when it first came out. I don't remember why. It's a suspenseful tale of a Brooklyn police officer's wife fleeing domestic abuse and starting over. Quindlen, who once wrote the "About New York" column in the New York Times, nails the milieu—the Brooklynese, the cops' wives' talk, the love and fear in the family affected by domestic violence, and especially the repercussions.
The Polysyllabic Spree, Hornby's short, funny book about reading, gave me even more titles I wanted to track down, like Charlotte Moore's George and Sam, written by a mother of two sons with autism. Melissa Wiley mentioned this one, too, on her blog Here in the Bonny Glen, where I first heard of Hornby's book.
Finally, Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life, by Jenna Woginrich, has me wanting to learn the fiddle. Hey, why not! Only in her mid-twenties, Woginrich wrote the book to help people get started on living a more self-sufficient life. Chapters cover raising chickens, beekeeping, canning, and more. The author blogs at Cold Antler Farm.