Reading Books

I enjoy seeing what books people are reading.  I’m a fan of the what-I-read-last-year blog posts that show up in January.  So much so that I kept track of my reading in 2014 and put up a list of my own.

Selka at Permaculture Grin just finished reading 100 books in a year (in about 10 months actually), and she published the list of books read on her blog. Having read a mere 32 books in 2014, I’m impressed.

I try to spend an hour a day with a good book, usually just before bedtime and preferably accompanied by a glass of wine. So far in 2015 I’ve read 13 books, and I’ve enjoyed all of them.  At this pace I should end up reading about the same number of books I read last year–not bad, even if well shy of a hundred.

I know that lots of folks who read this blog are book-lovers.  I’d wager that a lot of you spend time in a book or two everyday, as we do.  And I think it’s very cool that so many readers of this blog are published authors.  Those that I’m aware of have been added to my list of books I intend to read.  It may take awhile, but it will happen.

On the advice of one of you (Dawn from Sailorsmallfarm, I think), I’m reading Ben Falk’s Resilient Farm and Homestead now and it is rocking my world. Permaculture is still new to me. I read Mark Shephard’s Restoration Agriculture earlier this year (on the advice of either Dawn or Farmer Khaiti). I wish I’d been aware of this philosophy when we were establishing this farm. I’m already making plans for some changes around here, incorporating permaculture principles.

Just before starting Ben Falk’s book I read frequent-commenter Curt’s book The Bush Devil Ate Sam, a delightfully entertaining (and informative) memoir of his time in the Peace Corps in Liberia in the 1960s. The book is a page-turner, and I highly recommend it.  Curt enrolled at UC-Berkeley just in time for the beginnings of the student rebellion there, putting him on the frontlines at the beginning of one of the world’s greatest movements for social justice. Some of that story is told in his book, and a fascinating story it is. Most of the book tells the story of the time he and his wife spent in Liberia.  I laughed out loud and I learned a lot, which only happens with good books. The story of his dog Do Your Part crashing the grand opening of the community’s first mosque (Curt having been mistaken for “the international media”) is alone worth the price of the book.

The book closes with some insightful thoughts about Liberia’s tragic history of the past few decades.  It caused me to think of a Liberian woman who was a classmate of mine in seminary, a kind and gentle person who lived through the horrors of the civil war there.  Whenever she tried to talk about it, she cried. Something she said about Americans has stuck with me.  She said that here when we say grace before a meal (if we bother), it just seems perfunctory. In Liberia, she said, people are truly grateful for every meal and they offer thanks with joy at the miracle that food is.  I wish I could recall her exact words, because I’m not doing them justice.  Suffice it to say that Curt’s concern for Liberia and the Liberian people resonated with me, even though I’ve never been there.

By the way, Curt is also one of the rock-stars of the blogosphere. Go check out his blog (HERE). You can buy his book from Amazon, but I recommend you contact him directly for a copy.

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