Friday, August 12, 2011

This and That

Thank you. You guys are always good for a little melancholy, I know, and I'm grateful.

Between writing that sentence and this, I sneezed a million times. But why?

Okay, onto the this and that portion of the blog, which is primarily about how we've occupied ourselves on recent car trips.

This audiobook, which we all loved, even though it had been misplaced in the children's section of the library. I have to warn you that there's a bit of profanity (sometimes hilariously) and also that, gulp, the mom dies of a brain tumor in the middle of the story. But mostly it's a memoir about an English family pooling their resources to buy and rehabilitate an old zoo. It's very funny and captivating and English, and we all loved it. The kids did not seem too overly crushed by the mother dying, and that may be because it's told in a moving but unsentimental way.

That audiobook. We are big James Herriot fans, so after listening to one English story about animals, it seemed time to listen to the classic, and it doesn't disappoint. Again, though, in warning: he is elbow deep in cow rectums and sheep vaginas for most of it, so if that's going to trouble anyone or make them vomit out the car window, then skip this. But it is really, truly funny, and still so fresh and delightful even after all these years--the mix of great work ethic with hard-drinking hedonism really speaks to me.

We are late to the audiobook party, but catching up quickly. It is such a joy to be together enjoying the same story in this way.


Finally, although this picture does not quite capture it, we made rock rainbows at the shore, and it was just the most dorkily fun project. The rocks did not look like anything in particular on the beach, but after we'd gathered all the brightest ones we could find and put them together, it really did make a kind of color spectrum. Right?

Wishing you brightness in unexpected places. xo

p.s. Okay, I know I've mentioned this book already, and I know the wait-list at your library is four thousand million patrons long, but just add your name patiently to it. Think how delighted you'll be in February, when you suddenly get to read THE BEST BOOK IN THE WORLD. Just saying.

19 comments:

  1. Man, I loved State of Wonder, too, and I've been proclaiming to everyone I know that they must read it. Did you read her book, Run? It's also really good.

    When I read your recipe for berry jam, I had just finished making an orange rhubarb jam that was very similar- a little more sugar, though. It works w/ rhubarb, too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. We started doing audiobooks together when the kids came home with summer reading lists. There were always a few books that we couldn't get in print in the library, but the audiobook was always on the shelf. It has turned into a habit and we listen to them in the car all the tim.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am number 20 for State of Wonder at the library, I just checked! We have never really done the audiobook thing, but it seems like everyone is raving about them these days. We have a long road trip ahead of us at the end of the month, so maybe I should get some.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've got "State of Wonder" on my Kindle right now and am about three or four chapters in, where Marina meets the strange "Bohemian" couple in Brazil. I'm enjoying it thusfar. School starts Monday, so I can keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jenifer, you are really No. 20?? I just requested it at my library today and I'm No. 342!!! I'm so jealous of your status.
    We have been checking out audiobooks from the library for quite some time--they seem to be the perfect thing when the kids are tired and out of sorts and don't feel like doing anything that requires an extreme effort. We just listened to "The Phantom Tollbooth" and "Matilda."

    ReplyDelete
  6. You must try to Little House audiobooks! I know you have read the books, but listening to them read is something else - and they are beautifully read!

    We are great fans of audiobooks: I'm thinking Birdy would also enjoy the How to train your dragon audiobooks read by David Tennant. They are SO funny and so different to the movie - and David Tennant is a joy to listen to!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am number 158 on my wait-list from the library, so February is probably a good estimate! Looking forward to it though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We are the audiobook familly--it's how our girls go to sleep every night. They love James Herriot too (albeit the children's version!) They also love The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone, all of the Penderwick books (seriously, some of the best stuff around) by Jeanne Birdsall. You can also get the classic E.B. White books read by himself, which is awesome. There are the Geronimo Stilton books read by Edward Hermann. One of my favorites is Henry Huggins, read by Neil Patrick Harris. Makes me laugh every single time I hear it (and I've heard it a lot). I could go on!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like the rock rainbow.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Joanne12:06 AM

    Just this minute finished State of Wonder. Oh! Such a book!

    ReplyDelete
  11. We love audiobooks! For trips to town (30 minutes) or long trips, we always have something in the car to listen to - favorites include anything in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques (awesomely dramatized), The Phantom Tollbooth, Winnie the Pooh (totally classic), the Narnia series (Focus on the Family has a terrific dramatized version), Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Audiobooks make the kids hate to get out of the van!

    ReplyDelete
  12. alison1:49 PM

    Our family really enjoys audio books. We have a 7.5 & a 10 year old. I however do not barrow children’s book. The best we might be able to do is Harry Potter. We just took a trip to Ocean City MD from Western New York and we all listened to the end of “The girl who played with fire” (my husband had been listening to it and wanted to finish it before starting a new book and since I love that series I was into it). Then we listened to a James Patterson novel. There were a few inappropriate parts as far as the kids were concerned, but we just told them to cover their ears, they did and it all worked out ok. It’s funny how all 4 of us are really into it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jenny R1:17 PM

    I just finished Faith. Thanks for the recommendation! Now just waiting for my turn with State of Wonder.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You know Ann Patchett actually wrote a love letter (basically) to our town and our independent bookstore for THE NEW YORK TIMES??? I'm telling you this because I'd like you to visit. And drink good microbrews and listen the the crickets and stuff yourselves silly with nutella s'mores....oh, and swim in the amazing expanse of our clear and blue and beautiful freshwaters of Lake Michigan, of course!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Catherine,

    For some reason I could never post on the Disney website, but I have been following your blog since the Parent Center days, when you were pregnant with birdy and I was pregnant with my oldest kid. I love your work! If you are not compiling one already, would you consider publishing a cookbook? Your devoted followers would snap it up. I just bought a pressure cooker to make beans (as you suggested several months ago) and now I need some good, simple vegetarian bean recipes.

    Okay, I'm done with lunch at my desk and going back to work. Reading your blog has always been a short break that is as refreshing as talking to one of my best friends.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Rock rainbow, inspired by you: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7kHYWWX-BhY/Tlmgk5YjoSI/AAAAAAAABgQ/rYxI1jYpL8E/s1600/rock_rainbow.JPG

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Hmm. I loved State of Wonder until the very, very end, which seemed to be not only heartbreaking but unethical. (Those of you who have finished it know what I mean; I won't say more in honor of those who haven't.) Did any one else think so?

    Roz

    ReplyDelete
  18. ok, but were you not weeping with disappointment at the endof state of wonder? i keep thinking about it.......

    ReplyDelete
  19. I finally got State of Wonder. I just happened to see it on the shelf at the library and remembered you recommending it and I got it. Wow, it was so good! Then I read about Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy and got Truth and Beauty, A Friendship and just finished that. It was really good too, although sad. Have you read it?

    ReplyDelete