Wednesday, February 29, 2012

february bookstand

I actually have a new-to-me physical bookstand to celebrate this month! I was having a bit of an issue, because I kept picking up books at various sales and having them handed down or gifted to me—and then I would place them in one of the piles, or start a new pile. My LSH suggested that one solution would be to stop buying used books, but that's just crazy talk, even if the wall on my side of the bed did look like this:

And my poor nightstand was in even more trouble:

Obviously I couldn't really see what I had. From time to time a pile would fall over and I would think "Oh! I forgot I had this book! This looks really good!" but then I would restack the pile and forget about it all over again.

It has been my experience that a good bookshelf is hard to find. I finally came across this one at a antique store in Quakertown, and picked it up when I went to get the finished pelts. It needed a little TLC.

An afternoon outside with a little wood refinishing creme and touch up marker did some of the work, but it really came into its own once I filled it up with books.

So onto the ones that I actually read this month! Only one from my actual bookstand but at least I am reducing the backlog a little. Curiously enough, all of the books are memoirs, in which the author's relationship (or lack thereof) with her mother and/or stepmother figure prominently. My monthly reading seems to gravitate to a theme without my consciously intending one.

Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls
Highly recommend. I had read this when it was first published, and borrowed the audio book for our trip to and from Lake Placid as I knew the tale was suitable for younger ears. The boys, especially Secondo, enjoyed it. Lilly Casey Smith is a fascinating character and the book provides a great insight into living conditions in the Southwest in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
Highly recommend. I had read (and been shocked by) this book about the author's unorthodox and austere childhood. Half Broke Horses is the story of the author's grandmother, and I always meant to re-read The Glass Castle in light of the backstory provided in Half Broke Horses (published second); I decided to strike while the memory of the audio book was still warm. The actions of Walls' parents remain inexcusable, but her mother's behavior makes more sense when viewed against her upbringing. Lilly Casey Smith was a tough, practical woman; unfortunately, that practicality became twisted in odd ways in her daughter Rosemary (Walls' mother).

Yarn: Remembering the Way Home, by Kyoko Mori
Highly recommend. Mori is a lyrical author, and I enjoyed the way she tied together her relationship with fiber arts to her own life story—from her childhood inability to knit mittens, taught in preparation for wife and motherhood in Japan, to her use of spinning and weaving to provide a social framework for her in her adopted country.

Falling Leaves: the Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter, by Adeline Yen Mah
Recommend. A moving tale of a woman finding her place in the world with very little help from her family and awful mistreatment from her stepmother (no Disney character had a patch on this woman!), set against the backdrop of twentieth-century Chinese history.

Goal for next month: two books from the bookshelf, though I am not sure what I will do if I manage to empty it out entirely.

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