Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Books On My Bedside Table

As many of you know, I love reading and am passionate about books, and one day dream about having a library in my home! Ever since I was little I have been able to escape into reading, so much so that to the extent that a book grips me, I can completely switch off to the world around me, and not really even hear people's voices (I remember this driving my parents crazy when I was younger!) Now, need I say that that aspect seldom happens any more what with three children, but I do try to keep reading in between ... life! I hope to make this a regular post, and would love to know what books are on your bedside table too!

  • Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday MagicExpecting Adam, by Martha Beck – My neighbour lent this to me. It's a tale of a woman and her husband coming to terms with expecting a Down Syndrome child. This has got to be one of the most brilliantly crafted books I have ever read. If you love to write, or easily recognise good writing, or want to read something really well written, then this is it. I'm ¾ through, and am loving her writing style – frank, honest and full of humour - honestly, have caught myself laughing out loud numerous times. I also appreciate her growing criticism of the academic world (her and her husband are Harvard graduates) – she echoes many of my frustrations about the trap academia can present to people. I also loved her honesty about spiritual things as well. Read it – you won't be sorry! (If you know me well and live close, my neighbour has said I can lend this out – just look after it as a piece of treasure! Email me and I'll make a plan to get it to you!

  • When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for TodayWhen Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper – Charlotte Mason was one of the primary theorists of education in Britain, and her ideas have formed the basis for an entire home schooling philosophy. I had never really been a Charlotte Mason follower/believer/fan until I started this book. It's a wonderful collection of critical essays of various things she said. Did you know that Sunday Schools originally were started by the church in an attempt to help working children to gain an education? And they really were that – schools where children learnt to read and write on a Sunday.
Here are some more quotes I loved:
"People today are making a colossal pedagogical error. They are rather like an uneducated person who thinks that if one spoon of medicine will do good, then 10 are even better! Many children are being given too many hours of instruction per day – sometimes in schools, sometimes in homeschools. No one can do everything that can be worthwhile. The best of curriculum guides must be guides, not absolute directives. What you choose should be the very best and 'living'."
I could actually probably write out something from each page I have read – truly an inspiration, and a must for anyone involved in education in any way.

  • Jane's Delicious Garden: An Organic Guide to Growing Your Own FoodJane's Delicious Garden by Jane Griffiths – another neighbour lent me this. I must just tell you, that if you had ever told me I would read a gardening book, I would have told you that you didn't know me at all. But that was before I actually managed to grow some flowers and vegetables in my garden! This is a beautifully written and photographed book that is quite easy to read about growing your own organic veggies in South Africa. I have found it interesting and really helpful considering I know nothing! Each page has lovely garden quotes on it:

    we come from the earth,
     we return to the earth,
     and in between we garden
     – anon

    nature, to be commanded,
     has to be obeyed 
    – Francis bacon

  • Time (September 6, 2010). I bought this as I was intrigued by the title and by-line: 'The real Cost of Organic Food – everyone says it is better for you. But what does science show?'

    It was a fascinating article to read, especially in light about my recent-ish post about whose research you actually choose to believe. In the article is this quote -
      “we draw these bright lines between organic and conventional foods...but science doesn't draw those lines. They criss-cross, and you have people on both sides cherry-picking their data”.

    What I found most fascinating was the following verdicts:

    • on fruits/vegetables – buy conventional. One study (my aside, just one study? Is that enough to make this sweeping assumption?) found no nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce – and conventional even squeaked ahead in one category.

    • on beef – organic

    • on milk – organic because of the extra chemistry in hormones for milk

    • on eggs – organic, because of the treatment of the birds – seals the deal!
So, great bedtime reading – feel free to pass on great books to me, or to recommend some!


  1. I read Expecting Adam about 3yrs ago and the book BLEW ME AWAY. It is everything you say it is. In fact, I want to own it.

    I am LOVING Eat Pray Love. Loving it. I will pass it on to you when I am done. The spiritual truths in this book leave me breathless (even though she isnt a christ-follower!). It has also awakened a real desire in me to TRAVEL.

    I will do a similar post soon. Love to see what others are reading. :-)


  2. how funny! I kept thinking how much you would enjoy this book, especially with how well you write and enjoy writing! I've since heard she's become oprah's life coach and is now a lesbian....that kind of shatters something she created in that novel for me. However, apparently her book "Leaving the Saints" is also profound.
    Look forward to getting the book from you!