Tag Archives: michael pollan

WWW Wednesdays – June 22, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

Welcome back to WWW Wednesdays! The kids have been doing a lot more reading than me this week and we’ve discovered a few great books to share.

My bookshelf

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson– What I’m currently reading
I just started reading Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson last night. I was very tired and needed the sleep but it was hard to put it down. I can’t wait to find out how this story turns out.

– What I recently finished reading
Earlier this week I finished Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Although it was easy to read, entertaining and informative, it seems that Pollan spends more time telling us what not to eat, rather than what to eat. Probably because nobody really knows what the “perfect” diet really is, since food and its thousands of nutrients are so complicated to understand. What did I get out of it? Eat a reasonable amount of foods, go for variety and simple ingredients, and make sure to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Voila!

I also read Vol de Nuit (Night Flight) by Antoine de Saint Exupery in a couple of sittings. As a French native, the only other St Exupery book I’ve read so far is Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), one of my very favorite books, so it was great to read more of this wonderful, poet-in-prose author. This book gives great insight on what it was like to work for the airline mail courier L’Aeropostale in the late 1920s, as St Exupery did himself, including flying at night to compete with mail services by ship and train. A very chilling story about bravery and humanity.

What I think I’ll read next
Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata. I grabbed this book off the youth literature shelf at the library simply because I liked the cover but I have no idea if it’s any good. It won the Newbery medal, so it can’t be too bad! The inside jacket describes it as the story of two Japanese sisters who move to the Deep South, in Georgia, with their parents, so the premise looks interesting.

Flotsam by David Wiesner

Flotsam by David Wiesner

My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
We’re been reading a lot of new books but they do have a few favorites, including Flotsam by David Wiesner. We’re big fans of Wiesner and this book doesn’t disappoint. This illustrator makes you understand why sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. By the way, if you haven’t read The Three Pigs with your kids, you’re missing out – it’s pure genius. Other new favorites include Chicken Butt and Chicken Butt’s Back by Erica S. Perl. What kid doesn’t like stories mentioning the word “butt” a dozen times? Very, very funny.

– What they recently finished reading
Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones, and Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse. We have the audiobook versions and it’s great to have Judy Schachner read her own stories to the kids. Especially because my tongue can never read a Skippyjon Jones book without messing up a few lines, and Schachner’s voice is so fun and entertaining. Holy frijoles!

What I think they’ll read next
Mr Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans, and Mr Putter & Tabby Spin the Yarn by Cynthia Rylant. We do have the books but the kids have been too busy with others to take serious interest in these two so far.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – June 15, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

The whole family has done a lot of good reading this past week, with a few books I’d like to recommend.

My bookshelf

– What I’m currently reading
I just started Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, when he starts by putting down the whole hype for low-fat diets. Besides trans fats, which are very bad for your health, some fat has never hurt anyone and could actually be good for you. Who doesn’t like to hear that?

How Reading Changed my Life by Anna Quindlen– What I recently finished reading
I highly recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Narrated from the viewpoint of 15-year-old autistic character Christopher, it gives you great insight on how the autistic mind functions – and sometimes mis-functions. It doesn’t take long to realize Christopher is a very sharp young man but has a hard time processing some types of information, especially in stressful situations. Haddon does a great job at mixing mystery, humor and tragedy, and he clearly understands autism better than most of us.
I then read How Reading Changed by Life by Anna Quindlen, a talented writer who shares how she developed her lifelong love of reading, and the people and books that inspired her. If you’re a parent who thinks reading is important for your children, this will be a good read. She even contributes several reading lists, including “10 books that will help a teenager feel more human” and “the 10 books I would save in a fire”.

– What I think I’ll read next
Probably Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson, recommended to me by a fellow blogger. I’ve never read James Patterson so I hope this will be a good way to start.

My kids’ bookshelf

Little Critter: Going to the Seapark– What they’re currently reading
Mike Mercer has issued several Little Critter books in the past few years, so we’re reading them now, including:
Little Critter: Going to the Seapark (perfect for us, regular SeaWorld visitors)
Little Critter: A Green, Green Garden (also perfect for us since we’re growing things in the backyard)
Little Critter – Just Saving My Money (a good lesson on making and saving money to buy your own toys)
These books have fun illustrations and are great for early readers. My kids ask to read them again and again.

– What they recently finished reading
More Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo! They’ve enjoyed Mercy Watson Fights Crime and Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes. Both books feature new character Leroy Winker, a little wannabe cowboy (yippie-i-oh!) with some not-too-honest intentions. Several characters from the previous Mercy Watson adventures get to revisit. Very fun to read. I also want to thank Kate DiCamillo for having me say 10 times in a row “Beatrice Leapaleoni”.

– What I think they’ll read next
More Little Critter, and more Mr Putter & Tabby books, since that’s what’s waiting for us at the library. We’re all looking forward to some great reading!

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – June 8, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

Just a week ago I embraced the WWW Wednesdays weekly theme to give you an idea of what books my kids and I get to read. I’ve gone through quite a few since last week, so here’s an update.

My bookshelf

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time– What I’m currently reading
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while so I’m glad to finally get to it.

– What I recently finished reading
Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith
A lovely, inspiring story for both children and grown-ups. No matter the prejudices we can  suffer from, hard work and persistence can help us become whoever we want to be, even a sheep-pig. As for politeness, it happens to be a very useful skill to gain cooperation from others. I can’t wait till my kids are old enough to read this book.

Encore by Marc Freedman
Although this book focuses on people in their 50s and 60s looking for a second or third career, this is a good read for anyone longing to find a more fulfilling, meaningful job.

The Alchemist by Pablo Coelho
Sorry if you’ve read this book and loved it but I couldn’t be more disappointed. This book has gotten so much hype and really doesn’t deliver. If you’re searching for your true passion and purpose in life, many other books will guide you through your search and inspire you. This one may just bore you to death. I can’t believe some people have compared it to Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. Now, that’s a great story everyone should read!

There are cats in this book by Vivian Schwarz– What I think I’ll read next
Probably Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, to follow up on The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

My kids’ bookshelf

– What they’re currently reading
Two hilarious books they can’t get enough of:
There are cats in this book by Vivian Schwarz, featuring Tiny, Moonpie and Andre, and There are no cats in this book (even funnier than the first one). I love the interactivity between the book characters and the reader. My kids flip through the pages on their own and can retell the dialogues in each word balloon.

I broke my trunk by Mo Willems– What they recently finished reading
I broke my trunk by Mo Willems
Some Mo Willems books are better than others and this is the most recent of the Gerald & Piggy series. Very, very funny. It’s a long, crazy story… you’ll have to find out why for yourself.

– What I think they’ll read next
I’m getting some new Mercy Watson and Mr Putter & Tabby books soon.

Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – a new weekly post theme

WWW WednesdaysOne of my fellow bloggers (thanks, Sharon!) picked up this weekly post idea from another blogger, who got it from another… and since I love books and reading, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon too. By taking part in the W… W… W… Wednesdays post theme, I hope to share answers to these same questions every Wednesday:

– What I’m currently reading
– What I recently finished reading
– What I think I’ll read next

As a mom, I thought it would be a good idea to share the books I read on my own, as well as those I read with my kids and think other young kids would enjoy. Our house hosts about 50 library books at any time, so I’ll share the best of them each time. Here we go!

My bookshelf

1) What are you currently reading? 

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
I should be done with this book today and it’s been very insightful. I’ve learned more about where our food comes from than I ever wanted to know, and how messed up the corn industry really is. This explains why there’s corn everywhere, from our food, to pet food, livestock feed, even car gasoline (ethanol, anyone?). I also learned that “organic” doesn’t always mean “mom and pop farm”, quite the opposite. While the author shares his personal experiences with food, he includes a lot of facts and research and doesn’t condone anyone for eating meat or some other questionable foods. If you want to know what’s really on your plate and your kids’ plates, this is a great place to start.

2) What did you recently finish reading?

Holes by Louis Sachar
What a great read! I’m buying a permanent copy for our home bookshelf, and I can’t wait for my boys to be old enough to read this book. This is what great writing looks like, and the kind of juvenile literature that will give kids (and adults alike) a genuine love for reading.

3) What do you think you’ll read next?

Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith
I had no idea the famous movie was a book first. Since most books are a lot better than the movies they inspire, I thought, why not try it.

Mercy Watson Goes For A Ride by Kate DiCamillo

My kids’ bookshelf

1) What are they currently reading? 

After I read The Tale of Despereaux on my own, I realized Kate DiCamillo has a series of books with attractive illustrations about a pig named Mercy Watson. So we’re currently reading Mercy Watson To The Rescue and Mercy Watson Goes For A Ride. My oldest loves these books and my youngest, who’s just over three, is now patient enough to sit through the whole story (the vivid images help a lot). I definitely recommend Mercy’s adventures to little ones!

Some other new favorites are Rita and Whatsit and the Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold (great book series for early readers).

2) What did they recently finish reading?

Mr Putter & Tabby Pick The Pears by Cynthia Rylant

We’ve read most of the Mr Putter & Tabby collection by Cynthia Rylant. Our favorite picks so far are Mr Putter & Tabby Pick The Pears and Mr Putter & Tabby Paint The Porch. Both storylines along with their illustrations are simple hilarious. Where else can you see a pink squirrel and a blue chipmonk?

3) What do you think they’ll read next?

I’m not sure.I’ve ordered lots of books at the library and don’t know what’s coming next, but I hope for some more Mercy Watson.

What about you? What’s on your bookshelf or nightstand these days? Any books you may recommend for me or my kids?

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