I have a lot going on in my life. In addition to being the mother of 7 beautiful children and wife of Proeun I farm, homeschool, manage my home and write, not just a blog but for 4 area newspapers (I have also written my own book). It was on one assignment for one of these papers that I found Scout and Morgan Books (link below).
I have mentioned before that my birthday is around the middle of the year. I would get a stack of books for Christmas, read them and get resupplied for my birthday. I dreamed of having a large, fully stocked library in my home when I grew up. We do still have a lot of books, but now I have also discovered the library and through the course of several moves I have had to cull some of my books. Still Scout and Morgan is one of my new favorite places and I love the fact that I am supporting our local economy and a truly great lady when I purchase my books from Scout and Morgan.
Before our Yellowstone trip we stopped by to get a small stack of reading material and visit with Judith Kissner. One of the stories early in my relationship with Judith was the Cambridge Community Read final event with Faith Sullivan this spring. The book the whole community was reading was Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse by Sullivan. Throughout the book Nell Stillman, the novel’s protagonist, turns to books as a way of facing life’s pressures. P.G. Wodehouse was her favorite author.
So when I stopped by Scout and Morgan I was looking for my own copy of one of his books and Judith presented me with a used copy of Love Among the Chickens–the very book I had in mind.
As you can see we picked up quite a stack. What is even better is my girls discovered how fun book stores are!
When we headed off to Yellowstone books of regional interest were high on my list of desired souvenirs and so I picked up a couple there as well. Now I find myself reading multiple books at once. Here are a couple of books that are on my shelf right now.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I am not familiar with his comedy or his work on the “The Daily Show” but whenever we contemplate race in this country we remind the children that they would likely not exist, or at least it would be illegal for them to exist just a few decades before their birth. It was such a personally poignant read to hear Noah’s story, a man my age whose very birth was a crime. To read about his mother’s story and subsequently his story is such an eye opening experience. It was definitely a very fast read for me as I couldn’t put it down!
Different by Sally and Nathan Clarkson. The subtitle is “The Story of an Outside the Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him.” I have a couple of “outside of the box” kids. I bought this book with one specific child in mind and discovered elements of myself and other children beautifully touched on in this book. Through the Clarkson family journey I am reminded of the importance of loving and letting go of control. Trying to micromanage people and life in general is a sure fire way for loads of stress. This book gently reminded me who is really in control.
The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. This book is written by the same mother who wrote Different. This time she partnered with one of her daughters. I have read many of her books before. Most of her books are more of ideal books, as in striving for an ideal. But by reading it at the same time as Different which is definitely about the reality of life it is a great foil and helps me see the beauty of ideals while accepting realities. Both books helped me realize how important home is as a launching place for not only us as individuals but also for our children.
Shadow Mountain by Renee Askins. This was one of my Yellowstone snags. I am almost done reading it. It is the story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. I was not aware that wolves were eradicated from the area in the early 1900s. This was purposeful and intentional. The reintroduction was even more so. A great read–a fresh look at the world of conservation and how it intersects with real life. From the opening story Askins sets the stage, “My doe-eyed idealism about peaceable wolves, along with my meticulously planned research design, was eviscerated that day with Cassie [a female wolf she was studying at “Wolf Park”] and the six unborn puppies she carried.” Cassie was killed by her own pack. “Cassie’s death was the first of many humbling lessons in the wild’s volatility and unpredictability I was to receive in the years to come.” It is a hard lesson that ideals don’t translate particularly well to real life, but that in striving for them life is worth living. I am at the point in the book where wolves are on the ground in Yellowstone for the first time in 70 years and the first batch of puppies have been born. Askins has closed the door on “The Wolf Fund,” her life work of the past 15 years and she is ready to move on with 2 Chinese Crested dogs she recently purchased. I feel so honored that on our first night in the park we were able to witness first hand 2 wolves stalking a heard of elk, or perhaps a flock of geese (there was a lot of animals in the area). I now know the name of their ancestors and I wonder which pack they came from.
Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose. I can’t remember if I have read any books by Stephen Ambrose. I realize as I write this that I likely mixed him up with Jeff Shaara who wrote very readable and enjoyable Civil War accounts (and one Mexican War). But this is the story of the Lewis and Clark exhibition. You can’t go anywhere out west without finding some remnants of their story. While I know snatches of it I am interested to get a more complete view. This is next on my list to read. Also a Yellowstone souvenir.
While I include the links to amazon it is so worthwhile to find a local bookseller and purchase from them. Also books make great souvenirs as you seek to learn more about where you are visiting or have visited. I thank Judith for leading me out of the doldrums I was in with reading material and introducing me to some great new authors and stories. Once my pile is done I will be back.