Monday, June 11, 2018

2018 - Book 23

Pages: 230

I heard the author interviewed on Fresh Air last year and knew I wanted to read this book. He was discussing all these housing policies that I had never heard. Crazy stuff. Information that we should all know and struggle with. How could former generations have treated people so badly? And how do we do the same thing these days?   It is an excellent book (a bit dry - it is written by a lawyer after all). My children will be reading this book for school when they get older.

The book discusses how many administrations (since slavery was outlawed) have continued practices that have discriminated against people of color.  FDR was one of the worst.  The housing part is so interesting.
* Did you know that returning WWII veterans were denied housing loans by the VA if they were black?
* Did you know that many neighborhoods created covenants that banned the sale of a home to a black person in that neighborhood (and that many of these were sponsored by churches and colleges)?
* Did you know that the FHA would only loan money to developers that would build all white communities and promised to not sell to black people?
* Did you know that when FDR built many of the interstates in the country that they went through black communities and that the government did nothing to help them find alternative housing after they demolished their houses? This forced them to double and triple up in the areas that they were allowed to buy houses in.
* Did you know that projects used to be for middle-income people?
* Did you know that governments would either evict blacks that moved into a white community or allow people to harass them until they moved?

I didn't know. I put it on the list of books that every one should read. It is in my top 5 for this year (I think I have more then 5 in my top 5 by now...)

Here is the author's webpage to read even more of his writing.
I found this article especially fascinating: Five Social Disadvantages That Depress Student Performance (Why Schools Alone Can't Close Achievement Gaps). 
The part about lead poisoning is interesting.

And again I am left with wondering what I can do about this...

Monday, June 04, 2018

2018 - Book 22

Pages: 190

Jared read this to me while I was working on various projects around the house. I read it for the first time two years ago. It is excellent! The Devil character is so creepy. The book always makes me think.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Sunrises and Sunsets

Sometimes I dream of owning a house that overlooks a field and where I can watch sunrises and sunsets from a porch, in my rocking chair or hammock. I probably won’t and I am okay with that. I’m okay with seeing the occasional sunrise or sunset at a friends house or on vacation or on a walk. Because sunrises aren’t the ultimate thing they simply point us to a greater beauty. And what is coming is going to be so much better.

So often when I find myself longing for something it is because it is pointing to something greater. And if I never get to experience the reflections and small glimmers of the ultimate beauty in this life it doesn’t matter because some day I will be able to experience in full. Thinking about these things puts my priorities in order. I don’t have to chase after fleeting pleasures of this world. I don’t need to have it all now. I don’t need to see every sunrise and every sunset.

Now I see but dimly.
Then I shall see face to face.
Now I know in part.
Then I shall know fully.
(Paraphrase) 1 Cor 13

Monday, May 28, 2018

2018 - Book 21

These are the three books in the trilogy. 

The copy I found at the library looked like this.
pages: 250

The boys both loved this trilogy.  We read it in four days. The story and the illustrations are delightful.  The boys were intrigued by the map in the front and back of the book. The story follows a little boy that goes on an adventure to save a baby dragon and the adventures they have together. The boy and animals can talk to each other (that is never explained). The boy leaves home several times for several days or weeks and the parents are perfectly fine with that (that is also never explained).

It was a fun read. We were gifted the books on cd for Christmas and are saving them for a car ride this summer. Do you have any other suggestions for books on tape for kids in a car? I really want to do the Narnia radio theater, but I don't think they are quite old enough... I don't want to ruin it by reading it too early.

Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 - book 20

Pages: 360

5 million people in Ukraine died in the 1932-1933 famine. It was one of several that the USSR used to purge Ukraine of its history, language, and leaders. This one was the worst. 

It was a little slow getting into this book. There was a lot of background information about Ukrainian and Russian relationships in the years leading up to the famine and of several earlier famines caused by Russia. But after that everything else is fascinating, tragic, and awful. Awful in a way that you can't stop reading and wish you could stop what is happening.  

Russia still denies the famine happened today. The last two chapters on the effects of the famine on future generations and politics today is some of the best information in the book.  It really helps frame some of the events that happen in the world today and makes them easier to understand. 

As a side note: This is also the second book this month (April) that I am reading that mentions FDR in a negative light... maybe I should read more about his presidency.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

It rained for five days and five nights.

I love rain. I love grey weather. I love sleeping with the sound of rain. I love playing in the rain and splashing in puddles and getting soaked. We have had five days of steady-never-let-up-crazy-rain-all-day weather. Five day. Five nights. My parent's field has ten inches of water and all my tomatoes and potatoes and strawberries and watermelons will die... my neighbors' yards are flooded... it is a little much. All of the bugs have had enough and are starting to seek dry land (aka my house).

In a more positive spin, because my parent's field flooded thousands of frogs decided it would be a good place to mate. The boys and I caught four pairs of frogs and let them lay eggs in a container. Hopefully we will have baby tadpoles in a week or two. It is more interesting to study the life cycle of frogs with a real life example.

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018 - book 19

Pages: 139

Read to the boys. 
Not a huge fan. 
How is this a classic?

Friday, May 11, 2018


We've been doing a lot of hiking (when we are battling stomach illnesses or colds). And we picked the first strawberries of the year.