Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Moira Hodgson

I have to admit, I picked this book up first for its cover, second for its publishing imprint (Nan A. Talese, one of my favorites), and third for it's awesome subtitle: My Adventures in Life and Food. I thought to myself, "I want to have adventures in life and food!" And then I did what I always do with books (well, not always, but sometimes), which is to think, "I want to be Moira Hodgson!" or Laura Ingalls Wilder or Katherine get the picture. And actually, she does have an awesome story, as well as an awesome life. So there you go. It's a great book, really, and it even has a picture insert (I have a love of picture inserts that's a remnant of reading chapters only to get to the picture at the end of the chapter). It's really a love story of Moira and her family, and of Moira with food--and perhaps that's why it's so readable and likable, and why it doesn't bother me when she stops telling stories so much and starts talking about people I should know about. Because really, at the heart of her story isn't who she knows and who she's met and who she's cooked dinner for and eaten dinner with, but who she is in her family, the most fundamental aspect of our lives. And that's why I like this book. Because I'm not sure that Moira knew that until she wrote it. And that's pretty beautiful.

Heart of a Shepherd by Roseanne Parry

What an amazing book! It's short, sweet, and perfectly to the point. And what a point. I began reading this on my lunch break at work as a last resort, seeing that it was about a boy whose dad's in Iraq. I thought it wouldn't appeal to me at all--what could I have in common with a little boy on a ranch out West, with a father in the army, a Quaker grandpa, and a Catholic grandma?  It turns out that not only do we have some things in common, but I wish we had MORE in common. In fact, I wish I knew him like the author knows him, and could see what he looks like, what he'll become, and how he'll see the world. And I hope, I truly hope, that some of his pure spirituality rubbed off on me. Check it out.