Through the wonders of modrun technology, Younger Daughter and I recently had the chance to chat face to face with my son who is away at college. He told me all about the classes he signed up for next semester, including “Making Really Tiny Things” class, a.k.a. “Chemical Engineering Applied to Microfabrication.”
While he was talking to us, he started fiddling with his phone. Then he said, “I have to take a break – I’ll be back in few minutes.” We waited, staring at the empty walls of his dorm room. He soon returned with a foil-covered package.
I said, “What is that?”
He opened the foil and showed us a whole bowlful of chocolate chip cookies. He said, “I have an app on my phone – whenever I push this button, I get cookies delivered within two minutes.”
Ah, if only! It turned out the cookies were from Older Daughter, who came over to visit her brother. So I got to chat with her, too. I was a very happy mommy, with all three of my kids in the room, if only virtually.
Older Daughter asked her sister, “Have you ever read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?”
She replied, “No, I didn’t want to read it.”
I asked, “Is there a book called The Girl Who Made Dinner And Then Cleaned Up Afterward?”
My son said, “Isn’t that called The Little Red Hen?”
* * * * * *
I haven’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I don’t intend to. But so far this month, I finished two books that I enjoyed.
The first was Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. I did not expect to even be able to get through this book, as it involves gruesomeness. The main topic of the book is about the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, but also includes a psychopath. It’s ostensibly about architecture, landscaping, and one really sick mind, but more broadly it’s about America in that era. For me, Erik Larson’s prose carried the day – the book reads like fiction, although it is non-fiction (the author admits to doing some educated imagining for some of the parts about the psychopath). It was cool to be reading it while we were in Chicago. It looks like Leonardo DiCaprio is going to make a movie out of it.
The second book was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. This is like the flip of Larson’s book – it’s a fictionalized account of real-life people. The story begins in the voice of Handful, a young girl born into slavery in the household of a judge in South Carolina. We also learn the story of Sarah Grimke, one of the judge’s daughters. Sarah Grimke and her younger sister Angelina Grimke have a place in history - they were quite famous in the early 1800s as outspoken abolitionists and feminists at a time when women were not allowed to speak to mixed audiences (men and women). The Invention of Wings is at once heart-rending and hopeful; it's the story of both Handful and Sarah finding their voices, and seeking their freedom. This book was approved by Oprah, which normally would make me wary of reading it, but it was a great read and quite thought-provoking.
What are you reading these days?