Sunday, November 15, 2015

Apps and Books

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?


Angie said...

I like Sue Monk Kidd. I read The Mermaid Chair and The Secret Life of Bees. Long time ago.

The Crislers said...

Great reviews! Books don't seem to be very happy with me these days, as I haven't found any that I don't want to quit within the first fifty pages. It's very disheartening. I did just start Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert- who I thought I couldn't stand- and I'm somehow liking it.

slow panic said...

1. the cookie app needs to be a real thing.

2. i loved The Invention of Wings

I need to get back to reading. Although I did just listen to a wonderful audio book -- the title which I can't remember at this moment.....

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I would be happy to read the Sue Monk Kidd book. I would also be happy to have that app -- especially right now!
My book group will be discussing The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce, on Thursday evening. Since I was the one who got them to read it, I'm hoping to not be too drugged up to discuss it that night! Book group will be at my house so that I can participate. I am currently reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and I've got a couple more books on reserve at the library -- but in my medicated state, I can't be trusted to tell you titles or authors.

Cassi said...

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo did not appeal to me either --I do not plan on reading it or seeing any of the various movie versions.

I am currently reading a book called People Over Profit. It's not my usual kind of book, but it was recommended by the person I'm connecting with over the Competency Based Learning Program being (maybe, in a very limited way) tried out at the college. However, I decided to read it while using my stationary bike. So far, I've had two reading sessions. As you can see, I'm getting lots of exercise.

I have some great fiction lined up (on my Kindle already) but I haven't started any of them. Things have been a bit hectic, and I want to wait on reading them until I can really savor them. I'm going to read one over Thanksgiving break :-)

Patience_Crabstick said...

I have read Devil in the White City and I liked it, although it was so creepy. I'm currently reading Eating in America by Waverly Root, a history of food and eating in the US from prehistoric times to the 1970s.

smalltownme said...

Recently I've read After Alice, The Girl in the Spider's Web, My Brilliant Friend, and Reckless (Chrissie Hynde memoir). I'm down to only one library book but I have a huge stack I've purchased.