Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Sale Find: Health Studies by Hoag

Ten years ago, in 1999 or so, I went the final day of a huge used book sale. It was the kind of day where it was "fill the bag" for a dollar, or five. Something like that. One of my favorite finds that day was an old (90 years at the time, 100 now) school book titled Health Studies: Applied Physiology and Hygiene by Ernest Bryant Hoag, A.M., M.D. (Director of Hygiene and Physical Examinations in the City Schools of Berkeley, and Lecturer in Hygiene, University of California), published in 1909. The book includes several photographs. Dr. Hoag was born in 1968 and died in 1924. He earned his BS at Northwestern in 1892.

First, I must note that one of the reasons this book attracted me was the inscription in the front. The young student who owned and used this book probably as a young teenager wrote the following:
"Roland Koyen,
Detroit Harbor
Town of Washington
County of Door
State of Wisconsin
Country of U.S.
Continent of North America
of Western Hemisphere
of this

I may have searched him online 10 years ago, but if so, I found nothing. Last night, I decided to Google Mr. Roland Koyen. And guess what? I found him!

Roland Anders Koyen, born in the Town of Washington in Door County, Wisconsin, in 1897 and the youngest of 9 children, went on to become an educator himself, as well as, apparently, a dairy farmer. He co-authored a chapter/article titled "Teachers Associations, Organizations and Unions". Mr. Koyen's father Andreas Koyen, was born in Denmark, immigrated to the US, and was over 50 years old when his son was born. His mother's family came to Wisconsin from New York. Roland Koyen died in 1971.

Mr. Koyen's wife was also in education. There is a wonderful article of remembrance available online about Mrs. Virginia Koyen:
www.weac.org/professional_resources/great...and.../tribute.aspx This even includes a photo of Mr. and Mrs. Koyen. Mrs. Koyen died in 2006!

I am into genealogy and have found all sorts of things online, but I never imagined that I would find as much as I did with this search for Mr. Koyen!

Anyway . . . back to the book itself. Perhaps it is not quite as interesting.

Chapter XV: The Use and Abuse of Food
This is a fascinating chapter. Probably much of it rings true today - but for the "old fashioned" sound of the text. I do not know if current health books would discuss fermentation: "Eating too much starch or sugar food is especially likely to produce fermentation. This is one of the objections to eating more than a very moderate amount of candy. Nearly all fruits are apt to ferment, unless eaten in moderation. An excessive diet of rice or other cereals, potatoes, bread, or pancakes is sure is to cause this fermentation" (131).

(More of this post to come soon!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Favorite Reads of 2009

Early this year, I read what I would consider THE best read of the year - An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: a memoir by Elizabeth McCracken (2008). The author recounts her first pregnancy with her baby boy that was born still beyond full term alongside the experience of her subsequent pregnancy with her second son. It is very powerfully written, in my opinion. Soon after, I finally read The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2004) after a friend had asked a couple of times if I had read it. I have tried FOUR times to read it over the years. This time I stuck with it – it took until around page 40, and then I couldn’t put it down. I refuse to see the movie, however!

This summer, as I exercised in the fitness room (yes, I can read and use the treadmill at the same time!), I read some interesting books. I met the author of The Dust of 100 Dogs, a YA (young adult) book by A.S. King (2009), this past March at the Tucson Festival of Books. The premise of the book is quite interesting: A teenage girl becomes a pirate in the 17th century, and she is eventually cursed to live 100 lives as dogs. When she finally returns in the 20th century as a human, her full focus is to recover the treasure she had buried three hundred years before. I also read, while exercising, The Memoir Club, ‘adult’ (as opposed to YA) fiction by Laura Kalpakian (2003) – a group of unlikely people attend a class to learn how to write their memoirs, and instead it becomes a group merged in friendship (while, meanwhile, working through their varied and many personal issues).

As antidotes to Twilight, I would recommend two of the vampire-themed books I’ve read this year: The Reformed Vampires Support Group by Catherine Jinks (2009) and Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley (2009). Both YA novels have a different take on vampires. The first is about a group of outcast vampires who are trying to lie low and deal with the changes, or the lack thereof, in their lives. The second is about a girl who has grown up with vampire parents, but now she has to make the decision for herself if she is going to become one as well, or not.

I have read some more fascinating nonfiction this year (not YA) such as the following: Storm Warning: The Story of a Killer Tornado by Nancy Mathis (2007) – about tornadoes and the development of the science of meteorology and tornado warning systems-, Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life – new literary criticism that says that LIW’s daughter Rose wasn’t as involved in writing the Little House books as others claim and the reasons why - by Pamela Smith Hill (2007), Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica (2008) – about being a waiter and how tipping is very important, Stitches: a memoir by David Small (this is in graphic novel style) – about the author’s years growing up in a dysfunctional family and his cancer as a teen, Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick (2009) – discusses humorously many favorite YA books mainly of the 1970s and 80s, and Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy (first published in 1973, republished in 2000) – a collection of rather morbid articles, reports and photos from 19th century Black River Falls as well as other Wisconsin locales.

This fall, I discovered several of the old “Career Romances for Young Moderns” in the University of Arizona library. The most entertaining one for me was Miss Library Lady by Ann McLelland Pfaender (1954). Jean has just completed ‘Library School’ and has been guaranteed a position immediately. Many things mentioned in this book are still true in public libraries today (except for the ease of acquiring a job): “As a horrible example she [Jean] added a tattered book that plainly showed wear and tear, plus the greasy imprint of a limp strip of bacon she had discovered tucked into its pages, used by some child as a bookmark" (53).

PS: If you haven’t read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008), I highly recommend it! It won the Newbery Medal earlier this year! A live, human boy is raised by ghosts in a cemetery in this story.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Haven't Posted in Nearly Two Months. . . oof

I will be posting my "Favorite Reads" of 2009 within two weeks or so. . .

I also want to write about/revisit some books I read first as a kid/tween/teen.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Laurie: Physical Therapist (A Career Romance for Young Moderns) by Lois Hobart

Copyright 1957.

This book, like Elaine Forrest, seems to be very well researched, and even carries the stamp of approval from the American Physical Therapy Association. Laurie loved science in school, and decided to use those skills to be become a physical therapist. She couldn't afford medical school to become a doctor, and really did not care to go into nursing. Her parents died in a car accident when she was a young child, and then her aunt raised in Wisconsin. With her first full-time physical therapy position, she moves to Philadelphia, and is terribly homesick at first. She loves her new job, though. She works with patients who have experienced various accidents and illnesses, including several recovering case of polio - and in fact, there is a minor epidemic of polio in the course of the book, because the vaccine has not yet erradicated it as yet. A new orthopedic doctor has come to the hospital, and they work together to photograph the progress of the patients. This doctor is very gruff and guarded at first, so Laurie doesn't know what to think. Will Laurie find out his secrets? Will Laurie quit her job after she marries this doctor? I seem to be left to think that this might happen .

Elaine Forrest: Visiting Nurse by Lois Hobart (A Career Romance for Young Moderns)

Published 1957.

At first, this "Romance for Young Moderns" did not grab me as fast as the others I have read very recently. Elaine is not quite as interesting a heroine - she is rather self-centered and rather snobbish. So, of course, you know she will have to change in the course of the story. Also, she is attempting a long-distance relationship with her fiance. You know that this is not going to go well, either, especially after she meets the very interesting doctoral student Dirk. One thing that held me to this story was the mystery connections that Elaine had to discover over the course of time of her deceased mother to this small town she has moved to. This book is well-researched and seems to be well-written. However, it is too short. . . I actually want to know what happens to Elaine and Dirk get married? I think Elaine keeps working, but there is no hint one way or the other.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Miss Library Lady , a "romance for young moderns"

Miss Library Lady , a "romance for young moderns", by Ann McLelland Pfaender (copyright 1954)

I just discovered this book in the Juvenile Collection at the U of A. I had never read it before, and so of course, I was curious as to what a career-oriented romance from 55 years ago had to share about libraries.

It was really a fun and quick read. It also showed that libraries and their patrons are still much the same. Here is an interesting example:
"Scheduled arrangements were made with the school for the next Monday morning, and after careful preparation Jean started on the long walk to Greenfern School. In a Mexican basket, gay with color, she carried application cards for new membership, a few new books, and some bookmarks. As a horrible example she added a tattered book that plainly showed wear and tear, plus the greasy imprint of a limp strip of bacon she had discovered tucked into its pages, used by some child as a bookmark" (53). (This still happens.)

Jean, who was born in Scotland, moved to the US with her mother as a young child. Now as a successful new graduate from Library School, she automatically gets placed in a library position in the local library system! Wow, how fortunate for the graduates! She wanted the Children's Librarian position open in the main library, but one of the branch managers has specifically requested Jean. She grows to love her new position among a diverse population. Then on a ski trip with friends, she meets a man from Hawaii, who eventually convinces her to move to Hawaii - to a Branch Manager position there that he gets for her. How lucky! Of course, they fall in love with each other, and plan to get married. (It is a very "clean" romance.) She will continue to work after they are married - after all, this is a romance for " young moderns", and women can now work and be married at the same time!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

(Just a brief review. . . )

I really, really enjoyed this book . . . as I have enjoyed some of her other books. I perhaps enjoyed this one even more, but parts of it were quite predictable. Let me just say, without giving too much away, that when I started reading this book about three sisters, I just knew that something fatal would end up happening to one of them. Anyway, I digress. The Story Sisters seem to be very close and in fact, they spoke their own secret language, much to the chagrin of their mother. Actually, it was the oldest Story sister who "learned" the language in the night. . . and seemed to have many issues. . . which evolve into drug abuse problems. I love the tone of the book overall.

There is more to this book, and I do recommend it, but I will just leave it at this.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Short Reviews of Recently Read Books

Honeymoon in Tehran by Azadeh Moaveni
I enjoyed Moaveni's first book, "Lipstick Jihad" a few years ago, and looked forward to this book. "Honeymoon in Tehran" deals with Moaveni's move back to Iran to cover the 2005 presidential election for Time magazine. She meets the man she would marry and have a child with at this time, too. During her early marriage, life began to change for the people in Tehran with Amadinijad as President. Suddenly, restrictions that hadn't been around since the early '80s were were suddenly back and being enforced. Moaveni's relative freedom with her reporting is now coming under scrutiny. The question reverberating throughout the narrative. . . should Moaveni, her husband and son remain living in Iran? This is a very well-written book. There are several portions that are information-laden in terms of life, politics, religion, etc, which I really enjoyed. . . but be aware this is not a "quick, light read" if you are looking for a something of that sort. Personally, I found Moaveni's book more engaging than Tara Bahrampour's _To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America_.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
by Vicki Myron
This is a fun and touching read. It is about the love of a cat, the story of a small town, the story of a library, and the memoir of the author -- who was the library's Director for 20 years. It is an easy read, too, and I highly recommend this book.

The Chosen One by Caroln Lynch Williams
This is a very moving book. . . and, I feel, maybe slightly better written than the comparable "Sister Wife" by Shelley Hrdlitschka. "The Chosen One" is about a nearly 14-year-old girl, Kyra, whose uncle, one of the heads of 'the Chosen Ones' sect, has had a vision, that Kyra is meant to become his next wife. The uncle, her father's older brother, is nearly 60 years old! This sect also kills babies who are in anyway "unfit". . . Kyra has been secretly visiting the county's bookmobile. She knows from newspapers that there is a world "out there" that can help her.

Mercy, Unbound by Kim Antieau
This book deals with anorexia and mental issues from an interesting perspective. . . the protagonist believes she is becoming an angel, and therefore has has no need of food. There is so much more to this little book. I highly recommend it.

One True Theory of Love by Laura Fitzgerald
I was excited to read this book because I loved the author's A Veil of Roses, which I read as soon as my local library received it. The reason I read the that book over two years ago was because my husband is persian, as are the majority of the characters in A Veil of Roses. At the time I read that book, I had no clue that we would be moving to Tucson, where both of these books take place, a year later. One of the strengths of One True Theory is that it is very grounded in place, in setting. Having lived in Tucson nearly a year now, I knew where just about every landmark and intereseciton was located, or even what it looks like. Fitzgerald even mentioned the Persian restaurant Ali Baba, which we are very familiar with (but she did not mention what they ate. . . I would like to imagine that they ate the koobideh kabob, as that is the best item on their menu.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Top Reads of 2008 List

I know, I know, it's pretty late for this, but here it is . . . (In no particular order.)

(A note: My 2008 Top Reads was done in memory our beautiful infant son, Sam, who passed away just a little over a year ago now, April 3, 2008. )

Comfort: A Journey Through Grief by Ann Hood (2008)
“Writing about Grace, losing her, loving her, anything at all, is not linear either. . . Grief doesn't have a plot. It isn't smooth. There is no beginning and middle and end” (53). This is a compact, intense book about the author’s loss of her young daughter from a sudden illness. Very well done, and oh, so true.

Love You to Pieces - Suzanne Kamata, editor (2008)
I received this book as an Advanced Readers Copy from LibraryThing.com as part of their Early Reviewers group. It is a collection of nonfiction essays, excerpts, poetry and short fiction about living with and raising special needs children. I really liked Michael Berube’s “Great Expectations”.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry (2008)A short, fun romp that makes fun of itself! It is a humorous parody of many old-fashioned stories, such as Mary Poppins and any number of orphan stories. Will the children in this story get a happy ending?

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger (2008)
My most favorite book of all I read this year! It is a sweet, intriguing read, and I recommend it to those of nearly all ages. It is a story told alternately by three different teens and the adults in their lives. Please, please read this one! It’s better than TWILIGHT!! (There are also no vampires in this book.)

The Amsterdam Cops: Collected Stories by Janwillem van de Wetering (2000)
This (adult fiction) collection of stories about cops investigating murder mysteries can be laugh-out-loud funny. They are translated well from the original Dutch. The stories, of course, take place in the Netherlands.

These is My Words by Nancy Turner (1997, 2007)
I play in a church bell choir right now with the author! However, I had not known that would be happening when I picked this book up at the library this summer, where it was featured as by a local author. It is about Sarah Prine, in Arizona territory from 1881 to 1901, and her life’s adventures. There are two sequels, but I Iiked this first one the best. The book is very loosely based on Nancy’s great-grandmother’s experiences. It is written in diary format and is intended for an adult audience.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin (2008)
Fiction intended for older teens, I read this book late into the night one night this fall. A teen learns that the women in her family have been cursed for many generations, and that she is destined to have a baby at age 18 and then literally lose her mind the moment the baby is born unless she completes three tasks in the song passed down in her family. Will she be able to finish before it is too late for her? It is based on the lyrics of “Scarborough Fair”.

Paper Daughter: A Memoir by M. Elaine Mar (2000) Grandma Larson loaned this book to me in Jan ’08. I found the memoir fascinating, but was a difficult read at the same time. It is about a Chinese girl/woman growing up mainly in the US, trying to navigate the differences between her home life and outside.

American Band: Music, Dreams and Coming of Age in the Heartland by Kristen Laine (2007)
This adult nonfiction title follows the lives of high school marching band members, their families, and the band director through a season of trying to make it to the top of their class at the Indiana state marching band finals in 2004. The author did an excellent job portraying the efforts of everyone involved.

Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern (2007)
The author started a blog a few years ago about her adventures with food after finding that she can no longer eat gluten, that she has Celiac Disease. I found this book not only appetizing with the recipes and food but humorous in tone. She writes a lot about the processed foods of her childhood.

A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein by Lisa Rogak (2007)
This book is not really intended for kids, even though the cover is designed to look like one of his books of poetry for kids. Mr. Silverstein was quite a private person and it took the author a lot of research and interviews to find all of the information for this well-told biography. I had no idea about several aspects of his life.

Spontaneous Healing by Dr. Andrew Weil (1995)I finally read one of his works because my doctor in Illinois asked last spring if I would be able to see this famous doctor, as he lives in Tucson. I haven’t met him, yet, no, but I can say that I’ve read one of his books now. It was very good, and provides a lot of information about health to think about.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman (2007)
I read this book last December just before Sam was born. It is fiction that I would recommend to older teens and to adults who want to read a truly scary book! It is not horror in a classic sense of the genre, but it becomes horrific in that you may start asking yourself if such a thing will be possible some day. . . read the book to find out what “unwinding” is. Not recommended on a full stomach.