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.