In my December 9th post, I was cheerfully optimistic that I could get back to my goal weight on my own. No need for outside help for me! Even so, my self confidence kept colliding with the heavy weight of my previous failed efforts. "I (might) need the discipline of a structured program to get myself moving (in the right direction)," I admitted. "I'll get a sense of which version is true in the weeks ahead." The jury is in and I'm going back to Weight Watchers. The numbers this morning were the same as three weeks ago. It seriously sucks rodents when a 5'4" woman considers herself lucky that the scale shows a weight of only 203.5 lbs.
On December 20th, I was deriding old wives. I had decided to work on a Christmas project in the garage with the garage door open despite my sniffles and cough and the chill weather. The idea "that 'you can catch a cold from cold weather' is an 'old wive's tale,' "I wrote adding that they were "not the most knowledgeable of old wives at that." One dismisses the wisdom of old wives at one's own peril. My cold got worse after playing elf in the garage. Matt and I had to miss the family Christmas celebration because I was too sick to attend. Ditto New Year's Eve. For the first time in years, we had plans for the night. Instead we're staying home. Matt has tossed a few "I told you so's" in my direction. I shoulda listened when he told me to stay in our nice warm house.
A few book reviews:
Well, at least being sick has given me some reading time. Unfortunatley I've nodded off much of the time, but here are a few notes about the books that I've been reading:
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan tells the story of the great environmental, economic, and human tragedy that occurred in the Great Plains during the Great Depression. This is a history rather than a historical novel, yet the individuals whose struggles Egan's describes, become alive in his telling their stories. A compounding tragedy is that the land still bares the scars of man's abuse of it and that, even with this knowledge of prior devastation, we continue to ravage the earth. I heartily recommend this engrossing book.
Set in Cairo around the time of the first Gulf War, The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany, tells the story of a highly varied cast of individuals who lives intersect through their connection to this building. The roof dwellers, the poorest of the residents, include a young, aspiring policeman who is drawn to the jihadists when his dreams are shattered. Other plot lines involve the gay editor of a French language newspaper, an aging playboy whose sister is trying to get him declared incompetent so that she can have his share of their inheritence, and a number of (redundancy alert) corrupt politicians . Though the plot lines of this book are strong and the characters are well defined, the thing that I found most compelling was the sense of claustophobic oppression that those in the underclass experience as their daily due. For a sense of this experience, I recommend this book.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is the story of 9 year old Liesel Meminger, and her foster family in Nazi Germany. The narrator is Death. I initially found this to be quite a distraction because Death seemed to have a child's voice. After the first hundred pages or so, I found that the unintentional humor and irony of the narrator, Death, softened the edges of a trully horrific era. The characters were multi-faceted and the events vividly portrayed. The ending surprised me. The book is a major page-turner. At times, I almost literally couldn't put it down.
My expecatations for The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch were way too high. I had seen Diane Sawyer's interview with the author and had bookmarked his lecture on my computer, but had never gotten around to watching it. I decided to read the book instead. A mistake. From the bits that I have seen of the video, the man himself is the inspiration. The book has much wisdom in it, but would have been more appropriate for a younger, more goal oriented me. I've given it as gifts to my daughter and my son + his wife. My daughter has already read and enjoyed it. I expect my son and his wife will enjoy it as well.
Snow by Orhan Pamuk is the book that I'll be reading next. I'm drawn to it because of the back cover description: "An exiled poet named Ka returns to Turkey and travels to the forlorn city of Kars. His ostensible purpose is to report on a wave of suicides among religious girls forbidden to wear their head scarves." Pamuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006. Margaret Atwood's recommmendation of the book on its front cover carries much weight with me. We shall see if this author joins the many whose works are "must reads" for me.
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