Some days it’s easier to remember why we live here, and today was one of those days. Autumn is just peeking through, painting random leaves and gracing us with bright sunshine and cool, crisp days. The tourists are gone now so there’s no traffic, no need to lock anything, and…
I just returned home from the monthly Bookworms Anonymous meeting and I’m proud to announce we had a historical event at the meeting: THREE books were granted the Bookworms Anonymous Stamp of Approval, and we voted to further categorize the award-winning books so we can have several lists of similar-style books. So far, the categories are: High Literature, Mainstream Literature, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction and Fluff.
The books we stamped tonight, and their respective categories, are:
This book was granted the Stamp of Approval for a few reasons:
1. It’s by Anna Quindlen, one of the few authors we read that require no book review. When someone has a new Anna Quindlen book to pass around, we simply hold it aloft and say in a singsong voice: “It’s the new Anna Quinnnnd-lennnn,” and everyone reaches for it.
2. This particular AQ book caused everyone reading it to gasp aloud at a certain juncture. If you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I can’t say anymore about it.
3. We are all mothers and this book is a heart wrenching tale of motherhood and the worst fears realized.
4. It has an attractive cover. Superficial, I know, but nonetheless important when deciding whether or not to buy or read a book (unless, as mentioned above, it’s written by Anna Quindlen).
5. Every Last One, by Anna Quindlen (yes, I like her name and feel obliged to keep mentioning it) was granted the Bookworms Stamp of Approval in the Mainstream Literature category.
This book was granted the Bookworms Stamp of Approval mainly for its vocabulary and the well developed, complicated characters who populate the book.
Keep a dictionary handy when reading this tome–even a reader with an unnaturally large vocabulary will need to reference at least two words. The writing is rich and distinguished and the speediest reader will find themselves halting mid-paragraph to reflect on a well worded passage or enjoy a turn of phrase.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Murel Barbery, was granted the Bookworms Stamp of Approval in the High Literature category (this category features highly intellectual themes and/or superior vocabulary).
This is the book that precluded the need for Stamp of Approval categories, and the first book in the Fluff category.
It’s a story about a family in the Pacific northwest with three children, all with shades of green for names: Olive, Forest and Jade. The mother is experiencing a midlife crisis and handles it by painting pictures of withered raisins enjoying various human pursuits such as sunbathing and shopping. Forest is living in the wilderness in a primitive shelter and Jade frequently provides food and clothing for him.
It’s a light, engaging story perfect for sandwiching between two heavier subjects populated with delightful characters and funny incidents.
Go ahead, start reading…
All my life I’ve worked inside. I’ve been a waitress, a grocery cashier, a credit union teller, accounting clerk, accounting manager, internal auditor, and an electric utility company member service representative. Now I wear work boots (!!) and have a company truck with a tool box to accommodate my sledge hammer and brush axe. I still have a clipboard. It helps me recognize myself when I picture myself in my mind’s eye slogging through the brush, jumping ditches and annihilating small trees and branches that have committed the crime of blocking my vision from one stake to another.
I’m a staking technician: the person (no longer the ‘guy’) who travels to potential job sites, usually alone, sometimes meeting a homeowner or electrician, to design new electric services, service upgrades or power line extensions or rebuilds. Luckily, I do this in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where the most likely potential threats aren’t man or machine, but wolf or bear. Or domestic dogs, unchained and salivating, rushing to defend their patch of crabgrass decorated with their own leavings. This is where my brush axe becomes a multitasking defense implement that so far I haven’t had to utilize beyond brandishing it in a threatening manner. Dogs are easily impressed with long, swinging sticks with gleaming metal ends.
I’m the first woman to hold this position in my 72-year-old company. I don’t feel as if I’m breaking down barriers, just quietly enjoying the challenges of a physically and mentally demanding job. I’m 40, and I’ve convinced myself it’s a good time of life to drastically switch careers and also to do something outside with the hope of maintaining my slowly ebbing physique. My education is not in engineering but in business management, with very little math, which turns out to be a regrettable disadvantage. But I’m having fun. Each assignment is its own project, much like a puzzle or mind-boggling riddle, and merits its own file filled with color-coded documents and drawings (I’m no artist but my sketches are improving–should have taken drafting as well as trigonometry) with a clear end, when I can close the file and stash it away in the ‘finished’ section of the drawer.
Every day brings a new puzzle requiring a creative solution and I approach it with interest and intensity.