On The Shelf

In an earlier life, I used to read constantly. Some people might mind a 30-minute subway commute but I never did; it was a perfect opportunity to settle into a book and decompress. Since moving and marrying and getting obsessed with the travel blog world and, oh yeah, having a child, I read a bit less. But I still read quite a bit and since I have a short attention span I’m reading several books at once. Some might call that flighty. I call it good time management. Here’s what’s on the table:

Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World. This seemed like required reading for the parents of a burgeoning traveler. Since Maggie will have two passports (a red and a blue) and three continents down before the age of two, I requested it for my birthday. So far I’d recommend it to anyone who is concerned with raising a globally aware, internationally conscious child, but I haven’t finished it so I recommend it with reservation. Who knows, the last pages could suck.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Like any good yuppie, I’m trying to become more aware of food sources, fuel lines, the economics of agribusiness, and how to ethically consume nutrients. Though Tom has a ton of Michael Pollan books around, this seemed like a better introduction to the genre and less likely to give me an eating disorder than In Defense of Food. It’s a pretty, lyrical, and informative read and it has me excited about the prospect of moving to English farming country and basing our meals and shopping around the associated seasons–something that is possible but appallingly difficult and expensive to do in import-dependent Hawaii.

Sorrow Floats. The second of Tim Sandin’s GroVont trilogy, preceded by Skipped Parts and followed by Social Blunders. Edgy humor-slash-despair in a road trip redemption story. This is maybe the tenth time I’ve read it; I always re-read favorite books every year or two. Partly it’s to help with the brain decompression (I don’t know, some people play solitaire on the computer) but a lot of it feels like taking up with an old friend. You find things you missed before.

Eyewitness Travel: Portugal. So, here’s something freakin’ awesome: thanks to this year’s Passports With Purpose fundraiser and our donations, we won a 3-night stay in a luxury hotel in Lisbon and we have to use it in 2011. Luckily, we’ll be living in England by this spring AND only living 45 minutes from a RyanAir terminal. We’ll do a short backpacking trip with Maggie, similar to Japan in style but shorter in length (maybe 5-7 days). Live it up in the city, budget in the country. Also, I’m 1/4 Portuguese (it’s true! I inherited none of the coloring but all of the love of white wine and seafood) so I am pumped to finally visit.

Just finished: The Unschooling Handbook, Teach Me To Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child, Learning All The Time, and The Shining. One of those things is not like the other. Also, as you might have guessed, we’ve come to a decision regarding homeschooling (or as the Brits call it, home-education). We’re going to do it, and we’re going to do it for as long as it works. Hopefully that’s a long time, but if it becomes apparent that the child(ren) would be better served in a traditional learning environment we are receptive to that need. We also see that as the ideal way to continue our travel-heavy schedules in an affordable way without depending on the price-jacked, crowd-heavy school vacation times. Tom is designing a comprehensive U.S. History syllabus, starting with collegiate-level depth and working his way back down to elementary grade levels. He also feels confident based on his teaching assistant experience and economics training that he can do the same with macroeconomics, international relations, and quantitative analysis/statistics. I adore his enthusiasm, but in the meantime I’m working on colors and shapes.

So…now you know. Just one more bit of information for my mental competency hearing. Anyway, what are you reading? Any recommendations?

P.S. The mouse was caught. Sorry, mousie.