Christmas With Bibliophiles

Hello again!  Aaron and I just returned from an energizing holiday weekend in Iowa.  I’d like to thank the Iowa winter for its complimentary drill in snow-storm driving — Kansas has been making me soft.

As we gradually get back into the swing of things, I just want to tell you all shortly & sweetly about our Christmas spent with bibliophiles.  Some families give each other clothing, electronics, toys, and gadgets, but in our family we see a ton of books come out from underneath the tree.  Here’s a quick recap of what we all gave & got:

Regretsy Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF 

I hadn’t heard of the Regretsy blog before, but they had me immediately at the Fish-in-a-Squirrel-Suit Taxidermy and the Phallic Chapstick Cozy.  The sublimely awful DIY projects chronicled here have all been actually listed — and yes, even bought — on Etsy, some for several hundred dollars.  It kind of defies explanation; you just have to see it for yourself.

The Veganomicon The Veganomicon 

My step-sister and I got to geek out about meatless eating over the holidays.  Although we never got around to making that tofurkey, we did commiserate about all the mashed potatoes we ended up eating for dinner.  She squealed when she opened up this book from her sister, and I’m dying to check out what’s in-between the covers!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 

I first heard about this fascinating book on an episode of one of my favorite public radio shows, RadioLab.  As the story of the woman who posthumously — and unknowingly — contributed cancerous cells for one of the very first stem cell experiments, I think it suits my physician-bibliophile brother very well.

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Becoming an Avoider-of-Meat

I blame it all on a book.  Specifically, I blame it on The Omnivore’s Dilemma by one Michael Pollan, which I read in March of 2008.  I remember this clearly, because I was visiting my dad in Colorado for a little late-season skiing.  We are both terrible skiers, but I do remember trying to chat my dad up about grain elevator politics during the Carter administration.  It wasn’t the most lively discussion, but I guess not everyone can get excited about grain elevator politics.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan pursues three meals by getting down and dirty with “three principal food chains”: industrial (think fast food), organic (think friendly neighborhood co-op), and hunter-gatherer (think hunting wild pigs).  For his hunter-gatherer meal, Pollan actually traipses into the wilderness with a shotgun to win his dinner of wild boar and chanterelles with his own two hands.  He concludes that this hunter-gatherer meal is the most gratifying of the three, largely because the path from sun to energy to human is so honest and direct.

Readers, this planted a pernicious little seed in my brain.

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