Friday, September 19, 2008

My Secret Vice

I consider myself a fairly measured person. I don't do much to excess. Well, that's not entirely true. I have a deep and abiding love of cake. Any kind of cake- made from scratch, cake mix cake, wedding cake, pound cake, frosted cake, cupcakes- you put me and cake in the same room, and somethings gonna happen, I promise you that.

I have also been very public about my long and valiant struggle with Diet Pepsi (Diet Pepsi is currently winning BTW, and I'm not even pretending to fight it until I have this book written). Although I have started making my own iced coffee in an effort to replace diet pepsi, instead have added a couple of iced coffees a day to my caffeine intake.

I further admit that I very rarely see a cute lamb or baby goat for sale without whipping out my checkbook. I may be the only woman in the world who can resist shoe sales but can't drive past a livestock auction without getting all twitchy.

But I have been very open about all those addictions.  But my real vice, the one I never talk about and only even admit to myself when my credit card statement come is...books. I have an insatiable, unquenchable thirst for books.

In my defense, I am a very fast reader (not Deb fast, but still) and I usually have three or four books going at a time. So I go through them really quickly and always need more. Not having something to read with me at all times is one of my greatest fears. I would hate myself if I ended up at, say, the DMV without a book in my bag. It has happened before, so now I take precautions. And I am seriously considering asking for this for Christmas.

I am telling you all this because I am making one enormous exception to my handmade holiday rule and that exception is for books. I will be giving lots and lots of books as gifts this season and I'd like to share a few of my old and new favorites with you.

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders and Lane Smith 
This is one of my very favorite books of all time ever. Technically it's a children's book but there is a message here that most of us need to be reminded of regularly. The heroine is a plucky, can-do girl named Capable whom I admire so much that I named one of my first sheep after her. Oh, and there are goats in the story. Dairy goats, but still...

The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
I've only had this book for a few days but it is already one of my favorites. If you have kids and want them to grow with a good understanding of where their food comes from, this book is for you. In addition to recipes there are all kinds of cool projects, like growing a potato crop in a large plastic trash can. When it's time to harvest you just tump out the trash can on the ground and let your kids dig for the potatoes. I want to do that! I will be giving this book to a couple of friends with kids this season.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
I am reading this now and it is fantastic. It's recommend for ages 9-12 but it is so well written, so thoughtful, that I promise you will enjoy it, as will any actual 9-12 year-olds you know.

The Wee Free Men Series by Terry Pratchett
A fabulous series for tweens but also very, very well written and entertaining for adults. And there are sheep in them. There are three books in the series so far- The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith. These books filled the gapping hole left by the end of the Harry Potter books for me. All three are available in paperback and the whole set makes a lovely gift.

I learned so much from this book! Great pictures, great patterns and the how and why of all kinds of fibers. Every knitter would love to find this book wrapped up in beautiful paper.

The Lace Reader: A Novel by Brunonia Barry
An excellent novel set in Salem Mass. I cheated on this one and listened to it on my iPod while doing farm chores and on the treadmill. I enjoyed this book immensely.

And of course I will be giving lots of copies of I'm Lucy: A Day in the Life of a Young Bonono  by my friend Mathea Levine as gifts to all the little people on my list. Obviously I love this book, but the fact that the profits from it go to help save the bonobos makes this one a twofer. I hope that those of you who entered the giveaway but didn't win will consider adding this book to your holiday lists.

There are dozens more books I want to share with you and I will over the coming weeks. 



Sam said...

Don't get that! You can only read a specific format on that - get this:

I've got one - it's great and you can even get a deluxe package with a spare battery!

There's a forum where you can read user opinions on e-book readers, it's at


--Deb said...

Don't let it worry you--not everyone can read as fast as I can!

And--cake? I'm so with you. I LOVE cake. If you ever come to visit, I'll bake you a cake. (Heck, if I can figure out the logistics, I'll bring you one if I ever get to come visit you!)

Viki said...

Weird. That is the second recommendation to the River Cottage Family cookbook I've read on a blog this week. It is now firmly placed into my Amazon basket because that potato thing sounds way too cool.

Joan said...

1. Audiobooks are NOT cheating. They are a whole other experience, highly addictive, and definitely better than doing things without being able to read at the same time. I always have 2 audiobooks (1 in the car, 1 in the house/gym) and at least 1 or 2 regular books going at all times.
2. Glad to hear about the cake thing - I was debating what to bring to the potluck next weekend - now I think I'll bring some bread and cake as well.
3. Did you know that you can get downloadable audio books as well as ebooks from your public library (see - huge selection, like Aladdin's treasure cave.

Joanb said...

Susan - for a second there when reading your post about cake and books I thought my daughter Deb had written it. You two seen eerily alike :)

JSchwa said...

Great ideas. I love those tween books, they are quick reads and always delightful (not always, but the good ones are). I've sent some of these off to my father & mother (a librarian) to possibly give us at Xmas. Hey, when you're kids are in their 30' need ideas?

I am contemplating giving my mom a Spring Share. She would love it, I bet she'd really want to fly up from AR to the Shearing day, but I don't know if she would. We used to live up that way a long time ago.(Newport, RI)

mira said...

Ooooh, I definitely understand about the books. I have often thought of putting a sign over my front door that says, "Dessy Free Library Association" just because...well...we probably have that many books. But I'm culling the collection because in my new smaller house I have no room. Shoulda thought of that before downsizing I guess,

Luckily yarn squishes!

Knitting Painter Woman said...

I was a children's librarian in an earlier era. Can't wait to find Gappers of Frip!
Loved The Lace Reader.
And would recommend The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, too. No sheep or goats that I remember, but dogs. Amazing dogs. And Shakespearian levels of tragedy that made me grateful for what I have.
Thanks for this post.

abeesley said...

Thinking of goats and books, have you ever read The Goat in the Rug by "Geraldine," AKA Charles L. Blood and Martin Link, illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker? I loved this book as a kid, and still do. It's about a Navajo rug weaver and her goat, Geraldine. The book is from Geraldine's point of view, and captures the whole process of weaving the rug, from shearing to spinning to dyeing and weaving. The illustrations are adorable and humorous as well. I enjoy it that much more now, reading about your goats.

Jenny Girl said...

I love books. I can't walk past the library without going in. I'll have to take you up on some of these suggestions.

Anonymous said...

my moms favorite cake recipe: chocolate cake mix, can of cherry pie filling, half a bag of chocolate chips mixed up and baked as usual, topped with chocolate butter cream.

i love cake