Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two more books read

I finished both Eat, Pray, Love over the weekend. I must say I enjoyed this book more than I expected, and not just because she mentions libraries in a positive light about 10 times. I had to work harder than I thought to get through Mayes' book, and Schmoe's, so I was beginning to think travel writing wasn't for me. Gilbert's book, though, had much more narrative, and less description. Gilbert is wise and witty, and her book has a happy ending. She finds a true balance between the spiritual and the physical world, and she finds herself, as well as her prince charming. She makes it clear that she doesn't need a man, nevertheless she is happy to have one. Sort of the way I felt when I took a jacuzzi bath on Sunday. The other thing I liked about the book was that she learned Italian just because she loved it, and thought it was a beautiful language. One of the things I find most frustrating about teaching Spanish is that I mostly teach students who either are taking a language only because they expect it will help them get a job, or because it fits one of the "boxes" they need to check off for their core curriculum requirements. So few enjoy learning for learning's sake.

Preproduction of a movie version of Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts is in the works.

James and I also (finally) finished reading The Geography of Bliss this weekend. Again, this brand of travel writing was much more to my liking than the descriptive passages offered by Mayes and Schmoe. Weiner provides some self reflection, as well as providing readers with a bigger picture as to what might make one happy. Here's a news flash: Money can't buy happiness. Anyway, I rediscovered how much I liked reading aloud with my husband, so much so that I have ordered us another book to read together - Eat My Globe by Simon Majumdar. I picked this one because of its geographic theme, and James is a Geographer, plus a budding foodie. I purchased a copy of this one rather than requesting a library copy because I know that the reading-0ut-loud method takes a while and I don't want the book to come due before we're done. I did order a used copy.

Something that Gilbert wrote about society in Indonesia made me remember what Weiner said about Moldova. Gilbert explains that "...Bali is what happens when the lavish rituals of traditional Hinduism are superimposed over a vast rice-growing agricultural society that operates, by necessity, with elaborate communal cooperation. Rice terraces require an unbelievable amound of shared labor, maintenance and engineering in order to prosper, so each Balinese village has a banjar - a united organization of citizens who administer, through consensus, the village's political and economic and religious and agricultural decisions. In Bali the collective is absolutely more important than the individual, or nobody eats." I remember Weiner's explanation that Moldovans will not work on a collective project, even to benefit themselves. I wonder if that would be different if a basic need, such as eating, were at stake.

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