Friday, January 31, 2014

Humanity and Science Fiction

Warning: A bit of a rant is to follow.


'humanity. love. respect.' photo (c) 2010, B.S. Wise - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Humans with super powers are a very popular stories currently. As I was watching XMen recently, it occurred to me that many of these stories are about finding the limit of humanity. They seem to be raising the question, "What can happen and still keep someone human?" Many of the TV shows, movies, and books tend to portray the 'regular' humans as brutal and violent whereas the 'other' humans are angry and equally violent. For my part I don't reallly like this portrayal. I'm sure it garners many viewers and sells many books. However, it seems an irresponsible representation of a tension that would exist in this case.

XMen and Rivers Edge seems to be a more relaistic interpretation. There are some that take advantage of 'regular' humanity and some that want to protect them. Some have been hurt by 'regular' humanity and act out of that pain. Some have been hurt, but refuse to act with such abandon. Humanity is a complicated group and if some humans gained extra powers it would simply exacerbate these complications that are already there. I simply refuse to believe that both sides of the issue would simply abandon the natural tendencies already in place and the conflict resolution that we already practice. So I wish science fiction would be more responsible in their story telling because I'm really getting annoyed with their current story telling habits.

Anyone else out there agree with me?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Giving them what they want

It came! It came! It finally came! Snow!!



Yes I am aware that my friends and readers in the Midwest and further north are probably not excited about snow. And you might even be a little angry that I am. I understand that and do NOT want your 15 inches and negative temps. You can keep those.

And in no way am I minimizing what our neighboring states and counties are going through. You guys are in my prayers.

I just wanted enough snow to play in and we got that. It wasn't fun being rerouted on the way home yesterday because of an accident and I'm not going to enjoy going to school on Saturday to make up this snow day. But nothing is perfect.

What was perfect was arriving home to see Ben and Drew running around the front yard throwing snow balls at each other and me as soon as I got out of the car. Ben has been dying for some snow. There have been a couple days that we had flurries. He was so excited he grabbed my hat and scarf and was ready to run outside in his pajamas and sock feet. He couldn't wait to go play in the snow. So that day we bundled up and went outside and caught a flake or two. That was about all the play he got. This time around though the snow stuck to the ground and he could really play in it.

As parents we want to give our children what they ask for, especially when it is a vital childhood experience like playing in the snow. I was getting concerned that we wouldn't have any this year. I didn't want to his disappointed face as flowers started to bloom and he realized winter was gone without any snow. I don't have to worry about that because we can look at the pictures and videos we made. We can talk about the experience and relive what it was like to play in the snow.

We can't always give our children what they want because that wouldn't be healthy for them or society. However, sometimes we get the privilege of  giving them what they want and it is a very good thing.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Good Stuff Satruday 1-25



Photos for the week: A ruined castle, A beautiful street in Mexico, A gorgeous mountain lake

Michelle was in my head this week! I often think of this and debate with myself if it is a good thing or not. And then on Friday, she posted this, which speaks to a secret wish of mine.

Sometimes God's plan for our life isn't really what we think it is. Both Judy and Carl reminded me of that this week. I'm not sure why it is so hard for me to be okay with His plan instead of mine.

Jason and David spoke to a balance that I often find myself struggling with. Not the same issue, but 2 issues of which I struggle for balance.

Katie had an inspiring story that reveals a whole new group to whom we should be serving.

Kim's revelation was another instance this week that made me feel like other people think like I do. (Not that I am anywhere near her level of good, but just the idea that the timing isn't right.)

Jamie and Leanne give some good advice for life, but it also applies to the Internet too.

Judy's store is full again! Yay! I already know what I want to order. Now I just have to wait for the money.

I am often disenchanted with the 'fashion' industry for various reasons. This is just one more reason to add to the list. So not fair! Why can't they just want to create clothes to make people beautiful outside just like they are inside.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Reflection on Martin Luther King, Jr.

'Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial -- Washington (DC) September 2011' photo (c) 2011, Ron Cogswell - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In the past, I've been very frustrated with the seeming lack of progress. The distance we are from living that dream. This year, I'm thankful. I see the progress we have made and the things that are working well.

We are certainly not living in peace and harmony with all of those around us. However, there are many interracial couples and children of mixed race or ethnicity. and these people do not need to worry about most of society looking at them askance. In fact, people in general can choose their friends and mates and business associates and anyone else in their lives without many reprecussions.

I am aware that there are still pockets of people and some ethnic traditions that do not allow for certain other people to be a part of their lives. However this is an attitude that society at large does not accept. We have made progress toward Dr. King's dream. Let's not lose this progress in our frustrations with the small sectors of society that have not lived up to their part of the dream.

Celebrate how far we have come and the man who still inspires us to do more!



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 1-18


Photos for the week: Grizzly BearRhinos and ZebrasSea Stars, a Storm on a Lake, and a preserved apartment from 1942

Human Trafficking Awareness Day was this week. There was some great info on Live 58 and on Compassion.

This has made its way around Facebook, so you may have seen it. However it is too good to. It pass on. As a society, we need to get to the place where this is just being a good parent.

Another good parenting tip I read this week. I've even started using it.

A couple thoughts on God and Christianity: Sometimes we are living #DangerDays and sometimes it is a Vicious Cycle.

A wonderful review that brought up a point I had never thought of about one of my favorite books.

Some great writing advice. I really loved this one.

Dreams and chasing them has been a frequent topic on my heart recently, so these questions really stuck with me.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Confessions of a Mother


I am looking forward to the birth of my second child. We got her crib put up this week. It seems like everything is in place. The only thing we are waiting on is the little girl. Understandably we are excited. Ben talks to my belly often as does Drew. Drew loves feeling her kick or stretch inside my belly. I talk to her some and giggle at her often. Out of all these things and all the wonderful baby things I have forgotten to mention, I think the thing I'm looking forward to the most is the confidence of knowing what I'm doing. When kids are that little, you feed them, change their diaper, and put them to sleep. It isn't easy work. In fact my previous experience says it is exhausting. However it is pretty straight forward. You don't have to worry about them saying the wrong thing. You don't have to worry about biting or licking or fighting. You don't have to worry about keeping them entertained or engaged. You don't have to worry about them eating too much or not enough. You don't have to bribe them to eat their vegetables. You don't have to worry about them drinking too much juice and not enough milk or water.

Part of me is ready for this baby so I know what is going on. I am ready for this baby so I feel like a good mother again and to feel useful.

Being the mother to an almost 5 year old is hard. I have to always be on my game to make sure he is learning all the right things at the right times. I have to pay attention to make sure he isn't learning the wrong things. I need to know how to play with him. How much should be educational? How much should be fun? What does he consider fun? I always feel like I am being a bad mother for one reason or another. I have difficulty feeling like I provide for him adequately. Do I spend enough time with him? Am I teaching him good habits?

Of course, I am not in this alone. My husband is a wonderful father and is so awesome at playing with Ben. And in no way am I saying that I don't love my son or enjoy him. I'm simply saying it's hard to be a mom to a growing boy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Book Preview



I recently wrapped up my favorite books from 2013. I thought it might be fun to tell you what I'm looking forward to in 2014.

River Deep and Soul of Storm by Erin Keyser Horn
DUH! I don't really need to say more.
And there are a few others besides Erin's books that I'm looking forward to reading. So here are a few others.

From my bookshelves:

Introverts in Church by Adam S. McHugh Being an introvert and having been to many different churches in my life. I'm looking forward to seeing what this can teach me.

The Slaves Have Names by Andi Cuombo-Floyd I am intrigued by reading about the 'unknowns' that have lived on this property. The everyday stories of people living their everyday lives does make a difference. I hope this proves my theory.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt As I am dedicating myself to this blog again and to writing more, this seems like a pretty important book to read. I just hope it doesn't stress me out too much.

A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett A long time ago, I read Where is Joe Merchant? and it was awesome. I have high hopes for this one too.

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis I know this is a classic and I'm kicking myself that I haven't read it yet. This year I plan to fix that.

Gringos in Paradise: An American Couple Builds Their Retirement Dream House in a Seaside Village in Mexico by Barry Golson I started this one and lost steam awhile back. The setting was cool and the characters/people were realistic. I think I just got tired of the memoir in a different country. So I'm ready to start again.

From my Kindle: (I have lots more than these on there. I probably should want to read more than 3.)

Firefly beach by Meira Pentermann I'm a sucker for someone uncovering a mystery tied to the past. The fact that this one is in Maine (one of my favorite settings) and involves a hiddne beach makes me excited to read it.

Finding Poe by Leigh M. Lane Yes another uncovering a mystery tied to the past. This one involves Edgar Allen Poe and a lighthouse.

Henrietta Street by J.D. Oswald  Two of these people are real people and is told from 4 different voices. Artists and abolitionists and London. Yep, this looks good.

From Goodreads:

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard I don't know much about James Garfield, but the madness, murder, and medicine make me want to learn.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot A woman who's cells helped with in vitro fertilization, cancer, and polio as well as advancing cloning, gene mapping and understanding the atom bomb. I want to know more about that.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman Everyone is raving about this book, so that helps. I like the books about rediscovering your past when you are an adult and seeing it a little differently than you saw it then.

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson I'm new to the memoir/food book genre. Maybe this one doesn't fit into that category. But as a woman who finds myself living in the South and becoming a little bit more Southern every day, I want to see what this one can teach me.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux This one seems similar to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, except a little older. I want to read it even though I know it is one of a series that hasn't all come out yet. I really don't like having to wait because in the waiting time, I care less about getting the next one. (Consequently, #2 for Miss Peregrine as well as Amber House are not on this list. Maybe I'll get excited later.)

My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (With Recipes) by Luisa Weiss Another memoir/food book. I don't plan on making any of the recipes just like I didn't with Bread and Wine. However I enjoyed that book and figure I might enjoy this one too. Besides learning about German food will be cool.

Theology in Aisle Seven: The Uncommon Grace of Everyday Spirituality by Carolyn Arends I'm wanting to capture the magic of everyday better. So I think ths one will do quite nicely.

Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room by Matt Appling Another one that seems like it will help refocus on the magic of everyday as well as help me see the connection between my creativity and my spirituality a little better.

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James  Discovering a mystery about the past and a vengeful ghost. It sounds promising.

Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan A bookstore that is more than just a bookstore. That always makes for an intriguing setting.

Author to rediscover:

Carol Goodman I read the first two or three of her books and loved them. They are about discovering the truth of the past. They are a little dark and always involve some fabulously beautiful creative venture. Somehow I lost track of her books. Now I see in the intervening years I have missed 4 books. So I have a little catching up to do.

Finish:

The Charter by Gillian E. Hamer A book about rediscovering the distant past that still impacts her present life. It sat on my Kindle shelf for too long. I'm enjoying it. Now I could find the time to read more than a few pages at a time I would be happy.

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley A friend recommended this one and I loved it, but it was overdue at the library. So I returned it. Now to get back to the library, pay my fine and finish the book.

Possible rereads:

The Bread of Angels: A Memoir of Love and Faith by by Stephanie Saldana I had read some not so great reviews of this book, but I really loved it. I loved the way she explained the other religions she encountered and how she found her own faith which led her to love. I feel like there is still so much to educate my own faith here. So I might come back to this one.

The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison The stories she tells and the life she is living is further along than where I currently am. However, I found this book to give me peace with the process of getting there. It helped me gain a bigger perspective than just 'my toddler is driving me nuts today.' I saw how he will grow up, so take advantage of what you had and take hope in what is to come. With a little one to be born soon, I think this might be a good book to revisit.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 1-11



Just one photo for today. A polar bear.

Enjoy today while you are chasing your dreams.

Resolutions or no resolutions? This might be a solution.

Blessings sound good, but are we really good at accepting them?

There is much here and I can't really process it all today. So I'm putting a record of it here for me to come back to.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How not to unclog a drain

'Drowning Ant' photo (c) 2009, Bailey Weaver - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

We have been living in our house for about 3 years now. For those 3 years we have had slow drains that clog on a seemingly regular basis. Part of it is our own fault. We don't have a garbage disposal in our kitchen and we manage to forget that. We put food in the drain anyway. Not a lot, but just enough to slow it down after a few weeks. That drain we try to do better about and we are getting there. However, the drain in our full bath clogs with regularity and we really don't know why. We wash our hands and brush our teeth there. How does that slow down and sometimes clog up the drain? The answer is probably that we have crappy pipes and need some new ones, but let's be realistic. We attempt to take care of them, but inevitably we have to use some method to unclog the drains. 

We have tried the stuff you can buy and it kinda works, but isn't awesome. So I decided to try something different. Baking soda and vinegar. How hard can it be right?

Wrong!

I looked at a website with a recipe and tried that. (Yes. Just one. And yes I realize that is part of my problem.) It fizzled, but didn't really do anything. So I clicked on a different site that had a few more instructions. The baking soda amount was tripled, but the vinegar amount stayed the same. I thought, "Wow. If the baking soda was that far off, no wonder it didn't do anything." So I put more in and it started coming out of the drain. Then I thought, "Uh oh. I don't think this is right." I put the vinegar in the drain. Well on it more than in it. It fizzled and the drain was still clogged with baking soda. So I put more in the drain and then put the cap on the drain. I left it for 30 minutes and ran semi warm water through the drain. It was still clogged. I put more vinegar in it and waited 30 more minutes. More water and still clogged. I ran out of white distilled vinegar and used apple cider vinegar.
Nothing seemed to be happening. So I left it alone.

I finally went to bed and was later awoken to my husband trying to fix the drain. I felt bad and went back to sleep thinking I would apologize in the morning. In the morning, I got up and saw small white flecks around the room. I realized he had tried to get the baking soda out of the drain with a hanger. And there was still some packed in there. I felt bad again. So later I emailed him to apologize and tell him I would pick up the right vinegar to try again.

That night or maybe the next, I don't remember, Drew tried it. Except he read various websites and had a better idea of what to do. He had the right recipe AND you have to pour boiling water down the drain. I missed that part. If I had read more sites, I might have known that. Thankfully, Drew is a better researcher than me. So he did that a couple times and it didn't seem to be moving much.

So Drew finally got the idea to see what else we could do to unclog the drain. He found a great solution. Use a plunger. He did that and the drain was unclogged in seconds. He came to the kitchen and unclogged that slow drain. He was ready to unclog more, but we were out of slow drains. I'm sure we'll work up to another slow drain soon though. Thankfully now we know how to fix it.

Are you as handy around the house as I am?


Monday, January 6, 2014

One Word 2014: Rest

Looking back at how 2013 went I see how much rest God was forcing into my life. So I'm going with it and that's my word for 2014. (More about the one word movement here.)

I want to focus on putting my time and energy where it matters and letting go of things that don't matter so much. I don't have to do everything that comes my way. Just because someone asks me to do something doesn't mean I have to say yes. It's okay to say no. It's okay to not have enough time. It's okay to sit back and do nothing sometimes. Yes the house gets dirty and dishes pile up, but sometimes sitting to watch a movie with my family is more important than picking up all that. I don't have to do every chore that needs to be done in at one time. I can do a little and take a break. I can work little by little and get it all done. So I'm going to rest.

'psalm 23' photo (c) 2009, khrawlings - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Psalm 23
The Lord is my sheperd, I lack nothing.
He makes me like down in green pastures,
he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

However, I've managed to commit myself to no less than 4 things this month. 1. A photo a day project. 2. Write 500 words a day for 31 days. 3. A dinner party here at our house. 4. A church Bible study. However, if I don't complete them, it's okay. So maybe I still need to work on what rest means, but maybe I'm on the right track. I suppose we'll see where this word takes me.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 1-4


Photos of the week are underwater in Australia and a snowy day in Romania

A really great reflection on 2013 

Even though this says resolutions, it's more like 3 rules to live by. I need to remember these!

Another post about resolutions. It's a year old now and I've probably shared it before, but it showed up in my feed reader again and it is worth reading again.

Some thoughts on prayer from Carl and some thoughts on apologies from some cowboys.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Best Books of 2013

I'm going to try to narrow it down to 10 AND put them in order! I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy today. Head over there and check out a bunch of other book recommendations.

First of all, I'm going to say that it was hard for me to make this list. Not because I read so many good books or because I read so many bad books. I am awful at keeping track of when I have read a book. I know that I have a Goodreads account and I did better this year than last year. However, that isn't saying much. So I clicked on my end of the year review thingy on Goodreads and I'm left thinking, "Didn't I read that this year? Is this really all of them?" I had to go back and add a few that I'm sure I read this year. There were some others that I wasn't sure about, so I left them out. I can say that I am really passionate the first 5. The last 5 were good and parts of them that stuck with me. However, I'm not sure that I would go back and read them again this year or for maybe several years. (I don't reread books very often.)

1. River's Edge by Erin Keyser Horn
River's Edge

By now you guys should know how I feel Erin's writing. If not, the fact that I have two of her books on this list should give you a hint. I really wanted to go back and reread this book just about as soon as I put it down. This is one of my all time favorite books ever!! The character is so realistic and her issues resonate with me, even if I can't completely understand. I am not turning into a monster from Slavic mythology. The fact that I didn't know anything about Slavic mythology before hand helped to interest me. The mythological characters are intriguing and addictive. I just can't get enough of them or seeing them get outwitted by Kasia. And I just love Kasia and Blayne, as individuals and as a couple. Plus the questions raised by Kasia about God are seeded deep in the heart of most people. Each person has to come to the answer on their own terms and Kasia is no different. I can't wait to read how she does that in the sequel, River Deep. If you like paranormal, romance, environmentalism, or legends, buy this and read it several times.

2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit

Yes, I really haven't ever read the book before this year. I knew a lot boys liked it, so I mistakenly assumed that I wouldn't like it. I'm pretty sure I came by that assumption in 7th grade, so I probably should have read it earlier. I was enchanted by the way he lured you into Middle Earth. I was enthralled by the action without being put off by the hurt the characters experienced. I could see the places he was talking about and the people he was describing. If you are interested in fantasy, epic journeys, or classic literature, read this now.

3. Fast Food Vindication by Lisa Tillinger Johansen
Fast Food Vindication

In a world of food books that demand avoiding this food and including this and never that and some of the other on the second Tuesday of months that begin with J, this one was so normal. I don't mean to be rude to anyone who might live your life according to a specific set of food rules. If you do, that's awesome and I'm so glad you have the self discipline and plan-ahead-ive-ness to do that. I am incapable of doing that. Besides the fact that I don't have the desire, I also don't plan ahead that well. AND when I can't ever have a something, it is all I can think about. So when I need to eat better and healthier, I need some regular anyone can do it solutions. This has them and more! It has a realistic view of how to eat out from a perspective of calories, of finances, and of professions. I just can't say enough how realistic the approach is and how easy it can fit in to ANYONE's lifestyle. If you are interested in business, food, nutrition, or a balanced approach, read this and feel more in control of your world.

4. Wings of Thunder by Erin Keyser Horn
Wings of Thunder (The Thunderbird Legacy, Book 2)

So this is the second of Erin's books on my list AND the second one in the Thunderbird Trilogy.  This book is paced SOOOO well. Nothing is held back for 'dramatic effect'. Also there is also information that is held back, but that information doesn't need to be revealed. I just can't get over how well paced it is. Also, Erin does a magnificent job of expressing the pain the characters go through without making you feel the pain. It reminds me of The Hobbit like that. There is pain, but I am not so close to it that I have to stop reading it and deal with that pain before moving on. There are so many series' that are not paced well or have annoying characters or are over dramatic or are too full of pain to read. This is not one of them! If you like romance, legends, family stories, supernatural, or young adult, buy this one now! (And make sure you pick up book 1 too.)

5. I am Ruth: A Story of Loss, Love, & Redemption by Kenneth Berg
I Am Ruth: A Story of Loss, Love, & Redemption

This is a series of photos with the story of Ruth from the Bible. It also includes some information about the Jewish people and history to provide a wider setting for Ruth. The pictures are amazing! Ruth and Naomi, et. al. become real people. The story of Ruth jumps off the pages. More than that, the person of Ruth jumps off the page. She has become more than a story to me. She has become almost like a friend. Her life has become an inspiration and a constant reminder of the provision of God and the room in His Kingdom for anyone willing to seek him. If you are interested in reading about the ancient world, women, or the Bible, get this one. If you like looking at photos that tell a story, get this one.




6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

This book explained introverts and extroverts to well! I can recognize when I need a bit of quiet time for instance. I don't feel the need to apologize for it either. I am an introvert which means certain things will stress me out. However, there are other things at which I will excel. Neither group is better than the other because each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. This book has changed the way I see myself and made more comfortable with being an introvert. If you are interested in human personality and the effect on a person and society, read this one.

7. Death of a Glutton/Greedy Woman (Hamish MacBeth #8)  by M.C. Beaton
Death of a Greedy Woman

Yes this is one of a series. I think that series is up to about 28 right now. You can start anywhere in the series and read them in any order. I love that about them. The setting is Highlands of Scotland and Hamish MacBeth is charmingly unambitious. Well not exactly unambitious, but he has no ambition to 'climb the ladder.' I have read several of the books in this series, but this one stuck with me because the description of the way this woman ate was so accurate and disturbing. I'm not sure why that made me enjoy it, but I did. I haven't read one that I didn't like, but this one is really great. If you like a rural foreign setting, mysteries, or detectives, pick this one up.

8. Amber House  by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed
Amber House (Amber House, #1)

I picked this one up at our school book fair at a discount. I didn't realize it was part of a trilogy at the time. I generally prefer to wait and read them when the whole series has already come out. I also prefer to borrow them from the library or another person, so I don't have to buy all the books in case I don't like them. So I didn't have high hopes for this book. However, it surprised me. The characters are well written and at times sympathetic and at time annoying. You can't write any of them off and you can't separate them into groups of love and hate. They go back and forth between the two. This is also another well paced book. Secrets are revealed at a reasonable pace. It is not drawn out for the purpose of writing more pages. The story has a natural trajectory that makes it enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the next book. If you like young adult, books about family secrets, or paranormal, you will enjoy this one.

9. Secret Gospel of Ireland: The Untold Story of how Science and Democracy Descended from a Remarkable Form of Christianity that Developed in Ancient Ireland by James Behan & Leo Behan
The Secret Gospel of Ireland: The Untold Story of How Science and Democracy Descended from a Remarkable Form of Christianity That Developed in Ancient Ireland

I love the history packed into this book. The history of Christianity as well as the cultures it encounters along the way. There are people that you have heard of that shaped Christianity and there are people you have not heard of that shaped Christianity. There are multiple ancient civilizations that shaped Christianity as well. I had no clue that Christianity came from so many places and people. Although there is a heavy focus on Ireland, there is much information from ancient Roman civilizations in Africa as well as Roman Europe. There is also information from across medieval Europe. We are taken from St. Augustine to Thomas Jefferson, from ancient Rome to modern America, from the sun revolving around the Earth to the scientific method. Maybe 'The Dark Ages' weren't so dark after all. If you  like reading about Christianity or history, you will enjoy this one.

10. Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
Yes, Chef: A Memoir

I don't read many biographies or memoirs, but an Ethiopian boy raised in Sweeden trained to become a chef and now living in Harlem was too tempting to pass up. There is so much information packed into this book about what is needed to become a world class chef. I had no clue! It really puts "Chopped" and other shows into a whole new light. Most of the focus of the book is about his training and career as a chef and his relationship with food. I think that is what you would expect from a memoir with the above title. He does touch on some more personal incidents in his life, but he doesn't stay there long or use too many words about them. Some have taken issue with this. For my part, I assumed he was protecting the privacy of those in his life that did not wish to become famous like he is. I didn't feel it took anything away from the book. He also talks a bit about the development of Harlem, which was also eye opening. If you like reading about food, the restaurant business, other cultures, or racial issues, you would find something to like in this one.