February Book It

February reading listphoto credit

Tutoring is a fun way to earn a bit of extra income from the home while investing in the lives of students. I currently teach literature and writing and love it.

Not only is the switch from Suess to Shakespeare refreshing for me, my toddler Rosalind loves getting to serve “the guys” cookies and jabbers about them constantly. They are dedicated students and keeping abreast of all the reading and writing required provides a stimulating challenge.

But, taking Fish Mama’s challenge, one of my goals for this year is to delve into the written treasures that fall beyond the pale of literature.

From February’s bookshelf:

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan:

The book is as intriguing as the title. Why on earth does food need to be defended? Pollan answers that so much of our Western diet is highly processed food substitutes. Not food.

We need to return to the simpler real cooking of our grandmothers or great-grandmothers. To a time before our food was transformed into a genetically modified highly processed industrial affair.

The illustration that resonated with me was margarine. It’s an industrial substitute for butter. They can change the components depending on the latest fads and make it low cholestral or trans fat free. Consumer whims determine the ingredients.

The overall mantra is: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

The second point is one that I’ve been trying to incorporate. When you go to fancy restaurants, the servings are small and you’re supposed to eat your food slowly. Savor it. That’s what we should do on a daily basis. Savor the blessing of food, not gorge on it.

All Things Considered by G.K. Chesterton:

If you’ve never read Chesterton, add him to your book list. He was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century and created masterpieces of detective fiction and epic poetry, biographies and persuasive treatises. Even when you disagree with him, his wit forces you to think and his jubilance spills from the page.

With essays ranging from “Woman” to “British Street Names”, this collection showcases Chesterton’s ability to take trivial subjects and spin them in a way that leaves you laughing and amazed. Laughing at the wild bigness of Creation and our futile attempts to make it small and amazed at the universal truths gleaned from trifling matters.

He takes political secrecy to task in one essay and claims that there are three legitimate reasons for secrecy: first, you keep something secret to make the revelation more exciting (like hide and seek). Second, secrets are acceptable in areas that everyone knows about but that are sacred and private (like love). The last area really isn’t for secrets, it’s for those things that we do without giving the action a second thought (like why you decided to turn left on your walk, not right). Then he applied political secrets (and bribery) to each of these categories. What if all political secrets were secrets simply to make it more exciting when revealed to the public? or if the inner workings were done without a second thought?

Sadly, political secrets form a different category: secrets that shouldn’t be secrets.

On March’s bookshelf: Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl and Second Mile People

[Full Disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

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  1. says

    I love Chesterton’s fiction. I’ve never been brave enough to tackle the non-fiction. Guess I better try. 😉

    Your food book sounds good, too. Thanks for the recs.

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