Nautie Books :: The Dirty Life

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The Dirty Life: A Memoir On Farming, Food and Love

This book drew me right in.  

A couple years ago I watched the movie Food, Inc. It graphically imaged what I already knew about food...that we can no longer trust where it comes from. Shortly after seeing the movie I picked up the book The Omnivore's Dillema (which I highly recommend).  Right on the tail of suddenly feeling incredibly paranoid about where my food was coming from I hopped on a container ship. Reading the cargo manifest one day I realized we were shipping 'organic soybeans' in one of the refrigerated containers from China to California. I was horrified. I mean, seriously, the rain in China is probably toxic!! 

This book warned my heart - I knw. So cliche.  I felt so proud of these two young farmers. Like, take that you impossibly organic soybeans being repackaged and rebranded being bought up by the masses at Trader Joes!!!  Boom!  Essex Farm makes their own compost!  Take that!

Plus, there's a love story and recipes. I mean seriously. A farm. A man who cooks. A woman who drives a team of horses. Maple syrup.  

I'm currently at sea and I have to say there's something about reading about dirt in the middle of the ocean.  

Kristin Kimball couldn't have done a better job telling this story.  

Here's a great article about the book if you'd like to read more before picking it up! 

What's on your nightstand these days? 

 

 Remember way back when we had a book club?  I miss those days...I just don't miss them enough to commit to a book a month. How's that for honest?  That being said, I love a good book!  I also love when a friend recommends a good book. Let's do that sometimes! 

Nautie Books :: March 2014 - When Things Fall Apart

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Ahem, none of you noticed that I dropped the ball for a book selection in February!  Where are my fellow bookworms?!

Luckily, Marilyn was to the rescue and dropped a book title in the comments just in time.

Meet March's selection:

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron is is an American Buddhist Nun but she's currently in Nova Scotia at the Gampo Abbey.  I like her just by looking at her photo.

Here's what Amazon has to say about it:

The beautiful practicality of her teaching has made Pema Chödrön one of the most beloved of contemporary American spiritual authors among Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. A collection of talks she gave between 1987 and 1994, the book is a treasury of wisdom for going on living when we are overcome by pain and difficulties. Chödrön discusses:
   •  Using painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage 
   •  Communicating so as to encourage others to open up rather than shut down 
   •  Practices for reversing habitual patterns 
   •  Methods for working with chaotic situations 
   •  Ways for creating effective social action

I'm about 10 pages in.  It's gentle and poignant.  I'm enjoying it - more like savoring it.  I read a few sentences and then set it down but then I pick it back up.  Aren't those the best kind of books?

Thanks for the recommendation Marilyn!  

I can't wait to hear what you all think of this one.

Also, I apologize for that image...it's terrible...but, alas, I'm not a designer and just making rectangles in photoshop took me waaay too long.  It is what it is (Lauren don't look too long!)...

Nautie Books :: January 2014 - Americanah

There's been a bit of buzz surrounding the name Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the interwebz.  Beyoncé released an album and people were captivated by a voice that wasn't hers.  

In Beyoncé's song ***Flawless she samples from a TEDx talk Chimamanda gave titled 'We Should All Be Feminists'.  The talk has reached many - and has now reached many more.  I hadn't heard it - or had even heard of Chimamanda until listening to the song ***Flawless.  Here are the clips from this powerful TEDx Talk found on the song:

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller We say to girls – you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man. Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. A marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: A person who believes in the economic, social and political equality of the sexes.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Clearly, I needed to find out more of about this woman!  I googled her name - and in addition to finding her TEDx Talk - I found that she was an author - an incredibly well regarded one!

Her most recent novel Americanah is getting rave reviews - and was getting rave reviews WAY before she started blasting from speakers everywhere.

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Please join me in reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  

I think it will prove to be a great read!  Can't wait to hear what you have to say!

I’m chasing you. I’m going to chase you until you give this a chance.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Also, check out her TEDx Talk!  It's great!  (It's about 30 minutes long but WELL worth it!) 

Nautie Books :: A Tale for the Time Being...favorites...

This book kind of flew under the radar....I'm afraid not too many of you picked it up....I'd really like you to pick it up!  I enjoyed it!

Via

My favorite bits of A Tale for the Time Being:

"...I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you. A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be."

“Life is fleeting. Don't waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!”

“Am I crazy?" she asked. "I feel like I am sometimes."
"Maybe," he said, rubbing her forehead. "But don't worry about it. You need to be a little bit crazy. Crazy is the price you pay for having an imagination. It's your superpower. Tapping into the dream. It's a good thing not a bad thing.”

“Print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader’s eye. Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin.”

“And if you decide not to read anymore, hey, no problem, because you're not the one I was waiting for anyway. But if you decide to read on, then guess what? You're my kind of time being and together we'll make magic!”

"I think it's important to have clearly defined goals in life, don't you?  Especially if you don't have a lot of life left.  Because if you don't have clear goals, you might run out of time, and when the day comes, you'll find yourself standing on the parapet of a tall building, or sitting on your bed with a bottle of pills in your hand, thinking, Shit!  I blew it.  If only I'd set clearer goals for myself!"

"The sea was always heaving things up and hurling them back:  fishing lines, floats, beer cans, plastic toys, tampons, Nike sneakers."

""Each gyre orbits at its own speed," he continued.  "And the length of an orbit is called a tone.  isn't that beautiful?  Like the music of the spheres.  The longest orbital period is thirteen years, which establishes the fundamental tone. The Turtle Gyre has a half tone of six and a half years.  The Aleut Gyre, a quarter tone of three.  The flotsam that rides the gyres is called drift.  Drift that stays in the orbit of the gyre is considered to be part of the gyre memory.  The rate of escape from the gyre determines the half-life of drift...""

“That's what it feels like when I write, like I have this beautiful world in my head, but when I try to remember it in order to write it down, I change it, and I can't ever get it back.”

“I helped Jiko to her feet and we walked back to the bus stop together, holding hands again. I was still thinking about what she said about waves, and it made me sad because I knew that her little wave was not going to last and soon she would join the sea again, and even though I know you can't hold on to water , still I gripped her fingers a little more tightly to keep her from leaking away.”

 

Nautie Books :: Orange is the New Black

We've got this running joke on ships that being onboard is like being in prison. We say things like there are two days in prison, the day you get in and the day you get out.  We also know that at times we display behavior that suggests we're completely institutionalized (remember the time I got a letter of warning because I freaked out about the fact there were no beans?!). As I read Orange is the New Black I realized I shared a lot of Pipers feelings.....and that maybe here was some truth to the shipping / prison analogy. 

Orange is the New Black was a great read. Educational (I learned a lot about the need for prison reform and the war on drugs contribution to the problem), funny (at times I actually laughed out loud - my Mom would call and tell me what was making her laugh - we very rarely discuss books) and, heartwarming (these women formed a bond that was indescribable - it was one I could relate to - I'd do a lot for my shipmates...even ones I don't really like). 

In a nutshell:  I liked is book. 

Here are some of my favorite parts (admittedly, the parts that were my favorite were the parts that reminded me of shipboard life so, I've provided some commentary):

“And as I hugged them as hard and relentlessly as only a girl drunk on tequila can, it sank in on me that this was really goodbye. I didn’t know when I would see any of my friends again or what I would be like when I did. And I started to cry.”

“Uh-oh. I hated cleaning too but was certainly not about to risk the ire of my new roommates.
“So we have to make the beds every morning?” I asked, another penetrating question.
Annette looked at me. “No, we sleep on top of the beds.”
“You don’t sleep in the bed?”
“No, you sleep on top with a blanket over you.” Pause.
“But what if I want to sleep in the bed?”
Annette looked at me with the complete exasperation a mom shows a recalcitrant six-year-old. “Look, if you wanna do that, go ahead—you’ll be the only one in the whole prison!”

May I just interject that the above is exactly what we did at Maine Maritime Academy (ahem. institutionalized.)

“What had she drawn on to make it through, with only nine months until her release to the outside world? The advice I got from many quarters was “do your time, don’t let the time do you.” Like everyone in prison, I was going to have to learn from the masters.”

“Crazy concentrations of people inspire crazy behavior. I can just now step back far enough to appreciate its surreal singularity, but to be back with Larry in New York, I would have walked across broken glass barefoot in a snowstorm, all the way home.”

We joke on the ship: we're all here cause we're not all here. The surreal-ness of being surrounded by crazy?  I feel you Piper.  I feel you. 

“As for me, I felt caught between the world I lived in now and the world to which I longed to return”

“You try to adjust and acclimate, yet remain ready to go home every single day. It’s not easy to do. The truth is, the prison and its residents fill your thoughts, and it’s hard to remember what it’s like to be free, even after a few short months. You spend a lot of time thinking about how awful prison is rather than envisioning your future. Nothing about the daily workings of the prison system focuses its inhabitants’ attention on what life back on the outside, as a free citizen, will be like. The life of the institution dominates everything. This is one of the awful truths of incarceration, the fact that the horror and the struggle and the interest of your immediate life behind prison walls drives the “real world” out of your head. That makes returning to the outside difficult for many prisoners.”

That first sentence resonates so loudly with me....she's right. It's not easy to do. 

“Being cooped up with so many “wackos” was affecting my worldview, and I feared that I would return to the outside world a bit cracked too”

Impossible not to Piper, impossible not to. 

“I opened my mouth, mad enough to spit, and said loudly, “I don’t eat iceberg lettuce!”
Really? I asked myself. That’s what you’re going to throw down with?”

Oh I laughed so loudly at this one.  Nothing chokes me more than getting stores and realizing its ALL iceberg...there's no romaine or spinach. 

“The world kept going despite the fact that I had been removed to an alternate universe. I wanted to be home desperately, and when I said “home,” that meant “wherever Larry is” more than Lower Manhattan, but the next seven months stretched out in front of me. I now knew I could do them, but it was still way too early to count the days.”

“Everyone got edgy before they went home. These numbers and dates were something to cling to.”

“How could anyone do significant amounts of time in a setting like this without losing their mind?”

Blogging on the train. 

Blogging on the train. 

Please excuse any typo's. I'm blogging from the train today and just couldn't muster up some editing time....or a relevant picture....

 

Any suggestions for next months book selection?