Friday, September 30, 2011

What I've Been Reading: September

Before I started sewing I was a pretty avid reader.  Now that sewing and other crafts take up most of my time, I don't plow through nearly as many books as I used to, but I do get around to reading a select few.  I thought I’d borrow Valerie’s (from Threads and Thoughts and Things I Love) idea and recap the books that I read at the end of each month in case you're looking for some recommendations.

Here is September’s batch!

I picked this book up when we were visiting Yellowstone during our Great Western Adventure.  It’s amazing how many people get WAY too close to the wildlife, geological features, and cliffs, even though you receive a pamphlet at the front gate outlining the dangers of everything in the park.  When I saw this in one of the gift shops I knew it was the perfect souvenir! 

This book details every death in the park from 1839 to 1994, the year it was published.  While we were there, I was overly paranoid about keeping our distance from hot springs and cliff edges—it seemed so easy to trip and fall and die.  But most of the deaths that are chronicled in the book happen because the visitor did something really stupid. 

The first death that was described in the book was a heartbreaking story about a guy who dove into a hot spring to rescue his friend’s dog, who had jumped in after escaping from their car.  The dog ended up dying while the guy was trying to lift it out of the hot spring, and the guy died the next day from severe burns almost all over his body.  Having read this on the first page, I didn’t think I’d be able to make it through an entire book of sad stories, but, thankfully for me (not the people), the stories changed in tone.  I’d say about 80% of the deaths happened because the visitors were doing something that was unsafe, such as camping or hiking alone, getting way too close to wildlife, or getting drunk and wandering around a hot spring area alone at night.

The point that the author makes is that Yellowstone is not a theme park and that there are real dangers to visitors, and that visitors should respect nature for what it is—wild and unpredictable.  Of course when we got to the Grand Canyon and saw a similar book there, we had to pick it up.  I thought I’d give myself a breather from all of that death though, so it’s on hold until later!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I heard of The Help a few months ago from friends of ours, who suggested that I read it.  With all of the craziness of preparing for our vacation, I didn’t get around to going to the library to pick it up, and then I forgot about it.

Then, before we left for vacation, I couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing a preview for the movie adaptation The Help.  Knowing what the book was about, I thought it was kind of strange that they were billing the film as a comedy.  When we got home from vacation, my parents happened to have just finished reading it, so they lent me their copy of the book.

First of all, I hate reading a book after the movie has come out, because then I can only imagine the characters as who they are in the movie (even if I haven’t seen the movie yet).  Second, this book is far from a comedy.  Sure, there are funny parts, but overall, it is a heartbreaking look at the history of our society.  It’s definitely worth reading and, if you’re like me, it will leave you crying in your train seat. 

Heads up: In my attempt to save everyone from reading a book after they see the movie (or even previews for a movie), I'm letting everyone know that the movie adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is set to release in January.  I highly suggest you pick this one up before they start running previews for it!  It is definitely a must read.  Fair warning though: it will leave you crying in your train seat.


  1. The Help is sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, I definitely want to read it before the film comes out so I'd better get a move on.

    Like you I don't read nearly as much as I used to, too much sewing to be done :) In fact I should be finishing my book club book right now (The five people you meet in heaven) since book club is tonight!

  2. I've wanted to read The Help for a while and may just pick it up after the one I'm reading now. Thanks for the tips! Also, for some reason I've been having trouble posting comments on blogger blogs, including yours (crazy blogger!). Those ice cream cups you posted about yesterday are awesome and of course I love your project tracking list :)


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