Tuesday, October 16

Fabulous Reads!

I often feel soft. You know, privileged. I'll be loading the dishwasher, swapping a load of laundry, or buckling my kids into the minivan and think about the centuries of women who had what I view as serious hard work and really knew how to do things "the old fashioned way." Like growing, harvesting, storing, cooking all their own food in a house or out on the frontier! I feel humbled by their knowledge and blessed to live now.

I've been reveling in those women lately. I just finished devouring "These is My Words" by Nancy Turner. Seriously one of my favorite books of all time! And I've been listening to the first three Laura Ingalls Wilder books in the van with the kids - "Little House in the Big Woods," "Little House on the Prairie," and "Farmer Boy."

Easton and McKay really liked Farmer Boy so now I've got to decide what version of these books to buy. Any suggestions? Color illustrated or no, does it make a difference? This is the first non-comic story book Easton has asked me to buy ever so I'm excited!

"These Is My Words" is such a hearty look at the fictional life of a woman with true grit on the frontier. I identified with so much of this character, I couldn't get enough! Makes me want to dig into my family history and try to envision the times and places my ancestors lived as they moved west, settled, and raised their families. I only know a handful of stories from each side of my parents' families, but I know there were some strong good people among them. And people are really the same deep down, no matter what era of time, we share the same mortal struggles to find happiness and mourn losses -- whether it's medieval Switzerland or the 1870 frontiers of Arizona.

I particularly loved Sarah Prine's insatiable hunger for knowledge, her fierce courage defending of her family and holdings, her sisterhood with Savannah, her love story with Captain Jack Elliott, her big heart and busy hands. A great book, truly uplifting and I can recommend it without reservations!

The Amazon overview:

Inspired by the author's original family memoirs, this absorbing story introduces us to the questing, indomitable Sarah Prine, one of the most memorable women ever to survive and prevail in the Arizona Territory of the late 1800s. As a child, a fiery young woman, and finally a caring mother, Sarah forges a life as full and as fascinating as our deepest needs, our most secret hopes and our grandest dreams. She rides Indian-style and shoots with deadly aim, greedily devours a treasure trove of leatherbound books, downs fire, flood, Comanche raids and other mortal perils with the unique courage that forged the character of the American West.

Rich in authentic details of daily life and etched with striking character portraits of very different pioneer families, this action-packed novel is also the story of a powerful, enduring love between Sarah and the dashing cavalry officer Captain Jack Elliot. Neither the vast distances traveled nor the harsh and killing terrains could quench the passion between them, and the loss and loneliness both suffer only strengthen their need for each other.

While their love grows, the heartbreak and wonder of the frontier experience unfold in scene after scene: a wagon-train Sunday spent roasting quail on spits as Indians close in to attack; Sarah's silent encounter with an Indian brave, in which he shows her his way of respect; a dreadful discovery by a stream that changes Sarah forever; the hazards of a visit to Phoenix, a town as hot as the devil's frying pan; Sarah's joy in building a real home, sketching out rooms and wraparound porches.

Sarah's incredible story leads us into a vanished world that comes vividly to life again, while her struggles with work and home, love and responsibility resonate with those every woman faces today. These Is My Words is a passionate celebration of a remarkable life, exhilarating and gripping from the first page to the last.

Awesome! I am sad to have to find something else to read now. I want to fall in love with another book just as good!
Now that my computer is back up to speed with a new battery that holds a charge and a cord that actually charges it, hopefully I can get our recent Switzerland by train trip blogged. In the vein of this post, I ordered a darling book called "Dear Alexandra" with great illustrations of a grandmother's letters to her granddaughter. Grandmother lives in a remote mountain village in Switzerland where everything is done the old farming way some still do things there. We had the best time and I do believe traveling by train is the best way to go -- especially if the train has a family car with a playground in it!