Sunday, August 21, 2011

Zucchini and Books...

I had half of this post all ready to go, but in my non-techno-savy way of being me must have done something because when I went back to edit the post all I had was two sentences and the picture of this book cover- ARGH! So here I go again.  I'll try to be as enthusiastic as I was about this post first time around.  

This book was very good and it read pretty quickly, because I wanted to know what was going to happen.  This is not a feel good book.  It deals with some heavy subject matter, but it was still very enjoyable- I know sound morbid, but I really enjoyed the plot and the character development.  I had read about this book awhile ago and put it on my "to read" list. However, I didn't read the jacket cover when starting to read the book.  So I went into this book with really no idea about the story line.  It was interesting, but I do think some of my "bookies" (book club girls) would remark that the first 1/2 was a little slow.  However, I didn't mind the time she took developing the character and the last 1/2 flew by.  I don't want to say much more and give the story away.  I really liked it.

The Second book I'm highlighting in this post was something I somewhat fell upon- can't really remember how I found it.  It is called Gift from the Sea.  It is written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh  and it was published in 1955. 

Here is my friend Wiki's take... 
While on vacation on Florida's Captiva Island in the early 1950s, Lindbergh wrote this essay-style work taking shells on the beach for inspiration, and reflecting on the lives of Americans, particularly American women, in the mid-twentieth century. She shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment during her visit.

This book was another short read, there weren't any page numbers in the copy I borrowed from local library.  I might have been drawn to this book because I kind of feel like I'm going through an almost "35 year old" crisis- go ahead laugh :).  I just have felt a tad bit lost, angry and becoming cynical about life.  I also was drawn to this book because I've been to Captiva Island and have enjoyed my time when I've been on this Gulf side Florida island.  It's sister Sanibel Island is where I have stayed twice with my family, but connected to it is Captiva and we have driven to it's wonderful beaches to enjoy some soft sand/clear water rest and relaxation. 

Here is the introduction to her book.  I have enclosed it because I think it really speaks to how no matter time or class (she was way above my economic status) women/men/people can have some of the same feelings/needs.  I've also enclosed some of my favorite quotes from the book.  At times the book read like poetry, which I'm not the biggest fan of, but I felt like I had to pay attention to what she was saying to really grasp her points. 

I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships.  And since I think best with a pencil in my hand, I started naturally to write.  I had the feeling, when the thoughts first clarified on paper, that my experience was very different from other people's.  (Are we all under this illusion?) My situation had, in certain ways, more freedom than that of most people, and in certain other ways, much less.
    Besides, I thought, not all women are searching for a new pattern of living, or want a contemplative corner of their own.  Many women are content with their lives as they are.  They manage amazingly well, far better than I, it seemed to me, looking at their lives from the outside.  With envy and admiration, I observed the porcelain perfection of their smoothly ticking days.  Perhaps they had no problems, or had found the answers long ago.  No, I decided, these discussions would have value and interest only for myself. 
    But as I went on writing and simultaneously talking with other women, young, and old, with different lives and experiences- those who supported themselves, those who wished careers, those who were hard-working housewives and mothers, and those with more ease- I found that my points of view was not unique.  In varying settings and under different forms, I discovered that many women, and men, too, were grappling with essentially the same questions as I, and were hungry to discuss and argue and hammer out possible answers.  Even those whose lives had appeared to be ticking imperturbably under their smiling clock-faces were often trying, like me, to evolve another rhythm with more creative pauses in it, more adjustment to their individual needs, and new and more alive relationships to themselves as well as others. 
    And so gradually, these chapters, fed by conversations, arguments and revelations from men and women of all groups, became more than my individual story, until I decided in the end to give them back to the people who had shared and stimulated many of these thoughts.  Here, then, with my warm feelings of gratitude and companionship for those working along the same lines, I return my gift from the sea. 

Again this book doesn't read like a novel or even short story.  Some call it inspirational literature.  I found it lovely.  Here are a few more lines I really connected with from the book. 

When one is a stranger to oneself then one is especially estranged from others, too.

Our daily life does not prepare us for contemplation.  How can a single weekly hour of church, helpful as it may be, counteract the many daily hours of distraction that surrounds it.

But can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else's love?...I believe that true identity is found as Eckhart once said, by "going into one's own ground and knowing oneself."

One must lose one's life to find it.

So I know some may be wondering where does the zucchini fit in.  In part of this book she talks about solitude and the importance of simplicity and the act of doing simple things, like cooking for instance, can help you refocus.  Hence, on Friday I made 7 loaves of zucchini bread.  Thanks to Teri from work for the zucchini on steroids (I should've taken a picture of that for the post).  It was the size of a billy club and wider around.  I made 2 plain zucchini bread, 3 banana zucchini breads, and 2 peanut butter zucchini breads.  It was peaceful cooking by myself in my parents kitchen on Friday with no one but me and my dad at home. 

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