Thursday, January 28, 2010

For the Brain

I love to read fiction. Typically, when I have downtime for reading, I reach for a novel. So, when I made goals for the new year, one of the goals I made for my brain was to read at least one non-fiction book per month. I've got a tentative list in the works, and I'd be interested to hear suggestions as I make my final choices for the year. My book for January is The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball, but nothing else is set in stone. Some of these books are ones that we own that I've been meaning to get around to; some of them are ones I've read parts of but never finished. Some of them are embarrassing to admit I haven't read yet (mostly because I received them as gifts from my Dad a few years ago). Anyway, here are the semi-finalists:

1. I love words, and I love the Oxford English Dictionary. This book is about the writing of the OED. My dad gave me this book a few years ago, and it's about time I read it.

2.A yet-to-be-determined biography of one of my fave authors, George MacDonald (possibly the one in the picture below). MacDonald wrote The Princess and the Goblin and a lot of other great fairy tales and Christian fantasy.

3. I studied a little about the astronomer Johannes Kepler when I worked as a writer for a museum exhibit at BYU. He's well worth reading about because of his faith, his integrity, and his genius. I used bits of this book for my research, and it seems to be a great biography of Kepler.

4. This is another book my dad gave me a few years ago that I haven't read yet. The author is a former U.S. poet laureate and I'm excited to read it.

5. This one might be a little tough for me, since I've never taken a physics class, but I want to try it anyway.

6. Matt's reading something else by this author right now (Letters to a Young Conservative), and based on what Matt's read aloud to me, this is an author worth reading. Dinesh D'Souza grew up in India and moved to the U.S. as a teenager, and so he has a uniqe perspective on America. He's experienced in politics and higher education, and seems to be a witty writer. If anyone has a recommendation from the other side of the political spectrum (meaning written by a liberal) that's not too snooty or angry (I don't have much patience with partisanship in politics), I'd be interested to read it, too.

7. Terry Warner was one of my favorite professors in college. I'm embarrassed to admit that even though we have 2 copies of this book at our house, I've never read more than 2 chapters of it. Those 2 chapters were eye-opening, though. Everyone can stand to swallow their pride a little and admit there's room for improvement in their relationships, and that's what this book is about.

8. Just an astronomy book I picked up on sale. I don't really know if this particular book is any good, but I own it, and I like astronomy, and I think it's interesting to learn about how people have understood the universe throughout history.

9. This was assigned reading for a literary theory class I ended up dropping in college. But I kept the book because the idea of defining art as a gift rather than a commodity was interesting to me.

10. Fulfilling the Founding. This is an old textbook from my American Heritage class at BYU. That class was kind of all about how the United States came to be and how to preserve that legacy and be a good citizen. I think I've read more of this than the other books listed here, but I still think I should read it again/thoroughly sometime. There are several editions, and if anyone's interested, you can buy it for like $3 on Amazon. Mine is the 2001 edition by Heimburger, Latimer, and Pope.

11. I heard about this on the radio the other day, and it sounded really interesting. I think it focuses on the courtship of two young people from North Korea who eventually defected to South Korea. Anyway, I think this book would be an interesting way of learning about a part of the world I don't know much about.

12. I'm really, really, really interested in creativity, and one of my friends recommended this.

 13. Brains are cool. Oliver Sacks is a neurologist whose clinical experiences the movie Awakenings is based on. He's also a really kind, gracious man.

14. Matt brought a copy of this to our family, and it looks really interesting to me.

15. A compilation of sermons about the Holy Ghost by Joseph Smith, James E. Talmage, Bruce R. McConkie, and several other LDS prophets, apostles, and theologians. The book also includes Joseph Smith's Lectures on Faith.

16. Something by Neal A. Maxwell (possibly Not My Will, but Thine or Whom the Lord Loveth).

If there are any books here I should definitely include in my final list of 11, let me know, and if there's anything missing that I must read, let me know that too.  I'll post the final list when I figure it out. That way, if anyone wants to read along for one or more of the months, we'll be on the same page (heh, heh).

And speaking of good things for the brain, Matt's friend Scott told us about an awesome website, If you were one of those people in college who enjoyed going to special lectures and forums, you'll love this website. And even if you weren't one of those people, you really should check it out. It's a bunch of videos of talks given by smart people on interesting topics. It's pretty cool.

Monday, January 25, 2010

For Emily, Abbie, Liz, and Whoever Else Is Interested,

Here is a picture of my belly, taken a couple of days ago (at 31 weeks and 1 day).

Things are going well. I pre-registered at the hospital today. Every day, I wish for a cookie, a brownie, a piece of cake, or a donut. Some days I give in, some days I don't. But what do you do when you've just baked a batch of cookies because they sounded good, and then you find yourself with more cookies than will power?

The prize-winner for most unexpected current pregnancy symptom: achy joints in my hands. It must from swelling, but my hands don't really look swollen to me. Curious.

Friday, January 15, 2010

We miss you, Christmas break!

We had a great time in Utah visiting with family and friends, and it was over too soon. I didn't take a lot of pictures, and most of the ones I do have are fuzzy, but I'm going to post them anyway. Some of the highlights include:

Christmas breakfast: Not picnic-style this year, and not cooked in the bathroom, but still prepared and eaten with love.
Midas received his first T-shirt.

A few of us went to the new Oquirrh Mountain temple. This is a prime example of our bad luck with pictures. After we were done at the temple, we drove away and turned around and went back specifically to take pictures, and this is the best we got. (Matthew REALLY loves the temple).

We even asked a passerby to take a picture for us, and ended up with several failed attempts from her as well. My favorite from her batch:

There were some great moments of the trip we didn't capture on film, but they were unforgettable. We got to talk to James on the phone. We played games a lot and went sledding a little, and we spent some time in Bear River with Hendricksons and Crosbys. We're so lucky to have such great families!