Monday, February 27, 2012

Folks, this ain't normal by Joel Salatin

Reading Joel Salatin books is like eating popcorn - you just can't stop once you start. Fortunately he has a quite a few out there, so it's possible to keep right on turning pages.

"Folks, this ain't normal" was so down-to-earth and common sense that I had to keep giving my head a shake. This man sees right through all the nonsense floating around in the food production/food industry business. We have lost our idea of what is normal, natural and nurturing. What is needed is for a generation to take Salatin's precepts to heart and turn the tide on abnormal.

FTAN takes on just about anything having to do with daily living from child raising to gardening/farming to where we get our water. Like his previous book that I reviewed in the summer each chapter ends with take-away points. Many are easily put into practice; others are ideals that will take years for our country to embrace. But you will always find something that you can do, right now, today, that will make a difference. Each person doing their bit in their own part of the universe will get the ball rolling to restore normalcy to society in general.

Child raising is chapter one, so I'll give an example of his practical advice to return to normal in the home.

1. Grow things...anything. Indoor grow lights are still magic, and can bring sunlight indoors for remarkable discoveries.
2. Lobby for more lenient child labor opportunities so that once again teens can do historically normal work.
3. Instead of going on a cruise or Disney vacation, how about choosing a working ranch experience for the family, or an extremely rustic wilderness adventure where you make some traps and hunt for food?
4. Brainstorm entrepreneurial child-appropriate businesses - hand crafts, repair, tutoring, calligraphy, customized invitations, cleaning homes, mowing lawns, picking up rocks, hoeing weeds. The list of possibilities could fill many pages. Don't underestimate the creativity and resourcefulness of your sixteen-year-old unleashed on the community. Stay out of the way and let her run.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Hurray! I've found a new series. For a linear thinker like myself there's nothing better than starting at book one and going through a series book by book. The Maze Runner was published in 2009, so it's been around for a while, but hasn't crossed my path before now. If you like The Hunger Games series, you'll probably like this as well. A young man finds himself transported to an unknown place, with all his memories erased. A group of young people already there are struggling to survive in a maze-like landscape that changes every day and is occupied by horrific creatures with poisonous spines.

Each day runners are sent out into the danger zone to try and figure out a pattern to the maze that will hopefully answer the question of why they are there and tell them how to get out. This was a hard-to-put-down book at a time when I should have been doing other things. I waited until it was finished before informing my son of its presence in the house so that I got to finish it before book #2 arrives on the library reserve shelf. There's a book 3 as well, so happy reading for a while.