Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Book Less

I missed last week's Salon (not that anyone probably noticed) because of a solo weekend trip to visit The Husband in Pittsburgh. There was a black-tie event (a sit-down dinner! one where I actually got to sit down!) and an overnight splurge stay in a hotel. We drove around some of the towns we're considering moving to and visited some Open Houses. It was a great trip, and was exactly the kick-in-the-pants I needed to get moving (literally) with packing boxes and finishing getting our own house ready for the market.  (It's been a slow process.)

There was a milestone of sorts reached in that 300+ mile trip. It was the first time I've ever gone away without a physical book accompanying me! And I gotta say ... being bookless felt weird. Like I was missing an appendage or something. Of course, I had my Kindle, so I really wasn't bookless, but being without a physical book was odd. It was only for two nights (one of which was spent at the event), so I knew that the 305 books that I have on my Kindle (mostly freebies and a lot of classics) would suffice. 

(I wound up reading - via Kindle - the first chapter of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which is one of my currently overdue library books and one that I don't want to return. And of the five audiobooks I had with me, I only listened to the first CD of That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo before deciding that this one wasn't holding much magic for me. Into the DNF pile it goes.)

Anyway, it almost doesn't matter that I missed last week's Salon because I've been reading the same book for the past two weeks. That's not to say it isn't a good one, because it absolutely is. I'm engrossed in Jonathan Bloom's American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food (and what we can do about it).  I know, it doesn't sound like all that appetizing of a book, does it?  But it is absolutely fascinating and sobering at the same time. I knew we, as Americans, waste a considerable amount of food, but I had no idea of the magnitude of the problem nor of its impact. 

The first sentence of Bloom's book is the eye-opening "Every day, America wastes enough food to fill the Rose Bowl. Yes, THAT Rose Bowl - the 90,000 seat football stadium in Pasadena, California." He gives more statistics and backs up his meticulous research with an engaging narrative that is making this a really interesting read.  The jacket copy proclaims "after reading American Wasteland, you will never look at your grocery list, dinner plate, or refrigerator the same way again."  That's the absolute truth.  On Thursday night, neither Betty or Boo finished their plate of spaghetti.  "I'm too full," Boo said.  "That's fine," I replied.  "It can be your dinner tomorrow night."  He looked at me like I'd sprouted another head.  But when you've just read that the average family wastes $2,200 a year on food that is discarded (and that is a conservative estimate), then dammit, that spaghetti is making an encore appearance. 

I'm hoping to finish American Wasteland today, although I'm not sure that will happen. This move is taking a toll on my reading progress (and my blogging, and my aching back), I'm sorry to say.  I'm at the point where I need to pack up some of my books (have been putting this off as much as possible) and return some of my library books. 

Hope you're having a great Sunday!

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

What an intriguing read. I can't imagine the amount of waste I go through with a toddler.

Beth S. said...

I'm really curious to read this one. I'm glad to hear it's an interesting read. Sometimes those informative, research-based nonfictions can be a snooze-fest.

For example, I LOVE Michael Pollan and his message about food, but trying to trudge through The Ominvore's Dilemma was painful. I ended up abandoning it and just listening to what he had to say on TV.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Ha-ha, I had to chuckle about how you were "book less" when you had your Kindle with 300+ books on it!

I carried my Kindle around some this week, too, as I had lots of errands.

Good luck with the house-hunting and selling...I don't envy that. But it's kind of an adventure to discover a new community and home.

That book about "waste" sounds intriguing...and thought-provoking.


Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I loved Animal Vegetable was one I had to own though and I took my time reading it. You should see my is dogeared, warpy from sitting outside while reading, underlined, highlighted, etc.
I'm adding America's Wasteland to my TBR.
Packing is a pain :( On one of our moves my packed books had to stay in storage for almost a year while we built our house...finally opening those boxes was like seeing old friends again :):)

BookQuoter said...

Thanks for the anniversary wishes.
That Old Cape Magic didn't do anything for me either. I am hesitant to pick up and read any of his other books.
It is so true that we waste so much food here in America, I am glad you highlighted this book.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Oh dear. What an image. A Rose Bowl of food. Very sad.

Glad you are back with us again!

Here's my Sunday Salon post for this week. I hope you will stop by and
say hello.

Florinda said...

I don't travel without my Kindle any more, but I can't seem to go cold turkey and travel with only my Kindle. I'll still bring a print book or two, even on a short trip, because you're right - without one, it feels like an appendage is missing!

I will even bring my Kindle and a few books along when I go to New York City for BEA in a couple of months - I just may bring (or send) a LOT more back afterward :-D!

Kim said...

That sounds like my kind of book. I enjoyed kingsolvers animal, veggie book-it made me want to plant a much bigger garden, and figure out what how to can!