Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Post 4th of July Edition

As I type this, a mere three days after the Fourth, there are bombs bursting in our neighborhood's air in the form of fireworks being set off nearby.

I repeat: July 4 was three days ago.

My guess is that it is the same individual that has been celebrating the nation's birthday for the last fortnight. (Also known as the past two weeks, for those who don't have a historian husband handy to ask such questions of.)

Yes, this is Pittsburgh, and if there's anything I have learned in our year of living here, it is that we 'Burghers have a THING for fireworks. As in, we love 'em and cannot get enough of them. Apparently, it is not unheard of for several towns to continue their fireworks extravaganzas well into a week past the Fourth and then some.

All this is a preamble to say that the rockets' red glare of this week inspired me to finally pick up Gail Collins's 2003 book America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines. This one has been on my want-to-read list (and my personal shelves) for awhile now, and what better time to start than the 4th of July?

Good intentions, they were. However, on the actual 4th, I was still deeply immersed in Lauren Groff's latest novel, Arcadia (WHICH I LOVED) and despite a lazy day of us not doing much of anything, I didn't start America's Women until Friday. It doesn't seem to matter, though, because with these nightly fireworks going on, it's a fitting backdrop indeed.

I'm only about 20 pages into this right now and am already finding it fascinating reading. Who knew there were so many extraordinary colonial women - and I'm not talking the everyday names we all know. Collins brings to life the unsung heroines on these pages, even if the details of their lives and accomplishments are scant.

In other news, my in-laws are visiting us for several days. You wouldn't think this would afford one much reading time, but yesterday it did as they took the kids to breakfast and then to see "Brave." (They all liked it.) That gave me a chance to read No Such Thing as the Real World: Stories About Growing Up and Getting a Life, which consists of six short stories by notable young adult authors An Na, M.T. Anderson, K.L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch, and Jacqueline Woodson. I admit, I picked this up at the library anticipating the Beth Kephart story ("The Longest Distance") which was wonderful and reminiscent of Nothing But Ghosts in a way, and found myself really enjoying Chris Lynch's "Arrangements" and An Na's "Complications." The others were good, too, but those three were exceptional.

Our planned itinerary today with the in-laws and kids takes us to a patriotic place of heroes and heroines, a place where our real world stopped turning on a September day. If the weather holds out, we're taking a little road trip to the Flight 93 National Memorial. I had the opportunity to visit for the first time last fall (it is truly a moving experience, if you ever have the chance to go) but this will be the first for The Husband, his parents, and the kids.

The fireworks might have a different sound to them tonight. Let freedom ring, indeed.

At the Flight 93 National Memorial
Taken by me October 26, 2011

copyright 2012, 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.


Lisa Gradess Weinstein said...

After JK Rowling used to word fortnight incessantly throughout Harry Potter I finally looked it up-so now I know what it means also!! The book on American Women sounds fascinating, I may check it out!

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I'll have to have the book on American Women...the colonial period is my favorite so it should be right up my alley.
We still have neighbors blowing things up as well. The dogs and I usually get to the farthest side of the neighborhood away from our house before they punky neighbors start shooting. Then, I get to drag 2 freaked out dogs back to the house. Oy.