Reading in 2010: A Lucky Child

By Thomas Buergenthall

Another great Holocaust memoir. This is the story of a child who survived ghettos, Auschwitz, a death march, and another camp-all before he was 10 years old. Obviously, you can tell from the title, that he attributes much of his survival to luck, but much can be said for his quick thinking and on-the-spot decision making, ability to form relationships, and his own personal will to survive. I believe that these things contributed as much to his survival as the luck.

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My Grandparents, Sophie’s Great Grandparents

In the past week, I’ve had visits with both sets of my grandparents. All seem to be doing well. My mom’s mom was experiencing some back pain, so she was walking with the help of a cane-something I’ve never seen her do before. It was a little bit funny though (even she was laughing!) because she said it didn’t hurt as much to walk backwards. So there she was, scooting around the house backwards with her cane. She cracks me up.

My mom’s dad has always been quite the treasure hunter. And by “treasure hunter”, I mean that he collects things that other people have thrown away. Over the years he’s acquired many bikes this way. Our dining table is one of his finds. Well, recently he found a Little Tykes playhouse for Sophie. He was so excited about it! He powerwashed all of the walls and pieces, and slowly-bit by bit- it is being transported back to my parents’ house for Sophie to play with.

It’s just like this, only the walls are yellow instead of pink.

I took last Wednesday off in order to see my dad’s parents as they were passing through Brighton on their way home to Traverse City. To be honest, I was expecting it to be a very sad experience, as I know that my grandpa’s memory is getting quite bad. However, I was pleasantly surprised. They were both SO excited to see Sophie and to see how much she’s changed since they last saw her (at her birthday party). We had a great afternoon!

We love them.

Sophie enjoyed playing in the grass with the soccer ball. It was such a beautiful day.

That morning Steph and I took Sophie on a run at Kensington. Kensington is one of my favorite parks. It’s wooded, and peaceful, and has a nice big lake. After we finished our run, which turned into a run/walk :), we took Sophie over to the playground and gave her a little pushing on the swings. I wish we had had the camera! Sophie didn’t even crack a smile-she was too busy staring down the boy in the swing next to her! She’s got sass.

Reading in 2010: Her Fearful Symmetry

Without realizing it, I was craving a ghost story. Not a cheesy one, and certainly not a scary one. This one was spot on! The exactly perfect balance of creepiness and sadness, but also love and life. All sorts of interesting themes presented themselves: sibling love and rivalry, life and the afterlife, OCD, romance, independence, and hauntings. The setting was interesting too- a set of flats next to the Highgate Cemetery in London.

Simultaneous Reading Adventures

I have a problem. Or maybe it’s a gift. I don’t know. But I do this every once and awhile. I’m reading four books at once!

1. Last week, I started reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp. I took advantage of an opportunity to head to B&N alone (glorious!) and bought this book. It’s one I’ve been meaning to read, and definitely want to get through before Sophie hits the independent stage (around 18 mo. from what I hear). Anyway, I’m learning a lot about toddlers, their thought processes, language development, and emotional development and attachment. It’s a great resource, and I know this one will be a reference for me for years to come.

2. Lori lent me The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. I’ve been wanting to read it, especially after seeing how worn and beat up her copy is. Actually, she had to buy a second copy to lend out because hers is so near and dear to her. It’s all about how this generation of kids growing up right now are the first generation to grow up without the significant influence of nature. Kids today are completely plugged in, and Richard Louv describes what he calls “nature deficit disorder”. Totally interesting. I’m not too far into this one, and I suspect this one will take me the longest to get through, but that’s ok. It’s one of those books that you absorb.

3. As if I needed something else to read, I was struck by the library bug this week. I got a truckload of books for Sophie, but for me I picked up Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. A gal from my book club recommended it, and I’m really getting into it. It’s a novel, ghost story, and I don’t know what else yet, but I really like it so far.

4. Also from the library, I got Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I started it and it’s really interesting, but I don’t think I’ll make it all the way through. I plan to skim this one a lot, and probably skip whole chapters. What I’ve read so far is interesting though, just a lot of information. I love McDonalds though, so I don’t want to be turned off for life!

To top it off, I need to get crackin on this month’s read for book club. Ahhh!