Still pretty uninspired to write but have been reading and watching a lot of thought-provoking stuff lately. Here are a few things that have been occupying my time in the last couple of weeks.
The Lion's Whiskers and Other Ethiopian Tales by Brent Ashabranner and Russell Davis. One day a couple of weeks ago, I did a search through our library system for "Ethiopia" and then placed several things on hold that I'd found. Our library system then sends those items directly to my local branch, and I get email when I can come pick them up. I love our library so much. This collection of folk tales is one of the treasures I found in this search. I mentioned it to another Ethiopia-mama last week, and she excitedly pulled out the copy of The Lion's Whiskers that she's found that same week at Goodwill. Serendipity! Very cool story. I highly recommend it. I've been applying this story to what I may encounter with our next adoption, reminding myself that the road to bonding can be a slow and tedious one, requiring huge amounts of bravery.
Chameleon Days: An American Boyhood in Ethiopia by Tim Bascom. This is another library find. I've only read the first two chapters but am completely sucked in already. I'm saving this one for the seven-hour train ride Abe and I are taking this week to visit some family. This is the story of an American son of missionaries growing up in Ethiopia in the '60s and '70s, from the end of the reign of Haile Selassie and the commencement of the Derg's rule.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Ted's best friend sometimes loans me books that he thinks I'll enjoy, and he's usually right. This 900-page Central European vampire novel kept me interested, despite its occasional problems with logic and style. My disbelief was temporarily suspended long enough to get through it. Everyone needs an escape-novel sometimes.
Adoption Life Book by Cindy Probst. This is a workbook that guides an adoptive parent through writing down the story of the adoption from the child's perspective, not just the parents', something that is highly encouraged by adoption professionals like Patricia Cogen. Highly recommended book.
Long Way Round starring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Watching this eight-part series will make you want to ride a motorcycle across Mongolia. At least it did me. Especially if I could make the trip sitting in the sidecar of a fuzzy-faced, laughing Ewan McGregor.
Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation by Gregory Maguire. Of course, I'm still reading about Sendak.
Shake Hands With the Devil: the Journey of Romeo Dallaire. This is the Sundance Film Festival award-winning look at U.N. General Dallaire's trip back to Rwanda ten years after the genocide of 1994. As written on the cover of the dvd, "If Dallaire is not a traditional hero, he and this film are unflinching witnesses to one of the crowning moral failures of the international community in the 20th century." Watch this film.
New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne. I dare you to read this without choking up at the end. I can finally read it out loud to Abe the whole way through only if I think about math equations starting at the part when the old timer sits down to explain things to the young firefighters.
A Woman's Europe: True Stories (Travelers' Tales). This is what I read to fall asleep to at night. I would read everything in the Travelers' Tales series. Travelers' Tales: Prague is one of the most beautifully written/edited travel books I've ever read.
The Maurice Sendak Library. Another library find. We love the Nutshell Library, and this dvd has Carol King singing them all. Here's Abe's favorite: