spring reading

lately i’ve been alternating between books and realtor.com’s property search map. for a few weeks realtor.com was getting more of my time than books, but now i’m thrilled we can take the realtor app off the ipad.

reading these days:

Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller. the big (and depressing) takeaway from this book is that most of the extra virgin olive oil marketed in the world is not, in fact, pure olive oil. mueller goes into depth on the scandals in the world of olive oil. it was an interesting read but the appendix is worth the price of the book. he lists sources for reputable olive oil producers/sellers and what to look for in an olive oil. a reputable olive oil shop is supposed to be opening around here in the near future (as i learned from mueller’s site), but i’m still a bit jealous of kathy as i can’t just drive a few miles to the nearest local olive oil producer. sigh. the last issue of Garden & Gun did inform me that there is a new-ish olive oil producer in georgia, but that’s more than a quick drive.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. i was a fan of larson’s book Devil in the White City and was impressed with his ability to weave the true story of the chicago world’s fair with the unfortunate biography of a serial killer who used the fair to target victims (sounds creepy, i know, but the book is really quite good). i recognized a similar formula when i heard about In the Garden of Beasts: widely known historic event (this time hitler’s pre-war rise in berlin) paired with lesser known historic figure (american ambassador william dodd). it didn’t work this time. the most interesting parts were the sections where dodd was absent. i appreciated how larson clearly shed light on the great deal of anti-semitism in america at the time and the tone of pre-war berlin. but i finished the book feeling as though dodd was basically an inconsequential man in history who unfortunately thought more of himself and his position than he should have. he also had a promiscuous daughter who showed no discernment in picking friends or lovers. if someone were to ask me what kind of picture i got of ambassador dodd from this book, i’d have to say that my lasting impression of him is a man who was out of place in the world of berlin politics, who ignored his daughter’s foolishness, and who preferred to leave meetings and parties early in order to go home and drink milk and eat stewed peaches before bed. oh my.

lastly and lightly, i’m reading The House At Pooh Corner to the kids, and we’re all loving it. i was a little nervous about it because omar and i couldn’t handle the original Winnie the Pooh. have you read it? rabbit’s crazy. we couldn’t get past the whole bizarre scene of rabbit basically stealing roo from his mama. but we’re loving this one. rabbit is still wacky, but i can handle it this time. the boys have been in stitches several times. i’m also loving that when omar gets him they like to tell him, amidst giggles, what happened today in the book, and then at night they like to run to me and tell me about the chapter omar just read them in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. so great.