Top Five Wednesday: Books I’m Thankful For


I couldn’t get into this week’s topic, so I’m doing a Top 5 of the Top 10 Tuesday topic instead!





In 1967, I learned to read from these books. Quick who can spot the clever updating on the second cover. Yes, I’m so old that only white children were pictured in my textbooks. No one used a wheelchair, no one had a service dog and we read only stories about white people unless they were folklore tales. I’m pretty sure with a grandmother who’d been a teacher and a Mom who was an avid reader and a family with several other teacher, a Purdue Ph.d., and other well-educated folks, that I’d have learned to read even without these books and without elementary school. I always wanted my name to be Janet–this is probably why. I’m thankful for these books because I can read and learn.




I’ve chosen this book-which I probably still have in a box somewhere, to represent my learning about music and the arts in general–things that bring great joy to my life.







bhgcookbookThe 1970s-era Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook my Mom gave me when I was a kid has been very useful and I am thankful for it. I learned to cook from it and still make peanut butter cookies (my 4H Blue Ribbon ones!) from it as well as my embellished version of their macaroni and cheese and the completely unchanged (aside from skipping the cheese) recipe for stuffed peppers that my kids still request. You won’t find quinoa or feta cheese, no fajitas or salsa either–those hadn’t hit the scene yet. But you will find all kinds of good, affordable, easy-to-make and even fairly healthy, food.  There is absolutely no excuse for a literate person not to be able to cook. It’s just reading and following directions. Ignore the stupid tv chefs with their outrageously expensive fresh herbs and ridiculous ingredients and master about 10 simple dinners and a few brunch dishes and your life will be simple and way less expensive. Being about to cook, shop economically, and plan meals as much as a few months ahead has let me survived jobs losses and other economic catastrophes. It boggles my mind how much Americans spend on total crap and then call it “food.” It takes less time to make so many good meals then it does to drive to a crappy chain restaurant, wait at a dirty table and eat among tired, screaming kids.




I’ve chosen the iconic AACR2 to represent my graduate school education which allows me to earn a living as a librarian. I’m not a cataloger, but this symbolizes a librarian’s work. My undergraduate education lets me make sense of the international political scene–another thing I am very grateful for. It exposed me to different ways of seeing the world, too.






I remember my German teacher’s excitement when we got these new German books! Our old ones were boring navy blue with boring black and white illustrations. This book and the rest of the series were wonderful! They had cool lessons on stuff like pop music as I recall, as well as on normal stuff like whether the train was coming from Frankfort or going to Munich. There was a boy named Aloise…. bizzare what I remember! By far the coolest textbook in all my school years. So cool, in fact, that today it has it’s own Facebook group–it shows the Musik lesson I remember!

I choose this book to represent opening up the world–other cultures–to me. I would study (but never master AT ALL). German, French, Russian and, in Peace Corps, Chichewa. Like reading this love of other places, other cultures, other ways of living would likely have happened anyway. My Mom spent part of her childhood in Brazil and she learned Portuguese. She and my uncle and my grandmother all imparted their memories to my brother and me in the most vivid ways possible. Also, my maternal grandparents and then, when she was widowed, my grandmother, traveled widely. She took each grandchild on a big trip–we picked the place. I went to the UK and Ireland, my brother toured much of Africa. A gift of a lifetime.


Well, I’ve not put any conventional choices here, but these are things I am thankful for and the books that represent them.

Join the Top 5 Wednesday fun by joining the group on Goodreads and posting your own lists each week!

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