Buck, of course, was born in Pocahontas County but spent most of her life living in and writing books about China. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for “The Good Earth,” and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938.
The Pearl S. Buck birthplace is located in Hillsboro, W.Va. Click here for more information about that.
Almost every day brings a new criticism of what I’m watching or listening to:
Aug. 2, 2011
All In the Family –Sometimes I like to watch “All In The Family” while I’m washing the dishes.
In this episode: Archie, working as a taxi driver, gets in an altercation with a would-be robber, peppersprays the guy and winds up going to court himself because he’s in possession of a dangerous weapon. Archie, a critic of the Civil Rights Movement, is let off on a Civil Rights violation.
My kid: “Why are you watching that? It’s boring. Borrrring.”
Aug. 3, 2011
Van Halen, “1984″ — I got this off Amazon’s version of the bargain bin for $5. I was inspired by nostalgia. This was all the rage among kids at my junior high in, well… in 1984. The smoking baby angel on the cover said it all. There’s really not much particularly naughty about this album. But back then, for us adolescents, it seemed dangerous. Or, at least, dangerously acceptable.
My kid: “No. No. No. No. I don’t like it. Ew.”
The track we were listening to: “Jump.”
Aug. 3, 2011 (again)
Madonna, Fresh Prince — We were going through our family’s music on the computer to pick out some stuff she might like to put on her mp3 player.
Me: “Do you like Madonna?”
Her: “Who’s that? I don’t think so. I don’t have any idea who that is.”
Me: “OK. Never mind.”
“Scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll.”
Her: “Hey, wait! Who’s that?”
Me: “Will Smith?”
Her: “Oh. I thought it said Willow Smith.”
Me: “Oh. No.”
Aug. 10, 2011
“It Takes Two” – From the first phrase, “I wanna rock right now,” this song by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock always makes me smile and wanna roll my car windows down. It reminds me of my youth, when I was an up-and-coming rapper.
It came on this morning on “Backspin,” one of the satellite radio channels I keep programmed in my car. The kids were in the back seat. And I was all like, “All right, you shout the ‘woo” and I’ll shout the ‘yeah!’”
My kid: “This song is weird. Change the channel.”
I kept it on. Next up was “Danger,” an almost equally-catchy song by Blahzay Blahzay. (“When the East is in the house, Oh my God! DANGER!”)
My kid: “I don’t like rap.”
Aug. 11, 2011
“Ring of Fire” — This was on my favoritest satellite radio channel, “Outlaw Country,” which I love because of my younger days traveling America with Willie, Waylon and the boys.
What’s not to love about this song? Penned by June Carter, was the biggest hit of Johnny Cash’s career and features mariachi-style horns.
My kid: “Daddy, why do we have to listen to this? Whyyyyyyyy????”
Aug. 17, 2011
Grammar Girl — As I ate my morning Kix cereal, I put on one of my favorite podcasts, Grammar Girl. Her quick and dirty tips about grammar last about 5 minutes (about as long as it takes to consume a bowl of cereal), are useful and, by grammar lesson standards, are kind of funny.
My kid: “Why are you listening to that? It’s so annoying?”
Me: “I like it. I learn something.”
My kid: “It’s annoyyyyyying.”
Aug. 21, 2011
Kindle — My kid picks up my eReader and looks at the default screensaver, a photo of classic mystery novelist Agatha Christie.
Her: “Agathia Christie. She’s weird. Well, at least she looks weird.”
Me: “She writes mysteries.”
Kid, now toggling through eReader contents, which include “Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell,” “Treasure Island” and some other stuff: “Is this just books?”
Me: “Yeah, just books.”
She flips the off switch, and the Kindle puts up another screensaver. It’s a picture of Alexandre Dumas, the author of “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
Many people, like me, have recently gotten electronic reading devices. And one thing you might be struggling with is how easy and rewarding it is to download an exciting new book vs. how difficult it is to actually finish the book and how expensive it is to get the bill for all the books that seemed so easily downloadable in the first place.
I’ve dealt with the issue by channeling my impulse buys into my Wish List, which is totally swelling with great books that I might or might not get around to actually buying and/or reading.
And before I get rolling too far into the commerce side of this, let me make a quick note that it’s becoming easier and easier to download books from libraries. And, as always, those are FREE!
That said, Amazon has a great deal going right now for Kindle users. Amazon is calling it Sunshine Deals because, you know, the company is encouraging you to get out in the summer sunshine and read some cheap books on its glare-free reader screens.
There are more than 600 books on sale for 99 cents, $1.99 or $2.99.
The top-selling book in the category has been comedian Chelsea Handler’s “My Horizontal Life,” which I bet is a hoot but I didn’t feel like I was actually the target audience.
Other temptations for me were William Styron’s “Sophie’s Choice” for $2.99 and Pat Conroy’s “The Prince of Tides” for $2.99 but both seemed like kind of ambitious reading and I wasn’t sure if I’d really click-click-click all the way through them after making the initially satisfying BUY click.
I wound up downloading “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut for $2.99 because, this one time, when I was a kid at Nerd Camp, someone suggested it when we were brainstorming a list of books you ought to read before you die. I’m still hoping to have quite a few years left to get this one done but I figured I might as well have it at my disposal immediately.
Not that it takes you an exceptionally long time to download, but you should be warned that it’s sunset for the Sunshine Deals. They last only through Wednesday, June 15.