The Lost Continent

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Today's book was suggested by C. Thanks for the suggestion C.

I took A Book a Day on location today also - because I was still helping with my Mother's garage sale. I'm using the word helping rather loosely here because the help I provided consisted mostly of me asking her questions about her past garage sales. I really wanted to find out how a person reaches a point where they have 5 garage sales a year, garage sales that include: a cash register, a refreshment stand, and a list of people who get into the garage sale the night before the actual sale begins like an exclusive store that caters to celebrities. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: When was your first garage sale?
Mom: It was when I was 11, and it wasn't technically a garage sale because we didn't have a garage, so we had to set up everything out in the yard.
Me: Did you feel like you hit the big time when you got to have your first garage sale that was in an actual garage?
Mom: Oh yeah.
Me: Do you have any amusing garage sale anecdotes that you'd like to share with the readers?
Mom: Well there was that one guy who came and bought one of your grandma's sweaters, and we assumed he was buying it for someone else. But then he kept showing up at later garage sales wearing the sweater.

She then launched into sharing garage sale tips, but I'll spare you that dear readers. Now on to today's book.

Today's book; "With a razor wit and a kind heart, Bryson serves up a colorful tale of boredom, kitsch, and beauty when you least expect it. Gentler elements aside, The Lost Continent is an amusing book. Here's Bryson on the women of his native state: "I will say this, however--and it's a strange, strange thing--the teen aged daughters of these fat women are always utterly delectable ... I don't know what it is that happens to them, but it must be awful to marry one of those nubile cuties knowing that there is a time bomb ticking away in her that will at some unknown date make her bloat out into something huge and grotesque, presumably all of a sudden and without much notice, like a self-inflating raft from which the pin has been yanked."

Shallow thoughts:

I seriously hope whoever wrote that review was being sarcastic when they said "kind heart" because I see nothing kind about making fun of people who are overweight. I'm not going to lie and pretend like I've never mocked anyone before - because in my family we have elevated mocking to an art form - but let's stop the dance already and stop pretending like mocking people is somehow kind. I'm also a bit disturbed that a man who appears to be at least in his 40's and maybe even 50's is speaking of teenage girls that way.

The part of the book I really enjoyed was when the author was talking about his Grandmother's cooking; her love of recipes that contain Rice Krispies, how she loves to make recipes that come from the back of boxes, how her cooking isn't quite hazardous but is close. It reminds me of my grandmother's cooking; her love of Tang, the way she considers recipes merely suggestions, and (most disturbing of all) her eccentric way she uses substitutions. She rarely checks before cooking to make sure she has all the ingredients, so she frequently needs to make substitutions, and her system of making substitutions is kind of random. For instance, if she runs out of milk, sometimes she will substitute any other liquid in place of the milk - and I do mean any. If you don't have milk, why not use Tang, they're both liquids so it words. But there are other times when she substitutes according to color. If you're out of milk then why not substitute mayonnaise instead - after all, they're both white. During the sale I was telling my mother that I was going to put that in my blog and she said, "Oh remember that time when she ran out of barbecue sauce and she used salad dressing instead because they were both red." That's just the magic that is Grandma.