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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Another Number

25,000

Over the last 13 years of weekly library trips, that’s the number of books we’ve borrowed. It’s a conservative estimate, too. I was crestfallen when the library put a limit on the number of books anyone could take out on one card, and even though there’s a 99 book limit, we’ve often had to use a second or third card because we’re over that limit. I didn’t calculate the cumulative overdue fines paid for those books that slide under beds and between couch cushions, or the price of the books I’ve had to purchase because they were damaged in some way (teething babies did a number on a few), because I think of the money spent as a drop in the bucket return for what we’ve received.

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I usually read out loud to the kids right before lunch. It isn’t necessary, because they’re perfectly able readers, but it’s so nice to cuddle up on the couch with mugs of lemon tea and a shared book. I actually miss the picture books that were a staple for so many years, and suggested to the kids that next time we go to the library we get a huge stack of them just for fun.

Right now I’m reading Frightful’s Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, the third in the series of books that began with My Side of the Mountain. The series is about a teenage boy who runs away from home to live by himself in the Catskill Mountains. He lives in a hollow tree, hunts, fishes, makes clothing from deerskin and tames a wild peregrine falcon. The book we’re on now tells the story from the point of view of the falcon, which is really interesting. T can’t wait for the snow to melt so that he can go out with his Swiss Army Knife and “do stuff” like the boy in the stories. I found a NFB movie called Bush Survival or some such thing, about surviving in the Canadian wilderness. We’re going to watch it tomorrow. Pretty soon we get to go on a field trip to a falconry, and we’ll get to see some birds of prey in action. I’m really looking forward to it. One of the things I like about having the kids at home during the day is being able to go with them on naturey sorts of outings, and giving them the opportunity to spend lots of time outdoors.

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If you want men and women to earn the same, then you have to start paying the same salary to social workers that you do to building contractors.”

~Susan Pinker

This is an exerpt from Dr. Pinker’s new book, titled The Sexual Paradox: Extreme Men, Gifted Women and the Real Gender Gap. I haven’t read it, it’s just been published, but I’ve read two reviews, and both times, these words jumped out at me.

Susan Pinker, a psychologist, sets out a carefully researched scientific discussion of how the brains of men and women are differently hardwired, so that in general ( she apparently is careful to mention that of course there are exceptions), many women opt out of top jobs even though they pursued education that qualified them to take them, because biology makes women more inclined to work with people and to want to see a positive outcome of their work in the community, results that may not be apparent in the corner office jobs.

She goes on to argue that “victim feminists” have been wasting their breath, stating that “In Western society, I really don’t think that outside forces are controlling us against our will.” She does blame patriarchy however, for setting up a work world in which traditionally male pursuits are more highly compensated than female ones. THAT I agree with, and THAT I think is where the debate should be.

Instead of trying to be just like men, women should feel pride in their biological uniqueness, and should help bring about a perspective change in our society, such that their particular contributions are valued, by women and by men. This might help mitigate the tremendous pressure young women of today feel in making no-win choices between having children and having a high-powered career.

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