It is another one of those American Holidays here in the states. For many it means cook-outs or mall sales, for others it means something more.
Though we do cook out in my home over Memorial Day weekend it is more about being with family and reflection.
One of my favorite things to do with my kids is go on bike rides or long walks to the book store on the weekends. I count myself very lucky to have a library, Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books all within walking distance. Often times we go on scavenger hunts (so to speak) in the shelves of the used book store. I love it because, unlike the library or Barnes & Noble there isn’t a computer database that someone can easily search up a title or author. This can be a hassle if you are in a hurry, but for me it makes the hunt all the more exciting.
With it being Memorial Day weekend, yesterday I decided that we would go on a hunt to find books that were somehow about the American holiday Memorial Day. We each had to find at least one book that we would actually read and we each only had $5.00 to spend.
I was the first to find a title and came across a thriller by Vince Flynn titled Memorial Day….kinda perfect huh?
CIA intelligence has pointed to a major terrorist attack on the United States, just as the nation’s capital prepares for a grand Memorial Day tribute to the veterans of World War II. Racing to Afghanistan, Mitch Rapp leads a commando raid on an al Queda stronghold in a remote border village — and defuses plans for a nuclear strike on Washington. The crisis averted, the special ops work is done. But Rapp knows, in the face of a new kind of enemy, nothing is as it seems — and it’s up to him alone to avert a disaster of unimaginable proportions.
My son had a harder time. For starters it is just SO hard to focus when there are so many other exciting, FUN books that keep distracting a boy….but he finally found something and brought it up to me asking if this one was okay. And, it was more than okay, it was great! He found a title by one of my favorite middle grade authors, Eve Bunting. She has written so many different books from The Ghost of Departure Point to Terrible Things (an Allegory of the Holocaust). I love her work and the book he found is no exception.
A boy and his father have come to the Vietnam War Memorial to look for the boy’s grandfather’s name among those who were killed in the war. They find his name surrounded, but far from lost, in the rows of print that “march side by side, like rows of soldiers.” “I’m proud that your grandfather’s name is on this wall,” says the boy’s father. The boy agrees, adding, “but I’d rather have my grandpa here.” Before this powerful book is half finished, readers will be deeply moved. Bunting’s understated prose captures the meaning of the memorial to the American people, especially to those who lost loved ones, without being maudlin or heavy-handed. Himler’s gauzy watercolors are a perfect accompaniment: impressionistic enough for the characters to appear as everymen. A sensitive and moving picture book, and a great discussion book as well. (this text refers to the Amazon description)
Now, Desi found the most unconventional book, but it is one we will probably use the most…in fact I plan on using it today.:) Summer Gatherings, a cookbook by Rick Rodgers, is a beautifully constructed book full of recipes perfect for the warm (or in my case hellishly hot) summer months and all the summer holidays that bring friends and family together…like Memorial Day.
Firm, ripe tomatoes. Golden corn. Fragrant basil. Juicy peaches. Nothing compares with the bounty of summer when colors, flavors, and aromas are at their peak and cooking is easier than ever. Fresh, ripe produce is so tasty and perfect on its own that creating a terrific summer meal can be stress-free, delicious, and fun.
In Summer Gatherings, award-winning cooking instructor Rick Rodgers has compiled his favorite simple summer recipes that make the most of the season’s flavors. Purposely casual, stripped to their essentials, these recipes are uncomplicated by elaborate sauces or fussy garnishes, focusing instead on the fruits and vegetables that make summer cooking what it is. With Watermelon, Tomato, and Mint Salad to Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms; Soft Shell Crab BLT Sandwiches; Chocolate Cherry Parfaits; Grilled Chicken with White Rosemary Barbecue Sauce; Risotto with Tomatoes, Basil, and Ricotta Salata; and Cantaloupe Ice Pops, Rodgers will help you take full advantage of summer’s bounty.
From family cookouts to neighborhood block parties, from picnics on the lawn to picnics at the beach, the appetizing recipes and photographs in Summer Gatherings are guaranteed to satisfy and inspire all season long.
All in all, it was a totally successful treasure hunt and we came out on top spending under ten dollars! I love a bargain, but I love finding books with my kids and learning a little something in the meantime. Have a safe a happy Memorial Day. I remember all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice whether in the past or present. My thoughts are with those who serve and their families today.
Thank you for your service.