Wednesday 16 April 2008

What do you read outside?

Spring in the city! The last few days, I've stopped in Trinity-Bellwoods Park on my way home from work, and read a chapter or three of Parenting Beyond Belief, edited by Dale McGowan.

There is something satisfying about reading outdoors in the sun. I pass through Trinity-Bellwoods usually twice a day on my 30 minute walk. I've mentioned the park before, and here are a couple of even better pics of the stunning little albino squirrel, having a snack with a friend.

Parenting Beyond Belief is an excellent book I found out about backwards, through reading the editor-author's blog, Meming of Life. Dale McGowan is entertaining and informative, and also heartfelt. He knows how to mix appealing anecdotes with research, so the literary calories are not hollow.

Here in Toronto, Chapters/Indigo/Coles/World's Biggest has it listed in their system, but I can't seem to find it. A new Book City moved in, and were happy to have it delivered to the location on my walk home. Nice! The sales consultant thought it looked pretty interesting too.

It's easy for me to pick a favourite in this book. Teaching Kids to Yawn at Counterfeit Wonder, by Dale McGowan. I like anything by McGowan in particular. Even the endnotes can be entertaining.

There are science experiments you can do with kids. A beautiful letter to his daughter by Richard Dawkins, whose writing has inspired much of my painting in the past. Essays on how to deal with concepts of death with your children (and for me - this was good stuff).

This is not a ponderous, heavy book, and is not meant to be. It is a nimble conversation-starting book, a catalysing book, a deeply interesting book. It does not matter if you are atheist, Bright, religious-but-liberal-and-a-little-lapsed; a parent of adopted or natural children, an educator, or involved in some young person's life.

Never quite understood the fuss about evolution? Chapter 8: Jaw-Dropping, Mind-Buzzing Science has the easy explanation of what Darwin discovered. Order this book, and while you're waiting for it to arrive, read The Meming of Life.

There is something a little sublime when sitting below a massive, twisty old tree, reading an excellent book while the sun is shining, buds are slow-mo bursting, kids are on bikes, dogs are lolling on their backs in the grass, and you have a bottle of blueberry-green tea.

Spring is back. What have you read outside? What do you plan to read?

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All original artwork on
The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details. Squirrel photos by Glendon Mellow. I tried not to hound the little guy; this was taken from a distance. It's a squirrel, ya gotta be respectful.


Leslie Hawes said...

I'm liking me some Dale McGowan!
I pester Dale on his blog on occasion. What a great place!
I want to be just like his kids when I grow up...

It's been in the 70's here today, and feels great, but a few days ago it was so hot we turned on the AC by lunch time. Too hot to read outside!
Spring is just about burned up here already.

I am reading the very, very last Harry Potter, but usually at night.

Glendon Mellow said...

I love those Potter books.

When Deathly Hallow's came out, my wife received in the mail on the weekend (unusual and fun already). I took our nephew to the park so she could read all day. Great book to curl up with.

And Dale just rocks.

Heather Ward said...

I should get a copy of that book. I read a related book a few years ago called Religion May Be Hazardous to Your Health. It's actually about to teach your kids about religion properly (e.g., not too young), but it's packed with stories about people who literally went insane when the real world didn't jive with their religious beliefs. It's not in print anymore, but my library had a copy.

I don't usually read outside, just in bed before going to sleep. I have mostly non-fiction in my to-read stack.

Glendon Mellow said...

Hi Heather!

It is a very good book, and the short essays show off a plethora of styles, from funny to analytical.

Hmm, I'll have to look for "Hazardous". Sounds interesting. And reading before bed is a must. No matter how tired I am, I need to read a page of something.

Anonymous said...

Parenting Beyond Belief might be a good supplement to teaching children religion. After all, it would be unfair to deny them religion all together. Let them choose.

But presenting this to children along with religion could be good, as religion doesn't typically admit their teachings could be wrong.

But this is all coming from someone with zero kids at the moment.

Glendon Mellow said...

Hey, Skeptical Monkey, thanks for checking out TFT!

I do agree that religion should be taught - it' an opinion I first read from Richard Dawkins and later on Dale MacGowan's blog. It makes sense. A lot of history and cultural baggage is bound up in it, not to mention a child's peers' families.

I like the idea of exploring things side by side. Then let them choose. I don't have kids of my own (yet) but having our nephew over every week makes me think about parenting a lot.

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