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Friday, 6 August 2004
Walkin' the Line - by William Ecenbarger
Topic: Books - Nonfiction
William Ecenbarger set out to follow the Mason-Dixon line from where it starts at the southeast corner of Delaware to the western end 233 miles later between West Virginia and Pennsylvania. He gives us the historical facts of how Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, between 1763 and 1768, surveyed the line that separated Maryland from Delaware and Pennsylvania in order to settle a dispute going back to the 1600s.

He interweaves this with how things look now and how they were before, during and after the Civil War when it divided free states from slave states and became not just a state line but an icon and rallying point. He has so many sad stories but among them are happy ones of the slaves that made it to freedom and stayed free. One of the saddest chapters is that being too close to the line wasn't safe for African Americans as slave catchers would capture escaped and even legally free slaves and sell them back into slavery. How terrible to finally be free and then be caught again.

It's very interesting as I have often heard the term Mason-Dixon and even had a vague idea where it was but never heard actual facts about how it came about.

Posted by rachela at 7:50 PM MDT
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Saturday, 17 July 2004
The Wharton's Stretch Book - by Jim and Phil Wharton
Topic: Books - Nonfiction
I've got a book a week ago on stretching since I've felt so tight and creaky lately. At my age I might say that's to be expected but I didn't want to spend the rest of my life like that. I spent about an hour looking at books on stretching at the bookstore and finally took this one, almost by default.

It is a comprehensive stretching book. It stretches you from your neck to your toes. Yes, it even has stretches for toes. It takes a good hour to do all the stretches so I've broken them up in half hour groups and do part morning and part afternoon. I feel a little less creaky but it's not anything to shout about.

What is wonderful is that I'm doing the evening group just before bedtime and I'm sleeping like a log for the first time in a long time. Well, maybe not like a log but I'm falling asleep faster and don't wake up as much. This alone is worth the cost of the book. It does take some effort to spend that much time in stretching but I'll keep it up if only to get better sleep.

Posted by rachela at 10:34 AM MDT
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Thursday, 1 July 2004
Quirkyalone - by Sasha Cagen
Topic: Books - Nonfiction
Definition: A person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple. With unique traits and an optimistic spirit; a sensibility that transcends relationship status. Also adj. Of, relating to, or embodying quirkyalones.
See also: romantic, idealist, independent.

That started the book out good and I thought, yeah, that's me. I scored high on the quirkyalone quiz and thought well I guess I am a quirkyalone.

It is an interesting book, though it's one with little asides written sideways and in the margins and it drove me crazy to constantly be turning the book around. I enjoyed reading the book and felt empathy with most of it but by the end I was getting a little tired of the constant repetition of the same themes. Ok, yes, we are weird. Some of us are more weird than others. Enough now.

I think it was the very strong emphasis on yes, we're quirky and weird and loners but we are very good at relationships, just not dependent on them, that made me realize that I run to the loner side quirkyalones. The far loner side. I realized that even quirkyalones would wonder if I wasn't too much of a loner. Still it was interesting if a little too much typecasting for people who are suppose to be quirky and creative and eccentric.

Posted by rachela at 9:28 PM MDT
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