Habits: reading stash, book 1 done

Carrots, beets, cilantro, basil, perilla, cheese, rhubarb, apple cider, and donuts. The kids and I made a run to the farmer's market this morning.

We settled on the bench to eat the donuts and then the kids ditched me to play in the park. While sitting on the bench, an older woman I think was from China stopped to look at the produce. Without saying a word to me, she opened the bags to get a better look. She didn't notice the basil so I showed it to her and we both took a good whiff of it. I smiled at her and she yelled across the park to another woman in what I guess was Chinese. Then she resumed her walk around the park.

I wasn't particularly surprised about how she boldly examined what I had on the bench. I wasn't surprised because just last night I finished reading Country Driving: A Journey through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler. The American author wrote about similar situations in the book - describing how some of his neighbors in small-town China would enter his home and look at his things without saying a word in greeting.

Maybe I misinterpreted the woman, but I like to think I got her actions right - that she was curious about what I bought, so she looked. I'm not about to adopt her habit as it seems impolite by American culture, but the encounter did connect with my own habit of reading.

I mentioned a few days ago that I'm not reading as much as I should and I'm working on improving my habit. To get back into the routine of daily reading, I'm working my way through a stash that is stacked by my bed, unread. The idea is that I'll pick whatever book is on top and read it - or get rid of it promptly if I don't want to read it. And I told myself I'd make a blog post about each book after I finish it.

Book #1 finished. A very readable book about what's happening in China's countryside in the last decade.

Photo: After the farmer's market, after the donuts, before math, before lunch.


  1. Your posts are so fresh, I'm devouring them.
    Let me tell'ya that I'm thrilled by you popping up into the blogosphere or however you call this ;)

    I think it is true what you say. I believe she wanted to look at the produce. We Spaniards would have done as the Chinese, but we would have tried to communicate to you with our hands what we were doing, like the Italians and Greek.

    Happy Readings!

  2. Thanks, Silvia! I'm having a great time with the blog and visiting other blogs.

    It's also fun to learn about manners in different cultures. I've made some embarrassing blunders just because I wasn't familiar with another culture.

  3. Good for you, working on your reading stack. I am working on one also. I finished a book last week too. I just finished a Grace Livingston Hill book. I wasn't familiar with her until I read about her on another blog. I liked the book pretty good.

  4. Keep talking books, Traci....I got sidetracked from this habit training this week. Picked up a book once in the past few days. Hearing about what others are reading keeps my momentum going. (And hearing about your walking also inspires me!)

  5. hilarious.

    i LOVE cultural nuances.

    I'm always astounded by the variety that culture produces.

    sometimes i'm highly annoyed by some things culture produces.


    amy, normally in peru