Reading The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan. It's about the Dust Bowl. She used to teach Social Studies and is an avid reader of history books, but she had no idea, until she started reading this, what the dust bowl was all about. It's a neglected period of our American history. Apparently the government, in an attempt to get the Native Americans out of the prarie land in Kansas, shot all the buffalo and provided incentives for non-Native Americans to farm the land. So much land was tilled that the soil became sandy and when wind came up, it blew--to such extremes that the air grew as black as the smoke from a forest fire and people got pneumonia. You could barely see your hands in front of you, and the centipedes it attracted, moved into the walls of peoples homes and their munching kept the kids awake at night.

Other books she's read recently: Ghost Soldiers, by Hampton Sides; Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors, by James Reston; The Last Knight: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era, by Norman F. Cantor; and Rabbit-Proof Fence, by Doris Pilkington, which, she said, though a not very well written book, had merit because of the story itself.

Her favorite books of all time--The Hobbit and The Little Prince. The characterization, she says is based on human psychology and, when you come to the ends of these books, you feel as though you can see people you know in there.