Thursday, January 23, 2014

good reads

one of the great things about nursing is that it all adds up to several hours a day to snuggle Greta and ... catch up on Facebook, google my latest crazy mother question (recent searches include "is desitin cloth-diaper safe?" [no], "wonder weeks", and "nursing strikes" [just out of curiosity]), watch an ungodly number of Roseanne episodes, and READ. for the first few weeks after Greta was born, i did no reading whatsoever. it felt like an insurmountable task to focus on anything longer and more in depth than a Facebook status. but now that things have settled into a routine, my Kindle Fire and the Kindle app on my phone are my near constant companions! 

(full disclosure: the Kindle Fire has mostly been used for watching Scandal, my recently-discovered Netflix addiction. but i digress.)

so here's what i've enjoyed reading lately:

Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn. i absolutely could not put down Gone Girl by the same author, and while Sharp Objects wasn't quite as much of a page-turner, the twists and turns still kept me guessing. Flynn's character development and knack for just-the-right-amount-of-detail make reading delightful. 

Cherish the First Six Weeks, by Helen Moon. written by a nanny and baby sleep specialist, this book offers a six-week plan for structuring your baby's days and nights. the basic principles are very similar to what we've already been doing (as outlined in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg), but i appreciated how she broke down each week to correspond to baby's development. 

Defending Jacob, by William Landay. i loved this book. the plot-line is gripping, the characters are believable, and the courtroom scenes are so realistic that several times i felt like i was right back in the Allegheny County court house serving jury duty. the ending comes completely out of left field and made me want to re-read the book again as soon as i finished it.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, by Peggy Orenstein. an exceptionally well-researched expose of the "pinkification" of girls. she tackles the age-old question of nature or nurture, and provides a fascinating look into the world of marketing from Barbies to the Disney princesses to Bratz dolls (ugh). what i found most interesting was the research she did on the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales and how their violence and morbidity actually do resonate with children on a much deeper level than many of the pithy, vanilla books written today to encourage sharing, taking turns, and "being nice". i'm still mulling over this whole concept, but i do remember reading some of the original Grimm fairy tales as a six-year-old and absolutely loving the grisly eye-for-an-eye morality they espoused. 

Confessions of a Bad Teacher, by John Owens. this book would be hysterical and hugely entertaining if it was fiction. but as it depicts the truly broken public school system (at least in New York state), it's actually quite horrifying. nevertheless, the book provides hope that teachers with dedication, passion and ingenuity are doing remarkable things for our schoolchildren, even in the face of bureaucracy and micromanagement.

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