Friday, July 29, 2011

Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence by Rebecca Walker

I thought the writer was going to focus more on the ambivalence she felt before she chose motherhood. I wanted to read about what the ambivalence was about and how she worked through it. Instead, this is a gushy look at her pregnancy, from the moment she found out she was pregnant until she gave birth to her son.

I found this book when I was at the World's Biggest Bookstore (see picture below) in Toronto and it was marked down to $2. I decided to not buy it, and ordered it from my library instead. I'm actually glad I didn't spend $2 on it. Not a book I need to keep and not a book I would re-read. And glad I didn't have to carry it home with me.

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

Whoops. I read the final book in a trilogy before reading the first two. I didn't even know until I searched for the book on Amazon. Maybe that's why I didn't feel like I knew the main character that well.

Belly has loved two boys in her life, and they happen to be brothers. Jeremiah wants to marry her, but does Belly still have feelings for his brother, Conrad?

I liked this book until the ending. There wasn't enough explanation about why Belly chooses who she does and how that all evolved.

Well, I'm gonna go and read the first two of the books in the trilogy and see if I can make more sense of this all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Mom is a Fob: Earnest Advice in Broken English from Your Asian-American Mom by Teresa Wu and Serena Wu

Here is the authors' definition of F.O.B.:
"The acronym F.O.B. stands for 'fresh off the boat,' and is a term often used to describe Asian immigrants who just aren't quite on track with American culture." --Teresa Wu and Serena Wu

This book consists of examples submitted by readers of their blog that supposedly demonstrate the "fobbiness" of their immigrant mothers. (There is also a blog dedicated to F.O.B. dads.)

Some of the examples are funny, but to me, they don't really show fobbiness exactly. Rather, they show the mothers' struggles with English as a second language, their lack of boundaries between themselves and their children, and the rudeness and insensitivity that erodes self-esteem.

Check it out from the library if you're interested, but I'm not going to recommend it here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

A modern day re-telling of Hamlet. The book takes place in rural Wisconsin with a main character who can hear, but cannot talk.

If you're familiar with Hamlet, you will have an idea of how the novel ends.

This was the only book I took with me on a ten-day vacation, and yet I still found myself reluctant to read it. The writing was great, but there were lots of pet dogs in the story. And when there are lots of dogs in a book, there usually has to be at least one dog death.

I did finish though, and the ending of the book was very disappointing, a true let-down, sad with no redemption.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School by Alexandra Robbins

Written by the same author as The Overacheivers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids and Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities (which I read before I started this blog and thoroughly enjoyed), this book tackles popular kids and outcasts in high school. It tracks seven people over the course of a school year and includes discussion about group psychology and the high school social scene.

I like Robbins' writing. She provides a lot of research and delves into the subject at hand. The book is dense and you know that this definitely is NOT some flimsy half-researched book.

However, I liked her Overacheivers and Pledged books more than this one. Just found them more interesting, cohesive, and clear.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas Phelan

This book teaches about disciplining kids ages 2-12 without yelling or arguing. It also goes into how to build a good relationship with kids. There are chapters that specifically address bedtime routines, getting to school on time, having good family mealtimes, and using technology.

This was recommended to me by a therapist who used it with her four children.

It was really easy to read and seemed pretty practical. It's definitely worth reading to learn about how it all works.

I'm wondering if it really works in real life with real children. Maybe my parent readers out there can comment?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

Chihiro, a 20-something lady, moves to Tokyo after her mother's death, spends time looking out of her apartment window, and meets a young man, Nakajima, who also spends time looking out of his window. Their friendship and relationship that follows is a story of two broken people who are on the way to healing in their own quirky, human way.

Subtle, understated, short, weird, and lovely all at the same time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thrifty: Living the Frugal Life with Style by Marjorie Harris

The point of this book is to learn how to live a richly frugal life. The chapters address ways to be frugal in home, fashion, garden, travel, and eating. It talks about being aware of what you love and to buy quality when it comes to those things. This is different from being cheap (just going for the lowest price). There are lots of helpful tips.

I read this book in one day and it was fun. It's not really a book to own, just check it out from the library if you're interested.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

As my faithful readers know, I'm a fan of Sarah Dessen. But, if you remember from her last book I reviewed here, I thought that her books were becoming formulaic.

This one is her latest, and I was still excited to read it. The main character is Mclean whose parents just divorced and she's been moving from place to place with her dad because of his job, reinventing herself in each new city. She finally lets herself settle down, make friends, and find out who she really is.

This was fun to read, and it does deviate slightly from the Dessen formula, but it was still too much like her other books (which, especially when I picked up my first Dessen book, I loved). I ask yet again: please bring us something new next time, Ms. Dessen.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The writer found herself, in her mid-30s, stricken with a very mysterious illness that left her in bed, lacking the energy to even get up. A friend brought her a violet plant with a snail, and the snail became a pet. He got his own terrarium, and the writer spent lots of time observing, listening, and befriending the snail. She researched snails and came to appreciate the snail's world.

A short, little book, but it's lovely. I read it slowly, and it made good bedtime reading. It might make you appreciate the little things in life more.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

This book is about the author's year spent traveling from New York City to her native Singapore to learn how to cook the dishes of her childhood. She reconnects with her family and learns a lot about cooking.

When she's back in New York City, she also works on learning how to bake bread, so she describes her bread adventures as well. These descriptions seemed a bit out-of-place and jolting after reading so much about Singaporean food.

This was a so-so book. Enjoyable, but I'm not putting this down as a must-read.