Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby's First Year by Dawn Dais

I've had multiple friends who are moms tell me, "Oh, Elaine, I'm not going to tell you about (fill in the blank) in case you do decide to have kids." They don't want to scare me off by telling me stories of pregnancy, labor and delivery, nursing, diapers, etc.

The most honest report I've had from a mom was from my cousin. When I visited her in the hospital after her first baby was born, she told me, "Elaine, if you ever think that having a 'natural birth' sounds good, pull out all of your toenails first and see if you like how it feels." Okay, so that was several hours after her boy was born. But now that I think of it, just a couple of weeks ago, when she saw me watching her son, she said, "Elaine, stick with the shih-tzu." Hum.

Anyway, this book goes into the nitty gritty of pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, diapers, and sleep deprivation. The author is very likeable, down-to-earth, and funny. I think it's gonna make a great baby shower gift.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Lahiri's newest novel features two brothers born 15 months apart with very different destinies. Udayan is an activist committed to fighting poverty in Calcutta. Subhash chooses an academic life and moves to the US. When Udayan dies, Subhash returns to India and tries to pick up the pieces of his brother's life.

This novel spans generations, and is different enough from Lahiri's other books but thoughtful and beautiful enough to be similar.

Personally, I didn't enjoy The Lowland as much as The Namesake or Unaccustomed Earth, but I'll read anything that Lahiri writes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton

"...we don't love people and animals because we will have them forever; we love them because loving them changes us, makes us better, healthier, kinder, realer. Loving people and animals makes us stronger in the right ways and weaker in the right ways. Even if animals and people leave, even if they die, they leave us better." --Glennon Doyle Melton

Melton writes the blog www.momastery.com I heard about her book through another blog that I read, The Messy Middle. Melton has a history of alcohol, drug, and food addictions. She's now a mom of three and a writer. She writes about her past, her recovery, struggles, and moments of triumph. Life is messy, and Melton isn't afraid to write about it.

This seems like a book that would really speak to me if I had read it at exactly the right time. But I don't think that exact time was right now. I enjoyed her essays, but it was not a life-changing read which I think it could be for some people at the right time.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling

Thank you to Boomer for writing a Guest Post on The Cuckoo's Calling since I was unable to get through it!

Here's what he has to say:

Set in modern day London, The Cuckoo's Calling is an almost protoypical murder-mystery novel about a down-on-his-luck private eye named Cormoran Strike.  The book details Strike's investigation into the murder/suicide of a fashion model named Lula Landry.  Over the course of the investigation we're introduced to numerous characters, each of their twisted stories and secrets and how or why they may be involved in Landry's death.

For those who don't know, The Cuckoo's Calling is written by Robert Galbraith, which is actually a pseudonym for the famous author, J.K. Rowling!  Like Rowling's other books, The Cuckoo's Calling is rich with descriptive detail about modern day London.  She also does a fantastic job building up to a suspenseful and exciting climax of the story!  Unfortunately, like the first half of Deathly Hallows, she does hit a rut in the middle third of the book where it seems like it's just dragging on and on.

The book tends to follow the prototypical storylines with murder mysteries.  It reads a little bit like an extended game of Clue; here are all the suspects, and for each one, here are their alibis, their motives, their involvement with Landry, their dirty secrets, etc.  For those interested in solving the mystery on their own based on the clues, it's a rather interesting puzzle.  However for those more interested in just enjoying, it's rather a bit dull going through all the details.

Ultimately I'd call it a decent read, but it could have done with a bit more editing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One by Lauren Sandler

Sandler is an only child, and the mother of an only child. This is a part investigative work and part memoir, and she weaves in her story with facts and studies that claim that only children do just as well (if not better) than those children with siblings.

An interesting section was about how parents usually have more children so that the first kid has siblings rather than because the parents themselves actually want more children.

This was an okay book. It took me awhile to read it, and sometimes the organization of the book didn't quite make sense. If you're thinking about how many kids you want, or considering having just one child, or if you're an only child yourself, you might want to check it out.