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Jun 12 2012

Ten Books You Should Read This Summer

By at 12:07 pm

My husband Jon has frequently commented that my cooking might taste better if I did not regularly read novels while I cook. I tell him that this is a charming detail about me that will elicit loving laughter when he mentions it during his eulogy at my funeral. He finds this annoying, for whatever reason. He then says something like, “A smoke alarm should not be what makes you put down the book,” or that normal people do not have books in the drawers under the stove. Well, I never said I was normal, hon.

Here are some recommendations for those few-and-far-between moments you might snatch for yourself this summer. This list is both newer books and older ones, paperbacks and hardcovers, fiction and non, spanning various levels of intellectual rigor–though you will note that a certain bondage fantasy has conspicuously been left off the list!

Please feel free to add suggestions (along with a little topical blurb) in the comments. A friend of mine mentioned she was going on a no-television-summer…and now that Mad Men and Game of Thrones are over, I may join her. Kveller book club, anyone?

gone girl gillian flynn1. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn: This one is why my family’s dinner will be burnt tonight. I just bought it this morning and am riveted. It’s the story of a man whose beautiful wife, Amy, goes missing in a foul play scenario on their fifth anniversary. As the reader, you’re hooked as you go between the husband, Nick’s, retelling of what’s happening in the investigation, and journal entries from Amy. It’s not just a “whodunit,” though you’ll be dying to know, but it’s also an intelligent and piercing look inside the wildly weird and dysfunctional world of a marriage. Terrific.

Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 25 2012

Why I Want My Kids to Read Less

By at 10:14 am
little boy reading a book

Hey kid, put the book away!

My oldest son taught himself to read at age 4. This isn’t a boast. He didn’t speak until he was 3, we found out (way too late; bad Mommy) that he had hearing issues, and I figure the visual was just easier for him to grasp.

My second son, at age 4, didn’t just not read–he threw violent temper tantrums and flung books across the room at the mere mention of it. Not wanting a repeat of the bad Mommy hearing incident, I took him to get his eyes checked. And was told that his vision was 20/20, but that he might benefit from an untested therapy that wasn’t covered by insurance or guaranteed to do anything. You know, just to be safe. I passed. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 2 2011

Fact or Fiction: A Father Responds

By at 11:33 am

What should dads read?

One of the things Ronia’s mother and I argued about was my lack of reading relevant literature, first pregnancy then childrearing books. It is somewhat impossible to argue for not reading them without making excuses for yourself, and I had the same reaction to Dan Friedman’s recent(ish) Kveller post about what men read.

My defense for not reading parenting lit was similar to Dan’s, that I was using my downtime to focus on other things. I still maintain that the parts of our brains that aren’t  devoted to parenting are precious and need to be nurtured. As a stay at home parent, no one was going to guilt me. In fact, I felt like the great advantage of fatherhood is that expectations were so low for me, that I didn’t have to worry about the guilt that people heap on mothers.

Still, I find Dan’s response rather thin. That’s great that Dan reads a lot of literary fiction. I love fiction, and read it too. I could probably even come up with reasons why it makes me a better father. But if you asked me to make a list of “things parents should do that they don’t have enough time for” or more to the point “things fathers aren’t involved enough in,” reading literary fiction would not be at the top of my list. Read the rest of this entry →

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