Nightstand (June 2015)

It’s been a decent month for reading and an excellent month for reviewing. I can’t remember a time when I’ve reviewed such a large proportion of the books on my Nightstand post. I’m going to blame my new scheduling/to-do system, which starts to make me think I’m getting a hang on this stay-at-home-helpmate/housewife/mothering gig. (Knock on wood :-P)

Fiction read this month:

  • The Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson
    Some kids from church recommended the author to me – and, while this book wasn’t spectacular, it was a clean fun adventure. Read my full review here.
  • The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan
    Newly minted Ranger Will is off to his first assignment – but he quickly needs to switch gears (and clothes!) His new mission is to find out all he can about the alleged sorcerer in a northern fief – while disguised as a jongleur. This book drew me in quickly, as all of the Ranger’s Apprentice series have. Unfortunately, it ended on a cliff-hanger when my library wasn’t open for me to get the next book!
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry
    An absolutely delightful little book, complete with the author’s original illustrations. This was Amy’s pick for the Reading to Know Classics Bookclub this month – I’m looking forward to discussing it in the upcoming week.
  • 4 picture books author last name BROWN
  • 5 board books by various authors

Nonfiction read this month:

Books about Pregnancy, Birth, and Childrearing:

  • Vaginal Birth after Cesarean by Elizabeth Kaufmann
    Unhelpful. The author has a chip on her shoulder regarding her own VBAC, which she agreed to reluctantly and was not pleased with. But even beyond that, the circumstances against which the author rages no longer exist in our current medical system. Read my full review here.
  • Bouncing Back after Your Pregnancy by Glade Curtis and Judith Schuler
    I wish I could recommend this, as it is the best laid out of all the post-pregnancy books I’ve read. Unfortunately, it’s filled with misinformation. Read my full review here.
  • Sleep: The Brazelton Way by T. Berry Brazelton and Joshua D. Sparrow
    Gives a general idea of baby and child sleep patterns and specific advice for a variety of sleep issues. I wouldn’t recommend trying to follow Brazelton’s advice to a T, but it could be helpful as a collection of tips. You can read my full review here.
  • Getting Your Child to Sleep…and Back to Sleep by Vicki Lansky
    Lots of potential tips, but be aware that the author has a definite “children need to cry to learn to self-soothe” bent. Also, the first chapter is an absolute modge podge (including advice to “set your TV for Sesame Street that a small child can turn on alone” as a solution to waking up early) deceptively titled “Newborn Sleep Patterns”.
  • Didn’t I feed You Yesterday? by Laura Bennett
    Former “Project Runway” contestant writes about raising 6 children in New York City. She doesn’t give advice (and if she did, you wouldn’t want it – she’s admirable in not being a helicopter mom, not worth emulating because, well, she doesn’t make any effort to train her kids at all.) But it is a very funny book if you can get past the crudeness. Full review coming soon.

Books about Christmas:

  • Christmas in Australia by World Book
    Because it’s starting to feel like Australian Christmas in Kansas :-)
  • American Country Christmas by Mary Ellisor Emmerling
    Lots of pictures of country-style decorating accompanied by bits of old-fashioned poetry about Christmas. Fun to peruse, wouldn’t want to own.

Other nonfiction:

  • Nesting: It’s a Chick Thing by Ame Mahler Beanland & Emily Miles Terry
    Homemaking anecdotes and ideas from a variety of women – with a particular emphasis on female friendships. I didn’t particularly like it, probably because I don’t have that kind of female friendships at present. Read my full review here.
  • Horrible History: France by Terry Deary
    A collection of gruesome trivia from France’s history through the eighteenth century. I think a preteen boy would probably like this a fair bit, but I had some reservations about using it as part of a history curriculum. Read my full review here.


  • The Hole We’re In by Gabrielle Zevin
    I enjoyed The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, so I thought I’d pick up the other adult novel my library had by Zevin. But I abandoned it after 70 pages (per Nancy Pearl’s guidelines in Book Lust :-) and my own “Read Every Book in my local library” rules). Those 70 pages started with a man making a major decision for his family (with significant cost to his wife) without even talking with his wife. Then he kept secrets from his wife, who in turn keeps secrets from her husband. Surprisingly (NOT!), there’s an affair before page 70. The couple’s children add to the hidden drama – the high schooler is secretly dating a black kid, even though she knows her parents wouldn’t approve. The older daughter is planning her wedding despite secretly hating her fiancee. Oh, and did I mention that this family is made up of “conservative Christians”? Yeah, it was definitely worth quitting.
  • Quick Food: Gourmet Recipes in Just 30 minutes by Jenny Fanshaw and Annette Forrest
    I flagged a dozen or so recipes (out of more than 300) but only ended up making one, which was so-so. The food was just a little too frou-frou for everyday eating (even if it’s quick to make.)

Reviewed from last month’s nightstand:
I don’t usually go backwards – but I had several books that I read last month but hadn’t reviewed or written up notes on as of the last Nightstand post

At the beginning of the year, I set up some forward-dated library holds for the books on the Reading to Know Classics book club list. Come the middle of the month, a little after the request comes active, I get a notice that such-and-such a book is on hold for me now. This month, I hadn’t received a notice as of Sunday and started to get worried that I wouldn’t get my book in time. I began to contemplate actually going to Carrie’s blog and figuring out which book I needed to get so I could get it by another route – and then I remembered. Next month is July – which means WE’RE GOING TO NARNIA! (And also means I have no need to go to the library to get a copy – I have at least two copies of the series here at home.) If you haven’t already made plans for July (and even if you have), may I suggest that you visit Narnia as well?

Don’t forget to drop by 5 Minutes 4 Books to see what others are reading this month!

What's on Your Nightstand?

6 thoughts on “Nightstand (June 2015)”

  1. I’m looking forward to discussions of The Little prince as well. I’m still processing it and don’t know quite what I think about it yet, so it will be especially interesting to see what other people got from it.

    The one you abandoned sounds like it was worth abandoning.

  2. Lots of interesting stuff here! I’ve read about another HS’ing mom rave about the Horrible Histories (she has 2 boys, not surprisingly). I have a copy of Little Prince and read it as a child — remember thinking it was ‘deep’ and I probably didn’t quite “get it.” I should read it again now; wouldn’t take long. I love that you abandon books! I really should do that at times. Too many good ones to waste time slogging through ones that don’t interest me much.

  3. What a great month you’ve had! Good choice on abandoning the novel…
    The more we do something (motherhood, etc.) the better we get at it. Not that we ever are perfect but we learn as we go. :)

  4. I’ve noticed you’ve been on quite a roll for book reviewing! :) Glad your new schedule is working. Keep it going as long as you can because it’ll be bound to change again soon. Kids have a way of making that happen, as you’ve already discovered.

    Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday? does sound like a funny book, but yes, not one we should emulate. ha. I’ll have to look it up.


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