Nightstand (August 2015)

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 at 7:19 am

My library is celebrating 100 years this year – and, as part of their celebration, they’re inviting library patrons to try to read 100 books this year (with the opportunity to read great prizes, they say.) The only stipulation is that the books must be at least 100 pages in length (do I sense a theme here?) As of today, I’ve read 72 books over a hundred pages (I only wish I’d noted the pages – I’ve seen others tabulate how many pages they’ve read, and that’s a pretty good idea.) That’s 72% of the way to 100 and it’s 65% of the way through the year, so… I think I might make it to 100 :-D

First load of library returns

Fiction read this month:

  • The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan
    I am continuing to enjoy the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series – the former castle wards turned apprentices are now in their first duty posts, handling a tricky situation up North. Will and Horace have to figure out how to siege Macindaw with fewer men than are within the castle walls – and they have to do it before something horrible happens to Alyss, a prisoner within the castle tower.
  • The Adventures of Perseus by Peter Hepplewhite
    An episodic recounting of the myth of Perseus, with cartoon-like illustrations and a call-out box or two per double-page spread giving background information on the current episode. For example, in the episode entitled “Perseus rescues his mother”, a call-out box titled “Ask the storyteller” asks “What happened to Medusa’s head?” I’d say this is probably a good choice for mid- to upper- elementary child.
  • The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer
    An arranged marriage, a suspected murderer, a free-trader, an actual murderer, and a runaway bride? This Heyer novel had me laughing out loud – and quite unable to communicate why to my husband. Heyer just has a knack for hilarious interpersonal interactions (but ones that you can’t always understand in just an excerpt!)
  • 18 board books
    Tirzah Mae and I have been doing lots of reading this month!

Nonfiction read this month:

Books about Family Issues (Marriage, Childbirth, Baby Care):

  • I’d Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile
    An expansion on a chapter in I was a Good Mom before I had Kids, by the same authors. My opinion of this book is about the same as my opinion on the chapter in the earlier book – generally good advice but the women they talk to can be incredibly disrespectful to their husbands. You can find my full review here.
  • Thank You, Dr. Lamaze by Marjorie Karmel
    A fascinating memoir of Karmel’s experience giving birth naturally in France using Dr. Lamaze’s variation on “Pavlovian childbirth” – and then of applying that same method while giving birth in America. For those who are into birth or the history of birth (okay, I might be the only one?), this is absolutely riveting. Read my full review here.
  • Cut it Out! by Theresa Morris
    A fascinating sociological exploration of the current c-section epidemic in the US. This author argues (and quite successfully, I think) that organizational changes (mostly driven by litigation) are the primary contributer to the US’s astronomical c-section rate. Morris interviewed hundreds of healthcare providers and recently postpartum women and includes extensive quotes throughout the book. Definitely worth reading if the subject interests you at all (I read it in two, maybe three sittings?)
  • How to Survive Your Baby’s First Year by Hundreds of Heads
    Lots of dogmatic black-and-white advice with little by way of usable tips – except the oft-repeated (and, in my opinion BAD) advice to “do what works for you”. Read my scathing review here.
  • The Baby Food Bible by Eileen Behan
    Somewhat dated and doesn’t address a lot of the hot-button issues (or many of my favorite soapboxes), but a good resource for a mom of an infant under 8 months who intends to make her own baby food purees. Read my full review here.

Second load of library returns

Books about Building a Home:

  • Almost Green by James Glave
    A freelance writer tries to build a super-green studio workspace in his yard. Interesting in parts, insufferably supercilious in others. I don’t really recommend it. You can, however, read my full review here.
  • Porches and Sunrooms by Roger German
    A full-color resource for planning, building (or renovating), and repairing a porch, three-season-room, sunroom, or conservatory. I enjoyed all the photos of lovely porches – and gained what I think will be useful information about the process of building a porch.

Books about History:

  • Caesar and Christ by Will Durant
    I’ve been listening to this one off and on since April – and I finally finished it (it’s only 30 discs long!). It’s a fascinating look at the history of Rome – from the foundations to the fall. I’d like to read it again someday – and I see this as potentially being a great resource for a high school study of ancient history.
  • The Black Count by Tom Reiss
    The story of the novelist Alexandre Dumas’ father, also names Alexandre Dumas. Dumas was a mullato from French Saint-Domingue who participated in the French Revolution, even becoming general-in-chief of the French Republican Army. After participating in Napoleon’s unsuccessful invasion of Egypt, Dumas became a prisoner in Naples while Republican France devolved into a totalitarian regime under Napoleon. This was a intriguing story of the French Revolution and of race relations in revolutionary and post-revolutionary France.

Other nonfiction:

  • Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
    This month’s pick for my in-real-life bookclub. I love how this story reminds me of my own childhood – both because of similarities between our stories and because of how the Gilbreth story influenced our family culture when I was a teen.
  • Christmas in Brazil by World Book
    Brazil has some rather different Christmas season traditions. Interesting.
  • The Lion’s World by Rowan Williams
    A delightful conversation about themes in Narnia; like a chat with one of the smartest people you know, who also happens to be a lover of Narnia. You can find my full review here.
  • Organize Your Stuff the Lazy Way by Toni Ahlgren
    Not particularly well-organized for a book on organizing – and tremendously dated (about half of the book applies to stuff that no longer exists thanks to technological changes).

Third load of library returns

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

What's on Your Nightstand?

Reader Comments (6):

  1. Susan says:

    Ha — had to grin about the poorly organized book on organizing :) 30 discs? Wow, that was one long time commitment! I have never read Cheaper by the Dozen, either, and I should!

  2. Barbara H. says:

    What a neat activity your library is sponsoring! And how great that you’ll be able to hit the goal with a new baby as well! I do remember enjoying reading while nursing.

    I remember seeing the movie Cheaper by the Dozen with Lucille Ball but I don’t think I ever read the book.

    The history of Rome sounds interesting. In the fictional book I am reading about 1st century Rome, I am already wondering what’s fictional and what’s based on fact.

  3. Sharon B says:

    I always enjoy the wide range of reading selections you share. I might have to look into the Talisman Ring. Some evenings I just need a good laugh or two.

  4. ibeeeg says:

    Oooo….The Ranger’s Apprentice series…I LOVE that series! Although, I’ve not completed it but I did read several…I got caught up and then didn’t keep up with new releases.

  5. Huh! Clever idea for the library. I like the bit about reading the prizes. :D

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