Nightstand (June 2017)

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 at 8:10 am

This month turned out to be a good month for reading, probably because I was exhausted enough that I let everything go to seed while I read (I did stop to change diapers and to heat up leftovers for the kids for lunch). I’m expecting that, as my energy returns (we’re definitely in the second trimester now, so any day now?), my reading will decrease but maybe my house will get a bit cleaner and my husband will be able to relax when he comes home from work instead of having to pitch in to clean the house, make dinner, etc. etc. Fingers crossed.

Fiction Read:

  • The Secret Warning by Franklin W. Dixon
    I picked up the 17th volume of the “Hardy Boys” series after a long break from the series (I read #11 in 2013). Fast-paced, formulaic, and a blast straight from my childhood :-)
  • The Tournament at Gorlan and
    The Battle of Hackham Heath by John Flanagan

    I thought about resisting the siren call of Flanagan’s prequel series to “The Ranger’s Apprentice” – and then succumbed. I was not disappointed with the first two books of this series.
  • The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer
    Unlike many of Heyer’s novels, this book is not set in the Regency period. Rather, it is set around the time of the Jacobite rebellions in the 18th century. A brother and sister pair travel to London, intending to lie low as they await their father’s arrival. All three had participated in one of the recent rebellions (at the behest of the rather flamboyant father), and the young people are eager for respectability and to escape notice. To this end, they each masquerade as the opposite sex, the son being rather excepionally short and the daughter rather exceptionally tall. But their goal of respectability and escaping notice is rather quickly thrown to the side as they get embroiled in London society and each their own little love affair. An enjoyable read, although not my favorite Heyer title.
  • Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer
    Orphaned young people head off to London to live, intending to set up a place for themselves despite their elderly guardian’s apparent distaste for the scheme (he’d told them by letter to stay put in the country.) But they’re in for a shock when they discover that their guardian is actually quite a bit younger than expected. As is often the case with Georgette Heyer’s novels, I enjoyed this romp through Regency high society.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

    I came down with a case of what I’m guessing was food poisoning that left me horizontal for several days, long enough to run out of library novels to read – so I started reading from my own collection. And, just like when I first read these books, I could barely put them down. This time, reading as a mother, I am absolutely baffled as to when I will think it’s appropriate to let my children read these (mostly given the moral ambiguity throughout – I may change my mind later but I’m less worried about the “tense scenes”.) I’d love to hear thoughts from moms who are ahead of me in the process :-)

Nonfiction Read:

  • Prenatal Tests: The Facts by Lachlan De Crespigny and Frank A. Chervenak
    This was the most difficult book I’ve read in a long time. de Crespigny and Chervenak take a highly clinical tone as they describe the various prenatal tests offered women. They discuss what each procedure is like, what the procedure tests for, risks and benefits of one test over another, and who is generally offered each test. That’s tough reading because of the tone, but what really makes this book difficult is the basic assumption behind the whole thing. The same calculus is offered on every page, for every test: what test should be done and when in order to ensure that you can kill the baby you don’t want without harming the baby should you decide you do want him. It’s tragic. I cried. A lot. I cry just thinking about it now.
  • The Complete Organic Pregnancy by Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu
    Are you terrified by potential toxins lurking everywhere? Are you convinced that pregnancy means you should quit absolutely everything and move to an organic cotton yurt in the middle of an organic pasture where you spend your day drinking filtered water and doing yoga (but not on one of those yucky plastic yoga mats)? Then this is the book for you. It’s a primer in just how dangerous absolutely everything on the face of the earth is. Really, it’s safer to just not get pregnant than to try to deal with all the potential dangers lurking in your office chair, your water bottle, your cosmetics, your local park, everywhere, really. (In case you haven’t yet figured it out, I think this particular book is worthless. Also, while I don’t necessarily think “natural” birth is for everyone – I’ve ended up with two c-sections with spinals despite hoping for a natural birth – I do find it interesting that a book that tells women to avoid absolutely everything during pregnancy due to the potential for minute amounts of chemicals to leach into the mother’s body and then make it to the baby suddenly switches gears when asked about, say, narcotic painkillers during delivery – we wouldn’t DREAM of telling you what to do, that’s a personal decision!)
  • The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
    A history of the London cholera outbreak of 1854 – and how a moonlighting epidemiologist and a curious curate tracked down the source of the spread: the Broad Street pump. Daniel and I listened to this in the car and enjoyed the history of the epidemic and of the two main characters. What we didn’t enjoy were the lengthy, repetitive monologues about the wonders of cities and the metropolitan world. We’re guessing that we might not have minded so much if we were reading silently, since we could have skimmed through the monotony of those passages. We also wished that the author could have chosen some word other than “sh*t” to indicate human excrement. Have mercy on us audiobook listeners who happen to listen with our children in tow! Thankfully, while the word appears several dozen times, it’s pretty much confined to the first chapter – so, if you plan on listening to this one, listen alone for that section!
  • Parkinson’s Disease and the Family by Nutan Sharma and Elaine Richman
    This “Harvard University Press Family Health Guide” is a general introduction to the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease, how disease progression is assessed, various treatments for Parkinson’s and issues affected individuals and their families experience. At just over 200 pages, this is not too long for the less-avid reader. As a health professional, I am ill-equipped to evaluate the readability of this book for a general audience; but I found it to be understandable and informative (as well as generally free of the “woo” that way too many “health” books for a general audience are prone to.) Recommended.
  • Stokes Bird Gardening Book: The Complete Guide to Creating a Bird-Friendly Habitat in Your Backyard by Donald and Lillian Stokes
    Helpful ideas for creating a bird garden. Based on the information from this book, I feel that I have a good idea of how to move forward in creating a bird-friendly habitat in our yard. My one complaint was that little information was given about areas of the country, growing zones, etc.

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 (3):

  1. Barbara H. says:

    The Masqueraders is the only Heyer book I have read, and it didn’t incline me to read more, but I should probably try one of her Regency books.

    I haven’t read any of the HP books. Probably would have if my kids had been inclined to, but they weren’t, and I had plenty of other stuff stacked up. Moral ambiguity seems to be the in thing these days.

  2. Lisa notes says:

    How fun that you got to read the whole HP series again (but sorry for the food poisoning! not worth it! ha). My oldest daughter never read them but my youngest read them in her upper teen years, and I read them after she did. Hope your energy starts returning soon!

  3. Kym says:

    I really enjoy Georgette Heyer, but haven’t read The Masqueraders yet. Adding that one to my TBR list!

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