Monday, January 29, 2007

Recent Reading

A few of the books I've read recently – at least those I remember at the moment:

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne: A mostly enjoyable fast read with an only slightly untrustworthy first person narrator. It's a dysfunctional family Thanksgiving in Concord, MA populated by a few too many unnecessary characters and eventually focusing on a central conflict that just wasn't a big enough deal to me. I read this one for a book group I belong to, and most of the women in it enjoyed the book more than me. It was, however, an excellent book for discussion purposes.

March by Geraldine Brooks: I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. It was another book group choice. Like say, Ahab's Wife, it takes a barely mentioned character from a famous book and imagines their story. In this case it chronicles Mr. March, the father who is absent throughout Little Women and his experiences with the US Civil War. As Little Women is much based on the Alcotts real life, and I grew up visiting their house in Concord and idyllic Fruitlands in Harvard and learning about the transcendentalists of the time, I was fascinated.

Three Junes by Julia Glass: This would also make a likeable book group book. It takes place over several generations, with different related narrators telling each third of the book. It has some nice contrast between gay male New York eighties culture and Scotland countryside with hunting dogs going on. Not quite the contrast of say, the movie Babel, but perhaps more interwoven and familiar. I enjoyed this one, and found myself staying awake a bit too late to finish it.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls: This is a good pair with the next one. It's a memoir of a fucked up childhood – and not your average dysfunction here but a fascinating mix of intelligence, imagination, and addiction with extreme poverty and kids just trying to cope as their parents drag them about in various moves and schemes and non-realistic solutions for getting by.

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre: This is a novel about a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time in an ignorant southern town. School shootings, media frenzy, and border crossings all play parts. It's very entertaining.

Parenting from the Inside Out by Siegel & Hartzell: This is a book written by an early education specialist and a brain scientist that explains how an infant's mind forms and the implications of how we communicate with our kids. I found this book extremely informative and helpful.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell: I loved these short stories. They are snippets into fantastic other worlds where animals play other roles than you may be used to. Kids row around or get stuck in the shells of giant creatures we don't see, are literally raised by wolves, and other fun. A good jump start for the imagination.

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott: This is a memoir of this writer's first year with her kid and all the ups and downs and honest realities of her experience. It's a welcome relief in the midst of the fantasies people have and support about being pregnant and having kids. And it's funny.

I've also of course been reading various pregnancy books. I reference the What to Expect book but something about its tone here and there puts me off and I find it more useful for the latter half of pregnancy than the first half. All said I've much preferred the newer book written by a doctor at Mass General, You and Your Baby Pregnancy. It's another week by week book but seems a bit more grounded in just scientific facts and a bit less chastising in tone.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home