I haven’t had quite as much time to read lately what with the bedtime madness, the fact that Julius is bed sharing with me and is usually disturbed by my book light, and also the fact that I have to read in such short chunks of time that I can’t follow complex plots or slow moving books. This is how parenthood makes you stupid, my friends.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Totally hopped on the YA fiction bandwagon with the Hunger Games trilogy and followed it up with Divergent by Roth. I really enjoyed Divergent, which was kind of a cross between the classic YA novel The Giver by Lois Lowry and the updated YA craze Hunger Games. I actually thought it had the potential to be better than the HG trilogy, but (cue Debbie Downer music) I thought Insurgent was a bit of a letdown. Boo! I think Roth’s weakness is that she is not great at giving you a tangible sense of place, and with all the location changes in Insurgent – they’re in Amity headquarters, they’re at Candor, they’re with the factionless, they’re in Dauntless HQ and back and Amity and aaagh where am I – the whole thing just became a little muddy and disjointed for me. I didn’t enjoy the ongoing tension between Tris and Tobias, which I felt crossed the line from bumps in the road to dysfunctional relationship. And I SO want to give away a spoiler, but I won’t, so I’ll just say that the reveal at the end was pretty hackneyed. Still, you know I’ll read the third one and hope it’s good.
A Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs. Jacobs is a writer for Esquire who also writes books in the now popular memoir-journalism style; for his previous book he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. In this one, he attempts to live by every single commandment and directive in the Bible taken as literally as possible – not all at once, but adding them to his lifestyle over the course of the year. The goal is not to make fun of religion, but to take a closer look at the Bible and possibly (for the agnostic author) experience spiritual transcendence along the way. I’m about three quarters of the way through and it’s an engaging read on a subject that I find perennially interesting… it’s definitely on the lighter side of what could be a heavy subject.
Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I hope to write a detailed review of this book at some point because I am kind of psyched about it, but I’m not that far into it yet. Mike is reading it as well after I urged him to check it out. I usually avoid parenting guides because I fear that my tendency to take things too literally will lead me away from my intuition; but this is a book that I really needed to read. So far there’s been a lot of explanation about the five personality traits listed in the subtitle – Miles is definitely intense, persistent, and energetic – and a bit about introversion and extroversion that I found helpful as well. I also had a lightbulb moment in realizing that *I* am probably a “spirited adult” and have some areas of personality mismatch with Miles that are tripping me up. There are no magical solutions in this book, but I feel like just understanding his temperament (and mine) has already improved things greatly.
Meanwhile, in toddler land, these are the books that Miles has been super into lately:
Who Said Moo? by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback. A pretty simple barnyard animal sounds book, but Miles seems to adore it. Therefore I must read it over and over each night, exactly the same way. He gets mad if I even change the inflection in my voice, as I found out one night when I made the dog say a high pitched “woofwoof!” instead of the preferred gruff “WOOF.”
Where Is My Friend? by Simms Taback. Another lift the flap book illustrated by Taback, even simpler. I think he is into the bright colors in these.
The Healthy Wolf by David Bedford and Mandy Stanley. This is a cheapo hardcover from Walgreens in which Wilfred the healthy wolf is fat and out of shape because he eats junk food and sets out to get healthy in order to chase down and eat some tasty children. He gets plastic teeth which he inexplicably must brush three times a day, and gets skinny by going on a fruit & broth diet for a week. I kind of resent the anti-cupcake message in this one but Miles loves it and he always glances at my face to see just how much I am LOVING this wonderful book. SO MUCH!
The Roly Poly Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren. We are finally starting to move out of the world of short board books and into longer picture books like the ones by Dr. Seuss and Little Golden Books. I enjoy this because although these books are looong, that means I don’t have to read them more than once a night. The Roly Poly Puppy is pretty cute and I love how Miles comments “going to sleep!” when he sees the puppies cuddled up in their blankets.
Leave your book suggestions in the comments!