A Member of the Family: The Ultimate Guide to Living with a Happy, Healthy Dog by Cesar Millan. I'm sort of obsessed with Cesar Millan. Are you? I've read all of his books. They are all basically the same.
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.I recommend this book. You should read it--at least skim it (it includes a lot of research). It's very interesting. First of all, I love Po Bronson. This book is about how our parenting instincts are often totally off. I think the information is so useful. Here's a teaser to get you to read it.
- Praising your kids doesn't help them; it makes them more likely to feel like failures, not try, and lie.
- Sleep is even more important for your kids than you thought--like probably 1,000 times more important.
- Not talking about race doesn't teach kids to not see race--you can't assume your kids are not racist just because you are not.
- Most classic strategies to promote truthfulness just encourage kids to be better liars.
- Gifted programs get it wrong about 70% of the time.
- Having siblings doesn't necessarily teach good social skills, because so many sibling interactions are negative.
- Arguing with parents is a sign of respect for teenagers.
- Self-control can easily be taught, but not how you'd think.
- Over-parenting doesn't make nicer kids.
The Emotional House: How Redesigning Your Home Can Change Your Life by Kathryn Robyn and Dawn Ritchie. When I get in the mood to rearrange my furniture I like to read books like this. It's feng shuish.
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I liked this book a lot and I recommend it. It reminded me of Stephen King.
Moreover, it confirmed my belief in Twitter because one of my Twitter friends recommended it to me. I'm actually pretty picky about books. Not that I'm incredibly discerning, but the mood has to be just right for me to get past the first couple of pages. For example, I started The Elegance of the Hedgehog a couple days ago. It seems like a book I would like but I felt like I was making myself read it--like taking medicine. Whenever I feel like that I quit reading a book. It's actually very liberating. I've only done that for the last 8 years. I used to hang on to a book even if I hated it and would sometimes take a year to make myself finish it. I read a LOT more now that I let myself quit reading. There's really nothing wrong with The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Maybe I'll read it and love it next year. I just didn't feel like it. I don't always feel like Korean food, either.
So the odds that I would not only like Odd Thomas but also be in the mood for it weren't great. Whenever someone recommends a book to me I never tell them if I've started it, because I hate to have to admit to them that I didn't like it. I don't care what you say, it's always offensive when someone doesn't like a book you like and you always judge that person for not liking it. I know we all have different taste and objectively it shouldn't be this way, but it is. So I would rather say, "Oh, ya. I haven't read that yet--I'll have to remember that one!" Instead of "Oh ya, I started it but it gave me the creeps," or "Oh ya, I started it but it seemed super dumb," or "Oh ya, that was the most boring book ever." I don't want to hurt people, you know me.
Anyway, I really enjoyed Odd Thomas, which is exciting because Dean Koontz has written a lot of other books. It's a scary story involving serial killers with references to X-Files--what's not to enjoy?
THE AMERICAN FRUGAL HOUSEWIFE, DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT ASHAMED of Economy by Mrs. Child
This book was published in 1833 and is dedicated to "those who are not ashamed of economy." Housewifery in the 1830s? It was a scene, man. This book talks about boiling, scalding, curing, doing stuff with salt peter, and curing piles. It's pretty fun to read here in the 21st century where taking Immodium AD is just another day. There are some awesome tips in this book. Mrs. Child's philosophy on economy is still relevant and her discourse on educating girls has some surprising "he's just not that into you" contemporary advice. I love stuff like this and if you always loved the parts in Little House on the Prarie about the larder and smoking bacon, you will too. Of course, if you are ashamed of economy then you will probably hate this book.
Every night since reading this book when the cat gets on the bed I have wondered whether a wet cat could be used as a healing poultice. I always think, "Was that idea in the book? Or did I just make it up?" And then I drift off to sleep.
Happy reading! Do make suggestions for what you think I should read. I appreciate it, and if I don't like the book I'll just say I haven't read it yet so we can all stay friends.
Books I read in January 2010