Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Books I Read in July: 2010

I haven't taken the kids to the pool once this summer. (We do go to movies twice a week, though. It's a lot cooler there at the movie theater and you don't have to wear special water-proof clothing.) Lest you comment here about my poor apricot-and-swimming-deprived children just think of this: They see me reading every day! That's the most important thing a mother can do for her child. I'm going to win the fight against illiteracy, one hour reclining on my bed with a book at a time. Here are the books I read in July:

I really like all of Kathy Peel's books. It's kind of ironic, however, that I spend time reading about how to organize swimming lessons and swimming gear when we haven't swum. Swim. Swam. Swum.

***You might feel embarrassed reading this because you will think people will see you reading it and assume your marriage is falling apart but I strongly recommend it anyway--even if your marriage isn't falling apart (and especially if it is). I heard John Gottman on NPR--fascinating stuff. He can accurately predict divorce after observing a couple for about 10 minutes. Want to know what he looks for? Disdain. Eye-rolling. Husbands who refuse to be influenced by their wives. And more.  This book is so useful and interesting. If you read one book on my list this month, it should be this one. Whether you are happily married or not. It gives very specific, practical tips for making any marriage better.

You might feel embarrassed reading this because you will think people will see you reading a graphic novel and assume you are a geek but I recommend this anyway. It is non-fiction--a memoir. It is really good and the story is freaky. I heard this guy on NPR, too. David Small's dad was a radiologist who took tons of x-rays of him as a kid and basically gave him cancer. It's not a very happy story. In fact, it's kind of nightmarish but, you know. People endure. I sat at the park and read the whole thing while my kids played. Maybe we don't go to the pool but we do go to the park and I don't take lots of unnecessary x-rays of them.

Interesting. It's about what it takes to turn around a "bad" New York neighborhood school. And what it takes has less to do with academics and more to do with marketing.

I've had this book for years and read a few sections at a time, but I pulled this out and read it from cover to cover (skipping over the pregnancy parts) because I now have a teenager, 2 school-age kids, and a preschooler. This is probably a good one to buy. It provides reassuring, down-to-earth information and tips for raising, taking care of, and encouraging your kids. It isn't self-righteous and hard to take, like many parenting books. It helps me pick my battles and makes me enjoy my kids more. I really like the author's attitude.

Nice ideas. I don't want to actually do any of them.

Idyllic. Pretty pictures. Then again, I don't care that much about being organic. 

I liked this. It's clever. I didn't rush out to read the second one yet but at some point when I'm in the mood I probably will.

Let me know if you read anything good.

And, PS--I know these Amazon links are really ugly. But they are quick and show the cover of the book without me having to find and save a picture of it. If you buy the book from one of these links I will get money, but it is a small amount. Lots of people have bought books from my links before and I've never been paid any money for it because they don't pay you until you earn $20. I don't know if that makes you more or less inclined to buy a book from Amazon. I get all my books at the library except for the LDS Almanac, the marriage one, and the Family Managers Guide to Summer, which I own. So, in case you were wondering how it works: That is how it works.


  1. I have done nothing but take the kids to the pool. I hate the park when it's hot. How do you take the kids to the movies twice a week? There aren't that many kids movies out there. I could get on board with that.

    But because I have old kids that I don't really have to supervise I have read sooo many books this summer all ready.

    Dragon Tattoo series. Graphic, page turners, they are ok.

    Finally read "Three Cups of Tea". Inspiring.

    "The Book Thief". If you haven't read it yet, do. It's very good.

    "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant". Classic Anne Tyler. It was fine.

    I'm glad to hear that you liked that marriage book. I also heard him on NPR and have thought about getting the book, but I don't usually read self help books. Who needs help? Not me, that's for sure.

  2. I can confirm that Doddles needs no help. She's awesome.

    I just read "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" on my cousin's recommendation. It's a great read.

    "Random Family," by Adrian LeBlanc is easily the best book I've read in the last year. It's the story of young people in the Bronx in the 80's, written by a journalist who followed them for about ten years. I'll warn you about the language--when she quotes the people or their letters, it's rough. But in a clinical way.

  3. Anonymous12:27 PM

    look these up on Amazon:

    Three Day Road - Joseph Boyden

    Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

    Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden (follow up to Three Day Road)

    Sleeping Naked is Green - Vanessa Farquharson

    A Complicated Kindness - Miriam Toews

    These are all great stories written by Canadian authors.
    signed: that 32 yr old Harry Potter fanatic

  4. I don't know you, but I think you're awesome. I wish you lived in my neighborhood because I could really use a dose of REAL in my real life.

  5. I read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Because why not? It's the first thing I've read in awhile that didn't annoy me with its predictability, which is something, given it's a twist on historical fiction and I knew the outcome. Ah well. Reading The Book Thief now. If I were to aspire to be a writer, that's exactly what I would give anything to write.

  6. We've done the movies, too, but only because Regal Cinemas shows free kids movies three days a week. Did I mention the FREE? And the books I've been reading the last couple weeks are by Neal Shusterman. WEEEIIRRRDDDD but cool. I read Unwind and Everlost. Now I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson.

  7. I don't think I've read a single thing all summer because, thanks to you and your intriguing blog, my husband and I are trying to watch six years worth of Lost before the summer ends. We are currently half way through Season 5. My brain hurts.

  8. I like how "This Is Me" reader really GETS you and your intended meaning.

    We went swimming thrice.

    I like knowing how things work. Thanks for your full disclosure. I don't normally buy books (cheapskate: library), but if I did I would want you to make at least a dollar.

  9. If you can keep the acronyms at bay, I suggest "Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather".

    Just a word of warning though, this did help me decide not to board a plane last week. I've got to get over that.

  10. I like to know what you're reading. I am always surprised at the self-help type books you read. You just like to be informed, to be ready, just in case one of the kids insists on going organic.

    I just listened to a librarian on NPR recommend books. Here are my issues with the library:

    I find booger type smears in books I check out.

    A lot of people write books and get them published, but that doesn't mean they are good.


    I like to buy my books so that they contain only MY boogers.

  11. I have not found any boogers in the library books I've checking out. I was fined for writing in a book that was already written in when I checked it out. Yea for libraries.

    Also, this month I read The Book Thief. I liked it. A lot.

    I'm trying to read For Whom The Bell Tolls. One summer I read tons of Hemingway, but I'm just not feeling it right now.

  12. You know what they say, "behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes."

    We eye-rollers just can't help it. I've been married 18 years so maybe I'm doing all the other things right. But I'm not sure if I want to find out. What if I'm doing things all wrong?

  13. I read East of Eden which pretty much killed July. Now I'm attempting Atlas Shrugged (both books make excellent coasters/paperweights).

    Also people assume you are all smart and stuff when you read something thicker than the phone book.

  14. I guess every day you read the book, too... You're very versatile, in a literary sort of way.

  15. We just moved and we now have a neighborhood swimming pool directly across the street from our house. We go swimming every single day after I get home from work, partly because it's free and partly because I feel guilty about working and in my head this is scoring me mom points.

    I'm checking out that marriage book. I roll my eyes at my husband all the time, and now I'm wondering if our marriage is doomed. Probably.

    Good books I read this summer:

    The Book Thief
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter
    The Big Rock Candy Mountain
    Angle of Repose

    Disclaimer: The last three are good, but depressing.

  16. how do you have the time...I remember the good old days before baby when I had time read books at an adult reading level (well some teen novels thrown in too) now all I read is Dr. Seuss, and board books...

  17. Amen about Gottman. In our house that book is simply called "The Marriage Book."

  18. My husband is a therapist, so my opinion is practically professional, and I say John Gottman is a genius. I am always tempted to buy 1,000 copies of The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work and give them as wedding gifts, but haven't yet. Cause I like watching people's marriages fail. Just kidding. That's not why. I don't actually know why. I'll have to think on that.

  19. I like your approach to ending illiteracy. I'm joining the fight! You can find me in my office AKA the bathroom, sitting on the toilet with a paperback.

  20. I have the "Principles for Marriage" Great book! Just found your blog today. I'll be adding it to my (already overflowing) Google Reader! Thanks for the giggles!

  21. I think I love you. And I know I love your book reviews.

    I am definitely an eye-roller, so I am scared to read the marriage book. I have already wondered if we're doomed, I don't necessarily want to have that suspicion confirmed.

    I too am giving my children the gift of seeing me reading on my bed. I hope they appreciate the sacrifices I make for them.


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