Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Reports: 2012 Catch Up

I got so many books for my birthday (!) that I have to get caught up on some outstanding book reports.

The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids by Tom Hodgkinson is a pretty good book. I'm on board with his free range-ish approach to parenting.He's funny and he actually articulates a parenting approach based on laziness-yes--but developmentally healthy for kids. I mildly recommend. 

One of the best books I've read this year is Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. It was so validating and useful to me as an introvert and as the parent of introverts. It is an interesting read for extroverts as well. I strongly recommend.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was a special one for me. This story about magicians is fanciful and cool but not as cool as I hoped it would be. It doesn't venture into awesomeland. But it is a good story and the images of the circus in the story are so lush and beautiful that I can never forget it. Usually I'm all about story. But this one is a whole experience and I recommend it. It would be a great movie. Maybe by Baz Luhrmann?

Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers is another one that I strongly recommend. It's a western about a couple of gun slinging assassins who, like Michael Corleone, just keep getting pulled back in against one of the brother's wishes. One last job, boys. I liked this book a lot. I guess it's pretty violent which I guess I'm pretty immune to. Without a doubt, this book will be a Coen Brothers movie one day. 

How does he continue to churn them out! If I were half as readable as Stephen King I'd be a million times more successful writer or, in other words, a successful writer. 11/22/63: A Novel is not incredible, but you'll get through all 800 pages quickly and you'll like it. A guy finds a door in the back of a diner that takes you back to one day in history. Kind of like ground hog day. Recommend.

Benjamin Nugent's American Nerd: The Story of My People is a really interesting discussion and description of nerd culture--how it formed and emerged to become more mainstream and self aware. Great book. I recommend.

I picked this up at the library a year ago and to be honest, it just didn't take. I guess I wasn't in the mood. I met Gretchen Rubin at Alt Summit last January and I really enjoyed her key note address. She passed around scents and talked about how certain smells contribute to her happiness. I have since read The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. I was in the mood this time. It's a great reminder to orchestrate a happier life for yourself. I recommend.

American Born Chineseby Gene Luen Yang is a moving graphic novel about his family's experience in American. Really cool. I recommend. Plus, you can read it in a day.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff is really compelling. It's about a girl who goes to England to live with her cousins shortly before England is occupied and some kind of World War III breaks out. The story of her survival is really gripping. It's a post-apocalyptic YA romance, but I wouldn't let my kids read it. The [SPOILER] incest is too steamy. The stream of consciousness-narrative style works really well.  You'll love it! Recommend.

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