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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

book report

I've been reading up a storm lately. In cars during long trips, at night before I go to sleep, while trying to get Lauren to take her nap, while giving Lauren a bath. Paperbackswap.com is just great for getting me these books for free whenever I get a new obsession. Lately, I've been very interested in amusing parenting tales, books about the inner life of dogs, Stanford White's murder, and other Edith Wharton-era true stories. Also some popular economics books. I can recommend all of these:

Freakonomics

The Tipping PointOne piece of info from both books that I did not want to believe, is that parents have very little effect on their child's development. How someone turns out is based much more on their DNA and their peer group than on the involvement of the mother and father. This is according to a social scientist who I could look up and cite but I don't have the books in front of me right now and I'm lazy to google it.

Had a Good Time: Stories from Postcards
I am halfway through this book and so thoroughly enjoying it! I collect old postcards (mostly 1900-1920 era) and this author wrote a collection of stories around messages he found on the backs of old postcards.
North of Naples, South of Rome
Learned a lot of new things about Italian culture, including that they sometimes develop apartments (condos, whatever) in old building by going sideways, in other words, if your neighbor in the same building wanted to sell you his living room, you could knock down a wall and annex it into your apartment. So you can never tell from the outside how big someone's home is going to be until you're inside.
Mothers Who ThinkA collection of essays from very honest authors/mothers describing aspects of parenting, from the lighthearted to the deeply introspective. In one essay, a mother admits to loving her second child more than the first, and thinks that it is only natural, since the youngest is always more vulnerable and needs her more.
The Three Martini PlaydateHilarious dry humor full of things you wish you could say out loud to some people about their kids.
Waiting for Birdie Catherine Newman's stories from her blog about raising a son in Western Massachusetts and being pregnant with a daughter, and essays she wrote for babycenter.com I had not heard of her until I read this book, then I went back and read all of her old blog entries.
Running with Scissors This one's been on the best-seller list for awhile. I love books that are so outrageous they feel like fiction, where if you were the editor, you'd tell the author to cut some parts that were too unreal.
A Girl Named Zippy This memoir was absolutely realistic and hilarious. Not to spoil it for you, but I'll tell you that nothing bad happens to the narrator in the book, no great tragedy or abuse. Nothing sensational. Just a nice story about a girl's childhood in small-town Indiana.
Dogs Never Lie about LoveHad to keep stopping the book to go pet Jake!


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