It's been awhile since I wrote up one of these. (See my summer book report here.) Unlike last time, there is a common thread with these, the focus has been on food and parenting, for sure. Here is what's been filling the time before I fall asleep.
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. This is just the next book in a line of books over the past few years I have read about food including Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I enjoyed this book for about 4/5 and then it just got dense. Too dense and too slow and too...convoluted. Which makes sense: what we eat and why we eat it is a dense and slow and convoluted topic and Pollan certainly worked to follow through on various ways that we (consumers) get our food. But, if you are looking for a great food book, I would recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver first.
Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. This is a cookbook. But it's so much more than that. It's also one of the many books these days that started as a blog. But it's so much more than that too. I read this cookbook like an enjoyable memoir. Every single page. Jenny tells the story of growing up eating with her family to cooking with her husband as a newlywed to trying to eat dinner with two little ones under three to finally finding a sense of balance as her kids got a bit older. Jenny and her husband have decided to make the "Family Dinner" a huge priority in their lives and in their kid's lives. I related to this in a BIG WAY and found it super inspiring as a recipe jumping off point, but also as a marriage and parenting guidebook. (Also it's super non-pretentious and I loved that.)
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Another blog turned cookbook! I'll admit, I have not read this one all the way through yet, but as far as cookbooks go, it's simply beautiful. Paul and I are obsessed with the broccoli slaw on page 72 and make it at least weekly. We love cookbooks and I know this will be one we reach for often to find new staples for our meals and fancy things to cook for friends.
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. I have seen this book all over the place (okay, mostly blogs), but waited patiently until I actually had a baby on the way to read it. It contrasts the "French model" of raising little ones with the "American model." I'm going to say 90% of what's presented is common sense. But really, parenting in general is mostly common sense and trial and error, right? I found some of the thoughts in here fascinating, specifically the idea of giving your kid a "framework" of rules that cannot be budged, but then within that frame being pretty lenient. I totally connect to that idea as well as so many of the theories on feeding kids and teaching them the importance of "waiting." I found myself highlighting bits and reading paragraphs to Paul at night. (Every time I read a paragraph, he gave me a "Well, duh" expression, which is further proof that it might be common sense.)
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. This was recommended to me by a blog reader last spring (thank you!) and I finally got around to reading it. I LOVED IT. Seriously, loved it. The book covers nearly everything (clearly it's aptly titled) from space to atoms to dinosaurs to oceans to natural disasters. It's written as a story which I found incredibly appealing. The introduction talks about how Bryson realized as a kid that what was in his textbooks was interesting but the way they were communicating was totally boring. This book is his response to that and it's anything but boring. This was another book I had to read passages to Paul from. While surely I learned most of this stuff in science classes in high school (admittedly many of the scientists names rang a bell) it was like I was learning it for the first time. And the real success here, is that thanks to how interesting the information was presented, I just might retain it.
Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly. I talked about this in my pregnancy faves post, but thought it deserved another mention. The author is a poetry professor and the original letters were written to a student of hers that was going through her first pregnancy far from friends and family. The letters are beautifully written (but not at all flowery and over the top) and while the sub-title says "Letters to a Young Mother" I really believe these are letters to anyone. I laughed and cried my way through the book in a day and immediately passed it on to my mom and dad, who have been parenting for almost 28 years. My dad finished it first and my mom is currently reading it. Both love it.
So that's my current list. What are you reading? Any recommendations for fiction?!? I've got time on my hands and love a good story.