A Few More Pages: Life With Books

One reader chronicles her journeys from cover to cover.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Everyman [Philip Roth]

A book group selection, and my least favorite thus far.

I listened to the audiobook and found this book to be much the same experience as being trapped on an international flight seated next to an exceedingly boring narcissist bent on confession.

Since I couldn't hide in the plane toilet or look for another seat, I half-listened to the droning catalog of maladies while sewing a giant teepee for my godson.

Everyman is definitely not a good book for the infirm or the depressed.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

One Perfect Day (Rebecca Mead)

Ah, neglected blog, you are not my first blog love. But although I have neglected you, I have hardly stopped reading. It's just that life with a toddler doesn't allow much time for quiet repose.

But One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding has broken me out of readership silence. This book by New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead takes a long, hard look at the American wedding and the industry behind it.

It's insightful without being cynical or snarky.

It's a reality check discussing what the wedding and marriage mean these days- and how much money is made off them through emotional manipulation.

I strongly recommend this for any bride to be- especially those considering using the Apache Indian Prayer (seriously, you can just look up its history in the index and skip to the relevant portions).

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Confessions of a Slacker Mom (Muffy Mead-Ferro)

Confessions of a Slacker Mom
by Muffy Mead-Ferro

This is the ideal style of book for a slacker mom: short (though it has lots of pages), large font, and spacious margins. It's great to look into the clean pages and pretend my house is as clear and organized.

Mead-Ferro's observations and arguments are welcome and funny for most new parents. It's hard not to get caught up in the frenzy of hyper-safety consciousness and utterly insane micro-documentation of the details of my child's life. How on Earth can I bubblewrap every object in my house and hold a camera (or preferably two: one video and one still) at the same time? Aren't pinking shears verboten items for any baby-friendly home anyway?
Mead-Ferro offers entertainment and perspective in chapters like "There Goes Harvard" and "Just Dip the Whole Thing in Bronze."

She misses the mark with stay at home moms in "Has Anyone Seen My Instinct?" In defending working mothers, she inadvertently seems to argue that moms who leave careers for childrearing should only do so if it is exactly what they want to do. She gives good examples of kids being proud of their working mother's real world skills.

Although I'm pleased to be able to stay home with my son, I can't say that periodically being doused with bodily fluids and having sweet potatoes sprayed on me is exactly "following my bliss." My bliss is around here somewhere, but it's a place we all visit rather than a place anyone lives. In my working career I had periodic bliss, but there were some days when you just felt covered in bodily fluids (though metaphoric rather than literal). Maybe some humans live without passionate & clear career goals... It doesn't mean I'm unhappy or lack introspection- it may just say that my life goals are more general in nature (how I hope to treat others or improving the world around me one corralled shopping cart and one cloth grocery bag at a time).

I think kids can be proud of parents who aren't in a systematic professional environment. I hope my son will see my love for inquiry and the same skills that helped me professionally even though I no longer get paid for what I do. When I worked, I brought skills and traits with me to the job which were further developed- I didn't enter as a blank slate, and I hope I left with more than a few boxes of books and desk paraphernalia.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book (so I hate to have spent so much time criticizing a fraction of a chapter). I'd just hate to recommend it without reservation and let it get another mom-in-the-trenches feeling bad about herself...