Reading: Miscellania

Photo taken 6/29/09

The Stay-At-Home Survival Guide by Melissa Stanton – I’m not sure when your average stay-at-home moms would have time to read this book, but I found that it was really helpful to read it because the author eloquently expressed the angst and issues surrounding defining yourself as a stay-at-home mom: how other people perceive you, how the marriage shifts, how your own self-esteem is affected, etc. While my personal experience as a self-employed professional cum stay-at-home mom doesn’t quite mesh up as nicely with the book’s intended audience, and though I’ve forgotten all of the “helpful tips” regarding socialization, exercise, food, etc., it did help me to process and label some of the things I’ve been struggling with.

Wild Things by Stephen James and David Thomas – This is a book specifically about the “art of nurturing boys.” While James and Thomas are Christian authors, the book is not overtly religious and contains what I think are good principles, including respect for the child and awareness of developmental phases. The authors label different phases of the development of a boy from age two through twenty-two (I think? I’m doing this from memory); although they are quick to point out that phases overlap and do not necessarily mesh up with specific ages, their discussion of the development of a boy from “explorer” to “lover” up to “warrior” made sense to me and will be helpful in the future. The book gives an overall picture of boys at each phase in Part 1, talks about boys’ brain development and learning in Part 2, then goes into the “heart” of the boy and his relationship with mother and father in Part 3. In particular, the last section of the book has “hot topics” marked out which were especially helpful for me to read, since I didn’t grow up with any brothers. I’m actually planning on buying this book with my next gift card!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart – I was alerted to this book from Kim’s blog and thoroughly enjoyed it. Good, clean fun, rather reminiscent of classic children’s lit authors that I love such as Edward Eager or J.K. Rowling.

The Cheshire Cat’s Eye by Marcia Muller – Another Sharon McHone mystery. These tend to be thin and thus fast reads.

Heaven’s Prisoners by James Lee Burke – A new-to-me mystery author (though the book was published in 1988). Gritty and sad.

The Rose Labyrinth by Titania Hardie – This was an intriguing book because it came in a hardcover case that included a stack of parchments that the reader was encouraged to “solve” on their own. However, I lacked the mental energy to pore over the papers and just read the book, which ended up being sort of Da Vinci Code-ish (as anything which involves long-hidden documents, architectural secrets, and religious mysteries will inevitably be compared to). Apart from the fact that I thought some of the cryptic messages were kind of random and forced, I enjoyed reading through it — mindlessly — and letting the characters decipher the mystery.

Cold Case by Kate Wilhelm – Kate Wilhelm is one of my favorite mystery writers, and this new Barbara Holloway novel did not disappoint.

O’s Big Book of Happiness – This collection of articles and essays from The Oprah Magazine was a nice thing to keep on the dining table and browse through while I ate lunch.

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