Thursday, April 28, 2011

*that* mom's bookshelf - April 2011 Edition

Where do your books come from? I need to get to the library more as I shamefully haven't gotten a library card since we moved eighteen months ago, but more on that another time. I do buy some books new, mostly from Amazon.com because it's easy.  I love to go browse through bookstores but they are just so darn expensive. The majority of my books recently have come from PaperBackSwap.

PaperBackSwap is a book swap site where you post your read books and when someone requests a book from you, you pay to ship it the cheapest method which is often media mail (usually less than $3) and you receive credits to order books with.  It has been a great way to clean out our bookshelves of the books we are willing to part with (which admittedly is not nearly enough considering our massive book collection) while getting books we'd like to read.  You are able to add books to a wish list so when they come available, they are offered to you. When I hear a book recommendation, I add it to my list, and then often in a few months, poof, it appears. When you post your first 10 books for swap, you get a free book credit, and if you go through the link above, I get a free book credit too!

Now, onto what I've been reading. In my last bookshelf post, I was in the middle of reading Eat, Pray, Love.  Since then I've finished that one and read a few more, although my reading has been slow as of late.

I am someone who always likes the book better than the movie, and I always try to read the book before seeing the movie.  I read Eat, Pray Love before seeing the movie. I had a hard time getting through it. After the first half of the first section, it just dragged on and on until the third and final section. It all seemed a little self-indulgent. I have a hard time explaining why I didn't like it. I enjoyed the end, but the process of reading this book just took me forever. Meanwhile, I think I enjoyed the movie a little more, although I was prepared for the self-indulgence and annoying content so I guess that helped. I mean really, it's all about her finding the elusive balance that she needs in her life, but she is only able to find it by gallivanting around the world for a year and the book ends with her in Bali enjoying and celebrating this balance.  Well, if I was living in Bali with no responsibilities and none of the chaos of everyday life rounding out a year of finding pleasure in Italy and spirituality in India, I, too, could find balance.


I admit, I am a screamer. I never intended to be. I never was, but suddenly in a whirl of stress, exhaustion, and little boys who I don't always have the energy to parent in the best way possible, I became a screamer. I liked this book. It called like it is. My kids don't push my buttons. My kids don't force me to scream. It's my issues, my screaming, and I am the only one who can fix it. Our culture has taught us to blame our kids for so much and to act as helpless bystanders in the chaos of parenting. It is my responsibility to own my issues and do better. I would have liked some more helpful tools for implementation in the book, but that wasn't his intent. It's a lot of work, but Runkel shows you that you can do it and how important it is that you do.


A novel featuring group of four women trying to redefine their lives after marriage and motherhood took over.  I had high hopes for this book, and it was okay, but I didn't connect with it in the way I thought I might.  It's largely a story of high-powered executives turned stay-at-home-moms while their husbands stayed in the business world, although one of the moms is a self-described washed up artist. That was easy and made sense to them in the early years, but ten years later, they aren't quite sure how or what to be now that they children don't need a doting, hovering parent 24 hours a day.  Slow at times, but drew me in about half way through.

I was prepared to hate this book, thinking it would be filled with over-protective fear-mongering much of the kind that Lenore Skenazy speaks about, and sure it had points that seemed a little excessive and opinions with which I did not agree.  But amid the book's gruesome statistics and unsettling stories, it gave real life tips on keeping yourself and your children safe from the violence in our world. De Becker focused on tools for trusting your mother's intuition to protect your young as well as for empowering your kids without scaring them. These two pieces were the biggest takeaways for me. I won't keep my children in a bubble, and I won't live a life of fear, but instead I will empower both my children and myself to trust our instincts and be aware of the things going on around us. There's a lot more to it of course, but that's the basics. I do feel that by reading the book I am more aware of things I would not have considered or noticed otherwise and therefore better prepared.


This was exactly what I expected it to be, a quick, easy chick-lit read. I didn't connect with it in the way I do some chick-lit like Jennifer Weiner, so it didn't leave me laughing out loud or crying, but it was an entertaining enough read as long as you take it for what it is.  I'll read the others in the series if they come available from paperbackswap.

What have you been reading?  Recommendations?

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