August Round-up

I read 9 books in August, 4 non-fiction, 5 fiction.

Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small. This book was really fascinating – sort of a combination of looking at evolutionary questions (why do babies cry/wake frequently/eat frequently) and cultural ones (why do parents sleep – or not – with their babies, why do parents encourage independence or dependence). Although it was interesting to read while expecting, it’s really of general interest, I would say. If you liked the documentary, Babies, and are interested in a more in depth exploration of the differences it highlighted, I recommend this book.

One Pair of Hands by Monica Dickens. An amusing memoir of a high class British woman who takes work as a cook to earn some money in the 1930s.

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany. This was my book club’s selection for August, but we didn’t end up meeting because of Hurricane Irene. I am hoping that are able to reschedule because I think it would make for a good discussion. A bestseller in Egypt, the book focuses on the residents of a Cairo apartment building.

The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. Miss Marple’s first appearance – entertaining and smart as ever.

Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. I have avoided books by Lamott because I think of her as a “religious” writer, and overt religious discussion makes me uncomfortable, but I enjoyed this book. I think I’m going to put Lamott in a box with Kate Braestrup, as a person who writes about faith in a way that I appreciate. (I think mostly because it is clear with both that their faith is so personal, that there is not the expectation that the reader share it – although I imagine you get other things out of the book if you do).

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly. This graphic novel was SO GOOD. I seriously recommend it, even if graphic novels aren’t usually your thing. The main character is a 9-year-old girl, a bunny-ears-wearing, D&D playing, problem student who claims to be a giant killer. It’s clear from the beginning that all is not right at home, but it takes a while to figure out what is going (and I don’t want to give it away). I don’t think a graphic novel has ever made me cry before – very moving, and just plain good.

Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight. Frankie Pickle doesn’t want to pick up his room. Ever. After all, it is only going to get dirty again. Finally his mother says he doesn’t have to – but he does have to deal with the consequences. Reminded me of the “Won’t-Pick-Up-Toys Cure” from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga. The first volume of a manga series set in Edo era Japan – reimagined as a time when 75% of the men have died and the society is ruled by women. Interesting read and great illustrations.

Best Food Writing 2007 edited by Holly Hughes. I love to read about food and it’s been a while since I’d done so – this collection of essays was a real treat. I’m going to check out the more recent volumes, I think.

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August Round-up

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