Reading – February

Ok, so February is a short month but my reading has been shockingly slow. I need to become one of those clever people who can read while walking to work. So this month I have pretty much only read:

California – Edan Lepucki – My second post-apocalyptic novel of the year. Well, more mid-apocalyptic maybe. Follows a couple who’ve left the destruction of LA to live alone in the wilderness. Focuses on how people are surviving, rather than the why. I didn’t find it massively compelling, which is probably why it took me so long to read, although I do like a bit of commune-based fiction. The fact I’d read Margaret Atwood’s Maddadam so recently probably didn’t do it any favours.

Escape from Childhood – John Holt – Related to my recent rambling post, this book by the unschooling pioneer looks at the rights of children in society. He proposes that “the rights, privileges, duties of adult citizens be made available to any young person, of whatever age, who wants to make use of them”. I’ve not finished this yet, but so far it’s definitely thought-provoking, challenging and a probably a bit extreme for me generally, a bit ranty, lots of his observations seem based on brief random encounters with children at airports. “If we gave up our vested interest in children’s dependency and incompetence – would they not much more quickly become independent and competent? We ought to give it a try.”


Reading – January

At the end of last year, on a Facebook book group, Lisa asked what everyone’s favourite books were of the year. I could not for the life of me remember what I’d read. I don’t read as much as I’d like. Andy and I went away for one night last weekend, and one of the things I was most excited about was uninterrupted reading time.

This is so I remember at the end of this year, with somewhat arbitrary scoring, and my ever so insightful reviews:

MaddAddam – Margaret Atwood ****

Enjoyed this. Not as much as Oryx and Crake. Was very glad of the recap at the beginning. This should happen more often.

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell **

I wasn’t in to this. But then, I’m not 14. It’s not really for me, although I really enjoyed Fangirl.

Yes Please – Amy Poehler ***

I’m just finishing this off. I’m not massively in to this either. Bit of a mish mash, lots about people I don’t know or really care about, although I would like to be friends with her. Would prefer to read Leslie Knope’s memoir.


Tea & Eskimo Babies

My new mug

Enjoying my morning tea with a mug I won from the lovely Porcelina’s World blog, which is full of vintage loveliness. Also, my sweet little teapot I acquired from Eleanor. I love free stuff.

I was also lucky enough to win a giveaway over at Side Street Style recently. I won a book called ‘How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting’.  It’s part parenting memoir and part exploration of parenting practices in different cultures. The author, Mei-Ling Hopgood was adopted from Taiwan, raised in the US and brought up her first child in Argentina. She looks at differences in areas like sleep patterns, eating, the involvement of fathers and play. It was really interesting, and pretty reassuring really. There are so many different ways of raising happy, healthy children and this book wasn’t about looking at which ways are ‘better’, just about what fits within the culture.

In her conclusion, Hopgood writes:

 “While no culture can claim to be the best at any one given aspect of parenting, each has its own gems of wisdom to add to the discussion…We may or may not adopt what another family in another culture or place does, but we can take comfort in knowing that there really is more than one good way to get a baby to sleep, transport her from place to place, and feed her…While there are some universal standards of how a child should be treated, there are many ways to be a good parent in the world.”

How to Snare a Millionaire

During my recent clear out I came across an old copy of ‘How to Snare a Millionaire‘. It’s too late for me now sadly but I thought I would share some of its tips with you so that you can find your own millionaires!

Things not to wear include:

  • skintight leggings
  • tentlike jumpers,
  • the grunge look,
  • big polka dots
  • tattoos
  • white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day

Books you should read:

  • Hamlet- “You’re probably familiar with more lines from this work than any other. It can be fun searching for them.”
  • The Bible – “Don’t be afraid to skip over the more technical parts.”
  • The Latest by Michael Crichton – “That’s not an actual book title.

Words to practise and incorporate into your vocabulary include:

  • banal
  • demigod
  • Machiavellian
  • megalomania
  • mundane
  • sycophant

Things not to say:

  • I almost peed my pants
  • He could’ve shit a brick
  • She had tits out to there!

Places not to meet millionaires:

  • Video arcades
  • Adult magazine shops
  • Miniature golf courses
  • Belly-dancing recitals

Things not to have in your house when you’ve finally met your millionaire and invited him around:

  • Velvet paintings of Elvis
  • Beefcake posters
  • Dead bug carcasses
  • Ninja Turtle sheets
  • Obnoxious children

Please do let me know if any of these work for you.

2009: Books I read

Some books wot I red in 2009, as I’ve been keeping a record of them in Shelfari and I’m not quite sure why. Read some things I should have read a long time ago (Lolita, Frankenstein), and some things I wish I hadn’t bothered with (Twilight).

  • The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
  • The Mitford Girls – Mary S Lovell
  • 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth – Xiaolu Guo
  • The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak
  • Bad Science – Ben Goldacre
  • Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  • Flat Earth News – Nick Davies
  • Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  • Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky
  • Girls Like Us – Sheila Weller
  • The Stuff of Thought – Steven Pinker
  • The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford
  • Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  • The Tiger That Isn’t – Andrew Dilnot
  • I’m not Scared – Nicolo Ammaniti
  • A Fraction of the Whole – Steve Toltz
  • Adverbs – Daniel Handler
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami
  • Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era – Ken Emerson
  • The Death of Grass – John Christopher
  • Girlfriend in a Coma – Douglas Coupland
  • Things the Grandchildren Should Know – Mark Everett
  • The Human Stain – Philip Roth
  • Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  • Dreams from my Father – Barack Obama
  • Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
  • The Easter Parade – Richard Yates

Anyone read any good books this year?