Category Archives: Books

What I’ve Been Reading (Pregnancy Edition)

You guys.  Can we please talk about the amount of stuff that exists for pregnant women to read.  On the internet, in books, on message boards.  Everywhere.  There are so many things.  Also, if you want to know where all of the crazy people on the internet are, they are located on the What to Expect When You’re Expecting message boards.  All I can say about that is that I Have Seen Things.

With that in mind, y’all know that I am a reader and of course reading is a great way to gather some information about the great unknown of incubating a fetus for nine months and the subsequent eviction process.  But through all of this reading, I have noticed several things.

Apparently publishers/authors have decided that pregnant women are not readers.  I have yet to understand how, exactly, the information in What To Expect When You’re Expecting is organized.  I think it’s organized by trimester (or month…or something) but on the top of one page you are reading about body art for two and whether or not to get a tattoo while pregnant and the next thing you know you are reading about weight gain.  I’m sorry, but I just am not following.  The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy, while written like girlfriend real-talk, could be essentially summarized as: Don’t worry!  Everyone’s pregnancy is different and you are doing ok!

The book I had the highest hopes for was recommended to me by Paula and it is called Expecting Better.  While the idea behind this book was the most appealing to me (make decisions based on evidence, assess risk and decide what your risk tolerance is, know what is sometimes okay versus never okay), after reading the first chapter, I came to realize that I didn’t actually have to read any of the words!  I could just look for the different boxes in each section highlighting important information/findings.  If something in a given box was confusing, I could read back a bit in that section to understand the rationale.

The other thing that I have noticed is that everyone is trying to sell pregnant women things that they do not need and there are lots of pregnant women buying really expensive things which we know is not my speed.  Exhibit A: $1000 cribs.  One friend recommended the book Baby Bargains to me as a great way to save money.  It cost all of $9 so if I save more than $9, then it was worth it.  I am confident that I can accomplish this task.  But back to the book.  The purpose of this book is to walk women and their partners through all of the different things you might need to purchase for your child, discuss the cost, and they ultimately rate brands/products for different items based on safety/price/quality.  After surviving the section on the ratings for all of the different crib brands (many of them costing at least $500, but a not insignificant number sitting in the $1000 range), I realized that with my dreams of a crib from IKEA/Target I was maybe not the right audience.

To that end, in addition to recommendations from friends, I’ve pretty much decided that I will be working heavily off of the information that Kate and Jenna (who no longer blogs) shared about their pregnancies and subsequent decisions to breastfeed and cloth diaper (both things we plan on doing).

Oddly, the most useful book we have in the house right now is Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy for Dummies.  Melissa loaned this one to us (her husband is now a father and no longer in need of such advice) and Marcus has really gotten a lot of good information out of it.  It’s amazing how as women, we spend our whole lives gradually gathering more information about pregnancy and motherhood and men all the while are NOT gathering this same information.  I distinctly remember one conversation that Marcus and I had right after I found out Little Critter was on the scene and thinking I don’t even know how to explain this to you and I have no idea what valid source this information came from because I have literally known this for years and it is known by all women.  Which is not a bad thing!  He has not needed to know this information!  But it does mean that this book is a godsend because it’s sort of like a way to fast-forward through all of said information.

What I’ve Been Reading

Summer reading.  Not always the most lighthearted.  Some of these were on the Amazon best of the month list.  Others were actual hard copy books that were handed down to me and have been waiting to be read for years.  Also, as I was cruising through my drafts list, I realized I had overlooked a pair of books that I read back in May/June, so it was time to get those posted too!

Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of The Mandan People by Elizabeth Fenn

Encounters at the Heart of the World

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

The Year of Magical Thinking

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola


Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box

The Children’s Crusade by Ann Packer

The Children's Crusade

What I’ve Been Reading

I thought it would be good to get this sorted out because we all know that with a cabin trip coming up, there will be time for plenty of reading.

GI Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

GI Brides

Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand


Knowing how much I love horses and horse racing, I have no idea as to why it took me a lifetime to read this book.  I loved it.  And now I need to watch the movie.

The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant

The Lessons of History

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins

What are you looking forward to reading?  I finally got The Girl On The Train so I am excited to finally be able to read that!

What I’ve Been Reading

Surprise, kittens.  I read more books.  A full day of pouring rain at the cabin definitely helped me in accomplishing this.  With the exception of hausfrau, I would recommend all of them

Codex by Lev Grossman


The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction

hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum


Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Dead Wake

What I’ve Been Reading

Happy Monday, kittens!   Here are a few of the latest books I’ve read.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand


Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things To Me

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian


Books I Would Read Again

Last time I blogged about what I was reading, Mads commented that she wanted to know how I liked the books or at the very least, what books I would recommend.  So I went through the blog and combed my posts to review the full list of books I have read and then I made a list of the ones I want to tell you to read!  Without further adieu:

  • The Red Tent  by Anita Diamant
  • Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
  • let’s take the long way home by Gail Caldwell
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • firefly lane by Kristin Hannah
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
  • The Yonahlossee Riding Club for Girls by Anton Disclafani
  • World Without End by Ken Follett
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  • Young Money by Kevin Roose
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Bond Girl by Erin Duffy
  • Leisureville by Andrew Blechman
  • Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  • Euphoria by Lily King
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt

What’s on your recommended reads list?

That One Book About Decluttering Your House


On Monday, Melissa and Jonathon had us over for dinner and it was such a lovely evening.  During our dinner chat, Melissa told me that she had been reading the life-changing magic of tidying up.  Moreover, she told me that she had actually been putting the principles of the book into practice!

As you all know, I am no stranger to decluttering, but I was intrigued by learning about A New Way, especially as Melissa described banishing clothing from her closet that she knew she would never wear again.  Is that not the same problem we all suffer from?  At the end of the night, Melissa sent me home with her copy of the book (that is True Friend Love) and I started reading immediately.

Just a little more than 24 hours later and I have added four bags of clutter to the two that were already awaiting their Goodwill trip.  Books, odd glassware, clothes, all purged.  Things that I/we have owned for the last six years and have never used.  Gone.  At last.

There are a lot of lines in the book that are hokey, many of them having to do with whether or not various pieces of clothing have enough space to “breathe” or “relax” in your closet.  I do not in the slightest think that rolling my socks into a ball disturbs their energy.  I am not going to store my clothes vertically in their drawers.

But, there was one line that really stuck out to me: Spaces that are out of sight are still part of your house. 

That line is why we re-painted the basement bathroom last weekend.  Do we use it every day?  No.  But knowing that it looked Not Right consumed mental energy.  The same could be said for the horrid blue tile that used to occupy our master bathroom, the shelves of books we have received as gifts, or That One Rugby Dress I Bought At The Ralph Lauren Outlet On Black Friday Six Years Ago.

None of these things improve my life and so they need to go.  While the author proposes what I would consider to be a very ambitious style of decluttering: Deal with an entire category of things at once, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to move from room to room and discard all of the things that have been on the keep just in case-list for years.  I am positive that will be more than enough work to get us started.