So, Life As Mom is hosting a book carnival once a month during 2010. Participants are encouraged to share what they've read in the month before. This is all in an effort to be more intentional in our reading. Sounds cool to me. So, we're nearly halfway through 2010 but I'm going to join in like I've been doing it from the beginning. Here's a link to FishMama's June update, looks like she read a couple of good ones!
So, here's a secret: I love to read. I probably read too much and, actually, I've been working on limiting myself this year. I can easily spend too much time in books and neglect the other important things that I do. Still, I read a lot and I can't honestly remember all the books I read last month so I'm just going to mention 3 here.
NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman was fantastic. Seriously, I think it should be read by every parent. Bronson and Merryman boil down some of the most recent child development research and bring out some very interesting conclusions that parents can easily put in to practice. For me, one of the most challenging chapters was about how to praise my children. I am always telling Helen that she is "so smart." According to the research cited in NurtureShock, this isn't how I should be praising her. Rather, I should be specific and praise efforts. This is something I've been working on a lot since finishing the book. I also loved the chapters about the importance of sleep, when children notice differences of race and why kids lie. Very interesting stuff.
I honestly can't say I liked My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. It was well written and an engaging read but I just couldn't get in to the story (not that that stopped me from finishing it). The story is about two souls who reincarnate for 1000 years. They are in love with each other but that love is never fulfilled...at least until they meet again in the present day. I didn't like the characters, I don't like the premise of the story. Can't really recommend this one.
The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar is a wonderful novel. Most of the novel is set in India and I'll tell you a secret, I love novels set in India. I don't think I've ever read a novel set in India that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. So, that was probably enough for me. The story was engaging too and the ending was such a surprise! The novel tells the story of a couple mourning the loss of their seven year old son. They are in obvious pain and that pain is taking a toll on their marriage. Rather than cling to each other through the difficult time, they are blaming each other for imagined faults that led to the child's death. In an effort to save their marriage and escape their memories, they decide to relocate to India for the husband's work. In India they are faced with questions of how to heal. The husband bonds with a young boy who lives near them, almost in an attempt to replace his lost son. The wife throws herself into helping the desperately poor people they are surrounded by. The novel deals with questions of globalization, wealth and poverty and is really very well done. I'll be checking out other books by this author.