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I [heart] Davids · Books


books, reading, comics,

Raising Cain: A Must-Read

I’m halfway through Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys. I would strongly encourage anyone who has a son to read this book.

It is an insightful and interesting read about the challenges boys face as they enter adolescence and approach manhood. The authors expose some of the obvious and not-so-obvious problems that boys are up against as they grow more independent in their world.

From the Amazon.com review:

Boys suffer from a too-narrow definition of masculinity, the authors assert as they expose and discuss the relationship between vulnerability and developing sexuality, the “culture of cruelty” boys live in, the “tyranny of toughness,” the disadvantages of being a boy in elementary school, how boys’ emotional lives are squelched, and what we, as a society, can do about all this without turning “boys into girls.” “Our premise is that boys will be better off if boys are better understood–and if they are encouraged to become more emotionally literate,” the authors assert. As a tool for change, Kindlon and Thompsom present the well-developed “What Boys Need,” seven points that reach far beyond the ordinary psychobabble checklist and slogan list. Kindlon (researcher and psychology professor at Harvard and practicing psychotherapist specializing in boys) and Thompson (child psychologist, workshop leader, and staff psychologist of an all-boys school) have created a chilling portrait of male adolescence in America. Through personal stories and theoretical discussion, this well-needed book plumbs the well of sadness, anger, and fear in America’s teenage sons.


All You

Ele turned me on to the hip parenting magazine Cookie, but I just recently found another magazine that I’m really excited about. It’s called All You and it’s an easy-to-read grab bag of tips and stuff.

ALL YOU is a new magazine that speaks directly to value-conscious American women like you. In each issue, you’ll get helpful articles on taking care of yourself, healthy and fast ways to feed your family, clothes you can wear and afford, do-it-yourself home repair projects, relationship advice from real women, and easy-to-make decorating ideas. And you’ll get all this in a beautiful, affordable magazine that truly speaks your language.


Currently Reading

Y:The Last Man
Y: The Last Man
I finally finished this 10-book graphic novel.
I really enjoyed it, another success courtesy of Brian K. Vaughn. However, I thought the ending was a little weak. Or just disappointing. I’ve been trying to figure out why and I think it’s the same reason I was disappointed with the end of Battlestar Galactica. But, sorry, no spoilers…
Still, I would unconditionally recommend this series to anyone who wants an easy read full of Pop Culture goodies.

The Watchmen
The Watchmen
I decided I had to read this prior to seeing the film, and I’m glad I did. The movie was nicely done and I thought it was really fun to watch on the big screen. Though I coulda done without blueman’s bits on the screen. I was sad they changed the ending because I really wanted to see the alien, but Dave and I both think the original ending and revised ending both have the same problems. Still, worth watching if only for entertainment purposes. I’d recommend the book, too.

The Happiest Toddler on the Block
Having loved The Happiest Baby on the Block I decided to give this one a try. The premise is that toddlers (1-4) are like little cavemen, whose primitive instincts and gut reactions rule their world. Trying to rationalize with your toddler is not an effective strategy. Karp has a few theories that he presents in a kind of annoying way, where he keeps repeating his points over and over again. Ultimately, the biggest piece of advice he has is about how to communicate with your toddler – by speaking toddler-ese. You know how you talk to a baby by saying “Good! Good job! Cup. You drank from your cup!”? Well, he suggests keeping the same tone and abbreviated syntax when dealing with a negative situation. For example, “Mad! Henry is mad! Play outside! Henry wants to play outside! But no, it’s raining.” It’s totally weird. It feels weird and sounds weird and is so unnatural. But he’s got a point. So far, though, it hasn’t worked for me and Henry. There is a video that goes with this book that I’d like to watch. It’s supposed to help make sense of the book. So, I’d say I’d give this three out of five stars and would recommend with reservations.
Happiest Baby/Toddler

The Wizard of Oz
After having read Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, I feel compelled to read the original. I’ve requested it on audio book from the library and hope it doesn’t let me down. That being said, I’m not sure what my expectations are. I guess I expect that it’s not going to be a musical, and I’m hoping that the story is slightly different from the movie. The last time I watched the movie, I was a bit let down by it all.
Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Son of a Witch
Maguire‘s first Oz novel was certainly engaging enough. There’s no reason not to read the sequel.
Son of a Witch

What are you reading?

Buy, Buy Baby

Have a baby or two? Maybe considering acquiring one? Or maybe you just know someone who has a baby that you really like and care about. If you are any of these people, I can’t strongly enough recommend this book:
Buy, Buy Baby

Buy, Buy Baby – Susan Gregory Thomas

You may recognize Thomas from a recent article in Cookie magazine or from her other reporting work. Here’s a description of the book from the publisher’s website:

“An investigative journalist examines how marketers exploit infants and toddlers and the broad, often shocking impact of that exploitation on our society
It’s no secret that toy and media corporations manipulate the insecurities of parents to move their products, but Buy, Buy Baby unveils the chilling fact that these corporations are using — and often funding — the latest research in child development to sell directly to babies and toddlers. Susan Gregory Thomas offers even more unnerving epiphanies: the lack of evidence that “educational” shows and toys provide any educational benefit at all for young children and the growing evidence that some of these products actually impair early development and could harm our kids socially and cognitively for life.

Underlying these revelations is a dangerous economic and cultural shift: our kids are becoming consumers at alarmingly young ages and suffering all the ills that rampant materialism used to visit only on adults — from anxiety to hypercompetitiveness to depression.

Thomas blends prodigious reportage with an empathetic voice. Her two daughters were toddlers while she wrote this book, and she never loses sight of the temporal and emotional challenges that parents face. She shows how we can help our kids live at their natural pace, not the frenetic clip that serves only the toddler-industrial complex. Buy, Buy Baby helps us fight the power marketers wield by exposing the false fears they spread.”

Go get this book and read it. My copy will be back at the library in about a week.

Warning: Twilight Spoilers below the fold.
Read the rest of this entry »

Currently reading

A few books that I’m reading right now.

Parenting by Heart: How to Stay Connected to Your Child in a Disconnected World by Ron Taffel with Melinda Blau (2002)
Highly RecommendParenting By Heart
A book whose central idea is to approach parenthood realistically, as a PERSON, rather than from some ideal as a PARENT. Taffel emphasizes that we should spend more time nurturing ourselves as parents and stop focusing all of our emotional energy solely and squarely on our children. I really liked his perspective and it actually made me excited about parenting an older child. (I was initially a little unsure about this book because I wasn’t a big fan of Melinda Blau but her writing style was nowhere to be found in these pages).

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler (2007)
An interesting vampire novel by a black female science fiction writer. Told in the first person, it’s an interesting read on the inner workings of a secret society hidden within our own society. I found it a quick and easy, engaging read. Sadly, Butler passed away just recently – it seems a loss to the sci-fi genre. I’m eager to read The Parable of the Sower next.

ScreamFree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel (2005)
Haven’t ReadScreamFree Parenting
It got nearly 5 stars on the Amazon website, so I got it based soley on the title. 🙂

The Counterfeits by Leo F. Kelley (1967)
Do Not Recommend
A really, really not-very-good pulp science fiction novel. I love pulp sci-fi novels, but this just wasn’t that entertaining.

Parenting Beyond Belief edited by Dale McGowan (2007)
RecommendParenting Beyond Belief
It is not an instruction manual, but rather a collection of insights from parents who have raised their own children without religion. Contributors include Julia Sweeney, Richard Dawkins, and Penn Jillette, as well as a number of others. Still reading this, but I can tell it’s a edifying piece whose underlying message is that it is possible to raise decent, responsible and moral children without needing to wrap those messages in the fabric of religion.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2006)
Haven’t Read
From Amazon: “Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life is turned upside down when his father dies and a brother he never knew he had shows up at his doorstep. When that brother, Spider, starts to wear out his welcome, Fat Charlie learns that his father was not a man but the trickster god, Anansi, and both he and Spider have inherited some of Dad’s godliness.”

Pregnancy & Baby Books

I’ve gotten several nice books from friends over the course of my pregnancy. Thank you all!

What to Expect when You’re Expecting
From more than one person!

The Parent’s Guide to Family Friendly Work
From our good friend Julie.

Belly Laughs
From Monica.
Belly Laughs

The Happiest Baby on the Block
From Monica. Actually, this one is one that Lindsay recommended to me when she had her first baby. When Monica had her baby last year, I got her the book and the DVD on the promise that she’d turn them over to me when it was my turn. 🙂

Those all added to the collection we had amassed at the last two Library book sales.

A home for books

Been meaning to post a picture of our new bookcase for a while now.

It’s enormous, and gorgeous, and flawed in subltle ways that only loving craftsmanship can manage. It’s amazingly heavy. It’s got almost an entire shelf dedicated to sci-fi paperback novels. I love it!

We had it handbuilt by a guy named Jon Shriver. I will give you his number if you want him to build a beautiful bookcase of your very own.

Bookcase 1

Bookcase 2

Labyrinth Manga 1
Currently reading Labryinth manga, courtesy of Cristin.

It’s really lovely. You know how you want to read more Harry Potter, but you don’t want to read fanfic or some lame substitute for the real thing? Well, Labyrinth is sacred ground. You wouldn’t want to see a Labyrinth II so much, would you? OK, if we’re being honest here what you really want to see is if what should have happened did happen, but that’ll never happen so… meh.
My point is that this is really good! It’s a lovely continuation from the perfect point of view and with all the little added touches that long-time fans will want to see. I finished Vol. 1 last night and I’m reading Vol. 2 now. Thanks, Cristin!
Labyrinth Manga 2


Still waiting for the books I requested from the library. It’s been almost one month since I requested them. The audio book is taking longer than the book book. I’ve moved from #367 to #234 for the audio book, but from #1195 to #186 for the book.


Since I’ve both read the book and listened to it, I think I’ll remove myself from the list now. 🙂

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