Thursday, November 15, 2007

Awash in a Sea of Books

It's starting to sink in that I may never read all of the books that have found their way to our house in the last couple of months. I've had a hard time knowing where to start, which ones are most important and which ones I'll actually like. If the tone or style of the author rubs me the wrong way, I'll usually set it down, never getting back to it. I'm not sure how bad of a habit this is. When this happens, I usually feel guilty a little. So more for my own sake than anything, I'm going to compile a list of the new books in our house, just in the last couple of months.

Feel free to chime in with what you think I should go for (though some of these on the list I've already read).

Books not about parenting or adoption:

1. Deep South Staples (Robert St. John). I've written about this book already. I love it and want his new one.

2. White Trash Cooking (Ernest Mathew Mickler). My dad has had this book for ages, and I'd always loved thumbing through it when I was at his house. When I bought my own copy last month, my grandmother was offended. She thinks I and the book make fun of the South. Is she not aware of how I glorify the South on this blog? Sheesh. And besides that, I have family--albeit not on her side--whose cooking resembles pretty closely what one finds in this book. And I love it!

3. Revolution (George Barna). Some Christian friends in Southern California gave us this book. It explains why they stopped going to church. I've only read bits and pieces, but so far, it makes a lot of sense.

4. The Complete Peanuts Collection 1959-1960 (Charles M. Schultz). After watching the American Masters documentary, I had to go back and read these. I poured over them throughout my childhood, so it's wonderful to go back now and read them as an adult. This is what I'm up reading before I fall asleep most nights these days.

5. She Got Up Off the Couch (Haven Kimmel). My favorite "memoirist."

6. Too Much Coffee Man: How to be Happy (Shannon Wheeler). I met him Sunday right before meeting Melissa Faye Greene. He is a very sweet guy and his comics are hilarious. Go read them.

7. The Happiest Days (Cressida Connolly). I picked this up at the free table this weekend at Wordstock. I see you
can buy it used on Amazon for one cent. I got a deal.

8. The Heights, the Depths, and Everything in Between (Sally Nemeth). She is a friend of Ted's who hosts the most kick-ass New Year's Day party every year with black-eyed peas, cornbread and a bookswap. We stole her bookswap idea the next year but had ours as a Christmas party, and I think she got miffed. I still feel bad about that. We got to see her Sunday at Wordstock too, where she signed her new book for us. We like Sally.

9. Children of Zion (Henryk Grynberg and Jacqueline Mitchell). I got this at the free table too. It's about Polish Jewish children during the Holocaust. I don't plan on reading this before bedtime.

10. Sunset Song (Lewis Grassic Gibbon). We just got this in the mail this week as a thank-you gift from John, the crazy Scottish cyclist.

11. In the Forest (Edna O'Brien). This book came for free in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times that I bought before flying out of the Shannon airport. I read her Country Girls trilogy when I lived in Slovakia, which I liked a lot, so I was excited about a free book by her. I still haven't read it though.

12. The Pirate Queen (Morgan Llywelyn). I'm fascinated by the Irish Queen Granuaile whose fortress we happened upon on Achil Island, so I got this book to find out more about her. I haven't read it either.

13. A Star Called Henry (Roddy Doyle). I found this at Goodwill and got it because I tend to like Irish writers. Still unread too.

14. Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America (Andrew Ferguson). Ted's dad gave us this. He said it's about all the people who make their livings off Abraham Lincoln. Whatever.

15. The Chinook Book of Coupons. Does anyone truly remember to use enough of the discounts to cover the cost of the book? That's our goal.

Books about parenting, Africa, and adoption:

1. Parenting with Love and Logic (Foster Cline and Jim Fay). Apparently, this book is a big deal these days. It was on PBS and everything, though I've heard it doesn't teach you how to keep your kid from running into traffic--how to obey in those urgent moments of danger.

2. Shepherding a Child's Heart (Ted Tripp). The friend who loaned this to me got it as a gift and hates it.

3. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer (Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau). I found this at Goodwill too and got it never having heard of it. I have several friends who love it and swear by it.

4. The Myth of the Perfect Mother (Carla Barnhill). Picked this one up for free too at the free table. I liked the title a lot and got all jazzed up by reading the introduction. I like that it's written by a Christian. I am not Betty Crocker.

5. Both Supernanny books (Jo Frost). I adore Jo Frost. And how sexy is she on the front of
her first book? Go check it out.

6. Discovery of a Continent: Foods, Flavors, and Inspirations from
Africa (Marcus Saumuelsson). Our friends with the three kids from Ethiopia gave us this book this week. I love it. And she made this from it: This stuff was better than anything we've ordered in Ethiopian restaurants, as you can see by Ted's eagerness to dig in.

7. Black Baby, White Hands (Jaiya John). I got this from the library. I've heard great things about this memoir written by a black man who was raised in a white family.

8. In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories. I just got this in the mail this week and have read one story so far. I think I'm most excited about this book.

9. Spirit of the Nursery (Jane Alexander). Another from the free table. I've read it already and can tell you all you might need to know about how to spiritually cleanse your baby's room with various crystals and energy fields. Trippy.

10. The Bradt Ethiopia Guidebook.

Books I Want:

1. The Daring book for Girls (Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz).
2. The Dangerous book for Boys (Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden). I've been intrigued by these for ages now and fell flat in love with the one for girls this weekend at Wordstock. Then Erin wrote about these over at Holding Still. The Universe is telling me to get my hands on these books.

3. Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady (Florence King). Hell, with a title like that, what Southern girl wouldn't want to read it? Plus, I have a friend who loves it, and she is so beyond rad that I want to read it too.

4. Fifty Acres and a Poodle. (Jeane Marie Laskas). This is another friend recommendation, one that sh
e says this about: "it makes me laugh, and cry and it is one of those rare books where I feel like this person is describing some of my own thoughts better than I am capable of. It makes me think I may not be as abnormal as I sometimes feel." There's my friend "doing her thing" in Jamaica (serving the poor). If we were all as abnormal as her, the world would be a better place. I just like the photo and I like what she said about the book. Makes me want to read it.

5. Deep South Parties: How to Survive the Southern Cocktail Hour Without a Box of French Onion Soup Mix, a Block of Processed Cheese, or a Cocktail Weenie (Robert St. John).

6. First Meals (Annabel Karmel): I've always liked the idea of making my own babyfood and of raising a kid who is not a picky eater (one of my biggest pet peeves is a kid who won't try new things and even worse, parents who say, "Oh, my kid doesn't eat fill-in-the-blank."), so I was excited when a friend showed me this book that she used with all her kids.

7. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (Maggie O'Farrell). Just read about this in the NYTimes, am fascinated.

8. Blankets (Craig Thompson). I've been wanting to dip my toe in the world of graphic novels, min
us the ninjas and vampires, and this one appealed to me when I found it in a bookstore this weekend. I have it on hold at the library, which is probably a bad idea considering the list I have just shown you...


Anonymous said...

You know, I'm now wanting some of these books for myself! I might need to visit the library! I especially want to read There is No Me Without You!! And #5 - Deep South Parties by Robert St. John - How FUN is that title?! I want to read it just for that!! :)


Owlhaven said...

I've got you added to the blogroll at


Anonymous said...


My list has just gotten much longer after reading your list. Personally, I like to have a book from each genre I am reading all at the same time, for various moods, etc. although I must confess I can sometimes get them intertwined in my brain. Thanks for the kind words.


Rusty Spell said...

I got sucked into the "Dangerous" books, too. I bought the one for boys, and I've only recently seen the one for girls. (Funny that boy = red and girl = blue.) I like them.

Of course, everyone in the world should have all of the Charlie Brown books.

Lori said...

Red=boy and blue=girls is one of the things I like most about those books, actually.
Oh, and I don't like the title of the Peanuts book I have. It annoys me how they use the word "complete" when it's only two years. I'm guessing the "complete" is referring to its inclusion of both dailies and Sundays. I guess there couldn't be a true complete edition--too big, huh? (I need to research more, as I want to be one of those people with all the Charlie Brown books).

mama becca said...

Lori- You are smart. I need to read those books! I do read "sheparding a child's heart" and it actually is great for our family... but like any book, you can take what you like and leave what you don't like. May be too "PC" but when you have a 3 and 1 year old freakin out, you'll take/leave what you want!!!
anyway, thanks for your sweet comments on my blog. Tried to post here the other day and it wouldn't let me... any chance you'd be willing to share the irish crockpot recipe???
have a great weekend!

Lori said...

Hey, I'm all about taking and leaving what you want, especially when it comes to the overwhelming amount of info out there about child-raising.

Oh, and it's more of a sign of how *not smart* I am that I still haven't read most of these books yet keep collecting them.

Rusty Spell said...

Oh! I thought you knew about the Peanuts books. It *is* complete (or eventually part of a complete set). They're releasing two books a year that contain two years apiece, starting from the beginning in 1950. They're up to 1966 (eight collections so far). So, yes, you can have *all* the Peanuts comics eventually... though of course it'll take several years for them all to come out. I get one each time a new one comes out.

neola said...

i like that you're using 'rad'! and i'd love to hear more about robert st. john. and to echo P above, my list got a lot longer considering yours. :)