Monday, August 12, 2013

Currently reading (and a giveaway!)

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams. 
This book was a Silent Spring for breasts. Funny at times, gravely disturbing at others, it covers the history of the breast from just about every angle. You'll learn about the history of bras, breast sizes and shapes, and breast implants. You'll discover disturbing facts about how closely our breasts are tied to our environment and the many contaminants in our air and water. I love the front and back cover art!

Reading Birth and Death: A History of Obstetric Thinking by Jo Murphy-Lawless.
Brilliant, acute, spot-on, a must-read for anyone involved in maternity care. I only read through page 50 before I had to return it to the library. I'm going to check it out again and finish reading.


Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
A narrative of a young African girl captured by slave traders and sent to the American Colonies. She gains her freedom and becomes involved in the British abolitionist movement.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Fantastic novel about an emotionally disturbed young woman whose childhood was spent shuttled around in the foster care system. She finds solace by communicating through the language of flowers. Some pretty intense parts but so, so worth it.

Sideways To the Sun by Linda Sillitoe
Written maybe 2-3 decades ago, a short novel about a Mormon woman and mother whose husband abruptly abandons her and leaves her to reassemble her life. She gains newfound strength as she is forced to support her family and figure out who she is outside of her Mormon roles of mother and especially wife.

Books on my to-read list:
  • Born At Home: Cultural and Political Dimensions of Maternity Care In the United States by Melissa Cheyney
  • The Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman
  • Complementary Feeding: Nutrition, Culture and Politics by Gabrielle Palmer
  • A Cultural History of Pregnancy Pregnancy, Medicine, and Culture, 1750-2000 by Clare Hanson
  • What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman
  • The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
  • Thea Gallas Always Gets Her Man by Kristen Panzer (just bought it for my Kindle!)

And finally, a giveaway!

I've been reading Everybody Has Everything, a novel by Katrina Onstad. It's about a couple who have been trying for years to have children. They finally accept their infertility, then they suddenly become parents to a 2-year-old whose father died in a car crash and whose mother was in a coma. The sudden leap into parenthood--maybe permanent, maybe not--destablizes their relationship and leaves them wondering: are we really able or prepared to take care of another human being?

The novel was a fun, fast, gripping read. It reminds me a lot of Dan Chaon's writing: depressing yet uplifting with its sharp observations of human relationships and the small details that make the story feel, well, less like a story and more like real life.

The publisher was kind enough to give me a review copy AND offer to sponsor a giveaway for five lucky winners!

To enter the giveaway:
  • Write about a memorable parenting moment (funny, embarrassing, scary, crazy, whatever). If you're not a parent, write about something from your own childhood.
  • Giveaway open to US residents
  • Be sure to leave an email address, website, blog, or other way to contact you
  • Contest closes on Friday, August 16 at 5 pm EST


  1. Unfortunately I have not stepped into motherhood. But, when I think about raising a child, I often look to my own mother and the beautiful lessons she taught me. Even as a struggling single mom, she found ways to inspire and educate me. When I was around 8, I began wanting to do more for her. I decided that I could take on a lot of difficult tasks, like carrying groceries, and putting away dishes (no way was I going to wash all the dirty stuff, too gross!) Coming home from the market one day, we had bought a giant watermelon. Being a hot summer day in Texas, I had been sweating. I also had a penchant for never doing more than one trip in carrying things to or from the car. As I was hauling in several grocery bags, I attempted picking up the watermelon. My mom warned me that I might drop it, but she placed it in my arms, ever precariously, trusting. I step ever so slowly toward to kitchen door, and, as she had warned, I dropped it as soon as I entered. I was so afraid she would be mad at me. Watermelon was her favorite fruit, and she had been waiting all summer. But, as she stepped through the doorway, her look of shock turned into a huge grin, as she hugged me tightly and we laughed all the way to the ground, picking up seeds and tossing them like confetti. She taught me that everything in life can be turned into humor, and for that I am forever thankful.

  2. My daughters have taught me that sharing sleep can be beautiful and wonderful. My husband and I have enjoyed cosleeping and it has made nursing them both easier at night.

  3. Earlier this year, I woke up to a strange rustling noise in the kitchen. When I went to investigate, I discovered that my almost-three-year-old had gotten up silently, pushed a chair up to our kitchen counter, and STOOD ON TOP OF THE COUNTER to reach (what I thought was) my secret Valentine's Day candy stash on top of our refrigerator. I thought he had just taken a couple of pieces, so we had a talk about not eating Mommy's candy for breakfast and I moved it to a different (more hidden) cupboard.

    Later that afternoon I went to put him down for his nap and discovered that he had actually poured an entire cereal bowl full of SweetTarts hearts and hidden it in his room, meaning the time I caught him was actually his second trip up there! Super sneaky.

  4. Rixa, bump up World's Strongest Librarian on your list. It was one of the best things I read this year! (I know the author's mom really well, but that's not why, I promise.)

  5. Thank you for the list of books - I'm always looking for new books to read and several of these (unsurprisingly ones about birth!) have been added to me 'to read' list.

  6. The highlighted book resonates with me! With my first child I had bad PPD and was resisting getting help and wondered exactly the above: am I really able or prepared to take care of another human being?

    Enter scary parenting moment: I remember feeling that I wasn't able to do it and that if I couldn't do it, no one else would be able to either (obviously disordered thinking but it made sense at the time). If I went to get help like every said I should "they" would take my baby! I did get help, I kept my baby, I got better, and I learned I can do it. Also, I learned to trust people through the haze of mental illness.

  7. Last summer I was teaching my three children about the birds and the bees. I was reading a kid friendly book that explained how sex happens. One child asked do you do that with a horrid look on her face. Super funny.

  8. Of course I answered yes :)

    The email should be Ugh with fingers and phone keyboards!

  9. Add VAGINA: A Biography By Naomi Wolf to your list. It's a must-read for anyone who has or may encounter a vagina. VERY interesting stuff there

    1. Added to my list! Thanks for the recommendation.


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