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Posts Tagged ‘book list’

After looking at my booklist for 2010 and considering the goals I have for the next year, I’ve decided to scale back my list. I know more books will be added as the year goes on, but for now here’s my new list:

Fiction

Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Eight Cousins, Lousia May Alcott

The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

1984, George Orwell

A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Washington Square, Henry James

Nonfiction

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue or Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect & Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good, Wendy Shalit

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, Joan Jacobs Brumberg

Unprotected, Miriam Grossman

Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls, Carol Platt Liebau

Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton*

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson*

Biography/Memoir

George Mueller

Children/Youth

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery*

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Christian Nonfiction

The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Impact of Feminism on Church & Culture, Mary Kassian

The True Woman, Susan Hunt

Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists, Collin Hansen

God is the Gospel, John Piper*

The Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson

A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family, Mary Osytn

*Rolled over from last year.

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Booklist ’10

I’ve had my booklist for next year building quite rapidly over the last few months. As cliche as it sounds, there really are so many books I want to read! It’s the joy and curse of reading.

There’s so much enjoyment in reading through discovery and experience, then extend that to an endless amount of topics and the potential of books to read is limitless!

My goal is to read a few books that have been sitting on my shelf awhile, return to some favorites, and focus on women’s issues. It’s quite extensive (and a bit daunting) and I’m pretty confident I won’t get to all of them. These are just some of the books that have caught my eye over the last year.

Here’s where my list stands as of now:

Fiction

The Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Eight Cousins, Lousia May Alcott

The Making of a Marchioness, Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Opposite of Love, Julie Buxbaum

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

1984, George Orwell

A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

Nonfiction

A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, Wendy Shalit

Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect & Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good, Wendy Shalit

The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued, Ann Crittenden

What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman, Danielle Crittenden

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, Joan Jacobs Brumberg

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

The Purity Myth, Jessica Valenti

Unprotected, Miriam Grossman

Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls, Carol Platt Liebau

The Witch Hunts: A History of Witch Persecutions in Europe & North America, Robert Thurston

Biography/Memoir

George Mueller

Children/Youth

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

Christian Nonfiction

The Feminist Mistake: The Radical Impact of Feminism on Church & Culture, Mary Kassian

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence, John Piper

Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists, Collin Hansen

“Favorites” in Review

Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

A Room with a View, E.M. Forster

Sea of Memory, Erri de Luca

The Princess, Lori Wick




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nightstand

It’s late and I’m tired, but I wanted to post this before I forget. Looking at my read list, I’m kind of surprised at how much reading I got done! Was October really that long?

After finishing Emma last week, I realized I only had 11 books left to read on my book list for the year which means I have to read about a book a week to finish. Unfortunately, but not too unfortunate, I had three books on hold that I picked up at the library today that weren’t on my original list (In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way, and Writing the Breakout Novel). I did have The Day the Falls Stood Still, but returned it when I realized I probably wasn’t going to be able to finish it and couldn’t renew it since there were other holds on it.

This month I finished reading:

I’m still reading:

Next month I plan to read:

I wonder if I’ll be as successful in the coming month as I was this last month!

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FYI – This is a long post…so you might want to go grab a drink or something.

I first heard about Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy when my husband and I were talking our childbirth class (Bradley method) before Joey was born. I jotted the title down in the back of our workbook to remember for later. This has been one book I’ve really been looking forward to reading this year.

Did you know…Cassidy_cover_sm

  • The U.S. has the 2nd worst infant mortality rate in the developed world. (See articles here and here.)
  • The U.S. is ranked 41st in the world for maternal mortality. (See articles here and here.)
  • The U.S. C-section rate hovers around 30%, double the World Health Organization recommendation. (See articles here and here.)

Coming away from it my feelings are a little mixed. While Cassidy had a lot of great information and a very thorough history of birth, I came away feeling that the book was part factual, part memoir, and mostly personal opinion. While I’m an adocvate of natural birthing, midwives, and reform in obstetrics in America, Cassidy’s writing comes across much of the time as a personal vendetta against doctors and obstetrics in general. As the book progressed, it was hard to tell what side of the fence Cassidy was on. It seemed in an attempt to be unbiased she jumped from the natural birth/midwife camp to the hospital/doctor camp.

A lot of crazy things have been done in the history of modern obstetrics from “twilight sleep” and strapping laboring women to beds to a mandatory shave of the pubic area and father free deliveries, things that modern medicine (of the time) deemed best. Now we know many of those techniques are not only obselete, but dangerous. Many descriptions aren’t for the faint of heart, more like gag worthy. Ever hear of a craniotomy in labor? You don’t want to know.

The author gives a brief history of the birth experiences from the women in her family. Crazy stories, similar to that of my husband’s grandmother and other women who went into labor and later couldn’t even remember delivering their own child. Cassidy’s first birthing experience was less than what she expected, describing the aftermath as tragic and horrifying. It’s her personal experience and I don’t doubt the trauma, but she isn’t shy on the melodrama either.

I am lucky enough to have come from a line of women who have given birth natural. My mother and both grandmothers has 13 deliveries between the three of them all natural. I’m also glad that I meet a few women over the years who were unafraid to birth naturally and share their experiences. Without these women, I would have probably never thought there was another option.

I was eager to read this book for the facts and while there’s a bibliography over 15 pages long there are no in text references, which makes me doubt her some of evidence and wonder just how much embellished some details may have been. I was surprised that there wasn’t so much as a

So-and-So in his book “Whatever the Title Is,” said

She just breezed by any such references and that really bothered me. There is a section of endnotes for each chapter that matches the beginning of sentences with their corresponding reference like so,

Before he closed the wound: Bulletin of the History of Medicine 50 (1976): 243.

And while that’s better than nothing it left me wondering what would have been so hard about inserting a number in text with a reference to an endnote at the end of the chapter? The way it was done felt irresponsible and as if there might be something to hide.

In the end, I’m glad I read the book and wish that there was some way more people could know about the history of obstetrics and that natural birthing and midwives are not as dangerous as doctors and culture has painted them. Actually, statistics around the world show that, in general, birthing outcomes are better with midwives and with natural techniques. Much of the labor and delivery methods in many hospitals today is for the convenience of the medical staff, not the laboring mother. Come on, who thought it was a good idea to lay down and push? In that position you actually have to push the baby up and out!

As much as many women praise the epidural, who knows what it’s long term side effects are? Doctors once thought it was safe to give a pregnant woman an x-ray! Some studies are beginning to link pitocin and epidurals with the raise in Autism I think it’s crazy that women will go 9 months through pregnancy watching what they eat, being careful they don’t take medications that will harm the baby, etc and then get an epidural thinking it’s safe. Whatever you get, the baby gets…even in labor. My goal is not to offend anyone here and I’m sorry if I do, but to me the logic just doesn’t line up.

And as another quick aside, when labor is not progressing instead of having women do something that may promote labor, oftentimes they’re given pitocin, the synthetic form of oxytocin, which brings about contractions often more intense than they would have naturally progessed and the next shot is an epidural to handle the pain, then in most cases slows labor which leads to a C-section.

I think what America needs in its obstetrics is a better education system. Women are basically told an epidural or C-section is the way to go. There is little to no education on techniques to manage labor and even fewer freedoms once laboring at a hospital. My word to you: educate yourself. Read books on labor and delivery, the natural way and how hospitals approach birth. (I hate to clump all hospitals together. I know some are more natural birth friendly than others.) Ask a lot of questions. Do your own research. Don’t just trust your medical professional, ask why.Understand that more care doesn’t mean better care. Decide for yourself what is best for you and your baby.

In the end, balance what is best for the mother and infant. For me and my family, we’ve decided that birth free from drugs and with as little intervention as possible is best for us. I researched midwives and birthing centers in the area we lived and found one that I absolutely loved with a great history and recommendations. I wouldn’t have traded my experience at Best Start with my midwives for the world. For the record, I’m not against a C-section if it is necessary, however many women today are having C-sections for convenience rather than necessity which can be very dangerous.

If this topic interests you, then I’d recommend finding a copy of The Business of Being Born and watching it.

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FeminineAppealCarolynMaha5989_f In Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney, Girl Talk blogger and wife of pastor/author CJ Mahaney, tackles the famous and often debated Titus 2 passage  toward women focusing on the seven virtues as a godly wife and mother.

Titus 2:4-5 – “…and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure,working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Over all I enjoyed this book and found it helpful, not so much in changing my own views and opinions as they are already much in line with out Mahaney lays out. I found the book encouraging and helpful in that I feel I can better explain and talk about those more controversial aspects of the passage. Particularly the phrase that woman are to be “working at home,” which in the Greek literally means to work at home.

I’ve known many women to struggle with this, myself included, and I have to say that Mahaney’s interpretation is probably the best I’ve heard. Simply put, a woman’s greatest sphere of influence is the home and other endeavors may take her outside of the home (work or volunteer, etc), but her main focus is to be on serving her family and managing her home. If she can make commitments outside of the home as long as it isn’t to the detriment of her family. As Mahaney puts it, “Working at home must always remain a constant and ongoing priority in our lives” (104).

One thing that didn’t sit so well with me was how in some passages she described the managing of the home as the woman’s sole responsibility. Portions of the chapter came across that a woman should, essentially, take care of everything home-related to free up her husband to fulfill his tasks. While I’m not opposed to being the one “in charge” of managing the home it could come across that a man should not have to have any duties around the home. He should be completely served. I’m sure this is not what Mahaney is saying, but it definitely could be construed that way.

Toward the end of the book transitions seemed weak and connections between ideas lacking at times. It almost felt like there was a rush, but I also tried to keep in mind that this book originated in a series of talks Mahaney gave. Overall, I enjoyed, found the book helpful, and would recommend it.

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secret-gardenThe Secret Garden is one of the reasons I fell in love with English literature. As a kid I had an abridged copy of the story and loved the movie which I bought myself…I was so proud! And it even came with a little locket.

I love this story. It brings you back to that place of childlike wonder and abandonment to something magical. It’s the story of two lonely, spoiled children who life, love, and pleasure in the discovery of a secret garden. I loved to see how Mary and Colin grew throughout the story from being closed and very sad to hopeful, full of life and purpose.

I can’t quite think of how to describe the characters. I love them all. From Ben Weatherstaff to Miss Mary, Dickon, 51HTYRN363L._SS500_and Master Colin…oh, and Martha! Mary was “quite contrary” for a good bit, before discovering friendship and the garden. Colin is the boy you feel sorry for but want to put in his place at the same time, and Ben Weatherstaff is the cranky old man who really isn’t so cranky. Dickon is probably my favorite character–warm, lovable, forgiving from the beginning, and always with his personal menagerie.

I think Dickon is probably the catalyst for Mary’s change, after the discovery of the garden. He’s so gentle with her and gains her trust little by little and before she knows it Mary’s sharing every secret with him and is so eager to learn she loses her early inhibitions.

Le jardin secretI love the Yorkshire accent. It was a little hard to read smoothly at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to. Oh, and I thought it was hilarious how Mary was so proud of gaining weight and how both her and Colin had to hide their hungry appetites.

There are definitely differences between the book and the movie. The book is, of course, better, but I think the movie does justice to the beauty of the garden as well as how well the actors captured the essence of their characters. Two things that were left out of the movie and didn’t understand why: Susan Sowerby (Dickon’s mother) and the doctor being Colin’s uncle. I think both of these would have added to the movie, especially Dickon’s mother. I think her presence is the loving adult-figure both Mary and Colin needed as well as her boldness to write Master Craven and tell him to come home.

Overall, I love this book and movie. I feel like I’m rambling a bit without really saying much, but it’s a good story that both children and adults will enjoy.

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Road Trip Books

Tomorrow morning, our little family is headed up to Lexington, Virginia for a wedding. It’s not a long road trip, but I’m bringing along some books for the ride. Two to finish, one to start, and one to (hopefully) plow through some meaty parts…oh, and my Bible (that’d be the second one…it’s been “collaged.”)

July 4 - 8 027

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