Sunday, August 26, 2007

Baby books and more

This past week I was on vacation with my family. I read two baby books which I would like to share with you. The first is The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. This book offers excellent tips on how to help calm and relax a new born baby when he/she is upset. The "5 S's" are what Dr. Karp suggests for calming one's baby. The "5 S's" include:

-shushing sound
-side/stomach position

Using one or more of these techniques will help to make the baby feel secure, comfortable and calm. They are also excellent techniques to use when putting your baby to sleep. Visit for more information on the book and the techniques mentioned! I can't wait to become a mom so I can put Dr. Karp's words into action!

I also read a couple chapters of Buy Buy Baby: How consumer culture manipulates parents and harms young minds by Susan Gregory Thomas. I am often aware of the fact that as Americans we live in a culture of excess where commercialism tends to be the norm. For example, walking into Babies R'Us for the first time was overwhelming! There are a million toys, gadgets, gizmos, etc. etc. Society has made us think that more is better! After reading this book I was able to better see inside the minds of the consumer giants such as Mattel and Fisher Price who market materials to parents and babies. Thomas brought up two interesting points that are worth highlighting:

1.) DVDs and video games for children under the age of 3 are overstimulating and unnecessary. As a result children are not learning how to use their imagination and to play creatively on his/her own.

2.) Children associate with characters such as Dora the Explorer and Barney. Children than begin to want anything and everything that is associated with these characters (tooth brushes, books, cereal, etc.). Children are being targeted and viewed as ways to earn more money for consumer companies.
This book is a must read for every parent! The mantra enough is enough rings true and should be heeded!

The Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louise Erdrich was the third and final book I read this past week. I started out not enjoying the book. After the third chapter I was even tempted to put the book down and never pick it up again. Luckily, however, I was patient (which is unusual for me) and I continued reading.

The novel traces the life stories of Fidelis, a German butcher and Delphine, an attractive traveling performer. As a side note: the word fidelis means "faithful" in Latin and Delphine means "calmness" in Greek. Unforeseen life circumstances allow Fidelis and Delphine's paths to collide in the small town of Arugus, North Dakota. Murders, illnesses, tragedies and disappointments circle around this small town to seemingly no end. As the reader we desperately want both Fidelis and Delphine to find happiness and contentment. The book is set between the difficult and trying years between WWI and WWII.

The novel is well written and executed. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction and subtle, not overly dramatic love stories.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Maytrees

Last night I finished reading The Maytrees by Annie Dillard. The book was rather short and an easy read. I was intially inspired to read this book because of a review that I read on NPR. Here's the link

At times I found that Dillard was trying too much in her use of analogies. She throws in periodic medical terms that are unnecessary and confusing. However, her images of the sea and love were poetic and touching.

The story itself I found to be rather dull and typical. Themes of betrayal, forgiveness and family were commonly connected and undone. I did not find myself drawn to the characters or feeling for their pain or suffering. In fact near the end of the book I was tempted to read the ending (which I did and never usually do). I did end up going back and reading what I missed...but by than most of the thrill was gone.
Since the book is only 215 pages if you have some extra time you might want to give this book a read, otherwise, save your time and mind for a book with more of a plot and better use of vocabulary!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Another one bites the dust

So tonight I finished The Book Thief. Here is my opinion of the book:

The story stage is set in pre-Natzi Germany. Although the book is told through the perspective of "Death," the story line is not overtly morbid. In fact, the story is filled with every day seemingly mundane microcosms of life which are vividly touching. The story circle is rather small only encircling the lives of a few individuals who share their lives on a simple street in a small German town. However, the reader soon becomes entranced by what will occur next and how the protagonists will react.

Lisel, the book thief, is the book's main character. She is a young teenager, who discovers that she has a passion for books. This passion at times consumes her life and also eventually saves her life. Books and the power of words play an integral part of the story's beauty.

I highly recommend this book.

Next on the agenda is The Maytrees by Annie Dillard and The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What it means to be a librarian

At the end of May, 2007, I officially earned my masters in library science! I am now a librarian. Since I no longer have to read books for class, study or write papers I have lots of time to read! During this current reading kick I have been reading a book a week. In this blog I am going to share with you a year of reading through the eyes of a librarian. I am going to tell you a little bit about me so that my reading habits make some sense:

1.) I'm 4 1/2 months pregant (so a few mother and baby books may appear)
2.) I love mysteries (I grew up on Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark)
3.) I love to cook and read both cooking magazines and books.
4.) I read a lot of fiction!
5.) I work at a library for special needs children.

1.) To read a book a week.
2.) To read a variety of books (fiction, non-fiction, children's books, young adult books, mystery, history, political, religious, etc.)
3.) To report on these books by writing mini summaries and reviews (remember these are my opinions).
4.) Post links to other reviews, articles, etc.

Here is a list of the books I have read in the past few summer months:
1.) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khlad Hosseini
2.) Rules
3.) The Higher Power of Lucky
4.) Penny from Heaven
5.) Hattie Big Sky
6.) The Thousand Secret Senses
7.) What to Expect when you're expecting-in progress
8.) The Baby Whisperer
9.) The Happiest Baby on the Block -in progress
10.) Savannah Blues
11.) The Wonder Spot by Melissa Banks
12.) Harry Potter Book #2
13.) The Thirteenth Tale
14.) The Friday Night Knitting Club
15.) The Book Thief-in progress