Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book stuff

There are a lot of activities I enjoy that have either had to be cut back or discard since Scott was born; however, reading hasn't been one of them.  In the past 9 weeks, I've spent A LOT of time with a baby attached to my chest and not much else to do except read - much of it I've done aloud for his "benefit"*.  Here's a snapshot of the books I've read since Christmas:

Part travelogue, part history (think Bill Bryson), the book details a middle-aged adventure magazine editor's trek through the Peruvian Amazon with his surly guide as he learns about the Inca and their incredible public works projects.  I hiked part of the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu when I was a senior in college, and it was fun reading about places I'd visited and learning more about them and their history.  It was a quick, easy, and fun read, although I don't really recommend trying to read it aloud because the Quechua (native Peruvian language) names are impossible to pronounce.

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by the current Countess of Carnarvon

This book is about the real Countess of Carnarvon who lived in Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey is filmed) during the Edwardian era.  She was an amazing woman who, similar to some of the plot lines on the show, became a nurse during WWI and offered her home up to be a hospital for wounded soldiers.  In her spare time, she accompanied her husband on trips to Egypt while he was looking for antiquities.  Sadly she wasn't there when he, along with Howard Carter, discovered King Tut's tomb.  Again, this book was a fun and easy read with lots of cool pictures.  If you like Downton Abbey, I think you'd like this one.

Blah - I wish I could say I liked this book.  Actually, it wasn't that I didn't like it or think it was good, but for some reason whenever I read a book on parenting advice, my natural reaction is to rebel and do the opposite.  The idea is that by 12 weeks old, a baby is old and hearty enough to get four feedings, four hours apart during the day and sleep for 12 hours at night (plus about 3 hours of napping during the day).  This is good for the baby because he needs that much sleep and good for the family because they need sleep and time to do things that are more difficult to do when the baby is awake.  

While those things are all well and good, my rebellion comes in because it's not just Scott that finds it comforting to be nursed to sleep, I do too (well, I find it comforting to do the nursing), and I truly don't mind feeding him in the middle of the night.  Yeah, waking up after 4 hours makes you tired, but nursing at night is such an intimate (please don't take this in a creepy way) experience that I'd be sad to be done with it.  From reading comments on other blogs, many families have found this book very helpful, but I've decided I'm just going to let Scott continue to do whatever he does and not try to get him onto a schedule (more that we already are).  It might take him longer than 12 weeks to sleep through the night regularly and his naps might not happen with the clock, but I'm okay with that.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John LeCarre

This book was probably the biggest letdown of anything I've read in the last... I don't know how long.  I love British mysteries, and I mistakenly though that that's what this book was going to be.  Instead it was the most un-action-packed action story ever.  The main character, George Smiley, is an agent in the British secret service trying to discover a Russian double agent in their midst.  Sounds cool, right?  Wrong.  Waaaayyyy too many characters are introduced so it takes most of the book before you figure out which ones you are really supposed to care about, the main character discovers the mole, not by doing cool spy stuff, but by holding court for the whole book, and there's not enough character development for you to be surprised or really care once you find out who the mole is.  This is a book that lots of people love, but like The Lord of the Rings, it just wasn't for me.  I do plan to watch the old mini-series with Alec Guiness, though.    
Read anything good lately?

*He doesn't seem to care about content so I've just been reading things that are interesting to me.  And thanks to my reading of The Atlantic, he's been exposed to all the bad words.  Can't do that for much longer...

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