Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2009 Book Review

We've already established my obsession with books, so here's my take on a few notables this year.

Favorite "Hit"

The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
I read this only because I wanted to see the movie, which I only wanted to see because it starred Rachel McAdams. Everyone knows you can't read a book after seeing the movie, so I finally picked it up a couple months before the movie was released, not expecting much. Turns out I loved it!
One of my favorites this year. The movie, of course, was not nearly as good as the book.

Best Surprise
On Writing
by Stephen King
I read this thinking I would learn some writing tips, and I did. But the treasure here is the collection of autobiographical stories. We already know Stephen King is cool--he is a Red Sox fan, after all--but he is also really funny!
I've officially added him to my "ideal dinner party" invite list.

Favorite Nonfiction

Physics for Future Presidents
by Richard Muller
Fun fluff written by a Stanford professor who teaches a course by the same name. Now if only actual politicians could utilize logic, math, science, economic principles, and general common sense as Professor Muller suggests...

Worthwhile Reread
Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less
by Golinkoff, Hirsh-Pasek, and Eyer
Love, love, love! Most of my beliefs about parenting, education technique, and early-childhood development tied into a fun little package. I revisited it for a reminder of the great "experiments" to play with you as you grow. For instance, "Would you rather have 2 rows of 3 cookies or 3 rows of 2 cookies?"
Who says children have to wait until middle school to learn the commutative property of multiplication? Just add cookies to the mix and they'll figure it out when they're in preschool!

Biggest Disappointment

Sundays at Tiffany's
by James Patterson
Eh. Was hoping for Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas quality and didn't get it.

Been Meaning to Read
by Elie Wiesel
I should have read this one a long time ago, but avoided it since I knew the subject matter. Learning about the world's tragedies is a necessary but unpleasant task. At least it was short.

Most Depressing

by Elie Wiesel

Worst Ending

Handle With Care
by Jodi Picoult
I keep punishing myself with Jodi Picoult. I love her novels...the first 98% of them. But her endings are just downright awful! Rushed, unsatisfying, ambiguous, generally annoying. This one was no exception.

Most Useful Parenting Reference

Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear
by Pam Leo
I strongly favor the Attachment Parenting/Positive Parenting approach, so no surprise here. I particularly like this book because it includes lots of examples to help parents figure out what to actually DO when faced with life's daily challenges. Like what to say when your child stands up on his chair at Friendly's and announces that his tummy hurts, so he's going to fluff to make it feel better. (Yes, that was you, and yes, I'm formulating plans to pay back the embarrassment in full when you are a teenager.)

Least Favorite

Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School
by Philip Broughton
I was interested in this one for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, the author comes across as an arrogant ass. This is humorous for awhile, given the entire premise of the book is the arrogant ass-iness of his fellow students, but it gets old quickly. Having been a secondhand witness to the HBS experience, I found Mr. Broughton and his judgmental attitude annoying. Yes, there are a lot of immature students there. But, really, I might act out a bit too if I had just been released from the bowels of some investment bank for two years of freedom, only to return to the aforementioned hellhole. Can't really blame them for lacking a sense of normalcy...

Coming in 2010...

Life of Pi by Yan Martel (Many friends have recommended this one--it is the year's first read)
Last Night in Twisted River
by John Irving (My favorite author. I've been saving it and enjoying the anticipation for a few months, so I'm looking forward to cracking it open!)
What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era
by Peggy Noonan (Daddy is reading this one now, so I've got dibs when he's finished.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let it Snow

I was woefully unprepared for this winter's first big snowstorm (reference the grocery bags I taped to your feet instead of snow boots). By the season's second snowfall I was ready and even remembered to get you a miniature snow shovel, much to Mamo's dismay. The following pictures should reassure her that you were having a great time helping Daddy! Hopefully you'll keep the same attitude when you're a teenager. Unfortunately I neglected to document the post-shoveling hot chocolate, which I think was your favorite part!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Disappearing Oranges

You've always been a little comedian, but lately you've added magician to your bag of tricks. Here you are making oranges disappear:


Monday, January 11, 2010

Thanksgiving vs Christmas

Time has clearly not been on my side lately. Thus, a summary of our holiday season...hard to say which you enjoyed more!

Thanksgiving 2009:

Christmas 2009:
Yes, those are grocery bags on your feet. Sue me.