Saturday, April 19, 2008

Catching up with recent reads

My stack of books that are waiting to be blogged about is unbelievable, so I decided I'm just going to write a quick post about the ones I don't have much to say about! I have one waiting that I read shortly after Christmas, but I jotted down like SIX pages in my notebook of things to write about it and so still it lingers in my to-blog pile.

So, sometime during the last month or so I've read the following books and don't have much to say about them (wow! what a fascinating post already!):

Full Circles, Overlapping Lives--this one is by Mary Catherine Bateson who is Margaret Mead's daughter. The subtitle of this book was "culture and generation in transition" and I expected something very different from it than what it actually was. It was really a sort of in depth case study of the multigenerational participants in a seminar the author taught at a university one year. I confess that I got bored and skimmed towards the end. I felt the title was misleading and I was not expecting a case study sort of book, but rather a sociological type book. One quote I liked early on when the author was discussing her relationship with her daughter and how being of different generations parents and children have a gap--"I have learned to work with the assumption that my daughter and I were born in different countries--not according to our passports but because our country has changed, making me an immigrant from the past."(emphasis mine) This was funny and also somehow depressing at once--I feel weird about being an immigrant from the past and yet it is true. Once you can start saying, "ten years ago XYZ..." you know you're an immigrant from the past!

The New View of Self--this was another one whose title and subtitle (How Genes and Neurotransmitters Shape Your Mind, Your Personality, and Your Mental Health) seemed misleading once I got into it. This book was supposed to be about how the brain works and also about the self, but it was basically exclusively about mental illness and how mental illnesses work and what is wrong in the brain that leads to mental illness. I was not really enraptured with it, but struggle with the whole, "I started reading it and can't stop now" mental illness of my own. ;-)

Babies, Breastfeeding, and Bonding--this is a book by Ina May Gaskin that I had never heard of before I picked it up on the used book table of an LLL workshop in 2006. I just got around to reading it and didn't end up reading it cover to cover because a lot of the breastfeeding info was repetitive to me (and/or outdated since the book was written in the 80's). I was interested to read it though and will now pass it on to a friend. It has content in it about Ina May's own children that I was not familiar with before, like that her oldest daughter had a brain tumor and died at 20. She also makes a good point in the book that I've taken to heart about nursing older babies/toddlers when they start "getting rough." She makes the point that they need to learn how to treat people with respect and you should not be a "punching bag" for your nursing toddler. I needed to hear this because I have an aggressive nurser who is NOT polite and gentle to me while he nurses. Reading her sections about that made me feel committed to "cracking down" on Z's overzealous twiddling and writhing, kicking, etc. I'm kind of a pushover for my nurslings. She had some different ideas about weaning than I personally hold and she told a story that she thought was funny, but I found creepy--the mother put soot from the stove all over her breasts and when her rough little toddler boy came to ask to nurse next she lifted her shirt, he saw the blackness and said, "what happened?!" and she said, "pigs got 'em." AAAHHHH! He never nursed again. Ina May thought this was a funny story, but I thought it was harsh and disturbing (though also kind of funny). I told M & L the story and L thought it was hilarious and says the "pigs got 'em" line now when I'm nursing Z and bugs me with it!

Me Talk Pretty One Day--this was a funny book. a little diversion from my usual and read just for fun. It was actually laugh out loud funny in some places (also really crude in others...). Talking about computers he says, "I hate them for creating the word org and I hate them for e-mail, which isn't real mail but a variation of the pointless notes people used to pass in class." I wonder what he thinks of blogs?!

Mind Over Labor--this one I have more to blog about, but I'm going to do it in a different blog, so I'm just briefly mentioning it here. I've read this book once before and re-read it looking for ideas for guided imagery or birth visualization exercises to use in birth classes. It has some good "mental work" to prepare for birth. I like it quite a bit. It is on the older side (1987), but not particularly dated.

Good! Now I have 7 books and a few articles left in my stack of "to blog." Blogging shouldn't be a "chore," LOL! That's what I get for being all Type A all the time, I can take a hobby and turn it into a "job." Maybe I read too much if I just wrote about 5 books (and another one yesterday) and I still have 7 books to write about as well as three that I'm currently reading...

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