It’s been a while since I’ve done an adult book review, but not for lack of reading. Here’s what has been occupying my mind this passing Spring season.
Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled–and More Miserable Than Ever Before by Jean M. Twenge
I really enjoyed this thoughtful review by prominent Psychology professor Dr. Jean M. Twenge, who is a member of the generation she describes in this book. The tone of the book is casual and conversational, but I found that a lot of her assertions resonated. Twenge posits that Generation Me’s high expectations combined with increasing societal obstacles and a victim mentality make the current generation more frustrated and unhappy than previous generations who were not as focused on achieving dreams and finding personal happiness. As a member of Generation Me, I could not disagree with most of Twenge’s conclusions and I think this read is an important characterization that both Generation Me members and their older counterparts should read for insight and understanding of current social trends. I plan to purchase a copy for more in-depth reading and note-taking.
The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued by Ann Crittenden
If you didn’t get enough of social science reading with Generation Me, I would highly recommend this now slightly dated title by Pulitzer Prize nominee Ann Crittenden. Her analysis and summary of the many issues faced by mothers (and now many fathers as well as men increasingly are involved with child care) is spot on. She describes the difficult balancing act of mothers trying to manage work and childcare obligations, the financial cost of leaving the workforce temporarily, the obstacles faced by mothers chasing after child support, the way divorce impacts the financial stability of families with children, the lack of social support and social programs that reflect true family values compared to other industrialized nations, and the many misperceptions of all types of mothers. If you aren’t incensed reading this book, you should be. Though published in 2001, over a decade ago, little change has been effected in the areas Crittenden discusses in her book. Ultimately, Crittenden believes that if we don’t value mothers and our human capital, the cost is great. And I happen to agree. Read it yourself and then read it again; I plan to.
Montessori Learning: A Parent’s Guide to Purposeful Play From Two to Six by Lesley Britton
Lesley Britton is a well-known UK expert on Montessori learning. In this book, she describes many activities and Montessori concepts that parents can use at home. While the book is certainly very dated (check out the lace collars worn by the kids in the pictures?!), some of the activities are great and can be easily tweaked or adapted if you don’t have all of the materials Britton shows. I like the way Britton encourages practical living skills; this is something that I strongly encourage with my own daughter, V, who at 2 and a half can get her own cereal from the cupboard, pour it into a bowl, select her clothes and dress herself, put on her shoes, and help with age appropriate housework. V is eager to do everything herself, and I think Montessori learning embraces rather than fights the interest children have to learn more. I also like how the book gives a breakdown of ages for each activity. Some of the activities I can flat out say would bore my two year old, but many of the sensory activities, nature activities, and language learning, I plan to give a try.
The Hand That Trembles by Kjell Eriksson
To lighten up this non-fiction heavy reading list, I enjoyed this murder mystery by Swedish author Kjell Eriksson. The story centers around Sven-Arne Persson, a Swedish politician who disappeared years before Detective Ann Lindell investigates the discovery of a female foot. The stories are told in parallel fashion until you finally understand the character’s connection in the end. It’s not as obvious as you might first imagine, and I enjoyed the read.
Alphabet Art by Judy Press
This book leads you through children’s art projects that correspond with each letter of the alphabet. What I like about them is that they are relatively simple and mostly use easily obtainable items. However, some of the craft themes are somewhat repetitive (heavy use of paper plates and paper towel rolls to make creatures and animals). Still, I think that children would enjoy the projects and I plan to give them a try with my daughter as we work our way through the alphabet.
On My Nightstand:
I hope to find some time to read these titles before I have to return them to the library!
The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz
Nightwood by Charles Frazier
What are you currently reading?