Wednesday, 15 July 2015

June Quicklit


Somewhere between the bright sunshine and hazy forest fires, the pool mornings and afternoon sunteas, I lost the first half of July. It's Quicklit time already and I'm linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I've been reading. Here's my not-so-summery list:

Eleanor Rigby, by Douglas Coupland
Inspired by the Beatles' song, "All the Lonely People," Eleanor Rigby showcases a middle-aged woman's solitary life just at the moment someone finally breaks through her prickly exterior to the weird but loveable person she is inside. It's classic Coupland: achingly real, quirky and caustic, poignant, hilarious, tragic and hopeful - all at the same time.

The no-cry sleep solution for toddlers and preschoolers, by Elizabeth Pantley
I didn't read the whole book, but between the introduction and the chapter on "the night nursling," I got the encouragement I needed to stick to the sleep plan we'd already started with my toddler along with plenty of ideas of what to try next if it didn't work out. I appreciated Pantley's perspectives as well as her information about how much sleep the average child needs at any particular age, how long it usually takes to establish a new routine, and what is reasonable to expect from your little one. Bonus: it's a really easy read, which is great for the already sleep-deprived parent (i.e. the target audience).

Homeward Bound, by Emily Matchar
I'm rather conflicted on how to review this book. There were a lot of things I really liked: the history and sociology of homemaking were clear and enlightening, and I really appreciated the author's perspectives on the interplay of feminism, self-sufficiency, finances, environmental concerns, and job satisfaction in the do-it-yourself movement. I didn't agree with all her conclusions, but her viewpoint was fairly balanced and left me with plenty to think about.

As much as I liked the content, however, the presentation lacked polish. While her prose was easy on the brain, I kept getting the sense that it was written on the assumption that it would be skimmed. The exact same examples and turns of phrases showed up time and time again. The writing style would change jarringly from one chapter to the next, or even between paragraphs. It was like switching between articles from Huff Post to the Atlantic and back again, which felt like a bit of slight to the millennial reader. We embrace slow food and attachment parenting - why not close reading?

And, to air a small pet-peeve, calling all baby carriers "slings" is akin to referring to all sandwiches as "cheeseburgers." It's a pity the author didn't take a look at the wild and varied world of woven wrap baby carriers; it would have fit quite nicely into her thoughts on the preference for skilled work over convenience in modern homemaking. Maybe next book.

Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova
Genova's third novel focusses on autism, healing, and loss. Unlike her first two novels, Love Anthony is written from multiple perspectives. I appreciated getting see what it could be like to be a non-verbal autistic child as well as the challenge of learning to mother one. Beautifully written and very sad.

The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith
I wasn't sure what to expect from J.K. Rowling's foray into crime novels, but I wouldn't have guessed a modern Dick Tracy. The down-on-his-luck private eye and his sexy secretary might be archetypal, but their details are anything but, and the mystery itself is fresh, fun, and glamorously gritty. I've heard Galbraith's next instalment isn't HSP-friendly, but I think I'll risk it anyways.

That's all for this month. Here's hoping the summer is treating you well. If it needs more books, do pop over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for many more reviews.

2 comments:

  1. I have been meaning to read Homeward Bound, this will make me feel better for skimming (which I do sometimes). I love JK Rowling's new series, the case in the second book gets gruesome at times, but is worth checking out.

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  2. I loved the second Galbraith book, too. It is not my usual genre, but I would read a napkin if J.K. Rowling wrote it!

    Madeline
    www.plantohappy.com

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