Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You can call it whatever you want.

When you have a baby, people always ask you, all concerned, how the baby sleeps.  I tend to answer something like, "oh, fine" or my favorite "you know, just like a baby".  The reality is, neither of my children has been a particularly great sleeper - if you define sleep as going to bed easily at night, then not being heard from again until the morning.  But that's OK.  It ends.  Pea is actually a very sound sleeper now at 3.5.  On the other hand, her baby brother woke up the other night at 11PM and all he wanted to do was wrestle.  I tried to calm him down, soothe him, rub his back, and he was like, kick!  punch!  lay on Mama and pin her!  roll around!  If there were ropes around the bed, he would have tried one of those moves where he bounces off the ropes, I'm sure.  Babies are funny.

Despite its title, Call It Sleep is not actually about sleep very much at all either.  The story follows Davy, a little boy, a recent immigrant to New York in the 1900s.  It is all about assimilation and growing up, learning the new city, new language, new customs, etc.  I really enjoyed this book - it was long and some of the language was hard to understand at times (the author uses a very phonetic method of showing the different accents that people have, and it can be confusing and hard to understand what people are saying) but I really did like it.

Even if it isn't about sleep.  Not that I'm getting big chunks of sound sleep anyway.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A woman ahead of her times.

Literature is full of men who are celebrated, not vilified, for doing just what they want. When a woman does it, it's controversial. The heroine of Cakes and Ale does exactly what she pleases with views and decisions that are well ahead of her times. She manages to be memorable enough to her first husband's biographers that they are determined to keep her out of his biography. But what is amazing about this book is that you don't really fully understand Rosie and what is driving her until the very end of the novel. When I read the last part, I was like, Oh! A lightbulb clicked on.

Looking back at this novel, I really liked it.  It was slow at first and I didn't think I would enjoy it, but it picked up steam and I wound up really liking it at the end.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Having children has taught me to watch what I say.  Pea started calling people "EEE-diot" after hearing me rail against some doofus driving like, well, an idiot.  EEE-diot has thus made it into our family lexicon.

EEE-diot is an apt description of the hero of By the Open Sea.  I couldn't stand this guy.  He was arrogant, overly impressed with his intelligence, and continuously put down everyone around him to make himself look better.  I can't say I was disappointed that the community eventually pretty much threw him out at the end.  I'm glad this book was short, because I was certainly fed up with Mr. Borg by the end of it!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sad story of a childhood.

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe is a tough one for a mom to read. This young kid has all these terrible things happen to him and he winds up struggling mentally and becoming very violent. It reminds me how powerful childhood is and how fiercely I love and want to protect my kids. It was a confusing story too, because it was written in a very stream of consciousness style. I wasn't always exactly sure what was going on, or whether my impressions of what was happening were true. Anyway, I see why this was on the list, but it's not necessarily one that I particularly enjoyed.