I have been lucky enough to have a baby that likes to eat a lot, and who also likes to take naps on my lap. This will become more uncomfortable in a few months / years if he keeps it up, but for now it affords me some valuable reading time. And thank goodness for the Kindle, too, a lightweight, one-button way to read the Game of Thrones* series without getting carpal tunnel syndrome.
Here are some of the books I have enjoyed this winter:
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – a feast for the mind’s eye, a lavish and delicately paced story of two magicians raised to compete against each other, and the mysterious night circus built as their battleground. I hear this may be a movie, if so, it will be stunning.
- The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson (Author) and Beth Krommes (Illustrator) – a beautiful children’s picture book I picked up randomly at the library. High contrast and finely detailed etchings are paired with a simple yet lovely poem. We read this one a lot at bedtime.
- A Reckless Witch by Deborah Geary – book 3 of the Modern Witch series, a lighthearted trio of tales of a community of witches comfortable with both ancient power and modern technology. In contrast to Night Circus, she limits her descriptions and focuses on character motivation and plot, giving my imagination room to color in the details. The first book starts a little hokey, but by the third book she hits her stride, with a tale of a young woman struggling on her own while learning the gifts and dangers of her magic abilities.
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink,” this is a fascinating study of the power of habits on individual, organizational, and societal levels. Duhigg, a New York Times journalist, writes about Michael Phelp’s Olympic regimen, the Starbucks employee training manual, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott through the lens of understanding how habits yield success, and in some cases, make catastrophic mistakes possible.
- The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima – Like a television miniseries, a good book trilogy gives the reader a chance to really invest in the characters and their world. Sci-Fi and fantasy books often need that time to establish the rules of the world, and let the plot expand within it. In this world, magic exists in a secret but highly ritualized and caste-ordered society, that is in need of reform.The young people who begin as pawns have the potential to be the future leaders, starting in a small town in Iowa.
- Touchpoints – Birth to 3 by T. Berry Brazelton – I have read quite a few of the baby books out there and this is the one I like best. This book, written by a professor of pediatrics who is also a practicing doctor, identifies major developments in your child, and stays away from language such as “by this time your baby should…” — words that tend to launch insecurities. It covers birth to three years, giving it a longer shelf life than many baby books.
I’m looking for new reads for the spring. With the warmer weather approaching, short stories seem like a good fit. Any recommendations?
*I’m not listing the Game of Thrones because while I read the first 4 books this fall/winter, I became less happy with each book. Besides leaving characters and plot lines dangling all over the place, his fixation on the wartime abuses of civilians, especially women, seems gratuitous and distracting, not to mention horrifying.