3.20.2015

books!

Have you been waiting on pins and needles for someone to tell you what you should and shouldn't read next? Here I am to the rescue!




A Paris Apartment: Look, you guys! I read fiction!! This novel is based on the real-life apartment in Paris that was found in 2010. It hadn't been opened in over 70 years, when the owner fled Paris as the Nazis were invading. An auctioneer found it and discovered that it was full of priceless works of art and furniture. The book takes it a step further and includes fictional journal entries of the former owner and her life in the 1800s/early 1900s. Overall, the plot was fascinating. However, I wasn't a huge fan of the main character (she kept forgetting to eat...who forgets to eat?! I can't respect that.) and how unnecessarily crude parts of the story became. Looking past that, it's easy to get caught up in the story, and I think it's worth the read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: This book is my best friend. Is that weird? I don't care. The first time I saw this book was on a New Releases table in Barnes and Noble when I was in college. I almost bought the book based on the name alone, and I've always regretted that I didn't snag it then and there. I've never forgotten about it, and I've been meaning to read it ever since. I can't even begin to express how much I deeply loved this book. The morning after I finished it, I immediately grabbed it and began rereading favorite parts.  Warm fuzzies all over! It takes place in 1946, in post-war London and the island of Guernsey, and it's comprised completely of letters. It takes a bit to figure out who's who, but it's the most enchanting and charming story, and the writing is so witty. Curl up on the couch, read it, and be happy.

Waiting for Birdy: a year of frantic tedium, neurotic angst, and the wild magic of growing a family: This is the book I would love to write. It's is the closest thing to a parenting book that I've read, I'll admit it. Reading it felt like therapy. Or a support group. Her pregnancy observations were hysterical and so completely accurate, like not being able to put ice in her water because she can taste the contents of the freezer in the ice...BEEN THERE. She pokes fun at OB appointments and the What to Expect When You're Expecting alarmists and makes you feel less insane for late night pregnancy symptom googling. I glazed over at some parts when she rambles about her toddler (confession: toddlers freak me out), but for the most part I loved this book. It was so refreshing and so good to see someone bring a sense of humor to pregnancy.

The Girls of Atomic City: I saw this book on a shelf at the library and grabbed it because it reminded me of the show Bomb Girls, which I love. Also, who doesn't want to believe they would've been a Bomb Girl during WWII (and everyone who knows me LOLs at the thought of me in a factory)? I have mixed feelings on this book. We all know I live and breathe WWII books, and this one is a true story about women who worked on the Manhattan Project. Interesting! Right? Kind of. It was fascinating in that not one employee knew they were helping to build the atomic bomb, and they had no idea what the point of their actual job was aside from helping to end the war. The government built a huge compound in Tennessee and called it Oak Ridge, which is still a city to this day. During the war, it wasn't included on any maps and was basically a secret city. As you can see, the story itself is incredibly interesting, but the book was so disjointed and unorganized that I had such a hard time following it. Awesome topic, poor execution. But still worth reading if you're like me and have an unhealthy obsession with this time period. You just might need to make a flow chart or something to keep up with the characters.

Empty Mansions: This book started off so well. So fascinating! It's a true story about a wealthy family, right up there with the Carnegies and Rockefellers, that no one seems to know about. The book gives the history of the Clark family, from the 1800s when W.A. Clark owned mines in Montana until 2011 when his daughter Huguette died. The book was well researched, but I felt like I was reading a textbook. There were so many unnecessary details and so much repetition (rich lady, recluse, lots of dolls, obsessed with Japan, lots of empty mansions, I GET IT), and had they been left out, the book would've been half the size and maybe I wouldn't have wanted to poke my eyes out by the end. The story itself is somewhat intriguing, but I had to force myself to finish it. BORED TO TEARS.

Real Food for Mother and Baby: I am a major nutrition nerd. It's something I've studied extensively, and it was even my major in college for half a second. A friend recommended this book to me, and while there was some very valuable information in there, the author is a little bit crazy. I'll just copy and paste what I wrote on Goodreads, because I could write a book on my thoughts on this book and this is as concise as I can get:

First things first: this author is a total whack-job. She's crazy. Raw milk and wine while pregnant? No. Telling us epidurals are more likely to cause drug-addicted teens? Please. Real food cures morning sickness? I would like to see what she says after dealing with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. 

With that said, there is a lot of good information in here. I read this at the end of my pregnancy, and it was a kick in the pants to finish this thing strong instead of subsisting on donuts. I did skim the parts about the fertility diet and what to eat in the first and second trimesters just to see how miserably I failed, and let me tell you, I failed miserably. According to her, my baby will probably be unhealthy with a low IQ due to the blatant lack of fish oil in my diet. But at the same time, I was on soy formula as a baby (according to Nina, you basically feed your child soy formula only if you hate them), and I grew up to be smart and healthy. 

There's good information to glean if you can get past the self-righteous bragging. You'll start to wonder if she's getting paid by the amount of times she condones raw milk. However, I love the basic premise of getting back to real food and eating nothing processed. I am completely on board that train. I love that she wasn't afraid to challenge the pediatrician and that she promotes getting minerals like iron from real food instead of supplements. I can say from my own experience, eating iron-rich foods is much more beneficial than taking fake supplements. All in all, use your common sense with her and take everything she says with a grain of salt. A grain of unrefined sea salt, that is.


Coming Clean: I almost forgot to add this one! Hence the lack of picture. This book was horrifying, but in a good way. It's a memoir about a girl who grew up with hoarder parents, before hoarding was the thing it is now. The things she went through are CRAZY and I felt like I needed a shower every time I put it down. An excellent read if you're seeking motivation to clean your house; a dangerous read if you're nesting and already obsessing over your baseboards. 


I'm going on maternity leave in about 5 minutes, and I got a little overzealous and snagged 6 more books from the library today. So basically you can expect another post like this immediately. It's the first day of spring! Go grab a book and a daffodil or something. 

11 comments:

  1. Holy reading, Michelle! I have not read a single one of these, but I'm really interested in reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so brb while I add that to my list on Goodreads.

    Also, I'm a snoop (or it was just in my feed, honestly!) and saw that you're currently reading The Girl on the Train. You'll have to let me know what you think about it! I just read it myself.

    Spring? What spring? It's supposed to snow here today :( :( :(

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  2. Hooray for book ideas! I've been slacking on my reading lately and your list rocks. Especially interested in The Girls of Atomic City because I, too, love that time period. And I'm weirdly fascinated by hoarders (and memoirs are my fave kinda' books) so Coming Clean is on my list- thank you!!!

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  3. I keep meaning to read Coming Clean, because Hoarders (the show) is inexplicably fascinating to me. I keep meaning to read a lot of things, actually...

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  4. I love hearing what's on peoples must read lists!!! Thanks girl. I have been the WORST about reading. And it's sad because I absolutely love to do it and just never make time for it!

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  5. I received a copy o The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for my birthday from a good friend. I'm going to read it...eventually.

    Also, what is wrong with raw milk and pregnancy? One of my good friends who has 11 kids (really! 11!) drinks it all the time. She is the one that started me drinking it and I love it! I have only been drinking it for like 4 months but it has definitely helped me and made me feel very healthy. Also it makes the best homemade butter, and it has a lot of good probiotics that help me not become that stereotypical constipated pregnant women. I would never drink drink wine--that one makes no sense. I mean it has no benefits like the probiotics. I'm having a baby, not a frat party :P

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  6. I haven't heard of any of these! Excellent. I love a good book recommendation. (Also, hi! Is it weird that I just found your blog and now I'm commenting on every post? Maybe.). Currently I'm reading "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. Have you heard of it/read it? I was on the wait list at the library for no joke like 4 months for this one. It's really good!

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  7. I still haven't read Kim's Coming Clean, and I'm kicking myself for it. I have read her blog for a few years and love it, so I'm sure the book is great. Also, happy maternity leave!

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  8. I just bought T.G.L.A.P.P.P.S. last weekend. I've heard great things about it and can't wait to start!

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  9. OMG, you and I have the SAME taste in books my friend! TGLAPPPS was AMAZING!! I literally felt the same as you…it was my best friend. The characters are so witty, the story so sweet, the history so fascinating!! I have a friend who's parents live on the island of Jersey close to Geurnsey and i'm dying to visit!!!

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  10. Love me some book recommendations - I've been reading like a fiend lately. The first three are definitely on my to-read list now. Currently I've got Elevating Child Care (Janet Lansbury), the new Elizabeth Gilbert novel- Signature of all things, and All the Money in the World (Ann Voskamp). Hopefully some of them are good. Fingers crossed.

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  11. I love this! I just grabbed a stack of books from the library on Saturday, too. Nothing too heavy, just a couple parenting books to freak myself out among other things. I really liked the Potato book too (too lazy to type out the whole name, but not a lengthy explanation about why I am not typing out the whole title!). Warm and fuzzy is spot on. What to eat while pregnant seems to be such a controversial topic. I love it, though!!! I might call myself a nutrition nerd, with no formal training whatsoever. Confession: I would not have survived this pregnancy without raw milk (from a very trusted source, I might add). I love it so much. I am not into self-righteous books of any kind, however.

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