Book #14 of the year was the new edition of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. This edition came out last year, and I finally got a copy (downloaded on my Kindle). All the hype was true: this complete rewriting of the venerable WAB is just as reassuring and helpful as the original, but with a much more modern tone, and with tons of new information based on the latest research. Although packed with science and references, the book emphasizes the art of breastfeeding, too, and the fact that each breastfeeding experience is a unique relationship between mother and child. Highly recommended for all breastfeeding mothers (of which I have not been one in quite a few years now), whether they read it straight through the way I did, or just dip in for information and inspiration.
Book #15 was a read-aloud to my seventh graders. I don't usually do this, but I read the book for the first time while I shared it with my students. This would normally be terribly risky, but I had read several of this author's books before and I also researched it thoroughly beforehand, reading lots of reviews. I have to say that I enjoyed the experience of discovering the book along with my students, and modeling the way I read a book for the first time, how I predict, the kind of first impressions I get about characters, and many more things which don't come across as clearly on a second or third or subsequent reading of a book, which is what a read-aloud usually is. The book was Scat, by Carl Hiaasen, and my students and I enjoyed it as we have his previous books. He is really a perfect author for seventh graders, with his combination of gross-out humor and concern for the environment. And his characters are always memorable. This book was a lot of fun.
Book #16 was another one on my Kindle, and I can't remember why I picked it; I think I read a recommendation somewhere. The book was Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson. I enjoyed this quirky romance set in a village in rural England, but also modern, multicultural England. The dramatic climax was a little forced, I thought, but I liked the characters.
I have now read several books on my Kindle and I like it more than I expected to. My favorite thing about it is that the books come in under two minutes, instead of spending six weeks in Customs, as my Amazon orders used to do. But I do miss the ease of flipping around in the book, sticking little scraps of paper in all the places I want to quote on my blog, and most of all, passing the book on to someone else. (I know that all those things can be done with the Kindle, but so far, not as easily as the way I can do them with a physical book.)
This post is linked to today's Saturday Review of Books.
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