Goal List Update – Reading, Etc… (But Mostly Reading)

23 04 2011

I started this blog when I realized that next year I would be IN.MY.MID.40’s.  No denying you are middle-age when you are in your mid-40’s.  For the record, 43 is EARLY 40’s and therefore NOT middle-age.

Like many people I started with a list – a list of 43 goals I hoped to reach or tasks I wanted to complete before my next birthday (July 5th).  I have blogged about the goals a number of times, but in general find them to be too boring for even me (and I usually find myself VERY interesting.)  Still, if you want to read a little about them go here, and here, and here.

If I had to give a general update I would say I am ignoring all goals that have to do with health and fitness and loving relationships.  I am achieving the goals that have to do with blogging.  I have succeeded as some of the house-wife goals, (couponing, organizing, recycling grocery bags).

The goal that I spend the most time on and that is probably the most interesting is my desire to read 43 books.  I am more than half-way done (26 books completed) but I am running low on time.  On February 9, I published a list of the first 15 books I read.  You can find it here.  Since that time I have read the following:

Open an autobiography by Andre Agassi  I always had a crush on him.  And enjoyed this book.  It actually goes hand-in-hand with Tiger Mother.

Say You’re One of Them by Wem Akpan  Blogged about this incredibly intense book of short-stories based in Africa here and here

I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron Humor

What Now this is actually a blog you can find HERE.  When I found this blog (thanks, Claudia) I wanted to go back to the first post and read it in order.  It has been a long time since I have done that with a blog.  I was conflicted because I knew that would cut into my “goal reading” time.  So I decided to give myself one book credit.  This woman is a great writer on a very interesting journey.  I would recommend her to anyone.  Unfortunately she JUST got diagnosed with cancer.  Crazy sad, crazy scary.  And no matter what, crazy good writing.

Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair  Blogged about this here.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin  Inspirational and yet currently under scrutiny for accuracy.

How to Raise Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurchinka  Blogged about this parenting book here.

Early Bird, a memoir of premature retirement by Rodney Rothman Humor

A Long Walk To Water (Salva Dut) by Linda Sue Park Salva Dut is one of the “leaders” of the Lost Boys.  Now he runs a not-for-profit water charity.  Technically written for juvenile readers (age 9 and older), it caught my eye displayed on the end-cap of a shelf at our library.  After reading “Say You Are One of Them,” I thought, awesome, a book about Africa that won’t be so intense I can’t function.  And it was an amazing book.  You should read it.  So should the teens and pre-teens you know.

Maggie’s American Dream by James P. Comer, M.D.  Part of my “self-study” in African American literature.  First published in 1988, it should be easy to find a nice used copy.  Prepare to want to send your black children to a “traditionally” black University.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua  How come I only heard this book was about a terrible Mom and not that it was also really funny?  An interesting companion book to Andre’ Agassi’s Open.  This would be fun to discuss in a book club.

Mamalita – an adoption memoir by Jessica O’Dwyer  Finished this today.  Not a smart book to read when in the throes of an adoption traumaversary.  But, WOW, has this been discussed by lots of people in the triad and I am just late to the party??  Coffeemom discusses it here.  She is SO smart.  I would love to discuss this more… like how this mother seems willing to step across pretty clear ethical lines if that will get her child home.  And how I felt more compassion for her than revulsion and judgment – although I THOUGHT I should be feeling more judgment.  Please, if you have read this book – let’s discuss it.  If not, could you read it?  Soon?  And THEN we could discuss it.

Anybody still reading this post?  If so, you are probably a bibliophile in which case I would love to have suggestions.  I need to read 16 more books by July 5th.   I like many types of literature, but right now I am favoring memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, anything to do with adoption, Africa, Ethiopia, parenting and humor… but don’t limit yourself.

Oh, and if at all possible, I need fast reads (that will also make me feel smart and fascinating at a cocktail party – should I ever be invited to one.)




10 responses

24 04 2011

I LOVE the What Now? blog – I find so many parallels between her descriptions of what it’s like to adopt a teenager and what I’ve experienced in adopting a toddler! And she’s a fantastic writer…really hoping she pulls through the cancer diagnosis…

I’m too lazy to go back and look at the other lists of books you’ve read, so maybe you’ve already read these – I read Beneath the Lion’s Gaze a few months ago and learned a lot about Ethiopian history from it, for adoption memoir there’s My Fathers’ Daughter by Hannah Poole. The Chronicles of Munchkin Land blog is doing an adoption reading challenge, you might check it out for ideas.

I added a bunch of these to my Amazon wish list, thanks for the recommendations!

24 04 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

LIz, Thanks for the suggestions and links.

24 04 2011

book recommendations – quick: The Sarah Silverman Memoir, funny and poignant; A Country Year by Sue Hubbell; Shit my Dad Says, I did snort out loud with this one.

long: Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux (loved. it. so. much.) Have I recommended Notes from the Hyena’s Belly by Nega Mezlikia? Very good and not too long.

You know some of my favorite posts are book lists, so thank you very much.

24 04 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

I read Sh*t My Dad Says earlier this year… talk about laughing outloud! Actually that father reminds me a bit of the Tiger Mother.

24 04 2011

You know I almost always only read books you’ve given me or that I’m reading with students. So… here’s a suggestion for a fast read I’ve read with my kids. A Heart for Any Fate: Westward in 1845. Corvallis author-Linda Crew. Been wanting to read Brides of Eden by her as well. Historical fiction. Also, consider re-reading some classics: Of Mice and Men, Old Man and the Sea, Red Badge of Courage, Scarlet Letter, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Fahrenheit 451. All are short-ish. I definitely think it counts as a new book if you haven’t read them since high school or college. Not because you’re old! But because you have new life perspectives 😉

24 04 2011

Have you read What Is The What by Dave Eggers? It’s about one of the Lost Boys, and it’s supposed to be fantastic.

Sadly, over the past year since S. has been home most of my reading has dwindled to occasionally flipping through a Crate & Barrel catalog. Right now I’m reading At Home by Bill Bryson – this book is guaranteed to make you sound fascinating at a cocktail party, and should I ever be invited to one I’ll definitely be spewing facts from it. He goes room to room and discusses the history of some of the common things we find in our home. You can proudly say, “Do you know where the term room and board comes from? Do you know why of all the spices in the world we have salt and pepper on the table? Well, I can tell you!” A very fun, interesting, and light read.

24 04 2011
Louise Miracle

Have gotten some good ideas from your list….Here’s a quick list of ones that i’ve loved
the past year. The Help-african american history–The Book Thief-WWII just an amazing book–Forever Lily-adoption, beautiful and quick–Guernsey Literary Society-WWII adoption quick and great. Hope it gives you something new to try!

24 04 2011
Semi-Feral Mama

Wasn’t Guernsey Literary Society a surprise? I just did not expect to like it – and I really did. I have known about The Help for a long time, but just never get my timing right at the library. In fact, when I walked in for the children’s book sale last weekend they had a copy of it sitting on their front display – I was going to grab it, but I was too focused on getting to the sale books. When I went to leave it had already been checked out.

24 04 2011

I thought Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was hysterical too. We discussed that in our book club and I had a rather….er….impassioned discussion with someone who thought the author was a psychopath and should have been arrested for harming her children and I thought the book was written slightly tongue in cheek–I mean seriously–anyone who could ask “What are your plans for Coco?” was obviously joking just a little, right?

Right now I am reading “Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades”. No joke. I like to be prepared. I’ll let you know if it’s worth it.

24 04 2011

Oh, how I wish I could read more. Back when my kiddo napped, there was somehow more time for this. I recently read “Life is so Good,” which was our community reads selection this year. It’s about an African American man who in his late 90s learns to read. It’s a really incredible look at what 20th century America was like for the grandson of former slaves. It’s a quick and pretty easy read too. I also thought “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” was a great book. And there’s “Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood” -I needed some fresh parenting ideas.

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