Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
A couple weeks into motherhood, and I had picked up my first parenting book :) All I knew about the book before I read it was that French children purportedly eat anything and don't throw tantrums- Sounds good to me! I usually don't read informational nonfiction, so I love how the author uses her own life to tell her story of discovering the secrets of French parenting. Her welcoming personality is a constant reassurance; She may have written the book, but she's still figuring things out, just like you and me. Plus, the text is well-balanced anecdotes and research. Having studied human development for my undergraduate degree, it was clear that the techniques she describes are substantiated in modern academic literature while being presented in a no-nonsense, thought-provoking manner. It was especially interesting to evaluate WHY French and American parents parent the way they do (and therefore why their children act the way they do). I especially loved these tidbits:
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
With a back-of-the-book description promising a modern twist on a murder mystery, Matt and I listened to this book on our long road trip, hanging on minute details looking for clues, and waiting for a shocking plot twist. Instead, we found that the author had a penchant for waxing philosophical, the women were weak and the men were crass, the crude language did not help to make the characters likable (and made the narration grating), and the conclusion was the most obvious out of any possible scenario. Harsh, but true. A fine book for a long drive across the country, but ultimately a disappointment.
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
"A great meal is an experience that nourishes more than your body."
I am the kind of person who will spend a little extra on specialty cheese and who enjoys preparing food as much as eating it, so I read Delicious! with a smile on my face. This book is to food lovers what You've Got Mail is to bibliophiles. The author was able to use the power of language to make the flavors come alive as I read. The characters became instant friends who understood the magic of a good recipe and a well-planned meal. If the author romanticized food, I guess I didn't mind because I tend to do that myself :) The story also shows a lost culinary side of WWII, detailing the creative lengths people had to go to in order to cook good food on rations, and the persecution of Italians (and Italian food!) because of the war.