Archive for the ‘
Best Of Lists ’ Category
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
Who cares what The New York Times picked as the best books of 2012? Forget what the editors at Oprah chose (their list came out today). What you really want to read are the books that the editors of Parents and American Baby magazines loved. Why? Because these people are down-to-earth, time-crunched, fun and all-around super cool. In short, these are the best books of 2012 picked by readers who are just like you.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
by Katherine Boo
“This was by far my favorite because she managed to really capture the essence of the Mumbai society she was profiling. Her characters were three-dimensional and not caricatures and the portrait of their life in the slums captured the dignity and hope as well as the challenges and disappointments they live with every day.”
Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
“Ah, Thomas Cromwell. This book, and the one before it, Wolf Hall, may be
about Henry VIII’s right-hand man when he was annullding his first wife and
then marrying and divorcing Anne Boleyn, but the character description
of Cromwell is so well-rounded and rich, I found myself imagining he was
walking down the street to work with me in the morning. Cromwell was a
man of the future and I think he would be proud to see what the world is
like today, especially that women have made so much progress.”
–Mindy Berry Walker
by Liz Moore
“I couldn’t put down Heft, by Liz Moore, a beautifully written book about a 550-pound former teacher who no longer leaves his home, and the relationship he develops with the teenage son of one of his students.”
by Gillian Flynn
“Her hilarious, biting passage about the mythical ‘Cool Girl’—the male fantasy of the woman who loves football, burping, and chili dogs, all while wearing a size 2—alone made this book worth reading!
*also favored by Erica Clark, Jessica Hartshorn, Taryn Mohrman, Chandra Turner, Sarah Sebastiano
How to be a Woman
by Caitlin Moran
“It claims to be an update of Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, but its feminism is delivered with a sense humor over a good beer, with its stories in turns hilarious, heartbreaking, wise, frustrating, and utterly rabble-rousing.”
In the Garden of Beasts
by Erik Larson
“It’s the true and compelling story of William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Nazi Germany in the years before WWII, and his 20-something daughter, who had numerous affairs while the family lived there, including one with an Soviet spy.”
Paris in Love
by Eloisa James
“This light-hearted, authentic read is formatted from snippets of the author’s blog posts about her year abroad with her family. (Plus, the short entries and loose plot line made it a great grab-and-go book for whenever I found a few extra minutes.)”
Tell the Wolves I’m Home
by Carol Rifka Brunt
“Tell the Wolves I’m Home hurt my heart (in a good way); it forced me to take a closer look at the relationships in my life and make sure I was giving those I care about the love they deserve.”
The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
“Intelligently and carefully written, John Green weaves a delicate story of truths and young love beneath the hovering cloud of sickness and fate.”
by Laura Hillenbran
“As a mom of an active young boy, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand especially got to me. It’s a true story about a World War II airman who beat incredible obstacles to survive with skills—speed, resourcefulness, determination—learned from a mischievous, defiant boyhood. It showed me that the very things that sometimes drive parents crazy can, when harnessed for good purpose, help turn kids into adults who are able to overcome anything.”
Where’d You Go Bernadette?
by Maria Semple
“This was my favorite book of the year because of its unconventional style (the drama unfolds largely through letters and emails written between characters) and its surprising mystery element that made it unputdownable!”
*Also favored by Kara Corridan
Wherever I Wind Up
by R. A. Dickey,
“It’s about the Mets’ knuckleball pitcher who took an unlikely journey from failed minor leaguer to star pitcher for the Mets (he won the Cy Young Award just months after climbing Mt. Kilmanjaro to raise money to fight human trafficking. A totally entertaining and inspiring story that teaches us to never give up on our dreams.”
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Behind the Beautiful Forevers, best books 2012, Bring Up the Bodies, Gone Girl, heft, how to be a woman, in the garden of beasts, paris in love, staff picks, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, The Fault in Our Stars, Unbroken, Where'd You Go Bernadette?, Wherever I Wind Up | Categories:
Best Of Lists, Best Sellers, Fiction, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Popular Books
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
I love December. Sure, the presents, cookies and family time are great. But what gets me really excited? The Best Books of 2012 lists. I don’t usually agree with the (snobbish) book world’s top picks, but I relish in reading their carefully selected and politically correct choices. You know in high school when the coach would post who made the cheerleading squad? Book picks are like that for me because I’m a geek.
Below, I’ve compiled Best of Lists from The New York Times, Amazon and Publisher’s Weekly. I saw several repeats such as Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Building Stories by Chris Ware and Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.
Have you read any of those three? I haven’t. How many of the books below interest you? I’ve read four of them, and three others are in my to-read pile. Is it PC to write that several of these seem kind of boring? I only speak the truth.
I’ll write about my own picks next week, and I promise they’re more fun. Also, stay tuned for a post about the books Parents staffers loved this year.
Most importantly, what’s your favorite book of 2012? Bare your soul to me in the comments.
The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012
Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
by Chris Ware
A Hologram for a King
by Dave Eggars
by Zadie Smith
The Yellow Birds
by Kevin Powers
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Amazon, Andrew Solomon, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, best books of 2012, Bring Up the Bodies, Cheryl Strayed, Far From the Tree, Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl, Hilary Mantel, John Green, Katherine Boo, New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, The Fault in Our Stars, Wild | Categories:
Best Of Lists, Best Sellers, Fiction, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Popular Books
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
One writer hit the literary lottery today. Oprah anointed Hattie Mathis with the book industry’s most lucrative label: Oprah chose her novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, as the latest pick for the Oprah Book Club 2.0.
I had heard great things about Cheryl Strayed’s Wild long before Oprah picked it. Now Strayed enjoys paid speaking engagements, movie deals and future book contracts. I hope the same holds true for Hattie Mathis. I just learned about The Twelve Tribes of Hattie this morning along with the rest of the world.
The book goes on sale tomorrow, and I can’t wait to dive into it, and then write a review here. It will be fun to watch it on the sales charts, too. Today, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is ranked 89,309 on Amazon. Within a few weeks, I’m betting that it will be in the top 10 on all of the bestseller lists.
Good for Mathis. Reviews of this book (Publisher’s Weekly and the like) say it’s great and full of rich prose to guide its compelling characters and plot. The narrative is told through different points of view–kind of a like several short stories that come together at the end and make sense as a whole. Here’s more about the book from the publisher, Knopf:
“In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd, hoping for a chance at a better life, flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia with her twin babies. Instead, she watches helplessly as they succumb to an illness that a few pennies might have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave, fearing a show of tenderness would inadequately prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their lives.”
Are you into Oprah’s picks? Do you share her taste? Check out the complete list of Oprah’s Book Club selections to find out how many you’ve read. I’ve read 18–and one of my favorites is still She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I also loved the classic East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Oh, and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, too. I could go on and on.
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Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Bookworms will love the lineup of parenting memoirs and advice that are scheduled for release in 2013. I know I am. Here are the books I can’t wait to read in the New Year. Stay tuned for my write ups about them on this blog.
The Heavy: A Mother Daughter Memoir
by Dara-Lynn Weiss
Did you hear about the mom who put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet and wrote about it for Vogue? Author Dara Lynn-Weiss caused such a stir that she got a book deal. This memoir tells the story from start to finish–how the doctor labeled her little girl obese, and how this mother decided to take care of it. The book is supposed to be brutally honest, and Lynn-Weiss claims that her insights will help other parents in the same situation. (Jan. 15)
Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic’s Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
by Zac Unger
In this memoir, one dad takes his family to Antarctica–Churchill, Manitoba to be exact. In the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” he examines a faraway place that’s one of Mother Nature’s last strongholds. A seasoned writer, he observes the human relationship with the great bears. And he took his wife and two kids there! (Jan. 29)
The Food Allergy Mama’s Easy, Fast Family Meals
by Kelly Rudnicki
The author runs the helpful and popular blog, The Food Allergy Mama, and she also wrote the companion book The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book. She has five kids, one with severe food allergies. All recipes are free of milk, butter, cheese, eggs and nuts. She uses easy-to-find, inexpensive ingredients to make dishes like oatmeal fudge bars. (Feb. 5)
The Secrets of Happy Families
by Bruce Feiler
Popular New York Times columnist and best-selling author promises another warm and helpful book. He often writes beautifully about religion (Walking the Bible), but this one focuses on innovative ways to connect as a family. He didn’t go to psychologists for advice but instead to Silicon Valley execs and folks on the set of Modern Family. Some of the surprising advice in this book will be to ditch the sex talk, don’t worry about family dinner and let your kids pick their own punishments. (Feb. 19)
The Still Point of the Turning World
by Emily Rapp
Rapp’s books (Poster Child) and articles are beautiful to read, but her piece in the New York Times called Notes from a Dragon Mom was particularly heartbreaking. In it, she writes about the short life of her young son Ronan who is diagnosed with Tay-Sachs. In her trademark way, she gently takes readers on her family’s difficult journey. (March 7)
French Twist: An American Mom’s Experiment in Parisian Parenting
by Catherine Crawford
For readers who were into in the controversial book Bringing Up Bebe, this book offers another intimate look into the secrets of French parenting. Instead of going to Paris to immerse her family in French ways, the author brings French attitudes to Brooklyn. She writes about her European hands-off approach and how it worked magnificently–most of the time–with her two kids. Now they eat lamb chops! (March 12)
Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives
by John Elder Robison
Diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40, this dad writes about the adventures he has raising his son Cubby. Irreverent, hilarious and a little dark, this book is gives readers an inside look at what it’s like to be a person on the autism spectrum. He hopes to inspire his readers to embrace and celebrate misfits and geeks. If you’ve seen or read Running with Scissors, you might have met John–he is Augusten Burroughs’ brother. (March 12)
Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures
by Amber Dusik
Hiliarious Parents’ writer Dusik finally gets to crack readers up with her own parenting book, and yes, the pictures are really bad. She’s a popular blogger, but in this book she delves into life with kids while sharing stories. Silly ones like the time her child asked if clowns will throw pies at her at the circus. She’s aiming for a funny run of stories and essays along the lines of Jenny Lawson’s Let Pretend this Never Happened. (March 19)
The Object of My Conception
by Elisabeth Rohm
Rohm, best known for her role on Law and Order, blogged about her infertility for People.com, and she was overwhelmed by the positive responses from women who were going through the same thing. In her memoir, she tells the story of her fertility issues, her IVF treatments and her successful journey into motherhood. (April 9)
Learning to Listen: A Life Caring for Children
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by T. Berry Brazelton
Fans of this caring and famous pediatrician will be interested in the story of his life. From growing up in Texas to heading to Princeton and Harvard to diving into research on newborn babies, this book tells the story of a great man in his own words. You probably know his seminal book Touchstones, a handbook for all parents of babies from birth to age 3. (April 9)
Amber Dusik, Bruce Feiler, Catherine Crawford, Dara Lynn-Weiss, Elisabeth Rohm, Elisabeth Rohn, Emily Rapp, French Twist, John Elder Robison, Kelly Rudnicki, Learning to Listen, Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye, Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, Parisian Parenting, Raising Cubby, T. Berry Brazelton, The Food Allergy Mama, The heavy, The Object of My Conception, The Secrets of Happy Families, The Still Point of the Turning World, Zac Unger | Categories:
Best Of Lists, Best Sellers, Cookbooks, DIY, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Mommy Bloggers, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
So many books came out this week that it’s difficult to choose which ones to recommend to you. Need funny baby names? Horrified by a scandal? How about a decent night’s sleep with your baby? There’s a brand new read for all of the above–plus one more on creativity. It’s a hot week for book geeks, so be sure to check out my picks for parents.
Hello, My Name is Pabst: Baby Names for Nonconformist, Indie, Geeky, DIY, Hipster and Alterna-Parents of Every Kind
by Miek Bruno and Kerry Sparks
Quirky names rule in this over-the-top, funny baby name book. Just take a look at the first author’s moniker. He didn’t like being one of six Mikes in his kindergarten classroom, so now he goes by Miek. If you’re not into popular standbys such as Jennifer, Jacob, Sophia and Daniel, this book is for you. It’s broken down into unique sections offering even more creative ideas. My favorite chapters are Names You Can Drink at the Bar (Ketel, Booth, Rocks, Olive) and, just in time for Halloween, Morbid Names for Your Little Goth Prince/ss of Darkness (Raven, Voltaire, Dante and Lestat.) If I were headed to a babyshower, this would be one of my gifts.
Silent No More: Victim 1′s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky
by Aaron Fisher
Late last week, Victim 1 broke his anonymity before his book hit shelves. Aaron Fisher was 11 years old when Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky recruited him to be his Second Mile children’s charity. At age 14, after enduring “hundreds” of incidences at the hands of Sandusky, Aaron was the first person to tell authorities what was happening. Aaron stuck to his story for three years during this scandalous national investigation. He helped a jury convict the coach on 45 counts of sexual assault. With the help of his mother and his psychologist, Aaron shares his side of this horrific story in his memoir.
Sweet Dreams: How to Establish and Maintain Good Sleep Habits for Your Baby
by Arna Skula
The author, Arna Skula, is a clinical nurse specialist in Iceland who works at a clinic for babies with sleep problems. In her book, she turns her experience and research into advice for parents. She addresses the importance of circadian rhythms, the baby’s age, developmental state and other factors in the infant’s sleep patterns. She helps parents know what they can reasonably expect from their baby and what to do to help the little one sleep well and feel happy. The book offers advice from birth up to 24 months. Check out her free sleep chart to get a feel for her work.
The Missing Alphabet: A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids
by Susan Marcus, Susie Monday and Cynthia Herbert, Ph.D
This book is all about cultivating creativity in our kids. The authors believe the future belongs to children with innovative minds. They offer up The Sensory Alphabet, basic building blocks that are as powerful as the ABCs. One cool part is the Field Guide full of ideas for creative things families can do at home, in museums and around their neighborhoods. If you’re interested in the creative process and how to foster it, this book will give you ideas and tools.
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Aaron Fisher, Arna Skula, baby name book, baby sleep, creativity, Cynthia Herbert, Hello, Jerry Sandusky, Kerry Sparks, Miek Bruno, My Name is Pabst, Penn State, Silent No More, sleep through the night, Susan Marcus, Susie Monday, Sweet Dreams: How to Establish and Maintain Good Sleep Habits for Your Baby, The Missing Alphabet: A Parents' Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids, Victim 1 | Categories:
Best Of Lists, Memoirs, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Parenting Advice, Popular Books