Posts Tagged ‘ Jenny Lawson ’

Best Parenting Books of 2012

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Whenever I got down about parenting this year–i.e. when my 5-year-old only wanted Daddy to put him to bed and my 7-year-olds started painting their own nails (and the dog’s)–I turned to advice books for advice and wisdom.

Luckily, there were so many authors with witty, strong and fun opinions. The following parenting titles made me sure of a few things. First, I’m not a bad parent–and neither are you, Jenny Lawson. Second, it’s super easy to do better without stressing out–thank you Heather Shumaker. Plus, who doesn’t want to have a whole lot more fun? Below, see my picks for the best parenting books of 2012.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
by Jenny Lawson
Whatever problems your family has, author Jenny Lawson can probably top them. Her hilarious memoir takes you from her raucous, offbeat and bloody childhood to her attached-by-a-marriage-document relationship with her long-suffering husband named Victor. She overcomes a life-threatening pregnancy, a fight over a metal chicken and the zombie apocalypse with messed up insight that totally and completely enlightened me.
Favorite line: “When Hailey was born my first thought was that I needed a drink and that hospitals should have bars in them.”

It’s Okay Not to Share
by Heather Shumaker
This book makes it okay–even preferable–to invite my friends with kids over for dinner and totally ignore the munchkins. So what if they argue over a toy? As long as no one is getting hurt, they’ll work it out more efficiently on their own. And what if my daughter doesn’t like the girl who keeps asking her for a playdate? That’s okay. Adults don’t like everyone we meet, so why should little kids? All we really have to do is be polite, nice and compassionate. I love the no-nonsense advice for parenting in today’s overprotective, helicopter world. Shumaker untangles tightwad adult rules and makes perfect sense.
Favorite idea: Kids don’t have to say, ‘Sorry.’ Overuse of the word is a cop-out and has no meaning. Instead, children should take action to set things right.

Unbored
by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen
This book makes a great case for saving yourself some serious money and not buying your kid a Wii. Even if you, like me, already caved on that one, you’ll still love Unbored. It’s filled with activities that you’ll really want to do with your kids. For my little kids, I liked making the no-sew stuffed animal and becoming a yarn bomber. But this book is great for tweens, too. It even has a section on how to “Train Your Grownup to Let You Go Solo.”
Favorite chapter: “Train Your Grownup to Curse without Cursing”

What were your favorite parenting books this year?

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Jenny Lawson, Author of ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,’ Emailed Me!

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

My favorite book so far this summer has to be Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. Is anyone with me?

I’ve been a huge fan of her hilarious, candid and outrageous writing at The Bloggess for years. Where else can you read about a wife who brings home a 5-foot metal chicken named Beyonce to get back at her husband after an argument over bath towels? Just two weeks ago, Lawson gave her lucky man a tree sloth, wallaby and hedgehog for their 16th wedding anniversary while their daughter Hailey freaked out and then laughed.

The book includes some of her best blogs and expands on the story of her wacky family life. She grew up poor in West Texas, wearing newspaper-stuffed bread sacks for waterproof shoes and dodging her father’s twisted animal shenanigans. He once gutted a dead squirrel to use as a hand puppet. Another time, he brought home turkeys as pets, and they followed Lawson to school where they invaded the cafeteria and pooped everywhere. Eventually, she meets the love of her life in the witchcraft section of a bookstore. She opens up about her gruesome struggle to have a baby, her lifelong battle with generalized anxiety disorder and her obsession with the zombie apocalypse.

I’ve been telling all of my friends–especially the ones who curse a lot–to buy this now. For just $25 (or less), you’ll laugh out loud and learn important information about taxidermy.

I emailed Lawson to tell her I had a writing crush on her–in a non-stalking kind of way. Then I asked her how she managed to write a book while juggling work and parenthood.

I will never delete her reply from my inbox:

“It took me 11 years to finish the book because I kept getting interrupted
with things like labor and childbirth. But in the end it was worth it. I
think the only way to balance everything (work, being a wife, mother,
daughter, etc) is to realize you’re going to suck at a few of those things
at a time while you concentrate on the others. You can’t do it all
perfectly all the time or your head will explode. Just remember that
you’re human and that all you can do is your best.”

Her secret to success is working. Even though her book came out in May, she’s still sitting pretty on the New York Times bestseller list. She’s original, out-there and totally deserving. I got lost in her book, and it was a great place to be.

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Facebook, Goodreads Best Books for Summer

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Looking for the perfect book can be like trying to find the right dress for your high school reunion. You want something that fits your taste and mood–one that doesn’t poke or jam you up. You need a read that’s ravishing and deeply personal. A good book–like a fab frock–should make you say, “Gazonga. Me likey.”

The social networking site Goodreads can swoop in and become your own personal book shopper. You input your literary likes and dislikes, and it generates on-point recommendations for you based on real people’s ratings and opinions. It’s also an addictive way to share your picks and pans–especially with your friends on Facebook. In fact, Goodreads has teamed up with Facebook to create an app that’s much more exciting and way less stressful than clothes shopping.

To show their mutual love, Facebook is helping Goodreads promote up-to-the-minute book recommendations. Below is a list of reads that real people love (including me because I’m a long-time user). All of them were rated four stars (out of five) or above. Some–like Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened–I totally loved. This is a great summer reading list. But you’re on your own when it comes to that dress.

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
4.27 Average Rating
This psychological thriller is the highest rated adult novel getting shared on the Goodreads app right now. When Amy disappears on the morning of her anniversary, suspicion is cast on her elusive husband, Nick. Readers must choose sides as they read the couple’s conflicting accounts. (more…)

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