Thursday, October 10, 2019

Changing Reading Habits

If it hasn't been clear by my significant decrease in posting, habits have changed over this way. Time to read and write have been reduced and my method of reading has had to change as well. I have fully embraced both audiobooks and the library, which really, is about time.

But it's not just the format that's changed, but also the genres. Or more specifically, one genre. Books that deal with parenting. Fiction. Non-fiction. Memoir. Advice. I mean, this shouldn't be too surprising given the whole reason for habits changing.
It's this fancy fella here
I didn't read much in the way of pregnancy books. And I didn't really start picking up parenting books until the last couple months. I suppose it happened when the parenting stuff started to seem more active/interesting because newborns are cute but man, can they be dull. Toddlers are far more active. Far more. The monster goes to a weekly gym class to try to burn off some energy and give him somewhere padded to run.

I haven't necessarily picked up a lot of advice books but more just wanting to read about other parents and the weirdness that is having kids. Kids are weird and parenting is simultaneously the most boring, common thing you can do and so unique and all-consuming. So what are those parenting books I've read? Well, I'm glad you asked, because otherwise this post would be very short.

Act Natural: A Cultural History of Misadventures in Parenting by Jennifer Traig
Parenting norms have changed so much over the years (people used to tie babies to boards and just sort of...prop them up in the corner and leave them there) and cultural histories are great so this was fun. I mean, also disturbing at times. As history often is.

Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool by Emily Oster
If there is one type of parenting book I love, it's data-driven parenting and I am being sincere here. The only pregnancy book I really read was hers (Expecting Better) and as soon as I finished it I immediately looked for anything else she had written. Alas, at that time, there was nothing else and I had to deal with those first months with NO science behind why parents do the things we do. Parenting advice that is more "here's the information, make your own choices using that" is the best kind of advice.

Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First Century Parenting by Drew Magary 
Parenting is weird and the thought of a 3 year old yelling something that sounds very much like "What's up, fuckface!" is hilarious. And other parts of the book are very touching or very emotional (NICU time, for instance). Listening to this as an audiobook was a great choice for all of the different emotions.

Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan
The library is great because I can pick up a book I may have otherwise passed over, because what do I have to lose? I'm not spending any money on this. And thus when I saw Jenny Lawson say this book was funny, I figured give it a shot. It was funny and cringy and did a good job highlighting how wonderful but also isolating parenting can be.

The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laditan
I didn't necessarily intend to read two books by Laditan, let alone back to back, but such is the way things go. The premise of this book started to wear thin near the end (a toddler answers advice column about parenting toddlers from his point of view) but for the most part it was funny.

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
I've watched a lot of Jim Gaffigan's standup. I like watching something to fall asleep to that I already know well (so I won't stay up watching it) that both Tom and I can agree on. Which means watching the same few standup specials on Netflix (Gaffigan, Mulaney, Oswalt, Wong are the main ones) an embarrassing amount. Like Netflix, please never tell me how many times I've watched these (or Planet Earth or Blue Planet or Great British Bake Off, which are other night time go tos). Listening to an audiobook of him talk about being a parent to 5 kids in a tiny NYC apartment was right up my alley. Even if a fair amount of the material here made its way into his standup. Or vice versa. Since I clearly don't have a problem with hearing the same jokes 1000 times, this was fine by me.

I didn't start out intending to write some (extra) mini-reviews, but there you go. A round up of recent parenting books. And I'm sure there will be more in my future.