Monday, February 2, 2009

What I've Been Reading . . .

The 7 Stages of Motherhood, Making the Most of Your Life As A Mom, by Ann Pleshette Murphy
I read a lot of parenting books, but I tend to skim most of them.  This was no exception.  She is a "parenting expert" on Good Morning America, and editor-in-chief of Parenting magazine, so the book felt to me like a compilation of parenting advice magazines.  She wrote about trying to balance being a mom with her career, and she gave a lot of the same advice about not being too hard on yourself, making time for yourself and your friends, and how to be successful at your career and a good mom and not feel guilty all the time . . . it seems to be something a lot of people write about but I still can't figure out how they manage to do it.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This book was fascinating!  An autobiography by MSNBC contributor Jeannette Walls, about her wild childhood growing up with unbelievably eccentric and unstable parents.  Often homeless, always hungry, moving across the country with her three siblings, living in unlivable conditions . . . and her triumph over the chaos of her upbringing to who she is today, a successful journalist in New York City . . . it is a wonderful story, told by an excellent storyteller.  I couldn't put it down, much of it is just too crazy to believe.  (And it is a great parenting book because suddenly you don't think you're doing such a bad job).  
Wolf Kahn's America
I'm working on a painting and leafing through this book of gorgeous prints by artist Wolf Kahn.  Love his work; simple, soft landscapes and brilliant environments.
You and Me, by Martine Kindermans
This is such a sweet book.  We have a stack of Valentine's Day Books from the library and this love story from a mother to her child is one of my favorites.  "All we need is you and me to be as happy as can be. . . . For we are dear and trusted friends, and I will help you home again."  
Jesus Wants to Save Christians, by Rob Bell
I admit that I have had this one on my nightstand for a long time.  I don't know why but I have a hard time reading Rob Bell.  I love to listen to his podcasts, but I think I would rather listen to him than read his books.  His message is challenging, as always.  I was especially moved by some of these statistics he cited in the book:
America controls nearly 20 percent of the world's wealth.  There are around six billion people in the world, and there are roughly three hundred million people in the US.  That makes America less than 5 percent of the world's population.  And this 5 percent owns a fifth of the world's wealth.

One billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, while the average American uses four hundred to six hundred liters of water a day.

Every seven seconds, somewhere in the world a child under age five dies of hunger, while Americans throw away 14 percent of the food we purchase.

Forty percent of people in the world lack basic sanitation, while forty-nine million diapers are used and thrown away in America EVERY DAY.

Nearly one billion people in the world cannot read or sign their name.

Nearly one hundred million children are denied basic education.

By far, most of the people in the world do not own a car.

One-third of American families own three cars.

One in seven children worldwide has to go to work every day just to survive.

Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half of the world does on all goods.

(He goes on to say . . . Guilt is not helpful.  Honesty is helpful.  Awareness is helpful.  Knowledge is helpful.  Guilt isn't.  Human history has never witnessed the abundance that we consider normal.  America is the wealthiest nation in the history of humanity.  We have more resources than any group of people anywhere at any time has ever had.  Ever.  

God bless America?

God has.

And we should be very, very, grateful.
The Truth About You, by Marcus Buckingham
This career book comes with a journal and DVD (ours was scratched and we only could see the first half).  It is designed to help you discover your ideal career by identifying the activities you most enjoy and most dislike.  (The book jacket claims, "With insightful exercises and tried-and-true life wisdom no one else will tell you, the book takes you to the location of your most powerful and unchanging talents).  I still don't know what I want to do with my life.  And my talents still don't seem very powerful or unchanging.  But, that probably has more to do with me and less to do with the book.


Heather of the EO said...

So interesting to see what you're reading. I read the Glass Castle and LOVED it.

I um...well, I "tagged" you in my post today. Hope you don't mind. And if you don't ever do worries. :)

charrette said...

I loved the Glass Castle too. I reviewed it on my blog last summer. And I recently finished Tortilla Curtain, which I ordered after I read about it on your blog.

I love this wide range of everything you're reading right now. Reminds me of the way I approach books.

And as for talents? You are an artist...and a writer. (And don't forget what an important career Mother is too!)